This week we're taking a closer look at Powell's Pick of the Month The Best Coast: A Road Trip Atlas by Chandler O'Leary.
All the beauty of a west coast road trip, condensed in a beautiful, yet practical book. The Best Coast: A Road Trip Atlas
is perfect for those new to the West, and a wonderful supplement for the natives who haven’t quite been everywhere yet. Handy tips, stunning locations, and a number of side trips just in case you decide to do some wandering. — Corie K-B.
We’re enthralled by artist Chandler O’Leary’s road trip guide to the West Coast, The Best Coast: A Road Trip Atlas
. It’s not just that Portland gets its own mini-chapter featuring Powell’s (although we’re not immune to flattery). It’s that The Best Coast
may be the quirkiest, prettiest, and most enthusiastic guide/love letter to the coast we call home to ever land on our desks.
O’Leary is a veteran road tripper, having logged over 100,000 road trip miles across the lower 48 states. This makes her not just an authoritative guide to sightseeing highlights throughout the U.S., but an expert in what to pack and prepare for. The early sections of The Best Coast
are devoted to trip planning and safety, covering what to wear (the geographical and climatic diversity of our coast being vast), how to secure your belongings, how to maximize your budget, and how to take care of your vehicle, plus delightful, unexpected tips like how to seek out minus tides for exceptional beach walks. This isn’t a scrappy, grab-your-backpack-and-go kind of guide; one of the surprises of O’Leary’s “curated starter kit” is how much preparation and basic gear is required to ensure that you can go anywhere and do anything safely and comfortably.
Once you’ve got your car packed, you can follow O’Leary’s coastal or inland routes south to San Diego or north around the Olympic Peninsula; limit yourself to a small range (for example, the Big Sur coast or a weekend in Seattle) or get ambitious and do the entire 1800-mile trip. The Best Coast
is divided into manageable sections complete with engaging local histories, worthwhile tourist attractions, side trip suggestions, and beautifully detailed, hand-drawn maps.
While travelers will need to use supplemental maps and guidebooks (or the Internet) for step-by-step directions and recommendations for meals and accommodations, O’Leary’s The Best Coast
is the perfect book to turn to when you’re dreaming of a trip, as it offers an abundance of guidance, inspiration, fun, and visual beauty. Open its pages this summer and you’re guaranteed to find yourself on the open road, joy-bound for one of the remarkable destinations on the best coast.
Check out the rest of our Picks of the Month here