Explore southern America on a road trip and discover some of the USA's kookiest and most stunning corners
Kick-off with the good vibes of New Orleans, cross the mammoth state of Texas – with mega-city Houston and historic San Antonio – and enter the strangeness of New Mexico, home to UFO sightings and ‘the city different’ Santa Fe. Behold the breathtaking desert landscapes of the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, then enjoy the decadence of Vegas. Swap desert for the mountains of California, enter the perfect natural world of Yosemite, then hit the California coast – simply one of the most amazing drives in the world. In a country that's all about the big, the bold, the beautiful and the bizarre, this trip is a real showcase.
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The flexibility of this trip allows you to plan your own activities to suit your pace and budget with minimal inclusions
Towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, redwood forests and epic night skies - Yosemite National Park feels like utopia. While other tour groups breeze through in a day, you'll spend two nights in the park, allowing for a full day of hiking and exploring
For many, Death Valley conjures up images of a flat and barren wasteland. Be surprised by the park's ethereal landscapes of sand dunes, water-sculpted canyons, extinct volcanic craters and, in the spring, fields of wildflowers
The iconic sandstone formations of Monument Valley have played backdrop to many a cowboy western. Learn about Navajo culture and history during a jeep tour of the park, before spending a unique night in a traditional hogan hut
Tightly hugging the spectacular California coast, Highway 1 is simply one of the most amazing drives in the world. This trip allows you to focus all your attention on the incredible views and let someone else do all the driving
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 seven-and-a-half 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.
While you'll make an overnight stop near the city of Houston, it will be a fairly quick one, so you might not get to see everything you want to see.
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.
Death Valley in the summer is extremely hot and dry. It does hold the record as the hottest place on earth after all. Hiking at this time of year isn't recommended. Sometimes in mid-summer we may be unable to visit the Valley itself if we feel that the heat presents a safety risk.
Although our vans do have air conditioning, it has to work pretty hard to keep a full group cool so expect to be hot. At other times of the year, it might be quite cold, especially at night. Please consider the season and research the weather conditions to determine the best time to travel for you. Remember to come prepared with adequate clothing.
From the steep hiking trails of Yosemite to the towering hills of San Francisco, this trip can involve a lot of walking. Please ensure you bring sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothes. To make the most of the trip, it's best if you have at least a moderate level of fitness.
Traffic in and out of Los Angeles and San Francisco can be very busy, especially during holiday periods. There may be delays, so be prepared to take part in car games to keep you entertained.
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There are currently no scheduled departures on our New Orleans to LA trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
1. This trip finishes on arrival into Los Angeles in the afternoon on day 19.