Travel to the USA and hit all the hotspots.

Let the United States flaunt its stuff on an action-packed 20-day journey from east to west. Snaking through the Appalachian Mountains via the nation's capital, this route encompasses everything from the pioneer and political history of Philadelphia and Washington DC to the musical legacies of Nashville and Memphis. Jump over to the City of Angels, Los Angeles, then stroll among the bizarre flora of Joshua Tree National Park, peer over the edge of the Grand Canyon and people-watch on the Strip in Vegas. For those who just want to hit the road and leave the world in their dust, the New York to San Fran adventure is just the ticket.


Start
Newark, United States
Finish
San Francisco, United States
Destination
United States
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
SSRCC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why you'll love this trip

  • 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.

  • The hubs of Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans are celebrated for their rich music and nightlife scenes, with unforgettable performances of blues, jazz, country and rock.

  • The Grand Canyon National Park takes time to discover – you'll spend two nights in the park, unlike on most trips, so there's a full day to explore properly and see the mighty canyon up close.

  • Discover another side to Yosemite’s Towering granite cliffs, redwood forests and epic night skies by hiking one of its best, lesser-known trails – Hetch Hetchy – with your expert guide.

  • Where better to end your adventure than in San Francisco – the eclectic and multicultural City by the Bay.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Less time spent in a vehicle; more time to explore each destination. This trip has been carefully designed to give you the best experience of a region by reducing the number of one-night-only stops, giving you extra time in the places that matter.

  • This trip involves either a partial or full camping experience, 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! 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, 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 of approximately USD $10 per day to cover the cost of meals. This means you don’t have to worry 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 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.

  • 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 more or less a full day to explore this great city, you might have to move quickly to see everything on your to-do list.

  • Temperatures in Grand Canyon National Park can be high, especially when hiking in the summer. Make sure that you wear sturdy walking shoes, use sun protection and drink plenty of water.

  • 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.

Itinerary

Welcome to the Big Apple. Your adventure 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. There’s the manic buzz of Manhattan, the boroughs of the Bronx and Queens, the trendy Williamsburg and Greenwich Village and the seasonal splendour of Central Park. If you don’t have a lot of time spare, we recommend to stick mostly to Manhattan: catch a trip on the free Staten Island ferry past the Statue of Liberty, take the Subway from Wall St up to Central Park, and weave your way down 5th Avenue to Times Square, where you might catch a Broadway show. Better yet, consider doing an Urban Adventures sightseeing tour of New York like Midtown Sights & Bites Food Tour, which takes you past some iconic NYC landmarks and feeds you along the way. See urbanadventures.com/destination/new-york-tours for more information.
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).
You’ll 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 the 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. To see as much as you can, it may be a good 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 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. Later in the afternoon, drive to your campsite for the night. 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. Your group leader will point you in the right direction around the central Beale Street to make sure you know the way around. There is a lot to do in Memphis, and that’s why 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. If you have time, a must-see in Memphis is Sun Studio – the 'Birthplace of Rock', boasting the first recordings of legendary performers like Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. For those with an interest in history, there's the National Civil Rights Museum where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. However, be sure to make room in your day to tuck into an included fried chicken and biscuits lunch at Gus's – it's world famous for a reason.
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'boys 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
Enjoy a free day to fit in as much of New Orleans as you can! Perhaps cruise the Mississippi on a riverboat or visit the fascinating little Voodoo Museum. 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 - 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
Take a flight today from New Orleans and touch down in the City of Angels, Los Angeles. Tonight, gather together for another meeting, this time with a new group leader. There will be a meeting at 4 pm where you’ll welcome some new travellers on the next stage of your USA adventure. If you do arrive early, perhaps take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or spend some time learning about the lives of the rich and famous on a celebrity homes tour. After the welcome meeting, you’ll head beachside and visit Venice and Santa Monica beaches for a stroll and some people watching. Tonight is again all about introductions, so why not spend some time getting to know your fellow travellers with an optional group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note: your group will not be accompanied on your flight, but will be met in Los Angeles by a new tour leader. Your new tour leader will meet the group outside the baggage claim at LAX.

As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary so please attend, and this is also a great chance to meet the new group. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Today, you’ll head away from the coast and drive to Joshua Tree National Park. Sitting between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, the park is famous for its spectacular desert plants – including the park’s namesake Joshua trees – along with cacti and Mojave yuccas. The area is also home to striking rock formations and mountain ranges, so you might like to head out on a scenic hike around the park or take a refreshing dip in the Colorado River. You’ll head to Lake Havasu City later on to your accommodation for the night, and check out London Bridge: a 280-metre structure rebuilt in Arizona in 1971 after being transported, piece by piece, from the banks of the Thames in London.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Joshua Tree National Park - Entrance Fee
Optional Activities
  • Colorado River - Swimming - Free
  • Joshua Tree National Park - Hiking - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive for 6 hours to Grand Canyon National Park, along a section of the famous Route 66, stopping in at the eccentric town of Seligman. Once we arrive at the Grand Canyon National Park, be ready to visually delight in the natural beauty for hours. 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, and you’ll need it, to allow for a full day of exploration tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Grand Canyon National Park - Entrance Fee
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a free day to explore the Grand Canyon, one of the largest canyon systems in the world. Stroll along the meandering South Rim Trail or hike your way down to Plateau Point. With eagles soaring overhead and chasms extending as far as the eye can see, it’s so important for you to experience its vast gorges from multiple viewpoints. If you're feeling adventurous, you can choose to take a scenic helicopter flight over the area (for an extra cost). In the early evening, relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one of the world's natural wonders.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Grand Canyon - Helicopter flight (45 mins) - USD284
  • Grand Canyon - Hiking - Free
  • Grand Canyon - IMAX movie - USD10
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, which takes around 4 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. As this stage of the trip comes to an end, it may be time to farewell some fellow travellers who are finishing their adventure, but for you, perhaps book yourself in to one of the many shows on offer – book in advance if you can!
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is as clear as the blue skies in the deserts of Nevada. There are no planned activities until another meeting in the hotel lobby today at 6 pm, where you may meet some new travellers on your wild west adventure. After your briefing, why not go check out one of the all-you-can-eat buffets on offer with your new and improved crew.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Las Vegas - Big Apple Express roller coaster - USD15
  • Las Vegas - Mob Museum - USD27
  • Las Vegas - Monorail - USD5
  • Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience - Free
  • Las Vegas - Bellagio Fountains - Free
  • Las Vegas - Eiffel Tower - USD22
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary so please attend, and this is also a great chance to meet the new group. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Leave the bright lights of Vegas behind and drive into the Eastern Sierra Nevada toward the quaint town of Bishop. On arrival, check out the town or perhaps treat yourself to the crispy cookies or ‘bear claws’ at Erick Schat’s German bakery. Later this afternoon, join the group for a soothing soak in a natural hot spring – perfect for those wanting to relax before an action-packed few days in Yosemite. Tonight, you’ll camp under the stars in Bishop.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Prepare for some spectacular mountain scenery as you depart from Bishop and head west to Yosemite National Park. This morning, stop at crystal clear lakes including Mono and Tenaya before continuing through the Tioga Pass (snow levels permitting) into the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Stop by Olmstead Point to marvel at Yosemite’s natural wonder, Half Dome, before arriving at one of the most famous parks in the USA. Yosemite's colossal granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls (depending on the season) and redwood forests attract visitors from all over the world. You'll spend three nights in the park meaning you have two full days to explore. The total driving time today is approximately 5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yosemite National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Visit to Mono Lake
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Start today with an orientation tour of the village before heading out for a free day of exploration. There are plenty of hikes available, each varying in steepness and difficulty. Hike The Mist Trail to Nevada Falls (2–5 hours) or to the serene Mirror Lake (45 minutes). Keep an eye out for squirrels and perhaps even a bear along the way. You might prefer to hire a bike and explore Yosemite Valley. Visit the park's museum, photo gallery, shops and restaurants along the way. In the heat of summer, a relaxing float down the Merced River followed by a few drinks at the park's cafe is just the trick.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Yosemite - Cycling in Yosemite Valley - USD12
  • Yosemite National Park - Hiking - Free
  • Yosemite - Raft Rental (seasonal) - USD30
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today there’s a chance to explore a different side of the park as you join your leader on a guided hike to Hetch Hetchy Valley. Tucked away in the northwest corner of Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy is a wilderness of cascading waterfalls, towering cliff faces and beautiful wildflowers. Boasting one of the longest hiking seasons in the park, the ecologically diverse valley attracts a fraction of the visitors in comparison to other more well-known hiking spots in Yosemite – which means it’s an ideal area for those who have extra time to explore the park in depth.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Yosemite National Park - Hiking - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Yosemite behind today and drive west for to San Francisco (approximately 4 hours). The 'City by the Bay' has a beautiful setting and a vibrant, multicultural heart. You might like to check out the vintage stores along funky Haight Street, catch the tram down to the waterfront or take an Adventure Cat Bay Cruise.

The trip finishes on arrival into San Francisco after a stop to check out the Golden Gate Bridge. 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 9 pm. 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 head out for some dumplings in Chinatown or pasta in North Beach. If you do wish to spend extra time in San Francisco we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • San Francisco - Adventure Cat Bay Cruise - USD45
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As there's a great deal to do in San Francisco, we recommend you stay a couple of extra days to make the most of the city. This trip doesn't allow time for a visit to Alcatraz, so you'll need to make your own arrangements to visit the island prison. Tickets must be booked in advance, as they're limited and sell out quickly.

Notes: You can make your own Alcatraz reservations online at alcatrazcruises.com or call +1 415 981 7625 between the hours of 8 am and 7 pm, Pacific Standard Time (USA). We recommend booking your tickets for the day after the trip finishes. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist (subject to availability). Also consider joining a one-day sightseeing tour of San Francisco through urbanadventures.com.

Meals

3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (11 nights), Hotel (6 nights), Hostel (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Philadelphia - City highlights stop
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Memphis - World Famous Fried Chicken Lunch
  • New Orleans - Po'Boy dinner
  • Joshua Tree National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Grand Canyon National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Yosemite National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Visit to Mono Lake

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details including date of birth are required at the time of booking in order to book included flight.
2. BAGGAGE
Please note that in North America, the cost of checked baggage usually is not included in the price of an airline ticket and is subject to additional payment at check-in. If you wish to check in luggage on the internal flights on this trip then you will need to pay for this on arrival at each airport. Each airline calculates fees differently, sometimes on the number of bags, sometimes by weight, however the fee is usually in the vicinity of US$25 per bag payable by credit card.
3. INCLUDED FLIGHT
Please note: your group will not be accompanied on your flight, but will be met in Los Angeles by a new tour leader. Your new tour leader will meet the group outside the baggage claim at LAX.

Essential trip information

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