From the northern border to its southernmost point, wind down the east coast from Chicago to Miami
Brush up on your music knowledge, practice your ‘yeehaws’ and your ‘howdys’, and bring your beach gear and taste for adventure on road trip from Chicago to Miami. Cross the northern ridge of the United States, taking in the metropolises of Chicago, Detroit, New York, and the natural wonders of Niagara Falls and Finger Lakes. Get historical in Washington D.C., wind across the Appalachians, through the musical hub of Memphis, and on to New Orleans. Watch the ocean flash by as you drive the endless highway to Key West and seek out a six-toed cat before you dance the night away in Miami. This is the east coast done right.
Sandusky is a place for the child and thrill seeker inside you. Feel your stomach drop on one of the world’s best rollercoasters at Cedar Point Amusement Park
Worship at the sublime altar to Mother Nature that is Niagara Falls, taking an optional wet and wild boat cruise
Enjoy a full day to explore Washington DC. There's lots to see and do in the US capital, and most of it is free. Visit the White House, Capitol Hill and the National Mall, and feel small next to the statue of Abraham Lincoln
The cities of Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans are notorious for their rich music and nightlife scenes. See live performances of blues, jazz, country and rock in celebrated musical venues
Summon your inner child in Orlando with a visit to Universal Studios or Disney World
The tropical island of Key West may be known for its idyllic snorkelling and diving spots, but its also home to the delicious key lime pie. You'll have enough free time to search out the best pie in town, even if every shop in the Keys claims to sell the original recipe
Throw yourself into Miami's world famous nightlife. The city's Cuban population, beachside setting and balmy nights set a sultry scene
Soak up the sun on Panama City Beach and paddle in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re looking for space to spread out, there’s 27 miles of white sandy beach along which to do it
This is a participatory trip. That’s a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride – you’re part of a team! You know the phrase ‘the more you put in, the more you get out’. Well that’s extra true on this trip. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help out with camp activities like food prep and washing up. It’s all about giving your new travel mates a hand – everyone knows there’s nothing worse than trying to put up a tent on your own!
That teamwork also extends to our optional food kitty of approximately US$10 per day, run to cover the cost of meals. This kitty saves you worrying about stuff like where to get food or what exactly sales tax is, and actually helps keep your costs down. Instead of paying individually as you go, it means we can bulk purchase items and cook our own food – though there’s always the chance to use it for the occasional pizza night! The kitty is optional and for your convenience, so if you've got specific dietary requirements you can opt out and purchase (and cook) your own food.
The United States is a world of endless possibilities – that’s why our Basix trips are designed so they fit together as (not quite endless) combinations. That means while you might just be starting your trip, some of your new travel mates may have been travelling together for a week or more (and so have some great tips for you). You can see how our trips fit together and all the different possible combinations at www.intrepidtravel.com/brochures. Simply click view/download on the North America brochure and look at the combo map on page 12.
On this trip you'll be spending a fair amount of time in a van with other travellers, so conditions may feel a little cramped. This is all part of the adventure, however, and you might even make some long-term friends.
Travel times between some destinations can be long and tiring, taking between five and seven hours in some instances. The journey through the Appalachian Mountains is particularly long, but the scenery is spectacular.
The weather in Key West can be extremely hot and humid, so it’s a good idea to bring sun protection and drink plenty of water.
As we’ll be travelling between multiple locations at a fairly quick pace, there won’t be too much time spent at Panama City Beach. While there will be some time to relax on the beach, you won’t get a full day here.
Traffic in and out of New York and Chicago can be hectic, especially during holiday periods. There may be delays, so be prepared to take part in car games to keep you entertained.
During this trip you'll find you have some free time within the cities you visit. These are best explored on foot, so you'll get the most out of your trip if you're reasonably fit and able to walk moderate-to-long distances. However, public transportation in these cities is also modern and reliable.
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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Chicago to Miami trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
1. This trip finishes on arrival into Miami in the afternoon on day 20.