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TRAVEL Q&A

Gaspé Peninsula: Gasp-Worthy

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By K.C. Summers
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, July 20, 2008

Q. We are intrigued by Canada's Gaspé peninsula and are thinking of flying to Maine, renting a car and driving around the peninsula. Is this a worthwhile drive, are there good hiking areas and when's the best time to go?

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Ann Leisenring, Silver Spring

A. Yes, yes and right now. Unless you like fall colors and brisk weather, that is, and then October's best. But Quebec's rugged Gaspé peninsula is wonderful year-round. With its wild coastal beauty, vast wildlife, pristine rivers and tiny fishing villages, the thumb of land jutting into the Gulf of St. Lawrence might as well be named for its gasp-inducing scenery (it's actually derived from the native Micmac people's word for "land's end"). As for good hiking areas, "that's pretty much our trademark here in the peninsula," said Jacques McBrearty of the Gaspé tourism office. In addition to the International Appalachian Trail (the peninsula is an extension of the Appalachian range), there are dozens of other hiking trails in the mountains and along the seashore.

"It's a magical place," says Nadine Dyer, author of Adventures Great and Small ( http://www.great-adventures.com), a Web site providing adventure-travel information for independent travelers. She recommends the Parc de la Gaspésie, with more than 60 miles of scenic hiking trails.

"Trails traverse the width of the park with side trails to several peaks. Several day hikes and nature walks can be undertaken from the Lake Cascapedia area," she says. Dyer also likes trails at Forillon National Park, where you'll see stunning seascapes and such wildlife as black bear, red fox and lynx. For more information on trails, lodging and attractions: Gaspésie, http://www.tourisme-gaspesie.com, and Tourisme Gaspé, http://www.tourismegaspe.org.

Can you recommend the most efficient way to spend two days in Los Angeles that would give us the flavor of the city? My friend and I like the glamour of the entertainment industry; our teenage boys like beaches and sporty activities. We'll be reliant on cabs to get around.

Shannon MacGregor, Arlington

Contrary to popular belief, L.A. has a public transportation system, and you can use it to get to many of the city's iconic attractions. No need to pay hefty cab fares. Carol Martinez, a spokeswoman for LA, the city's tourism office, recommends starting downtown by taking the subway's Red Line to the Hollywood & Highland Center, in the heart of Hollywood. From there, you can tour the Kodak Theatre, take a stroll on Hollywood Boulevard, see the Hollywood Wax Museum and Grauman's Chinese Theatre and check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At Grauman's, hop on a minibus and take Starline's movie stars' homes tour: more than 40 mansions, two hours, $34 (323-463-3333, http://www.starlinetours.com).

Back on the Red Line, head to Universal Studios Hollywood (818-777-1000, http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com). There's a free shuttle across the street from the subway station, with pickups every 10 to 15 minutes during park hours. One-day admission is $64.

Okay, that's enough for Day 1. Let the boys have their day at the beach the next morning by taking a bus from downtown to Santa Monica (30 to 60 minutes; from $2 round trip; schedules at http://www.socaltransport.org). For more details on Los Angeles: LA, 800-228-2452, http://www.discoverlosangeles.com.

Your Turn

For the reader asking about budget travel in Scotland (Travel Q&A, July 13), Patty Anderson of Rockville recommends Premier Inns, a U.K. hotel chain with rooms from $99 to $129 per night ( http://www.premierinn.com) . . . For those interested in an archeological tour of Turkey (July 6), Ursula Shears of Washington likes New York-based Archaeological Tours (212-986-3054, http://www.archaeologicaltrs.com) for its small groups and knowledgeable local guides . . . Cruise passengers flying into Fort Lauderdale who need to get to the Port of Miami (June 22) should consider TriRail (800-874-7245, http://www.tri-rail.com), a public train that stops at FLL and MIA, says Deb Dunham of Palmerton, Pa. It costs $3 one way on weekdays, $4 on weekends, but you still have to get from the Miami airport to the cruise terminal . . . Lorraine Celestino Wilde of Fort Lauderdale Airport's GO Airport Shuttle points out that, contrary to what we reported here, reservations are not required; the company meets all scheduled flights, and you can find its fleets curbside, outside of baggage claim.

Send queries by e-mail (travelqa@washpost.com) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071). Please include your name and town.


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