The Traveler's Atlas: North America

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The Traveler's Atlas: North America is a basic overview of 50 places to visit in Canada, the United States and Mexico. With stunning photographs and useful maps, each chapter (each one is exactly four pages), is heavy on the visuals and a little short on text. However, the Fact File that accompanies each location does a good job of recommending times to visit (summer is too hot for Las Vegas, May and June can still be snowy in Banff and Jaspar National Parks) and what to bring (ponchos or other raingear for Niagra Falls, an umbrella and good walking shoes for Vancouver). Additional information in the Fact File includes weather, population (for cities), the nearest airport and what kind of accommodation to expect (no recommendations).

The organization of the guidebook is a little unclear. Aside from the major sections on Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, the chapters appear to zoom back and forth from coast to coast in neither alphabetical or geographical fashion. For example, in the first 40 pages of the U.S. section, we start in the Grand Canyon before moving to Monument Valley (at least some proximity there), then east to the Adirondacks, back west to the Pacific Coast Highway, Napa Valley, Las Vegas and back across the continent to Manhattan. The last part of those 40 pages hurl us to the far northwest of the continent - Alaska - with three chapters on mountains, the Alaska Highway and glaciers. Canada has only six chapters so it's easier to make sense of. Mexico has only two chapters - San Miguel de Allende and Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. Surely, there is more to see south of the border.

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author:Donna Dailey

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