From the buzz of the big cities to the beauty of the national parks, this star-spangled adventure has your all bases covered.

From the dazzling cityscapes of New York to the sunny shores of San Fran – and all the bright lights, national parks and rock n’ roll in between, jump onboard this bucket-list-ticking journey that’s jam-packed with super-sized adventures. From the Big Apple to the Big Easy, check-out the east’s epic monuments and musical legacies before jumping on a flight cross-country to experience the best of the west. Stay up all night in the city that never sleeps, indulge in Creole cuisine along Bourbon Street, hike to your hearts content in Yosemite National Park and try your luck among the glitz of glamour of Sin City after dark. With plenty of adventures for the brave, flexibility for the free and a bold leader with all the insider, ‘been-there, done-that’ tips and tricks, this 20-day trip through a mix of the USA’s historic, natural and musical landscapes will ensure that at you never miss a beat – what are you waiting for?

This trip is for 18 to 29-year-olds

Some of our under-30 travellers prefer to get around with people their own age. If that’s you, you’re in the right place!

Over 29? We’ve got over 900 other great adventures to choose from for solo travellers, friends, families, food lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and more.


Start
Newark, United States
Finish
San Francisco, United States
Destination
United States
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s
Code
SSYCC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15, Max 0
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Travel solo, together

You're never alone when travelling solo with Intrepid

Why you'll love this trip

  • Discover the museums, memorials and monuments along the American History trail – from the small-town charms of Philadelphia to the capital-city icons of Washington DC.

  • Pump up your camping experience in the jaw-dropping Appalachian Mountains. Share stories around the campfire as you make s’mores (a traditional night-time campfire treat in North America) with your fellow travellers.

  • Get into the groove of Memphis and indulge in the kitschy glamour and over-the-top Southern charisma of this musical metropolis.

  • Take a bird’s eye view and admire the winding gorges and desolate rock landscape of the Grand Canyon by helicopter in an unmissable optional activity.

  • Cover Yosemite’s many trails over two full days and three nights dedicated to the park. You will be able to hike and explore until your heart (and camera) is content.

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!

  • This trip includes time spent travelling in a private vehicle with your group. Extra space can be tight, and conditions may feel a little cramped. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

  • Although our private vehicles do have air conditioning, it has to work pretty hard to keep a full group cool. Expect to feel hot during summer and cold at other times of the year, 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.

  • 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!

  • From the steep hiking trails of the various national parks to the hilly 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 New York AKA the Big Apple! There are no activities planned today until your welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm, so if you arrive early perhaps check out Central Park and the Empire State Building or take a walk around Times Square – in fact we recommend arriving a couple of days earlier to make the most of what this incredible city has to offer. For the inside scoop on all the famous landmarks and local eateries, consider doing the half-day Midtown Sights & Bites Food Tour with Urban Adventures (for more info visit urbanadventures.com). After your welcome meeting, why not join your new friends for dinner and grab yourself a slice of pizza, New York style.
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 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.

This morning, kickstart your journey along North America’s history trail and drive south towards the nation's capital, stopping at Philadelphia on the way for a quick look at some of the highlights of the Old City, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the 'Rocky' steps. After touring around Philly, continue on to DC where your leader will point you in the direction of all the major sights on an orientation tour of the city. The total driving time from New York to Washington DC will take about 4 hours, so in the evening why not stretch out your legs on H Street – an artsy and energetic two-and-a-half kilometre (one-and-a-half mile) corridor in Northeast DC, renowned for its communal atmosphere and buzzing nightlife!
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 easily discovered on foot – we suggest grabbing a map and planning your day to ensure that you maximise your time in this iconic city. 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 famous monuments and buildings, so don’t miss the White House, Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, MLK Monument, FDR and Jefferson Memorials (some places charge an entrance fee, so make sure you bring some spare cash along). You’ll most likely do a lot of walking today, so maybe 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.
Escape the city grind and venture into the breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains. Stop by Shenandoah National Park, one of the highest and most scenic portions of the Appalachians. Continue your journey along Skyline Drive – a famed mountain highway which winds through deep woods and past spectacular vistas. Stop to stretch your legs under the impressive oak trees and admire the gorgeous views. Later in the afternoon, drive to your campsite and pitch your tent in the heart of the great outdoors, share stories with your fellow travellers around the campfire and make s’mores (a traditional night time campfire treat in North America) – you may even learn some new skills! Total drive time today will be around 5 hours.
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.
Head south this morning on a 4-hour drive to the USA’s Country Music Capital - Nashville, Tennessee. Once settled into the campground, join your leader on a short orientation tour of Nashville’s Downtown area – focusing on the bustling entertainment hub of Broadway – a famed strip renowned for the honky tonk bars which offer live music every day of the week. The rest of the day is at your leisure, so perhaps visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains the golden Cadillac that once belonged to Elvis or check out some iconic music venues like Grand Ole Opry House and the Ryman Auditorium. The Wildhorse Saloon is a great spot in the evening to experience authentic southern food and live music.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (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.
Say goodbye to the glitz and glamour of ‘Nashvegas’ this morning as you continue your musical pilgrimage to the birthplace of rock and roll: Memphis, Tennessee (approximately 3.5 hours driving time). Join your leader on a short walking tour to familiarise yourself with the city. You’ll head down bustling Beale Street, where traditional blues clubs and ritzier tourist traps rub shoulders – but don’t worry, your leader will give you the lowdown on which bars are worth a look. After an included world-famous fried chicken lunch, the rest of the day is free to explore. If you have time, a must-see in Memphis is Sun Studio, the 'Birthplace of Rock', which boasts 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 (at the former Lorraine Motel) where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. This evening, why not head out for a famous Memphis-style barbecue.
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
With no activities planned today, consider heading out of the city to visit Graceland, Elvis Presley’s former home and the site of his tomb. Exploding with kitschy glamour and over-the-top Southern charm, here you can see the famous jungle room, as well as Elvis’s cars, private planes and much more. For an unusual and local experience, check out the popular Duck Parade at the famous Peabody Hotel – where ducks that live in the hotel perform waddle from their rooftop palace to splash in the lobby fountain (and then back again) at 11 am and 5 pm daily.
In the evening, get into the groove of Memphis and consider heading back down to Beale Street's traditional blues clubs, made famous by legends such as WC Handy, Howlin' Wolf and BB 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.
It’s a long drive today as you head across the state of Mississippi and prepare to get down in New Orleans AKA the ‘Big Easy’ (approximately 8 hours). Get back to nature with a stop at Honey Island and perhaps opt for a tour down one of the least-altered river swamps in the country. It's pretty much in its original condition, almost a pristine wilderness and home to a variety of critters. Residents include nutrias (river rats), snakes and wild boars – spot alligators sunbathing on the banks and absorb the incredible scenery as you cruise through the eerie marshland. Continue your drive into New Orleans – with a mix of Creole, Cajun and European culture reflected in the city’s architecture, cuisine and music there’s plenty to explore and do. On arrival, your leader will point you in the direction of all the major attractions on a short walk of the eclectic French Quarter, the historic heart of the city, famous for its cast-iron balconies and vivacious nightlife. The rest of the time is yours! Perhaps take a walk down rowdy Bourbon Street or through the former plantation area of the Garden District, or head out for a typical Cajun-style dinner and toast to your adventure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Honey Island Swamp Tour - USD25
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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
It’s goodbye to the Big Easy and hi to the City of Angels as you catch a flight from New Orleans to Los Angeles today (approximately 4-hours). On arrival, transfer to your accommodation with the group and (depending on the time) get out for a stroll along Venice and Santa Monica beaches. This evening, gather together for another meeting at 6 pm where you’ll meet your new group leader and welcome some new travellers on the next stage of your adventure. After the meeting, why not get to know your new travel buddies with an optional group dinner along the boulevard.
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. It’s important that you attend the welcome meeting as your new group leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Head away from the buzz of the big city and drive to Joshua Tree National Park. Sitting between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, the park is famous for its spectacular desert plants, cacti and spiky trees, bizarre rock formations and a pretty good U2 album. After a wander through the park, head to Lake Havasu on the Colorado River (at the Arizona border) and set up camp for the night. You might like to head out on a scenic hike around the town, learn the backstory of the city’s unique London Bridge, or even take a refreshing dip in the Colorado River. Covering around 600 kilometres (372 miles) of ground today, there will be time to stop for short walks, photo opportunities and some roadside snacking.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (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 towards the Grand Canyon, along a section of Route 66, stopping in at the eccentric town of Seligman. Arriving later in the Grand Canyon National Park, get ready to admire a natural wonder formed by over six million years of erosion by the Colorado River. When you think about its dimensions – 450 kilometres long, 630 kilometres wide and 1600 metres deep – it really does warrant the whole ‘grand’ title. You’ll spend two nights here which allows for a full day of exploration tomorrow. Check out the park’s massive scale on a walk on the rim or, if you’re feeling more active, hike into the canyon itself to stretch your legs. Spend the night at comfortable digs near the park.
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 in all of its beauty. Stroll along the meandering South Rim Trail or hike your way down to Plateau Point. If you're feeling extra adventurous and angling for a bird’s eye view, splash out on a scenic helicopter flight over the area. You’ll see the winding rivers from up high – a highly recommended way to understand how each section pieces together. In the early evening, relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset over one 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 the original sin city: Las Vegas. Vegas may be known for its casinos and late-night antics, but there's plenty to do if gambling isn't your thing. Hit the shops, see a world-class stage show, feel your stomach drop on a rooftop roller-coaster or stroll along Freemont Street, soaking up this neon-filled desert city. In the evening, head to Pink Taco for an included street taco dinner from the famous LA chain’s cantina located in Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel – a perfect way to begin a night out on the town. Later on, why not go see a stage show? Remember that tickets can sell out quickly for popular shows, so best to book before your tour begins.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Las Vegas - Street Taco dinner
Optional Activities
  • Las Vegas - Big Apple Express roller coaster - USD15
  • Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience - Free
  • Las Vegas - Bellagio Fountains - Free
Meals Included
  • Dinner
With another day in Las Vegas, continue discovering all things over-the-top. Food-focused travellers may want to check out one of the celebrity chef restaurants around town (Giada De Laurentiis, Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck all have places here). See the Eiffel Tower of the USA, check out the Bellagio Fountains or visit one of the wacky museums on offer. If you didn’t head out last night, chat to your tour leader for the lowdown on Sin City's best shows, clubs and restaurants, and the option of hiring a limo for the night. You might as well go all out in Las Vegas, right?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Las Vegas - Monorail - USD5
  • Las Vegas - Eiffel Tower - USD22
  • Las Vegas - Mob Museum - USD27
  • Las Vegas - Neon Museum - USD20
  • Las Vegas - Limo (per group) - USD300
  • Las Vegas - Helicopter Tour of The Strip - USD104
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head out of sin city to the Sierra Nevada mountain range today on your quest for greener pastures. The Sierra Nevadas are sandwiched between Central Valley and Death Valley, a scenic trip that will take you to the town of Bishop, where you’ll camp the night and visit some nearby natural hot springs. In town, perhaps go to Erick Schat’s European-style bakery for a delicious treat, or stop in tomorrow for a coffee and cake on the way to Yosemite.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Drive west into the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to your destination: the magnificent Yosemite National Park. Passing by the striking Mono Lake, your private vehicle will travel through the Tioga Pass (weather permitting) and past serene vistas like Tenaya Lake and the Olmstead Point viewpoint, where you’ll catch a glimpse of one of Yosemite’s most recognisable features – Half Dome. You'll spend three nights in the Yosemite National Park so that there are two full days available to explore at your own pace. 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.
Today is free to discover the wonders of the park. One of the most famous parks in the USA, Yosemite boasts colossal granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls and redwood forests attract visitors from all over the world. The group leader will point you in the right direction from the village, before leaving you to spend the day as you please. There are plenty of hikes available, each varying in steepness and difficulty. Hike under the cooling breezes of Nevada Falls (4-5 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, and in the heat of summer a relaxing float down the Merced River is highly recommended.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Yosemite - Raft Rental (seasonal) - USD30
  • Yosemite - Cycling in Yosemite Valley - USD12
  • Yosemite National Park - Hiking - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
With a second full day in the park, there’s an opportunity to explore a different side of Yosemite, and the group leader will take you on a guided hike to Hetch Hetchy, an often overlooked, elevated valley in the park’s northwest corner. The name comes from ‘hetchetci’, describing seeds from a grass that grows in the valley. It has a floor elevation of 1150 metres (3800 feet), and one of the main characteristics is its man-made reservoir, built in the early 20th century. The area attracts far fewer visitors than the more well-known Yosemite hiking points, and its remoteness makes it the ideal place to discover cascading waterfalls and beautiful wildflowers.
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 about 4 hours to San Francisco. The City by the Bay has a beautiful setting and a vibrant, multicultural heart. This trip finishes on arrival into San Francisco after a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge for a walk. No accommodation provided for tonight. If you do wish to spend extra time in San Francisco, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Perhaps check out the vintage stores along funky Haight Street, catch the tram down to the waterfront or take an adventure cruise on the bay past Alcatraz Island. Better yet, consider booking an Urban Adventures sightseeing tour like Bridge and the Beach, where you’ll see a different side of the Golden Gate from Baker Beach (see urbanadventures.com/destination/san-francisco-tours).
Optional Activities
  • San Francisco - Adventure Cat Bay Cruise - USD45
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
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 be at the airport two hours before departure. Also, please note that 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 are limited and sell out quickly. We recommend booking your tickets for the day after the trip finishes.

Meals

3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (13 nights), Hotel (4 nights), Hostel (1 night)

Included activities

  • Philadelphia - City highlights stop
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Memphis - World Famous Fried Chicken Lunch
  • Joshua Tree National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Grand Canyon National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Las Vegas - Street Taco dinner
  • 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

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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