From New York to New Orleans, grand canyons to grand cities, this really is seeing it all.

Journey east to west on a great American adventure that takes in the best that this expansive country has to offer. Explore the story of a nation in its birthplace in Philadelphia and political heart D.C. Feel the rhythms of country and blues in musical Tennessee before taking it easy in New Orleans, a city filled with life, music and great food. Discover how Texas is more than just cowboy country in Houston and San Antonio’s thriving cultural scene, while still leaving time to strap on a bib and devour some barbeque. Get closer to nature and camp in the Appalachian Mountains, explore deep caves, hike grand canyons and traverse sand dunes in the Navajo Nation. Embrace the outrageous glitz of Las Vegas or go in search of its more refined side before this three-week journey plays out.

Start
Newark, United States
Finish
Las Vegas, United States
Countries
United States
Themes
Explorer
Code
SSRYC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 13
Carbon offset
919kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • The flexibility of this trip allows you to do what you want, when you want, without the restrictions of an overly packed itinerary
  • Enjoy a full day to explore Washington DC, New Orleans and the Grand Canyon. While most trips breeze through, we give you time to see much more of these amazing places
  • 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
  • Learn about the ancient culture and history of the Anasazi Indians on a visit to Mesa Verde National Park, home to 600 traditional Indian cliff dwellings
  • San Antonio is a little piece of Mexico in the USA. Visit the World Heritage-listed Alamo, an 18th-century mission and fortress, and take a stroll along the lively San Antonio River Walk
  • The oldest capital in the US, sunny Santa Fe has an ancient history, a contemporary heart and a desert soul. With its adobe architecture and colourful art scene, it's not hard to see why Santa Fe's eccentric locals refer to their home as the 'City Different'

Itinerary

Welcome to New York, USA. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details, food kitty and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive a couple of days earlier to see the sights (recommended), we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Consider doing a one-day sightseeing tour of New York by visiting: urbanadventures.com.
Today, drive south towards the nation's capital of Washington DC, stopping at Philadelphia on the way (approximately six hours). With its tourist-friendly local environment landmarked by historical monuments and cultural centers, visitors to Philly can virtually tour the city on foot for miles. After some time wandering around Philly, continue onto DC. Your day is free to explore this compact city, before meeting up with your guide in the evening for the Monuments by Night Urban Adventure.

Climb aboard an open-air electric vehicle for a tour around some of the city's most iconic sights. Cruise by the Washington Monument and the Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Jefferson Memorials, which all look spectacular when they’re lit up at night. You'll be on your own tomorrow, so if you want any recommendations about what to see and do in town, now's a good time to ask your guide.
Today is free to explore Washington DC on your own. Perhaps head to the White House, take a tour of the National Museum of Natural History or stroll through the manicured park of the National Mall. Discover the cobbled streets, harbour or university in the historical district of Georgetown. In the evening, perhaps try some authentic American food at one of the many grill joints in town.
Journey into the breathtaking scenery of the Appalachian Mountains, also called the Blue Ridge Mountains (500 km). Shenandoah National Park is one of the highest and most scenic portions of the Appalachian Mountains. Taking the Skyline Drive along the crest of the mountains, travel through deep woods and past spectacular vistas. Stop to stretch your legs under the impressive oak trees and admire the gorgeous views. Later in the afternoon, drive to your campsite for the night. Total driving today will take around five and a half hours.
Drive for around six hours further south today to Nashville, Tennessee. Once settled into the campgrounds perhaps visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains the golden Cadillac that once belonged to Elvis. Another point of interest is Music Row, where more than 50 recording studios and approximately 200 music publishing houses are located. The Wildhorse Saloon is a great spot in the evening to experience authentic southern food and live music.
Head west this morning to Memphis, which should take around three and a half hours. Just out of the city you can visit Graceland, Elvis Presley's former home and the site of his tomb. Here you can see the famous jungle room, as well as his cars, private planes and much more. Head back to memphis to see the sights. For those with an interest in history, there's the National Civil Rights Museum (at the former Lorraine Motel) where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

There's also Sun Studio - the 'Birthplace of Rock'. It boasts the first recordings of legendary performers like Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.There's also Sun Studio - the 'Birthplace of Rock'. It boasts the first recordings of legendary performers like Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. In the evening, consider heading to Beale Street's traditional blues clubs, made famous by legends such as Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters and B.B. King.
Today make the long drive across the state of Mississippi to New Orleans (the 'Big Easy'), which usually takes around six and a half hours. After checking in to your hotel in the French Quarter, use your free time getting to know the ‘Big Easy’. An eclectic mix of European, Creole and Cajun culture manifests in the city's architecture, cuisine and music scene. Possibly take a walk down rowdy Bourbon Street or through the former plantation area of the Garden District. Perhaps join the rest of the group tonight for a typical Cajun-style dinner and toast to your adventure.
Enjoy a free day to fit in as much of New Orleans as you can. Tour the Honey Island Swamp (watch out for ‘gators), cruise the Mississippi on a riverboat or visit the fascinating little Voodoo Museum. As this is a combination trip, your leader and the composition of your group may change at this point. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary. You're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.In the evening, perhaps check out a jazz show and dance the night away in the bars along Frenchman Street.
It's quite a journey from Louisiana to Houston, Texas (nearly 700 kilometres). You'll be on the road for around six hours today, so sit back and enjoy the ride. There may be the chance to stop for a tour of a Tabasco factory at Avery Island en route. Houston is the largest city in Texas, and the fourth largest in the US. Big and modern though it is, it retains some of that Texas 'cowboy boots and pickup truck' charm. In your free time here, there are plenty of museums and shops to check out. Houston is also renowned for its arts scene and is an up-and-comer in the dining world.
Join the truckers along Highway 10 to San Antonio. Mexican-influenced San Antonio is the home of the Alamo, an original reconstructed Spanish-Mexican fort from the 18th century. On arrival, you can stroll along the famous River Walk and get to know the city's many canals and backstreets by night. Total driving time today is around six hours.
After traversing the state of Texas, enter the deserts of New Mexico on the way to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. One of the largest caverns in the world, Carlsbad Cavern is still only partially explored. Hike deep into the 'Big Room' and beyond. In the evening, witness the overwhelming sight of a bat flight - thousands of bats swarming out of the caverns. As the bats migrate south in October for the winter, this is a seasonal sight and is best viewed in July and August. Total driving today is about seven-and-a-half hours.
Continue the journey north to Santa Fe today. The total drive should take around five hours. Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the US. You might like to check out the pueblo architecture surrounding the town plaza or see the San Miguel Mission, the USA's oldest church. If you're an art buff, then a visit to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is a must. In the evening, perhaps wind down with a drink in one of the city's bars.
Continue on to Mesa Verde National Park, home to the largest and best-preserved cliff dwellings of the Anasazi Indians. The park protects over 4,000 known archaeological sites. Explore a cliff dwelling on a short walk, or (for a small fee) join a ranger-led walk to the harder-to-access sites. Total driving time today is approximately five hours.
After a drive through fascinating desert regions, reach Monument Valley. Monument Valley is so-named after the giant sandstone formations scattered across the desert. The backdrop for countless westerns, the valley is part of the biggest Indian reservation in the US and is home to more than 200,000 Navajo Indians. See the sights from the back of a jeep with a Navajo guide. Visit areas only open to the Navajo, see traditional Navajo homes, hike up sand dunes and gaze at spectacular rock formations. Total driving time today is around three-and-a-half hours.
Today drive from Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon, stopping at Native American trading posts along the way. The total drive will take around four hours. Words don't do justice to the Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. This stunning gorge is 1.5 kilometres deep, formed by over six million years of erosion from the Colorado River. You'll spend two nights here, in order to allow a full day of exploration tomorrow.
Take is a free day to explore the Grand Canyon. Stroll along the meandering South Rim Trail or hike your way down to Plateau Point. If you're feeling extra adventurous, you might even opt for a scenic flight over the area (at your own expense). In the early evening, relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset.
Head out of the Grand Canyon and cross the western deserts of Arizona to Las Vegas. Along the way, you'll drive along a section of the famous Route 66, stopping in at the nostalgic township of Seligman. The total drive will take around five hours. Las Vegas may be the gambling capital of the world, but there's plenty to do if gambling isn't your thing. Hit the shops, feel your stomach drop on a rooftop roller coaster or simply stroll along the Strip, soaking up the glitz and gaudiness. In the evening, perhaps feast on an 'all you can eat' buffet, check out one of the many shows on offer or party the night away in a Vegas nightclub.
Today your New York to Las Vegas road trip comes to end. There are no activities planned and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there's a great deal to do in Las Vegas, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of the city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist (subject to availability).
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Private vehicle
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (13 nights), Hotel (4 nights)
Included activities
  • Philadelphia city tour
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park

Dates

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Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our New York to Las Vegas trips score an average of 4.8 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.

New York to Las Vegas , August 2015

New York to Las Vegas , July 2015

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