Iconic city streets, deep-fried eats and historic beats

Cut through the heart of the USA on this nine-day Lonely Planet Experience, powered by Intrepid. Travel from iconic city to iconic city as you hit the road from New York to New Orleans, snaking through the Appalachian Mountains via Philadelphia, Washington DC, Nashville and Memphis. This overland odyssey is the perfect introduction to the diverse appeal of the United States. Chow down on a po’boy in the Big Easy, camp in the Appalachian Mountains and check out the Liberty Bell in Philly. Enjoy the organisational expertise of Intrepid, a local leader on hand to offer insider tips at every turn, and the freedom to follow their advice or go your own way.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Newark, United States
Finish
New Orleans, United States
Destination
United States
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience
Code
SSRJ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Experience the natural rolling hills and stunning beauty of the Appalachian Mountains during a night camping in Shenandoah National Park.

  • Enjoy a full day to explore the USA capital, Washington DC, at your leisure. See the White House, Capitol Hill and the National Mall, and feel small next to the statue of Abraham Lincoln.

  • Deep fried and deeply delicious – experience the big bold food of the USA. Munch on a po’boy sandwich in New Orleans and eat crispy fried chicken in Memphis.

  • Finish up your trip with a night in New Orleans, where you can dance the night away with new friends on Bourbon Street.

  • In each destination your leader will show you around and give you insider tips – but they won’t keep you on a strict sightseeing schedule. This is the land of the free, after all!

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves camping, giving you access to more remote destinations at close proximity, and the joy of camping under the night skies and beside a campfire. This is a participatory trip – a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride, but you are part of a team! It’s all about giving your new travel mates a hand, and 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. This involves pooling your resources (approximately USD 10 per day) to cover the cost of meals. 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 or s’mores by the campfire! The kitty is optional and for your convenience, so if you've got specific dietary requirements you can opt out to purchase (and cook) your own food.

  • North America is a world of endless possibilities – that’s why our trips are designed so they fit together as (not quite endless) combinations. This means that while you might just be starting your trip, some of your new travel mates may continue to Lon Angeles on the Best of America tour (SSRCC).

  • Traffic in and out of the 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.

  • 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, however, and you might even make some long-term 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.

  • This trip only allows for one night in Nashville. Although you'll get almost a full day to explore this great city, you might have to move quickly to see everything on your to-do list.

Itinerary

Welcome to the Big Apple. Your Lonely Planet Experience begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm. New York is a huge metropolis and seeing as though you’ll start your adventure south tomorrow, we suggest that you arrive at least a couple of days early to experience some of what the city has to offer. If you do arrive with time to spare before the meeting, consider doing an Urban Adventures Midtown Sights & Bites Food Tour, which takes you past some iconic NYC landmarks and feeds you along the way.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details, food kitty and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place. If you arrive a couple of days earlier to see the sights, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

See urbanadventures.com/destination/new-york-tours or talk to an Intrepid representative for more information.
Drive south towards the nation's capital of Washington DC, stopping at Philadelphia on the way for a look at some of the highlights of its Old City, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Rocky steps. After taking a look around Philly, continue onto DC. The total travel time for the day is up to 7 hours, including stops. Once arrived, your group leader will take you on an orientation walk around Washington DC to help you decide the best way to experience the city tonight, and for your free day tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Philadelphia - City highlights stop
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is free to explore Washington DC, a city best discovered on foot. Choose from any of DC’s almost 100 world-class museums – the National Air and Space Museum, the United States 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 historic buildings, so be sure not 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 wear your walking shoes, and reward yourself with a relaxing evening.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Washington DC - Arlington National Cemetery - Free
  • Washington DC - Bike and Roll Tour - USD45
  • Washington DC - International Spy Museum - USD21
  • Washington DC - National Air & Space Museum - Free
  • Washington DC - National Archives - Free
  • Washington DC - National Gallery of Art - Free
  • Washington DC - National Museum of American History - Free
  • Washington DC - National Museum of Crime and Punishment - Free
  • Washington DC - National Museum of Natural History - Free
  • Washington DC - Newseum - USD22
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Journey into the breathtaking Appalachian Mountains. Shenandoah National Park is one of the highest and most scenic portions of the Appalachians and you’ll see all its beauty when taking Skyline Drive along its crest. Weave through the woods and past spectacular lookouts and stop to stretch your legs under the impressive oak trees. Arrive at your campsite in the late afternoon. The total driving today will be around 8 hours, including stops.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shenandoah National Park
Optional Activities
  • Shenandoah National Park - Hiking - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Drive for approximately 6 hours further south to Nashville, Tennessee. Once settled into the hostel, the group leader will orientate you with a short walk around Broadway and Downtown. After this, perhaps visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains the golden Cadillac that once belonged to the King of Rock and Roll, 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.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Nashville - Country Music Hall of Fame - USD26
  • Nashville - Ryman Auditorium Tour - USD14
  • Nashville - Tennessee State Museum - Free
  • Nashville - Wildhorse Saloon cover charge & line dancing - USD10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head west this morning to Memphis, which should take approximately 4 hours. Get to know Memphis over an included lunch at Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken. The rest of your afternoon is free, but leader will make sure you know the way around before you head out. There’s a lot to do in Memphis and you’ve got some time to explore some optional activities at your own pace. 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. For those with an interest in history, there's the National Civil Rights Museum where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Memphis - World Famous Fried Chicken Lunch
Optional Activities
  • Memphis - Graceland Museum - USD35
  • Memphis - Sun Studio tour - USD14
  • Memphis - National Civil Rights Museum - USD16
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Wake up in Memphis and spend time exploring what you missed out on yesterday. Perhaps head to the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, which tells the complete Memphis music story. For something a bit unusual and out of place, take a visit to the Peabody hotel and experience their famous Duck Parade, which happens every day at 11 am and 5 pm. In the evening, consider heading down to check out Beale Street's traditional blues clubs, made famous by legends such as W.C. Handy, Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Memphis - Peabody Hotel Duck March - Free
  • Memphis - Rock 'n' Soul Museum - USD11
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, make the long 8-hour drive across the state of Mississippi to find yourself in a city known as the Big Easy, New Orleans. If there’s time, your group might like the chance to stop by Honey Island for a swamp tour down one of the least-altered river swamps in the country. It's pretty much in its original condition; almost an untouched wilderness. Otherwise, head straight to New Orleans and get acquainted with an orientation walk of the city. Perhaps take a walk down colourful Bourbon Street or through the former plantation area of the Garden District, and be sure to head with your group for an included po'boy dinner at Johnny’s. It's a quintessential New Orleans experience, and Johnny's po'boy is one of the best.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • New Orleans - Po'Boy dinner
Optional Activities
  • Honey Island Swamp Tour - USD25
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Your Lonely Planet Experience comes to an end today after breakfast. If you want to stay on in New Orleans and explore further, speak to an Intrepid booking agent about securing more accommodation after your tour ends (subject to availability). Hanging around? Why not check out an Urban Adventures experience like the Total New Orleans Tour: a comprehensive guide on food, cocktails and the jazz scene.
Optional Activities
  • New Orleans - Bourbon Street - Free
  • New Oleans - Cabildo - USD10
  • New Orleans - French Market - Free
  • New Orleans - Mississippi River Steamboat Jazz Dinner Cruise - USD85
  • New Orleans - New Orleans School of Cooking - USD35
  • New Orleans - Presbytere - USD7
  • New Orleans - Preservation Hall Jazz - USD40
  • New Orleans - Ursuline Convent Tours - USD8
  • New Orleans - Voodoo Museum - USD7
  • New Orleans - Cemetery Tour - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
For more information on New Orleans Urban Adventures, see urbanadventures.com/destination/New-Orleans-tours.
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (5 nights), Hotel (2 nights), Hostel (1 night)

Included activities

  • Philadelphia - City highlights stop
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Memphis - World Famous Fried Chicken Lunch
  • New Orleans - Po'Boy dinner

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. This trip finishes on arrival into New Orleans in the afternoon on day 9.

2. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes night 5 (Nashville) where you will be in shared accommodation.

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.

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