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Off the Beaten Path    by Reader's Digest order for
Off the Beaten Path
by Reader's Digest
Order:  USA  Can
Readers Digest, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

This third edition of Off the Beaten Path is as up-to-the-minute as a book can get. The editors painstakingly researched the 1000+ entries to ensure the sites in all fifty states are, in fact, still off the beaten path. New, detailed state maps, 400 new photographs, and more than 200 new sites not in previous editions are found here. This book is the best fully illustrated tour guide you'll find.

The term off the beaten path in this case does not necessarily mean out in the boonies. Sometimes an entry was chosen due to its quirkiness, or extraordinary feature or appeal. All of them are 'unspoiled gems.' A perusal of the pages confirms this, and boy, are these pages full of fun surprises! For instance, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky you'll find more than 100 years of Coca-Cola collectibles at the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia. If nature is more your thing, you may want to check out Little Grand Canyon, the Providence Canyon State Park in Lumpkin, Georgia. This park contains 16 lush, gorgeously colored canyons, some of which are 150 feet deep. Or, maybe you'd like to take the kids mining for opals at the Spencer Opal Mines, in Spencer, Idaho. Staying close to home? Use this book to discover fascinating places for day or weekend trips that you may not know about.

The book is a well-designed work of art. The photography is exquisite, the color maps are legible and helpful, and the seasonal events column for each state alerts aficionados. A little 'did you know' box tells us interesting trivia. For instance, did you know that Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is an International Biosphere Reserve? Website and phone contact information for each site is provided, as well as icons to indicate services/features available (picnicking, hiking, etc). Grab Off the Beaten Path and go! Have a great time!

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