The Best Lonely Planet Guides for the Outdoor Enthusiast

By Martha Chitwood , last updated December 19, 2011

You'll find the best Lonely Planet guides for the outdoor enthusiast in the Activity Guides collection. Whether you're primarily interested in cycling, hiking, underwater exploration or simply communing with nature, you can choose from among Lonely Planet guides to these endeavors in specific countries and regions of the world. Once you know your destination, pick the books that provide you with all the details you need on the particular outdoor activities you plan to enjoy on your trip.

Traveling on Wheels

If touring on two wheels is your idea of outdoor fun, and a European getaway or a trip down under is in your future, Lonely Planet has a cycling guide for you. With individual guide books focusing on Britain, France, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, you can arm yourself with all the details you need to pedal your way to adventure. “Cycling Britain” will take you from one end of the island to the other, from Land's End at the southwestern tip to the little village of John O'Groats on the Scottish northern coast. Highly ambitious cyclists can undertake that entire span with the help of this guide, but even if your goals are somewhat less lofty, you will find this book an indispensable companion on any cycling trip in England, Scotland or Wales. If the southern hemisphere is your destination, “Cycling Australia” and “Cycling New Zealand” are the guides for you. There's something for every rider down under, whether it's the cool rainforests, broad outback vistas and coastal scenery of Australia, or New Zealand's dramatic geothermal and glacial extremes.

Traveling on Foot

For those who prefer to experience the outdoors on foot, Lonely Planet provides a diverse array of guide books for destinations in Europe, Asia, South America and New Zealand. Whether you're a footpath walker, a trail hiker or a rugged mountain trekker, one of these books can help you prepare for the experience. Ireland, Italy, Spain and Japan are the destinations covered in the Lonely Planet hiking guides. Walking guides to Britain, in general, and Scotland, specifically, help you explore the extensive network of British footpaths that cover the island from city to country and back again. Step out across the Himalayas or the Andes with the aid of one of the Lonely Planet trekking guides. Trail descriptions and maps lead you to the best locations for every interest and skill level.

Under the Sea

Are you preparing to get up-close and personal with a coral reef? Hoping to see eye-to-eye with a fish? Some of the world's top destinations for diving and snorkeling are featured in Lonely Planet activity guides. If your agenda includes the Philippines, Thailand, the Cayman Islands, Cozumel or Belize, take a look at one of the Lonely Planet guides to the underwater wonders surrounding these locations. Gorgeous photography, detailed and extensive maps of dive areas, and handy wildlife guides make these small-format, but information-dense, books the ones to pack. Each guide focuses on the unique features of the destination and helps you plan your overall itinerary and your individual dives. Every dive site is evaluated according to skill level, so you can tailor your trip to your own preferences and abilities. Whether it's the reefs and atolls of Belize or the World War II wrecks beneath the waters of the Philippines that top your personal bucket list, Lonely Planet is here to help you achieve the dive of your dreams.

Park Guides

Lonely Planet offers a small collection of guides focusing on a select group of the most popular U.S. and Canadian national park destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. Choose from among guides to Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Grand Teton, Bryce Canyon and Zion, Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, and Glacier, Jasper and Banff. If you're headed to one of these locations, grab the Lonely Planet guide and take it along. Each easy-to-pack paperback provides easy access to in-depth information on the full range of adventures to be had in the park or parks it covers. You'll have dozens of itineraries at your fingertips, as well as maps, charts, trail guides, and lists of family-friendly and pet-friendly adventures you can enjoy in each park.

Wildlife Watching

If an African safari is in your future, be sure to pack one of the Lonely Planet “Watching Wildlife” guides. The “Southern Africa” guide covers Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and “East Africa” encompasses Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. These books will help you plan your trip and make the most of the experience, with itineraries compiled by experts, practical tips and detailed wildlife-spotting guides. All of the major parks and wildlife reserves are included, with detailed information on what's available and what you can see and do at every location.

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