Drive from New Orleans to Las Vegas, visiting the Grand Canyon and much more.

Explore southern America on a road trip and discover what is surely one of the USA's kookiest corners. Beginning among the good vibes of New Orleans, head west into Texas, uncovering the historic riverfront of San Antonio along the way. From there it's on to New Mexico, home to the legendary Carlsbad Caverns, UFO sightings and 'the city different' – also known as Santa Fe. Finish up this adventure in Las Vegas after taking in the legendary Grand Canyon and sacred desert landscapes of Monument Valley. In a country that's all about the big, the bold and the bizarre, the America's southwest is not to be missed.


Start
New Orleans, United States
Finish
Las Vegas, United States
Country
United States
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
SSRK
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why we love this trip

  • 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'

  • The Grand Canyon National Park needs no introduction. You'll spend two nights in the park so there's a full day to explore properly. See the mighty canyon up close on a variety of hikes or take a helicopter flight overhead

Is this trip right for you?

  • 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.

  • The USA is a big country. Travel times between some destinations can be long. The drive across Texas on Day 4, for example, is around nine hours. 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 of a US road trip, however, and you might even make some long-term friends.

  • On your visit to Mesa Verde National Park, you'll be able to take a short walk around the area, but there won't be a lot of opportunity for longer hikes.

Itinerary

Welcome to the USA! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm today. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

As there's a great deal to do in New Orleans, we recommend arriving a few days early to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist. Otherwise known as the 'Big Easy', New Orleans's eclectic mix of European, Creole and Cajun culture manifests itself in the city's architecture, cuisine and music scene. Take in the gaudy sights and sounds of Bourbon Street, relax in the Garden District and absorb the ambience of the French Quarter. In the evening, perhaps check out a jazz show and dance the night away in the bars along Frenchman Street.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • New Orleans - Bourbon Street - Free
  • New Oleans - Cabildo - USD5
  • New Orleans - Cemetery Tour - USD25
  • New Orleans - French Market - Free
  • New Orleans - Mississippi Riverboat Cruise - USD70
  • New Orleans - New Orleans School of Cooking - USD29
  • New Orleans - Presbytere - USD6
  • New Orleans - Preservation Hall Jazz - USD15
  • New Orleans - Ursuline Convent Tours - USD5
  • New Orleans - Voodoo Museum - USD7
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
It's quite a journey from Louisiana and into Texas (nearly 700 kilometres). You'll be on the road for around nine hours today, so sit back and enjoy the ride. There may be the chance to stop for a swamp tour along the way, and you'll get other chances to stop and stretch your legs as well.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • New Orleans - Swamp Tour - USD40
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 or walk in the footsteps of Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie at the Alamo. Total driving time today is around three to four hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • San Antonio - The Alamo Mission - Free
  • San Antonio - Riverwalk - Free
  • San Antonio - The Alamo IMAX Theater - USD14
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 nine hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Santa Fe - San Miguel Mission - USD1
  • Santa Fe - Georgia O'Keeffe Museum - USD12
  • Santa Fe - Loretto Chapel - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mesa Verde National Park
Optional Activities
  • Mesa Verde - Guided Tour of Ruins - USD13
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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. Perhaps 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Monument Valley - Navajo-guided jeep tour (2.5 hrs) - USD55
  • Monument Valley - Jeep tour & overnight experience - USD90
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today drive from Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon, stopping at a Native American trading post 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Grand Canyon National Park
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a free day to explore the Grand Canyon. Stroll along the meandering South Rim Trail or hike your way along the South Kaibab Trail to Skeleton Point. If you're feeling extra adventurous, you might even opt for a scenic helicopter flight over the area (at your own expense). In the early evening, relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Grand Canyon - Helicopter flight (45 mins) - USD295
  • Grand Canyon - Hiking - Free
  • Grand Canyon - IMAX movie - USD15
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 eccentric town 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.

The trip finishes on arrival into Las Vegas and no accommodation is provided tonight. The arrival time depends on each group, but if you decide to fly out on this day, please don't book a flight before 8pm. This will give you enough time to catch a shuttle from the hotel to the airport and be there two hours before departure. If you are staying in town for 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. If you do wish to spend extra time in Las Vegas we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Las Vegas - Helicopter Strip Tour - USD110
  • Las Vegas - Limo (per group) - USD300
  • Las Vegas - Big Apple Express roller coaster - USD15
  • Las Vegas - Bellagio Fountains - Free
  • Las Vegas - Monorail - USD5
  • Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience - Free
  • Las Vegas - Mob Museum - USD24
  • Las Vegas - Eiffel Tower - USD20
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
If you are spending extra nights in Las Vegas and are interested in seeing a Cirque du Soleil show, you can book discounted tickets in advance at http://cirk.me/intrepid.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (8 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Included activities

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Southern USA Road Trip trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. This trip finishes on arrival into Las Vegas in the afternoon on day 10.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Reviews

Our Southern USA Road Trip trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.

Southern USA Road Trip, May 2017

Anita Dal Tio

Southern USA Road Trip, May 2017

Lorna Mccafferty