Visit Washington DC, Nashville and Memphis before travelling to New York

Cut through the heart of the gigantic United States and hit the open road between two of its most iconic cities – New Orleans and New York. Snaking through the jaw-dropping Appalachian Mountains, via the nation's capital, this route encompasses everything from pioneer and political history to the musical legacies of Nashville and Memphis. Featuring a mix of camping and hotel accommodation, plenty of walking tours and more than a few museums, this overland odyssey has something for everyone, so jump aboard and get ready to explore one of the most fascinating nations on earth.

New Orleans, United States
Newark, United States
United States
Physical rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why you'll love this trip

  • Embark on a road trip through one of the most colourful, musical and hospitable parts of the US, cross stunning natural landscape, and end in ‘The Capital of the World’. 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 music venues

  • Washington DC was built with the blocks of American history. See its famous monuments and memorials lit up in lights, then by day discover the White House, Capitol Hill and the National Mall, and feel small next to the statue of Abraham Lincoln

  • Round off this trip in the perfect place – the Big Apple. Take some time after the trip to get a slice of New York pizza, head to a Broadway show, or explore some of the city's famous landmarks and nightlife

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 Simply click view/download on the North America brochure and look at the combo map on page 12.

  • Traffic in and out of the big cities can be hectic, especially during holiday periods. There may be delays, so be prepared to take part in car games to keep you entertained.

  • Road tripping is the ultimate way to see the US – you'll be travelling in a van with a group of travellers, so conditions may feel a little cramped. This is all part of the adventure though, and long driving days are perfect for soaking up the spectacular scenery, breaking out that new book or album, and maybe making some lifelong friends.

  • Washington DC is a city that's best explored on foot, which means a lot of walking. A moderate level of fitness will help, but there are also optional city bike tours available if you’d prefer.

  • This short trip only allows for one night in Nashville and one night in Memphis. Although you'll get more or less a full day to explore these great cities, you might have to move quickly to see everything on your to-do list.


Welcome to the USA! Start things off in the Big Easy – mixing European, Creole and Cajun culture, the city revels in the vibrant diversity of its food, music and architecture. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6pm. There are no activities planned today so you can arrive at anytime before then. If you can't arrange a flight that arrives on time, you may wish to arrive a day early – we’ll happily book you additional accommodation (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. As there’s so much to do in New Orleans we recommend arriving a few days early anyway! We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at the meeting, so please ensure you have these on hand. Perhaps join the rest of the group tonight for a typical Cajun-style dinner to kick off your adventure.
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • New Orleans - Bourbon Street - Free
  • New Oleans - Cabildo - USD5
  • New Orleans - French Market - Free
  • New Orleans - Swamp Tour - USD40
  • New Orleans - Mississippi River Steamboat Jazz Dinner Cruise - USD63
  • 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
  • New Orleans - Cemetery Tour - USD25
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head north today and get into the groove of Memphis, the 'home of the blues' (approximately 6.5 hours). Memphis is a paradise for music lovers – feel the blues at live music venues on Beale Street, made famous by legends such as W.C. Handy, Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King; visit the cradle of rock n’ roll – Sun Studios – which boasts the first recordings of legendary performers like Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis; or shimmy out to the pilgrimage site of Graceland, the place where Elvis left the building. The King’s former home and the site of his tomb, you can tour the mansion, including the famous Jungle Room, and also see Elvis' cars and private planes. For a different type of history you can visit the National Civil Rights Museum at the former Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Memphis - Graceland Museum - USD35
  • Memphis - Sun Studio - USD12
  • Memphis - Sun Studio tour - USD14
  • Memphis - National Civil Rights Museum - USD16
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
From the home of blues to the land of country, break out the cowboy hat and boots as you head east to Nashville, Tennessee (approximately 4 hours). Outside of its music credentials, Nashville is also the capital of Tennessee and the state's second largest city after Memphis. Situated on the banks of the Cumberland River, it was established as a major river port by settlers in 1779. Once settled into the campgrounds, use your free time to explore. Country music is built into the foundation of the city, so maybe take a stroll through history at the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains the golden Cadillac that once belonged to Elvis. Music fans should also make their way to the Grand Ole Opry concert hall and to Music Row, where more than 50 recording studios and around 200 music publishing houses are located. You could also take a walk around the pristine gardens of Centennial Park. In the evening, the Wildhorse Saloon is a great spot to experience authentic southern food and live music. Or maybe you could catch a show at the legendary Bluebird Cafe or ‘honky-tonk’ between the city’s great selection of bars.
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Nashville - Country Music Hall of Fame - USD26
  • Nashville - Grand Ole Opry Tour - USD40
  • Nashville - Ryman Auditorium Tour - USD14
  • Nashville - Tennessee State Museum - Free
  • Nashville - Wildhorse Saloon - USD10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Escape the city, cross into the state of Virginia and traverse the jagged Blue Ridge Mountains, a segment of the Appalachian Mountains (approximately 6 hours). Shenandoah National Park is one of the highest and most scenic portions of the Appalachian Mountains, one of the most beautiful and iconic parts of the American landscape, with an abundance of flora and fauna peppering the steep slopes. Dating back over 400 million years, the mountain range is home to wildlife, lush forest, scenic peaks, waterfalls and shallow rivers. You’ll camp here in the heart of the great outdoors for one night en route to Washington DC.
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 on the way to Washington DC (approximately 8 hours). Don't worry about not having too much time to explore today, as you'll have a full free day here.
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a free to explore Washington DC, with the city being easily discovered on foot. To see as much as you can today, it may be an idea to get a map and make a plan. Choose from any of DC’s almost 100 world-class museums – the National Air and Space Museum, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and the Newseum are just a few. There are also many other small fascinating museums hidden around the city. The city is overflowing with iconic monuments and buildings, so don’t miss the White House, Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, MLK Monument, FDR and Jefferson Memorials. You’ll most likely do a lot of walking today, so maybe reward yourself with a relaxing evening.
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Washington DC - City tour
Optional Activities
  • Washington DC - National Museum of American History - Free
  • Washington DC - National Gallery of Art - Free
  • Washington DC - National Museum of Crime and Punishment - Free
  • Washington DC - Newseum - USD22
  • Washington DC - National Museum of Natural History - Free
  • Washington DC - National Archives - Free
  • Washington DC - Bike and Roll Tour - USD45
  • Washington DC - Arlington National Cemetery - Free
  • Washington DC - National Air & Space Museum - Free
  • Washington DC - International Spy Museum - USD21
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Washington DC behind this morning, drive along the Delaware River and pass through the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ en route to New York (Newark) (approximately 5 hours). Philadelphia is the birthplace of America and the perfect place to brush up on your history. It was here that Thomas Jefferson signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and where the United States Constitution was signed 11 years later. You'll have time to see a couple of the highlights of the city’s clustered cultural centre before continuing onto New York (Newark).

The trip finishes on arrival into Newark 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 9pm. 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 on, perhaps catch the train over to Manhattan to see the lights of Times Square, or head out for a slice of New York style pizza. As there's a great deal to do in New York City, staying a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city is recommended. See our list of optional activities below for suggestions of things to do if you are staying on. If you need help booking extra accommodation (subject to availability), our reservations team will be happy to assist you. You could also consider doing one of our one-day Urban Adventure sightseeing tours of New York. For more information, visit
Included Activities
  • Philadelphia - City highlights stop
Optional Activities
  • New York - American Museum of Natural History - USD22
  • New York - Brooklyn Bridge - Free
  • New York - Central Park - Free
  • New York - Empire State Building - USD27
  • New York - Metropolitan Museum of Art - USD25
  • New York - Museum of Modern Art - USD25
  • New York - Urban Adventure - USD65
  • New York - Guggenheim Museum - USD22
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.


No meals are included on this tour


Private vehicle


Camping (with facilities) (5 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Included activities

  • Washington DC - City tour
  • Philadelphia - City highlights stop

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. This trip finishes on arrival into New York in the afternoon on day 7.

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.


Our Big Easy to Big Apple trips score an average of 4.67 out of 5 based on 9 reviews in the last year.

Big Easy to Big Apple, August 2018

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Big Easy to Big Apple, September 2017

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