Hit the road on this eastern USA adventure

Hit the road on a trip like no other through the eastern USA, where each city is a culture unto itself. One day you’re in Nashville munching Southern-style biscuits for breakfast, the next you’re wandering around the iconic buildings of Chicago. This 18-29s tour is full of flexibility, making it perfect for the independent traveller who wants to see as much of this part of the country as possible in a short amount of time. The Victorian-era homes of Louisville, the winding Shenandoah River, thundering Niagara Falls and a sunset over Lake Erie – this is a real east USA adventure.

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
Newark, United States
Destination
United States
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s, Explorer
Code
SSYE
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18, Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Travel solo, together

You're never alone when travelling solo with Intrepid

Why you'll love this trip

  • With two whole days in Chicago, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the living history, stunning monuments and eclectic nightlife the city has in spades.

  • Feel the almighty roar of Niagara Falls. These three waterfalls are just as spectacular as you’ve heard.

  • Eat like a local with buttery breakfast biscuits in Nashville and deep-dish pizza in Chicago.

  • From the bustle of Washington DC to the rural charms of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this trip offers slices of both city and country life.

  • See the neon guitars and cowboy boots that announce the presence of the world’s greatest honky-tonks in Nashville.

Is this trip right for you?

  • In order to see as much as possible on this trip, there will be plenty of 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.

  • This trip involves camping, giving you access to more remote destinations at 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 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 it 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.

  • The diversity of the seasons here makes for incredible scenery, but the weather in this region can be unpredictable. It’s best to wear layers at all times of the year in case conditions change during the day. At night the temperature can really drop, so bring your warm clothes. Camping can be especially cold at the start and end of the season. Even in the warmer months the temperature can be low in the mountains.

  • There’s so much to see and do in the cities and towns we visit on this trip. The tour is designed with plenty of free time, with optional activities on offer in most destinations. Because of this it’s important to budget carefully before you leave, so you can be sure you’ve got enough to do everything you’d like to on your adventure.

Itinerary

Welcome to New York! There are no activities planned until your welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm. If you arrive early there’s no shortage of fun in the city that never sleeps. You can get a delicious crash course in how immigration has shaped the city on a Tenements, Tales, and Tastes tour with Urban Adventures. Stroll through New York's unique culturally signifcant sites in the Lower East Side, Chinatown and Little Italy, trying food along the way and gaining an appreciation for those who risked everything in search of the American dream. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/Tenements-Tastings-Tales-A-Tour-Of-New-York-Lower-East-Side.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
We'll be collecting your insurance details, food kitty contribution and next of kin information at the welcome meeting, so it’s very important you attend. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the group meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to.

As there's not much time spent in New York City on this trip, we recommend you arrive a few days earlier to see the sights.
Leave the skyscrapers in the rear-view mirror and head towards Washington DC. Along the way make a stop in Philadelphia, where you’ll have time to check out a few highlights before continuing to the USA’s capital. Spend a couple of hours in Philly and take in some icons of the Old City. Check out the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the 72-steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art that Rocky climbed while training for the fight of his life (ask your dad). Continue to DC for a free evening in the capital. Tonight, maybe grab some buddies and head out in search of dinner. You can plan your schedule and consult your maps over a bowl of ramen in Chinatown, or maybe over a beer at one of the rowdy bars in Georgetown.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Philadelphia - City highlights stop
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Hit the streets today at your own pace. Many of the iconic monuments and museums in DC are free to visit, including the White House, National Archives, National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. Prefer the structure of a guided tour? Ask your leader about the optional Bike and Roll tour options and you could be exploring the city on a bicycle or segway in no time. News buffs might want to check out the Newseum, where (for a small entry fee) you can learn about the First Amendment, press freedom and the historic threats to both.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Washington DC - Bike and Roll Tour - USD45
  • Washington DC - National Museum of Natural History - Free
  • Washington DC - Newseum - USD22
  • Washington DC - National Museum of Crime and Punishment - Free
  • Washington DC - National Archives - Free
  • Washington DC - National Museum of American History - Free
  • Washington DC - National Gallery of Art - Free
  • Washington DC - National Air & Space Museum - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning you’ll head into Virginia along the scenic Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. It’s a long drive, but an incredibly beautiful one. We’re not saying a ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ singalong is mandatory, but it is a great way to pass the time and get into the spirit of the journey. The beauty of travelling in a small group is that there’s a certain amount of flexibility on these drives. See something incredible you want a closer look at? If everyone’s on board, go for it. You’ll arrive in the Blue Ridge Mountains after an approximately 5-hour drive.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shenandoah National Park
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Drive approximately 4 hours to Nashville, Tennessee. Settle into the campground and then get your bearings on an orientation tour with your leader. See some highlights of the city, including Broadway – home to historic buildings and honky-tonks. After you’ve familiarised yourself with the city, talk to your leader about what else is on offer in the home of country music. If you have time, perhaps visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains the golden Cadillac that once belonged to Elvis. When the sun goes down in Nashville, it’s time to hit the honky-tonks. Head to the Wildhorse Saloon tonight, where you’ll soon be stomping the boards with the locals during a line dancing lesson.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Nashville - Wildhorse Saloon cover charge & line dancing - USD10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Start your day in Southern style with a breakfast of coffee and hot, buttery biscuits. This down-home staple is kind of like a savoury scone but tastier. After breakfast, enjoy a free day in Nashville. Maybe celebrate the ‘Man in Black’ with a trip to the Johnny Cash Museum. Or perhaps take a tour of the Ryman Auditorium, one of the city’s most famous performance halls. If you’re having difficulty deciding what to do, pick your leader’s brain for details of the optional activities on offer. If you’ve got a hankering for more southern-fried goodness, ask your leader where to grab a plate of ‘meat and three’. That’s what locals call a meal that includes your choice of meat (usually the options include fried chicken and country-fried steak) plus three side dishes such as collard greens, mashed potato and creamed corn.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nashville - Southern Style Biscuits & Coffee
Optional Activities
  • Nashville - Ryman Auditorium Tour - USD14
  • Nashville - Country Music Hall of Fame - USD26
  • Nashville - Grand Ole Opry Tour - USD40
  • Nashville - Johnny Cash Museum - USD17
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave Nashville behind today and drive north for around 3 hours to Louisville, Kentucky. On arrival, you'll have free time to explore this huge city. You may have heard of the city’s namesake derby or baseball slugger, but the city’s got a multitude of unexpected charms to go along with its big hitters. An inventive but unpretentious food scene makes Louisville the perfect place to try variations on classic Southern dishes like hot, fried chicken and crab legs. The city is also home to some gorgeous parks (120, to be exact) and the largest collection of Victorian-era homes in the country, both of which can be explored on foot (and mostly for free). Of course, Kentucky is also known for its tipple of choice – bourbon. You could always take a self-guided trip between distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Just be aware that any activities undertaken today will be at your own expense.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Louisville - Muhammad Ali Center - USD9
  • Louisville - Bourbon Trail - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Sit back and relax on the 6-hour drive to Chicago. With more than 45 kilometres of lakefront paths, Chicago is one of the world's most walkable cities, so what are you waiting for? This a great opportunity to bust out your walking shoes and start exploring on foot. Maybe head to Millennium Park, a massive public space with gardens and artwork throughout. Make sure you check out the Cloud Gate, the massive silver sculpture (also known as ‘The Bean’) that reflects the cityscape on its shiny surface. Another great way to see the city is by walking along the Magnificent Mile, an upscale stretch lined with attractions like then Art Institute and the Wrigley Building. Dinner tonight is included and a Chicago classic – deep-dish pizza. After dinner, perhaps grab some of your fellow travellers and head to the John Hancock Center to take the elevator to the 95th floor. Here you’ll find the Signature Room, where for the price of a drink you can enjoy sweeping views of the city.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chicago-style deep dish pizza dinner
Optional Activities
  • Chicago - Willis Tower Skydeck - USD18
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Take a whole day to explore Chicago, with heaps of optional activities to choose from. Check out the full list of recommended optional activities below and, as always, make sure to grill your leader for advice. The Museum of Contemporary Art is a tranquil place to while away a few hours for a small cover charge. If your interests lie more with politics, the past, or both, the History Museum is great place to learn more about Chicago. If you’d like to be shown the city by someone who knows it inside-out, consider booking a tour with Bobby’s Bike Hike.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Chicago - Field Museum - USD15
  • Chicago - Adler Planetarium - USD12
  • Chicago - Navy Pier - USD16
  • Chicago - History Museum - USD14
  • Chicago - Museum of Contemporary Art - USD12
  • Chicago - Museum of Science and Industry - USD27
  • Chicago - Art Institute of Chicago - USD23
  • Chicago - Bobby's bike hike - USD35
  • Chicago - Baseball game (in season) - USD40
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Skirt the edge of Lake Erie and cross the Midwest into Ohio, with Sandusky as your destination (approximately 2 hours). Choose whether to join the group on an optional trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park, the so-called ‘Roller Coaster Capital of the World’ (extra cost). Cedar Point also features the Millennium Force, which has been voted the greatest roller-coaster in the world, making it the place to be if you love an adrenaline hit. If you’re not big on thrills, you may prefer to head to the nearby beach and simply stretch out on the sandy shoreline. In the late afternoon, set up camp near Lake Erie and wander down to the lake’s shore for a memorable sunset.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Visit one of the country's greatest natural attractions – Niagara Falls. Continue along the border of Lake Erie all the way to this famous sight, which sits sandwiched between the borders of the USA and Canada (approximately 4.5 hours). There are numerous viewpoints from which you can appreciate the power of this amazing set of falls, including from the water on an optional Maid of the Mist cruise. For the ultimate show, head to the falls at night and see them lit up in all their glory.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Niagara Falls - Maid of the Mist boat tour - USD16
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
The Maid of the Mist boat tour is subject to weather conditions. While this trip runs during the warmer months (from 1 April to 30 October), if you're travelling at the very start or end of the season it's possible that the boat tour might be cancelled if the weather is bad. We will organise an alternative optional activity if this is the case.
Return to New York today (approximately 7 hours). Traffic coming into the city can be incredibly busy, so please be prepared for delays. This is the perfect time to listen to a podcast or crack open a book. Arrive in Newark in New Jersey. There are no included activities planned on arrival, and no accommodation included this evening. If you plan to stay in New Jersey (or make the short trip to NYC by boat, train or bus) we can help you book additional accommodation (subject to availability). Chat to your travel agent or an Intrepid representative before you begin your tour.
Optional Activities
  • New York - Museum of Modern Art - USD25
  • New York - Metropolitan Museum of Art - USD25
  • New York - Guggenheim Museum - USD22
  • New York - Empire State Building - USD27
  • New York - Central Park - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
The time of arrival in Newark is flexible and depends on whether the group wants to stop along the way. However, if you are flying to a different city, we recommend you book a flight that leaves after 8 pm. This should allow for any driving delays and give you enough time to travel to the airport to check in two hours before your departure.

Meals

1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (8 nights), Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Included activities

  • Philadelphia - City highlights stop
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Nashville - Southern Style Biscuits & Coffee
  • Chicago-style deep dish pizza dinner

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 8 & 9 (Chicago) where you will be in shared accommodation.

Essential trip information

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