Trip Type : Small Group Tour
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Best of America

Intrepid Travel Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.7 . Excellent
98%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
22 days
From: $ 3,469 $ 158 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • North to south and coast to coast, this action-packed adventure plays out like a greatest-hits mixtape of classic Americana – all killer, no filler.
  • See it all, from the high-rises of New York, through to the musical mayhem of Nashville and westwards to the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Enjoy a full day to explore Washington DC. There's lots to see and do in the US capital, and most of it is free. Visit the White House, Capitol Hill and the National Mall, and feel small next to the statue of Abraham Lincoln
  • The cities of 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 musical venues
  • Towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, redwood forests and epic night skies - Yosemite National Park feels like utopia. While other tour groups breeze through in a day, you'll spend two nights in the park, allowing for a full day of hiking and exploring
  • For many, Death Valley conjures up images of a flat and barren wasteland. Be surprised by the park's ethereal landscapes of sand dunes, water-sculpted canyons, extinct volcanic craters and, in the spring, fields of wildflowers
  • The iconic sandstone formations of Monument Valley have played backdrop to many a cowboy western. Learn about Navajo culture and history during a jeep tour of the park, before spending a unique night in a traditional hogan hut

Short Description

Travel east to west to discover the best of America. Learn about the nation’s rich history in Washington DC, head into the heart of cowboy country in Houston, Texas, and soak up some southern hospitality in New Orleans over a big bowl of gumbo. Indulge your love of music (and fried foods) in Memphis, then get out into the great outdoors - from the towering redwoods and soaring granite formations of Yosemite to the red-hued rocks and the desolate salt flats of Death Valley. Head underground to explore the labyrinthine chambers of Carlsbad Cavern and try your luck on the casino floor in Vegas. What makes this one of the best countries in the world? Come and see for yourself.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Lodging Level Basic - 2 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City Newark
End City San Francisco
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Itinerary

Day 1 New York (Newark)

Welcome to the USA. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details, food kitty and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive a couple of days earlier to see the sights (recommended), we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Consider doing a one-day sightseeing tour of New York by visiting: urbanadventures.com.

Day 2 Washington DC

Today, drive south towards the nation's capital of Washington DC, 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 onto DC. The total driving time from New York to Washington DC will take about seven hours.

Day 3 Washington DC

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.

Day 4 Appalachian Mountains

Journey into the breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains (500 km). Shenandoah National Park is one of the highest and most scenic portions of the Appalachian Mountains. 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. Later in the afternoon, drive to your campsite for the night. Total driving today will take around eight hours including stops.

Day 5 Nashville

Drive for around six hours further south today to Nashville, Tennessee. Once settled into the campground perhaps visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains the golden Cadillac that once belonged to 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.

Day 6 Memphis

Head west this morning to Memphis, which should take around four hours. 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. 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. 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. If you have time, a must-see in Memphis is Sun Studio - the 'Birthplace of Rock'. It boasts the first recordings of legendary performers like Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Day 7 New Orleans

Today make the long drive across the state of Mississippi to New Orleans (the 'Big Easy'), which usually takes around eight hours. After checking in to your hotel in the French Quarter, use your free time getting to know the ‘Big Easy’. An eclectic mix of European, Creole and Cajun culture manifests in the city's architecture, cuisine and music scene. Possibly take a walk down rowdy Bourbon Street or through the former plantation area of the Garden District. Perhaps join the rest of the group tonight for a typical Cajun-style dinner and toast to your adventure.

Day 8 New Orleans

Today is free to fit in as much of New Orleans as you can. Founded by French traders in 1718, there are many layers of history in this city and its many attractions combine to make it one of the most visited cities in the USA – a trend that was only momentarily halted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Tour the Honey Island Swamp (watch out for ‘gators), 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.

Day 9 East Texas

It's quite a journey from Louisiana and into Texas (nearly 700 kilometres). You'll be on the road for around nine hours today, so sit back and enjoy the ride. There may be the chance to stop for a swamp tour along the way, and you'll get other chances to stop and stretch your legs as well.

Day 10 San Antonio

Join the truckers along Highway 10 to San Antonio. Mexican-influenced San Antonio is the home of the Alamo, an original reconstructed Spanish-Mexican fort from the 18th century. On arrival, you can stroll along the famous River Walk or walk in the footsteps of Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie at the Alamo. Total driving time today is around three to four hours.

Day 11 Carlsbad Caverns National Park

After traversing the state of Texas, enter the deserts of New Mexico on the way to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. One of the largest caverns in the world, Carlsbad Cavern is still only partially explored. Hike deep into the 'Big Room' and beyond. In the evening, witness the overwhelming sight of a bat flight - thousands of bats swarming out of the caverns. As the bats migrate south in October for the winter, this is a seasonal sight and is best viewed in July and August. Total driving today is about nine hours.

Day 12 Santa Fe

Continue the journey north to Santa Fe today. The total drive should take around five hours. Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the US. You might like to check out the pueblo architecture surrounding the town plaza or see the San Miguel Mission, the USA's oldest church. If you're an art buff, then a visit to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is a must.

Day 13 Mesa Verde National Park

Continue on to Mesa Verde National Park, home to the largest and best-preserved cliff dwellings of the Anasazi Indians. The park protects over 4,000 known archaeological sites. Explore a cliff dwelling on a short walk, or (for a small fee) join a ranger-led walk to the harder-to-access sites. Total driving time today is approximately five hours.

Day 14 Monument Valley

After a drive through fascinating desert regions, reach Monument Valley. Monument Valley is so-named after the giant sandstone formations scattered across the desert. The backdrop for countless westerns, the valley is part of the biggest Indian reservation in the US and is home to more than 200,000 Navajo Indians. Perhaps see the sights from the back of a jeep with a Navajo guide. Visit areas only open to the Navajo, see traditional Navajo homes, hike up sand dunes and gaze at spectacular rock formations. Total driving time today is around three-and-a-half hours.

Day 15 Grand Canyon

Today drive from Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon, stopping at a Native American trading post along the way. The total drive will take around four hours. Words don't do justice to the Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. 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, in order to allow a full day of exploration tomorrow.

Day 16 Grand Canyon

Today is a free day to explore the Grand Canyon. Stroll along the meandering South Rim Trail or hike your way along the South Kaibab Trail to Skeleton Point. If you're feeling extra adventurous, you might even opt for a scenic helicopter flight over the area (at your own expense). In the early evening, relax at the canyon's edge and enjoy a spectacular sunset.

Day 17 Las Vegas

Head out of the Grand Canyon and cross the western deserts of Arizona to Las Vegas. Along the way, you'll drive along a section of the famous Route 66, stopping in at the nostalgic township of Seligman. The total drive will take around five 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. In the evening, perhaps feast on an 'all you can eat' buffet, check out one of the many shows on offer or party the night away in a Vegas nightclub.

Day 18 Las Vegas

You'll have another day to further enjoy the delights of Las Vegas. Use the opportunity to find a swimming pool to relax by, have a crack at black jack, check out a show or just soak up the craziness that is Vegas. You may also choose to go on an optional adventure on the infamous Las Vegas Roller Coaster.

Day 19 Death Valley

Today is a long day of driving (approximately six hours). You'll cover more than 550 kilometres through Death Valley and across the Eastern Sierra. Death Valley is one of the hottest places on the planet, with temperatures rising to 56°C in the summer. The park features huge sand dunes, sculpted rocks, isolated valleys and volcanic craters. The canyon and mountain walls change colour with the changing light. Elevations fluctuate from 85 metres below sea level near Badwater Basin (the lowest point in the United States) to 3,756 metres at Telescope Peak. Stop at the visitor centre and, if it's not too hot, take a walk on the stunning salt flats.

Day 20 Yosemite National Park

Driving west, travel through the Tioga Pass (snow levels permitting) into the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Your destination is Yosemite National Park. One of the most famous parks in the USA, Yosemite's colossal granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls and redwood forests attract visitors from all over the world. You'll spend two nights in the park in order to have a full day of exploration tomorrow. The total driving time today is approximately five hours, or longer if the Tioga Pass is closed.

Day 21 Yosemite National Park

Today is a free day to get out and discover the park. 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. 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.

Day 22 San Francisco

Leave Yosemite behind today and drive west for about four hours to San Francisco. 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 a cruise on the bay to see the impressive Golden Gate Bridge. The trip finishes on arrival into San Francisco 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 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).

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 3,469
Price Per Day: $ 158 per day
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Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Jul-31-2019Aug-21-2019$ 4,200Yes4 spots left Reserve
Aug-04-2019Aug-25-2019$ 4,450Yes1 spots left Reserve
Aug-04-2019Aug-25-2019$ 4,450Yes4 spots left Reserve
Aug-07-2019Aug-28-2019$ 4,370Yes2 spots left Reserve
Aug-09-2019Aug-30-2019$ 3,570Yes9 spots left Reserve
Aug-11-2019Sep-01-2019$ 4,200Yes2 spots left Reserve
Aug-14-2019Sep-04-2019$ 4,365Yes1 spots left Reserve
Aug-15-2019Sep-05-2019$ 4,410Yes3 spots left Reserve
Aug-18-2019Sep-08-2019$ 4,715Yes1 spots left Reserve
Aug-21-2019Sep-11-2019$ 4,625YesSold Out Reserve
Aug-21-2019Sep-11-2019$ 3,469Yes11 spots left Reserve
Aug-22-2019Sep-12-2019$ 4,365Yes3 spots left Reserve
Aug-23-2019Sep-13-2019$ 3,928Yes5 spots left Reserve
Aug-25-2019Sep-15-2019$ 4,040Yes1 spots left Reserve
Aug-28-2019Sep-18-2019$ 4,280Yes4 spots left Reserve
Aug-30-2019Sep-20-2019$ 3,636Yes6 spots left Reserve
Sep-01-2019Sep-22-2019$ 3,964Yes5 spots left Reserve
Sep-01-2019Sep-22-2019$ 3,744Yes10 spots left Reserve
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3,163 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

98%
4.7 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 2,356
Great 625
Average 101
Disappointing 37
Terrible 39
Value
4.7
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.7
Lodging
4.7
Transportation
4.7
Meals
4.7

Best of America

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Highly recommend intrepid

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Recently went on the USA western highlights trek, had the most amazing experience ever, well organised, our guides Jenn and Tyler were amazing, friendly & helpful, can’t wait to book another trip, highly recommend intrepid
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Amazing local knowledge!!

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At the airport in Chang Mai at the end of my tour with the amazing Gung. I can’t wait to travel Intrepid again! I was able to still be independent with just the addition of amazing local knowledge!! Gung you are family now xo I also made new friends that I think I will visit over the next couple of years. Thinking Africa on some back to back tours in a couple of years.
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Just finished a brilliant tour

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Just finished a brilliant food tour of Japan with Intrepid. It was extremely well organised, brillant from start to finish.Our Intrepid guide was very knowledgeable and really made our trip extra special. We are now looking at the next tour!
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Amazing beyond any expectation

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I've sadly just finished the Serengeti Trail. Words cannot describe how amazing this was. We had 13 awesome people in the group and the 3 crew - Benson, Kioko and Kennedy were amazing beyond any expectation. Everything was smooth, no hiccups, campsites and lodgings were fantastic. We saw 4 of the Big 5 and even experienced some things that the crew hadn't seen before. I've learnt so much and now enjoying some downtime in Zanzibar.
If I could suggest 1 thing, would be another electric fridge for our drinks, there is one for the meat. After drinking warm everything for 3 days, we were dying for a cold drink and you couldn't get ice.
Im glad the tour wasn't full too so we could spread out a bit on the truck.
If you are lucky enough to get our crew, you are in good hands.
Recommend single supplement for solo travelers, just makes it a little less awkward and more comfy
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Great first class

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Great first class professional staff - great local guides exceptional- the group sizes and mix perfect. We are traveling again soon with intrepid.

What an amazing group, one big happy

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This was our 6th adventure with Intrepid and equally as brilliant as our previous 5.
A fantastic 17 day basic tour "Maya encounter".
What an amazing group, one big happy Intrepid family. Our tour leader Jason Atilano was a dream, a truly wonderful man who organised everything and made dreams come true, from arranging local transport, amazing and affordable restaurants, hidden adventures and even a tarantula visit in Tikal.
I love Intrepid tours, simply because they take you into the heart of the community and allow you to absorb the real atmosphere of these beautiful countries in a responsible way. They allow you to step out of your "comfort zones" should you so choose, but it's optional. A home stay with a local family was an absolute honor and a privilage. A night camping under the stars in rain Forrest was a definite highlight. Looking up at the Milky way and an early wake up alarm from the howler monkeys, not something you get to experience every
night.
This is why I always choose Intrepid, every new trip is another new and very memorable adventure. Just like life, you get out of it what you choose to put in.
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Details

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 13

Accomodations

Camping (with facilities) (16 nts),Hotel (5 nts)

Guides

Your Intrepid group leader’s role involves organising the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip, managing trip logistics and camp responsibilities. They will work to make the trip as safe and enjoyable as possible for all travellers. Intrepid's North American trips are built around the co-operation and participation of all the group members under the supervision of the group leader. On our camping trips, your leader will show the group how to set up and use the camp equipment, and form work groups to take turns cooking, cleaning and shopping. Everyone is expected participate and carry their share of the workload, making camp chores easier. If the whole group participates it will be quicker, easier and more fun. Your leader will provide basic information about the sights and cities you'll be visiting but please note that our leaders are not 'tour guides' in the traditional sense. They are adventure travel specialists and are there to organise your trip, arrange activities and help with questions or problems you may have while on your tour. Your leader will provide you with all the important information you need to embark on your own explorations. They are also responsible for driving the van and navigating across the country. The allowable driving times for drivers is strictly controlled in North America. This ensures our drivers are well rested and are not over-tired from too many hours on the roads. While your group will have a minivan for all included activities on the trip, please note that the services of the van and the driver may not be available for your use during free time, or after you have arrived for the day. If you need a special trip into town you may need to arrange transport or a taxi. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. It's strictly forbidden for non-qualified rangers to present any information about some National Parks in North America, therefore we adopt a system (as requested by the park rangers) where our leader will encourage travellers to visit the information centres in the National Parks for details about the site. We have designed our trips to make the most of your time in the States, but please understand that there are certain times during each day that your leader will need to be off duty from work. This includes having meal and rest periods and personal time. Your leader will provide you with all the important information you need to embark on your own explorations.

Additional Information:

Finish point

  • The Red Roof Inn at San Francisco Airport
  • 777 Airport Blvd
  • Burlingame
  • San Francisco
  • CA
  • 94010
  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Trip ID#:

intrepid-SSRXC

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