Best Niche Travel Guidebooks

Exploring a new place, especially one in the great outdoors, is one of the most exciting adventures you can take. There’s the thrill of discovering new landscapes, new ways to interact with nature and new travelers to meet. While you can momentarily relish the feeling of being footloose and fancy-free showing up with absolutely no set itinerary, you run the risk of being woefully unprepared, which, in the worst case scenario, is just plain dangerous. But you also risk missing out on an area’s hidden gems. We found four guidebooks that can take your next outdoor experience— be it island exploring, strolling to waterfalls or thru-hiking—from good to glorious.
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Best for Thru-Hikers

The Colorado Trail, 9th Ed

Thorough and Practical. Everything you need to know about hiking, biking or horseback riding the 486-mile-long Colorado Trail is in this book.

What We Liked 

When planning an adventure to hike the Colorado Trail, you need to know distances between resupply locations, where you can find water and campsite locations, among many other things. This book covers all of these things in detail, making it easy to plot your day-to-day routes, as well as your rest days. It contains information about the towns along the way, so you can figure out how long you need to stretch your food supply before you can restock your backpack. We like that this includes safety information and an equipment list, too. Buy Now.

Best for Island Lovers

Hawaii The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook

Indispensible and Wide-Ranging. Take the guessing out how to find the most secluded beach, where the best rainforest trail is and which resort to stay at by reading this essential book written by a longtime local.

What We Liked

Landing in Kona, Hawaii, for a vacation to the Big Island can be completely overwhelming. There’s just so much ground to cover and seemingly unlimited activities to pursue. This book, packed with 35 maps and vital tips, takes the guessing out of planning down to the very last detail. Want to do a helicopter tour? Find out how the type of helicopter can make or break your experience. Want to snorkel near dazzling reefs? This book tells you the most efficient route to get there. It also infuses island history and cultural traditions through its pages, making you feel less like a tourist and more like a true traveler. Weighing in at 499 pages, it contains everything you need to know. Pick Up a Copy.

Best For City Explorers

The Savannah Walking Tour & Guidebook

Easy to Follow. Discover an insider’s, on-the-ground view of Savannah with this detailed guidebook that includes four walking tours dotted with contemporary and historical points of interest.

What We Liked

We love that this is a walking tour guide because so many travelers miss the best parts of a place when they try to tour exclusively by car. With four tours to choose from, exploring this quaint city is filled with hidden gems and well-known locales, including recent movie-set locations to historical hot spots. Maps for each walk, as well as drawings and historic photos, make route-finding a breeze. It’s light and small enough that you can easily carry it as you walk around town. Buy on Amazon.

Best for Waterfall Lovers

Arkansas Waterfalls Guidebook

Stunning Photographs and Detailed. This comprehensive guide to waterfalls is a must-read for avid outdoors people living in Arkansas or others planning a trip there.

What We Liked

Planning a fun day outside visiting one of Arkansas’ amazing waterfalls has never been so easy. We loved that author Tim Ernst provides tremendous details on everything you need to know to plan an outing to one of the 200-plus waterfalls in Arkansas. His full-color photographs give readers an idea of what they will see. In addition, we love that he notes whether you can see the falls from the car or whether you will need to hike in, sharing information about just how strenuous the hike may be. And just in case you’re wondering if you should bring the kids, the book includes information as to whether each waterfall is kid-friendly. Get One Today on Amazon.

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