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The Best in B.C. Guidebooks

1 Apr

Mother Nature is one tricky lady. She teased us with a late summer. And  Old Man Winter? He was unusually mild, yet he is reluctant to leave. He was like a tenant that was rarely at home, but he keeps coming back for his mail after moving out. Change your address, already!

The funky weather is hampering this B.C. Girl’s traveling plans. At least I’m getting plenty of exercise taking my winter jacket on and off.  When the weather is less than spectacular, take a beat to research your next adventure. Our province is a major traveling destination; therefore, you can expect to find a slew of guidebooks at your local library. In this edition, I’ve chosen to focus on B.C. guidebooks. Stay tuned for more writing on out of province travelling from a B.C. perspective.

The amount of guidebooks dedicated to our beautiful province is staggering. How does one go about picking the best travel books for ourselves when the subject is, well, subjective? When perusing a travel book, I read the section on my local area or an area in which I am familiar. Do the directions seem clear? If you can’t follow the directions, you probably won’t meet with much success in unfamiliar territory. Another question:  are the familiar sight-seeing activities worthy of a visit? It may be the case that the sights have lost the magic they once held, but if your writer is making a turn of the century tool shed sound like Stonehenge, you may have a problem.

Finally, if the book covers a specific area in which you have zero familiarity, I choose a section at random to read. I want to know how simple it is to follow the directions. Even my direction challenged self should be able to follow the information with ease. Think about how easy it will be to find pertinent information when needed. Do you really want to pull to the side of the road while your partner tries to glean directions from an essay style travel book?

Some writer’s get carried away in describing their own trip that they forget to help you plan yours. Let guidebooks be your sidekick! Your George Clooney to your Brad Pitt.  Or maybe you would prefer Damon and Affleck? How about Thelma and Louise! On second thought…

My Fav Five:

Camp Free in B.C. > Written by Kathy and Craig Coupland

Camp Free in B.C.
Written by Kathy and Craig Coupland

#1: Whether you are planning a trip or flying by the seat of your pants, this book is a straightforward reference in finding free or cheap campsites anywhere in B.C. If there is a free or cheap campsite, it’s in here.

The Long and Winding Road:
Discovering the Pleasures and Treasures of Highway 97
Written by Jim Couper

#2: An excellent guidebook to roadside stops on highway 97. It is to the point and offers stops that you may have otherwise been unaware. There’s a magnetic hill in Vernon? Huh.

British Columbia
Written by Lonely Planet

#3: This one covers the whole shebang. The Lonely Planet series covers the most well known stops around the province. In addition, it covers a smattering of accommodation in a wide price range. Take this book along if you are covering great distances in your travels.

Where the Locals Hike
Written by Kathy and Craig Copeland

#4: While technically this entry is two books, this series essentially offers the same thing. Great hikes. Great directions. Great advice. If you love hikes, short and long, check out Where the Locals Hike: In the West Kootenays and Where the Locals Hike: In the Canadian Rockies.

Exploring the Interior Country-Roads of British Columbia
Written by Liz Bryan

#5: This book breaks my rule for simple directions. The directions meander as much as the driver will on the stunning country roads featured in this guidebook. The writer purposely writes the book with her readers in mind, though. Liz Bryan wants to point out the nuances of country road driving. She will take you past old barns and herds of horses. This book is irresistible for those wanting to explore their own province at a leisurely pace.