I grew up in Southern California, but I still didn't know about a lot of the hikes in this guide. It'll be fun to discover new hikes when I visit my family!

McKinney is a journalist, so his writing is crisp. I love his dry wit: "Rattlesnake Canyon Trail is serpentine, but otherwise far more inviting than its name suggests." Each region and trail has an introduction that includes historical tidbits, and then the hike itself is described in great detail. He writes helpful hints for families with small kids, suggesting places to turn around and so forth. (I really appreciated his note in the introduction about how hiking with kids can help instill in them a love of nature.)

The introduction helps you decide which hikes to focus on - he covers 150 in the book! He must be in great shape. There's a very helpful "Best Hikes..." section with listings like "For Watching Whales," "With Kids," "For Tree-Huggers," and "For Romance."