The Rough Guide to California

4.3, 3 reviews

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This practical travel guide to California features detailed factual travel tips and points-of-interest structured lists of all iconic must-see sights as well as some off-the-beaten-track treasures. Our itinerary suggestions and expert author picks of things to see and do will make it a perfect companion both, ahead of your trip and on the ground. This California guide book is packed full of details on how to get there and around, pre-departure information and top time-saving tips, including a visual list of things not to miss. Our colour-coded maps make California easier to navigate while you’re there. This guide book to California has been fully updated post-COVID-19 and it comes with a free eBook.

The Rough Guide to California covers: Los Angeles; San Diego; the Deserts; Death Valley; the Sierra; the Central Coast; San Francisco; the Gold Country; Lake Tahoe and Northern California.

Inside this California travel guide you’ll find:


Experiences selected for every kind of trip to California, from off-the-beaten-track adventures in  Yosemite Valley, to family activities in child-friendly places, like Venice Beach, or chilled-out breaks in popular tourist areas, like Salvation Mountain.


Essential pre-departure information including California entry requirements, getting around, health information, travelling with children, sports and outdoor activities, food and drink, festivals, culture and etiquette, shopping, tips for travellers with disabilities and more.


Includes carefully planned routes covering the best of California, which give a taste of the richness and diversity of the destination, and have been created for different time frames or types of trip.


Clear structure within each sightseeing chapter of this California travel guide includes regional highlights, brief history, detailed sights and places ordered geographically, recommended restaurants, hotels, bars, clubs and major shops or entertainment options.


Tips on how to beat the crowds, save time and money and find the best local spots for surfing or climbing the saw-toothed peaks of the Sierra Nevada. 


Rough Guides' rundown of Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Big Sur, San Diego’s best sights and top experiences help to make the most of each trip to California, even in a short time.


Written by Rough Guides’ expert authors with a trademark blend of humour, honesty and expertise, this California guide book will help you find the best places, matching different needs.


Comprehensive 'Contexts' chapter of this travel guide to California features fascinating insights into California, with coverage of history, religion, ethnic groups, environment, wildlife and books, plus a handy language section and glossary.


Features inspirational colour photography, including the stunning Yosemite National Park and the spectacular Bixby Creek Bridge.


Practical full-colour maps, with clearly numbered, colour-coded keys for quick orientation in  San Francisco, Napa and many more locations in California, reduce the need to go online.


With helpful icons, and organised by neighbourhood to help you pick the best spots to spend your time.


Free eBook download with every purchase of this guide book to California allows you to access all of the content from your phone or tablet, for on-the-road exploration.

Book Details

ISBN: 9781839058592
Series: Rough Guides Main Series
Publication Date: 10/17/2023
Pages: 664
Dimensions: 129 x 198mm


This title is a part of Rough Guides Main Series

Practical travel guides series covering countries, cities and regions, with detailed factual travel tips, perfect for independent, long-stay, backpacking and budget-conscious travellers seeking comprehensive travel information and off-the-beaten track experiences

  • Extensive practical travel information including getting there, getting around, climate information, safety tips, accommodation explanations, food & drink advice and shopping essentials 

  • Curated author picks with destination highlights at the beginning of each guide

  • Ready-made itineraries covering every corner of the destination

  • Colour-coded places chapters with detailed coverage of places and sights, presented in a points-of-interest structure 

  • Extensive recommendations for accommodation, restaurants, shops and leisure activities for all budgets

  • Colour-coded detailed maps with marked-up key sights 

  • Insights on history and nature highlights  

  • Easy to use, newspaper-style layout

  • All guides published from January 2021 are printed on paper from responsible sources verified to meet FSC’s strict environmental and social standards

  • Free eBook with each printed guide published from May 2019 

Format: 129 x 198mm

Price: £14.99-£26.99 | $13.99-$34.99

Extent: 616–1208 page


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4.3 out of 5, 3 global ratings

Amazon Customer

Good quality guide

Reviewed on October 28, 2022
Paperback | Verified

Clear no nonsense layout. Love the rough guides. Very expensive but I’m hoping we will get use out of it on multiple trips.

Amazon Customer

It is useful but only if you have lots of time to ...

Reviewed on September 26, 2017
Paperback | Verified

This book has so much information in it that it is almost too much. Instead of key highlights in each destination, it lists absolutely everything you can do in no particular order and mainly without any photos. It is useful but only if you have lots of time to read through everything. There are better books that clearly list the most interesting things to do by destination.

Amazon Customer

A readable and informative guide

Reviewed on June 23, 2017
Paperback | Verified

This 752-page book - the 12th (printed) edition of June 2017 - is an interesting and readable (the two are not always found together) guide to the American West Coast state of California. Unlike many guides, this is not a glossy booklet dotted with colourful photographs to make it look superficially attractive, but a (literally) rough guide in terms of comparative paper finishes, but well-designed and presented, with readable text, useful maps, and (well-chosen) photographs only where space allows. The excellent design and layout means that you don’t need unnecessary spot illustrations to break up column after column of small-printed data.

The Contents are
P004: Introduction (Where to go, when to go, what to see, etc.)
P026: Basics (travel, transport, accommodation, shopping, eating & drinking, and other touristy stuff)

The Guide:
P054: Los Angeles
P150: San Diego and around
P202: The deserts
P252: Death Valley, Owens Valley and the Eastern Sierra
P294: San Joaquin Valley and the Western Sierra
P348: The Central Coast
P416: San Francisco and the Bay Area
P536: The Gold Country and Lake Tahoe
P586: Northern California

P670: Contexts (articles on history, environment & wildlife, etc.)
P699: Index

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$ 27.99