USA tour packages – from National Parks to city skylines
All aboard! We’re Amtrakking across the greatest continent in the world, the good ol’ US-of-A. Our USA tours take you from coast to coast, from NY to LA, Boston to Seattle, Phoenix to Philly and all points in between. There’s so much to take in that the best way to get the most from your USA adventure is to take a guide along with you. Our escorted tours of America are designed to pack in all the best bits, without spending too much of your precious holiday time with the other bits (you can always come back again and see them the next time…)
Go all sophisticated on a Best of the West including the Grand Canyon and La La Land itself, Los Angeles. Spin around the Casinos and Canyons of Nevada, or get up close and personal with the wildlife with the Close Encounters of the Yellowstone Kind and see Mother Nature in all her glory.
Fancy something other than a guided tour? Take a look at our USA holidays and start planning your trip of a lifetime today.
Getting you into grassroots America, this trip may start in New York City and Washington D.C, but it soon swaps cosmopolitan and political powerhouses for the weird, wild, and wonderful sights sweeping the States’ south-east corner. Beginning with statement landmarks like the Empire State Building and Times Square, then the White House and US Capitol Building, images of NYC and D.C fill your camera before you’ve even touched the South. Moving from (relatively) contemporary to colonial, Williamsburg emerges like a veritable open-air museum, before you break into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, discovering how Appalachian farmers exist in a wilderness as far from D.C’s cut and thrust as you can feel. With a playlist of country music, blues, and jazz, this region also provides America’s bassline, with Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans in its backyard. And no visit’s complete without an invite into Elvis’s Graceland or a stroll below the ostentatious balconies of Bourbon Street. The big sights are a must, but there’s nothing quite like seeing less-mapped places, like the 65-acre gardens of Southern estate Bellingrath, horse ranch-rich Orcala, and Florida Panhandle’s sands at Pensacola (although, given you’re heading that way, we thought you’d like to check out familiar faces like Kennedy Space Center and Miami Beach too).
Yukon and Alaska Explorer
Road trippers seeking trails less-travelled can rarely do better than Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. A 2-week loop can take you through Gold Rush relics, ice-crusted glaciers and mountains, and wildlife-stuffed national parks and forests. Epic scenery’s the main draw for wanderers heading here: and they’re never disappointed. Every stretch of road comes with dramatic vistas. The Alaska Highway leads to Kluane National Park, where glacier fields erupt into the St Elias Mountains, before historic towns trace your route into Fairbanks. George Parks Highway takes you to Denali National Park, with extremes of peaks and valleys and raging rivers and trickling streams on your way to Mount McKinley, North America’s highest peak. The Matanuska Valley reveals lands where super-size vegetables grow from 20-hour summer days. The Klondike Highway cuts through Kaska Indian hunting grounds. And the fjord-hugging roads to Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site and the Top of the World Highway give the ultimate frontier feel for would-be nomads. These roads connect you to remote outposts for experiences like flightseeing over glacial parklands, panning for nuggets in gold rush towns, tracking moose, caribou, and grizzly bears in Denali National Park, citysurfing between Whitehorse, Fairbanks, and Anchorage, and riding the scenery skirting White Pass and Yukon Route Railway.
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As if it was made for road trips, the cities and sights of Eastern Canada and its neighbouring US states are separated only by short and stunningly scenic highways. We’re talking roads like Canada’s 1,000 Islands Parkway, running parallel to St Lawrence River. Tracks into the rolling farmland of upstate New York’s Finger Lakes Region, towards the Gettysburg battleground. Rural routes into the Amish heartland of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Not forgetting, of course, America’s most beautiful backyard, New England, where highways are swaddled by forested hills, dramatic mountains, and bijou villages with white steepled churches. The roads may be scenic, but the stops are no less spectacular. In Boston, Beacon Hill’s cobblestones and gas lamps and the Freedom Trail’s landmarks deliver unique charm. In Quebec City, a walking tour of the walled metropolis reveals its French- avoured UNESCO credentials. In Ottawa, parks make way for Parliament’s power. In Toronto, driving through the skyscrapers reveals the world’s tallest free-standing structure, CN Tower, and, in Washington D.C and Philadelphia, capture classics like the White House and Liberty Bell. However, nowhere packs quite the punch of Niagara Falls, hearing the thunder of Horseshoe Falls as you walk along Table Rock, and seeing it in style dining up the iconic Skylon Tower.
Colours of New England
It’s no secret New England’s one of the most popular places for an American road trip, and for good reason. This collection of states, from tiny Rhode Island to seaside-lined Maine, holds some of America’s most important history, most wow-worthy scenery, and most charming communities. Your adventures start and end in Boston, ‘cradle of American liberty’, where sightseeing is made easy by the 2.5 mile long Freedom Trail, which leads you to 16 significant landmarks. But this is more than a city break, and you’ll get to visit off-track places like Salem, a town unable (and unwilling) to shake of its 17th century witch hunt connections. Taking the scenic route, you’ll also travel to Cadillac Mountain in Maine; the White and Green Mountains, where you might spot the odd bear or moose; celebrated Plymouth Rock; and the sand dunes of Cape Cod. You could get your own snapshot of America’s most photographed lighthouse (no, we don’t know how they know that either) at Cape Neddick – and those on Cape Cod and cutesy Martha’s Vineyard (apparently less-photographed, but no less postcard-worthy). You’ll stay in quintessentially American towns like the tiny waterfront community of Bar Harbor and swanky Newport, with its coastal dining venues and ‘gilded mansions’.
Postcards of California
Some images of California regularly make the postcards: crimson-coated Golden Gate Bridge, Santa Monica Pier, Carmel’s Lone Cypress, Yosemite’s waterfalls. And driving the long way from LA to San Francisco exposes every snapshot.
Some spend a whole holiday in LA, but it’s just the start of your Californian crossing. That doesn’t mean you have to miss its attractions though, as you’ll have time for Venice Beach, or maybe a dose of Disney.
But your car really comes into its own as you drift up the Pacific Coast Highway. Taking two days to cruise one of the States’ most coveted coastal routes allows plenty of postcard picks like Malibu Beach, Monterey’s canneries and Carmel’s 17 Mile Drive, before hitting San Francisco. Once there, swap your car for cable cars, or one of the infinite bikes that bravely tackle the famous hills (but not before testing your driving skills on crooked Lombard Street).
An unforgettable drive over Golden Gate Bridge sees you in chic Sausalito, then Muir Woods to walk the boardwalks beneath neck-craningly-high redwoods, before you continue to California’s Wine Country. And the state’s historic Gold Country route connects you with Yosemite, where a two night stay lets you capture postcard favourites, including canvas-worthy views of Half Dome from Glacier Point.
The Splendid West
America delivers on all its descriptions. The Painted Desert really does look like a dye-splattered canvas. Monument Valley really does look like it’s stuffed with sculptures. Phoenix really does feel like it’s risen from the desert ashes. Mammoth really is mammoth. And the Grand Canyon really is, well, Grand.
Of course, some places have created a name for themselves, like Las Vegas. Gloriously gaudy and gratuitously glitzy, with its famous (often infamous) casinos, it’s a manmade attempt to rival the West’s larger-than-life natural showpieces.
To take in the best of the West, you need to experience its super-fast cities like LA and San Francisco, and its Hollywood starlet hangouts like Palm Springs and the OC. But those who just jet between LA, San Fran and Vegas miss the West’s real soul.
That’s only found in its bounty of deserts, canyons, lakes, and mountains: places like the Sonoran Desert, where you discover America’s most biologically diverse desert ecosystem; the vivid sculptural rocks of Sedona, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon NP and Zion NP; the rim of the Grand Canyon, as you stare a mile down into its belly; the summit of Mammoth Mountain as you take breakfast with a view; and the foot of Yosemite’s rainbow-luring waterfalls.
America’s hideaways for work and pleasure come together on this cover-it-all tour of America’s vast West. It embraces the studio-packed city of Los Angeles; the western ‘on location’ sets of the Painted Desert, Monument Valley, and Kanab, aka Little Hollywood; and LA’s equally cool urban neighbours, San Diego and San Francisco.
But Westerners aren’t just about business, and their big backyard’s packed with heady pleasures in the shape of fresh air recreation, lose-yourself scenery, and party playgrounds like Las Vegas, which you get to experience like a local.
Places like Palm Springs, Mammoth Lakes, and Lake Powell lure natives with their glorious golf courses, snow and water sports, and other outdoor pursuits, reaffirming the West coast’s famous addiction to anything healthy.
The plentiful national parks provide incomparable scenery for you to dip into, and you’ll witness the crimson monoliths of Sedona, the vastness of the Grand Canyon, the forests, waterfalls, and rugged landmarks of Yosemite, and the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, where campfires and constellations await on clear nights.
Back on the coast, seaside hideouts of in-the-know Californians trail down the Central Coast, and you’ll check off scenic Carmel, the canneries of Monterey, and the beaches of Malibu and Santa Barbara on your way back to LA.
The Great Eastern Cities
Picking just one city break is never easy. So why should you? America’s Eastern Seaboard is punctuated by attraction-packed cities close enough to fit into one trip. Bookended by the Big Apple, you’ll start and end ‘on location’ at film set favourites like Central Park, the Empire State Building, and Times Square. The city that famously never sleeps is lit by Broadway’s neon bulbs, and ready to reveal just why bed isn’t beckoning. When your batteries need recharging, you can travel up the camera-ready region of Finger Lakes en route to Niagara Falls. A regular on bucket lists, you can view Horseshoe Falls from famous Table Rock, and as you lunch up Skylon Tower. Some mock the States for its lack of history, but there’s more than enough here to satisfy any academic. You can explore lands unchanged since the 1850s in the Amish homeland of the Pennsylvania Dutch; and lands unchanged for centuries as you travel along Susquehanna River in the Appalachian Mountains. You’ll step into history at Gettysburg Civil War National Battleground, see the birthplace of American liberty in Philadelphia, and feel the modern buzz of Washington D.C, with all-embracing tours under the skin of their trademark sights.
Close Encounters of the Yellowstone Kind
Getting up close and personal with Mother Earth’s a sure-fire way to forget home and find yourself. Nowhere gives close encounters quite like Salt Lake City’s surrounds, which lead you through Yellowstone, cowboy country, and snow-draped mountain ranges.
A captivating cauldron of hot springs and geysers, Yellowstone’s probably the most extreme of the USA’s beloved national parks. With the next seismic burst due any century, 2-nights in West Yellowstone puts you near some of its most active sights, including the Norris and Old Faithful geysers, the Paint Pots, and its largest hot spring, Grand Prismatic.
But Mother Nature comes in all guises, and driving to and from Yellowstone reveals Vedauwoo’s ancient rock formations near Cheyenne, Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver, and Grand Teton National Park. Staying overnight at Jackson Hole and Steamboat Springs ski resorts puts you even closer to nature, with hiking, boat trips and soaking in hot springs.
Land of the cowboys, the Wild West spirit never left Wyoming and South Dakota, and nights in Cody, Deadwood, and Cheyenne let you experience their truly ‘western’ Main Streets, Deadwood’s daily ‘shootout’, historic spots like the Buffalo Bill museum and Calamity Jane’s grave, and maybe even one of the annual rodeos.
Lobsters and Lighthouses
One of those places you instantly feel like a local, New England’s scenery, old-world villages, and seaside communities are as welcoming and familiar as you can get, making for leisurely exploration. Breaking you into the easy-going air, Boston’s no sprawling urban jungle; it’s a cutesy enclave packed with history and charm. Its Freedom Trail links American Revolutionary landmarks with a simple stroll, peppered with endless dining and second-to-none shopping. But lobsters and lighthouses await. Hitting the road north takes you through Salem’s witch trial history, coastal communities like Gloucester, Rockport, and Portsmouth, and into Kennebunkport, whose bohemian vibe and historic homes make it a perfect overnight stop before heading on to Bar Harbor, where lobstermen bring in their catch for your chowder and lobster rolls. Most travellers drive into Acadia National Park, taking Park Loop Road or scaling Cadillac Mountain, before leaving the coast for the White Mountains and their covered bridges and forest-wrapped villages, heading over to Stowe; the Green Mountains and their bear and moose lled forests; and the famously chic region of The Berkshires. Back on the coast, the trail leads you to Newport, summer home of the super- wealthy, and Cape Cod, where incredible sandy beaches, sweet villages, and free-spirited Princetown make it the summer home of many more.
Best of the American Rockies
Strap on your spurs and get ready to experience some of the wildest spots in the Wild West — as you live out your childhood cowboy (or cowgirl) fantasies and travel through the American Rockies.
On this tour, you’ll check in to some of the big players in cowboy country, from Cheyenne to Rapid City; and, in between, you’ll roam free in scenery straight from the set of a Western.
You can play the part by picking yourself out a pair of cowboy boots in Denver – although you may want to kick them off before kicking back in historic Larimer Square, where swanky cocktail bars and chef-driven restaurants probably call for fancier footwear. You can almost taste the frontier days in spots like Cody, where the Old West lifestyle is still lived out in raucous rodeos, and their hero Buffalo Bill is immortalised in a must-visit museum.
The landscapes are as legendary as the cowboys here — and a trip among the Rockies also gives you that coveted chance to walk among the bubbling mud pots and simmering hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, and to lose yourself in the gargantuan scale and beauty of the Grand Tetons during your stopover in western-favourite Jackson Hole.
National Park Loop
A sense-assaulting city break favourite, Las Vegas dazzles the eyes with flashing neon, the ears with eternally-chiming slot machines, and even the taste buds with all-you-can-eat ‘global’ buffets.
But don’t think leaving Las Vegas will relieve your senses. This mini city with maximum attitude sits among some of the States’ most awe-inspiring scenery. And this eight day loop takes you to see show-stopping attractions beyond that famous ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign.
You’ll experience the Grand Canyon from every angle – flying in a private jet over Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Colorado River, before a road trip with stops along the canyon’s rim, and a vintage train journey on the Grand Canyon Railway to Williams. If the scenery doesn’t steal the show, the train’s old-fashioned shootout and railway robbery just might.
Ticking off ‘Route 66’ on your bucket list, you’ll stroll down parts of the historic road in Williams and Flagstaff. But it’s the roads out of town that promise the biggest eye-openers, as you follow them to see the otherworldly slots of Antelope Canyon, the iconic ‘Western film set’ scenery of Monument Valley, the rose-hued hoodoos and amphitheatres of Bryce Canyon, and the paradoxical lush forests and dramatic cliffs of Zion; all before returning to the high-drama of Las Vegas.
Wings Over the West
Cherry-picking only the finest finds in California and Nevada, and travelling like a VIP in a private 16 seater plane, gives you more time to experience each stop. Zigzagging from its cooler-than-cool cities to its hotter-than hot coastal havens, the classics come together to create the definitive guide to the West.
Las Vegas, San Francisco, LA: the golden triangle’s a must for any West coast wanderer. Throwing you in the deep end, Las Vegas comes with an unashamedly flamboyant flurry of pinging slot machines, million-dollar shows, and all-you-can-squeeze-in dining and shopping.
Leaving Las Vegas, its complete antithesis awaits in Yosemite; a serene valley whose flamboyance comes from the drama of sights like Tunnel View, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Falls.
One may be super-sized and the other merely 49 square miles, but sprawling LA and mini San Francisco share one thing: endless attractions. The names trip off the tongue: Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive, and Santa Monica Beach; San Fran’s Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, and Fisherman’s Wharf. And, linking the two, the Central Coast’s laced with its own attractions, from Morro Bay to Carmel’s stunning 17 Mile Drive.
It's Got Yellowstone
The fastest route from A to B isn’t always the best. That’s why when we take you from San Fran to LA, we go the long way round. A detour taking in seven National Parks.
It also takes in gold rush country: leaving San Francisco’s fog-draped hills, you’ll follow the old prospector trails to ‘gold rush capital’ Sacramento, Old West infused Virginia City, and the once rough and tumble railroad town Elko; and track the pioneer’s route along Humboldt River.
By going ‘off road’ you get to see America’s contrasts, from scorched Mojave Desert to lush Lakes Tahoe and Powell, and from Route 66’s ageless Seligman to eternally evolving Las Vegas. And you get to stop off in whimsically named spots like Snake River Outlook, a prairieland of wild buffalo and moose, and Craters of the Moon National Monument, with lunar landscapes so realistic the first men on the moon trained there.
But it’s seeing seven national parks that make a detour so worthwhile: the geyser-packed Yellowstone, the snow-dusted peaks of Grand Teton, the boundless sandstone curves of Arches, the Colorado-carved ravines of Canyonlands, the ‘wrinkle on the earth’ of Capitol Reef, the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, and the eye-defying depth of Grand Canyon. And all before arriving in LA.
Getting off the beaten track isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. As some head in search of the world’s best-kept secrets, others know there’s a reason some places aren’t secret at all. The highlights of San Francisco, LA, Las Vegas and San Diego* (optional) take you on a delightfully well-trodden path; with their iconic sights and nearby national parks drawing in the West’s best dining, shopping, and nightlife.
Stomping ground of the rich and famous, LA’s filled with photo opportunities: the finish line of Route 66, those legendary ‘Baywatch’ lifeguard towers, the white letters of the Hollywood sign, your favourite Walk of Fame star, maybe even an Instagram-worthy shot of your dinner with the Queen Mary’s Captain.
That’s if you’ve any memory left after snapping the landmarks lining the West’s shoreline, from San Francisco, where the piers of Fisherman’s Wharf and boutiques of Union Square vie for attention, and the chance to visit Monterey and Carmel adds photo finds, down to San Diego, California’s second largest city.
Of course, you’ll need a large lens to capture the towering height of Yosemite’s Half Dome and Yosemite Falls, the scale of the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, the mountain backdrop of Palm Springs, and the megamonoliths to extravagance in Las Vegas.
Coastal Coffee Trail
Sometimes clichés are a good thing, and the Northwest’s reputation for great coffee is proof. With more baristas roasting beans than you can shake a tub of cocoa powder at, this region guarantees to provide your caffeine fix – after all, it’s where StarbucksTM first launched. And, starting you off in sophisticated Seattle, you’ll quickly settle into that famous coffee bar scene, checking out neighbourhoods like the cool downtown Waterfront.
But, as you travel down this strip of coast, you’ll discover coffee’s only part of its story. Swapping city life for the Northwest’s untamed volcanic landscapes, with a journey through Mount Rainier National Park and past Mount St Helens, you’ll end up in Portland; contrastingly flat, it’s known for its walkability and, weirdly, food vans.
The Northwest nature trail continues with the 40-mile long wind-sculpted Oregon Dunes, the wild beaches and crashing surf around Coos Bay, and the ever-photogenic lighthouses of Oregon’s coastline. These make way for the giants of Redwood National Park, rivalling skyscrapers in their height; for serene countryside dotted with timeless towns like pretty Mendocino and historic Eureka; and for the exclusive wine estates of Sonoma Valley. All before you return to urban living, and the coffee shops beyond the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Journey through the Clouds Explorer with Pre-Tour Cruise ms Nieuw Amsterdam
Epic adventures don’t have to push you to your limits. Two of North America’s wildest wildernesses, West Canada and Alaska, can be explored in utter luxury and comfort by cruise and rail. The scenery steals the show as you sail the north Pacific’s Inside Passage for seven nights, experiencing UNESCO-listed Glacier Bay National Park, where creaking glaciers calve shelves of ice into the bay with thunderous plumes of water. Holland America’s ms Nieuw Amsterdam tries to live up to its dazzling route with 5-course dining menus, indulgent spa treatments*, and gallery worthy artwork; but Alaska’s ports of call lure you with promises of sights like Juneau’s massive Mendenhall Glacier; Skagway’s Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park; and Ketchikan’s hill and water-skimming homes. The inland scenery’s just as dramatic. Even near urban Vancouver, a North Shore tour reveals natural beauty at Grouse Mountain and the treetop Capilano Suspension Bridge. And there’s nothing understated about the Rocky Mountaineer’s views — or its luxury. Riding the rails for 2-days on this opulent train, you’ll pass forest-draped mountains, cascading waterfalls, and mighty rivers before arriving in Jasper, where the road takes over with journeys along Icefields Parkway to ride the Ice Explorer onto Athabasca Glacier, and through Yoho and Banff National Parks.
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Gone with the Wind
As epic as the drama it inspired, America’s Deep South doesn’t disappoint for sprawling plantations, antebellum mansions, and civil war stories straight from the pages of Gone with the Wind. A true Southern Belle, Atlanta gives a behind-the-scenes look at places that inspired its most famous daughter, Margaret Mitchell. Rambling around Stately Oaks Plantation, which gave her the idea for Tara, and seeing the film’s costumes at Road to Tara Museum, it’s easy to see why Atlanta claimed her starring role. Stepping into Civil War settings, you’ll see Charleston and Augusta’s historic sights persevering in spite of the ravages of nature and wars. And you’ll witness the antebellum architecture which added to the novel’s romance in Savannah, home of the old cotton exchange; in Beaufort, also featured in Forrest Gump; and in Natchez, where you get to explore one of these gracious mansions. Picking picture-book routes, like Pensacola’s Panhandle-skirting roads and the 444 mile Natchez Trace Parkway, makes your journey as exciting as your destinations. Of course, you can’t visit without hearing the sounds of The South, as country music fills Nashville’s streets, the blues spill from Beale Street bars in Elvis’s heartland of Memphis; and jazz bands make music in New Orleans’ French Quarter and on its Mississippi steamboats.
Rhythms of the South
Those after the full surround-sound experience of the South, can’t do better than this musical masterpiece. With its intro in Atlanta, often overlooked in favour of noisier neighbours Nashville and Memphis, you’ll discover a hotbed of musical talent, from hip- hop to gospel. It’s also lled with big-city attractions, like World of Coca Cola and Inside CNN tours. The pull of the musical maestros soon takes hold, and Nashville tempts you with its Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry – you could always crank up the radio for a detour to the Chatanooga Choo Choo or Jack Daniels distillery on your way. Moving to Memphis, country and western makes way for the birthplace of the blues. It may have sealed its fame in the Elvis years, and time at Graceland’s a must, but the blues still play proud in Beale Street’s bars. Tuning in to jazz stations instead puts you in the New Orleans spirit, as you drive through Natchez and Baton Rouge to The Big Easy and famously ornate Bourbon Street. But the sounds of the South aren’t all you’ll experience: there’s the taste of barbecue and gumbo; Vicksburg’s military connections; Pensacola’s Gulf beaches; Floridian capital, Tallahassee; and interludes among the antebellum homes of grandiose Savannah and Charleston.
In 1938, Route 66 became the first completely paved highway in the United States. Known as the 'Mother Road', it stretched from the Great Lakes to the shores of California’s Pacific Coast. This Historic Route 66 tour takes you on an unforgettable self-drive journey filled with captivating Americana and the history of the old west. You’ll visit Chicago and St Louis, experience the highlights of Las Vegas and Los Angeles and discover the captivating beauty of the Grand Canyon and the vast lands of the Texas Panhandle.
Casinos and Canyons
If ever two worlds shouldn’t survive side by side, it’s the canyons and casinos of America’s West. Las Vegas’s Bellagio fountains defy its desert setting. Its people-packed Strip defies its remoteness. And its manmade masterpieces defy the natural splendour of its surroundings. But that’s all part of the excitement.
Las Vegas is the ultimate love it or hate it destination. To some it sends shivers of trepidation, to others shivers of excitement, but you’ll never know which until you rock up and ride the experience.
A complete contrast to the encircling wilderness, it’s an unlikely city of faux-global landmarks and genuine luxury. Every inch of its famous Strip is lined with exclusive malls and themed hotels, each vying to beat the next for the best shows and restaurants, the biggest star residencies, the greatest casinos, and the wackiest attractions, from fake beaches to sky-scraping theme park rides.
Step away from the city, and nature, solitude and silence reign. Five nights out in the wilds in three national parks opens your eyes to nature’s own overthe-top creations, like the shadow-throwing hoodoos of Bryce Canyon; the light-catching turrets of Monument Valley; the endlessly changing terrains of Canyonlands; and the eye-defying depths of the Grand Canyon.
Best of the West
When you’ve only got two weeks to squeeze in all the greats of states like California and Nevada, a supersonic driving holiday’s just the ticket. Stopping in a new place virtually every night, but slipping in extra nights in each of the major metropolises (think LA, Las Vegas, and San Francisco) lets you experience the very best of the West.
Every West coast attraction’s covered, with time for the delights of Disney, old west vibe of Scottsdale and skyscraper-studded Phoenix, and A-lister’s desert hangout, Palm Springs.
Driving yourself gives the freedom to stop where you want as you follow one of Route 66’s best sections, heading for Hoover Dam; or skirt above Yosemite on the stunning Tioga Road; or drive California’s historic Gold Rush route; or travel parallel to the Pacific through Big Sur’s big scenery on Highway 1.
All the top-dollar names make an appearance. There’s the Grand Canyon with its knee-wobblingly high overlooks; Yosemite, with its unfathomably beautiful waterfalls; and Death Valley, with its Zabriskie Point lookout showcasing rippling landscapes. The manmade musts don’t shy away either, with Las Vegas just as dazzling as its neon canopies, San Francisco’s tourist favourites and nearby Napa’s wineries, and LA laying out the big guns from Rodeo Drive to Venice Beach.
Golden Triangle Highlights
There’s no deeper way to discover a destination, than to see it with someone who actually lives there. One of our local friends greets you at each new city on this trip — ready to share its iconic sights, its hidden secrets, and their favourite neighbourhoods.
In LA, they’ll take you out for the day to the beaches (like bodybuilder-lined Muscle Beach), the celeb hangouts (like boutique-lined Rodeo Drive), and the big-name attractions (like the star-lined Walk of Fame). The next day, they’ll reveal skyline and Hollywood sign views from Griffith Observatory — or you can ask them to arrange add-ons like a studio tour (they’ll even tag along to a concert or ball game if you fancy adding one on).
Another of our Californian friends will join you for a two day journey up the famous Central Coast highways, showing off swanky seaside spots like Malibu, famous attractions like Route 66’s End of the Trail, and scenic sights like Carmel’s 17 Mile Drive and Monterey’s Cannery Row.
Introducing you to their charming home city, you’ll join our San Franciscan friend for a stroll through Chinatown, Union Square, and Fisherman’s Wharf, and for ‘must-do’ experiences like biking across Golden Gate Bridge, riding an historic cable car, sailing across the Bay by ferry, and dining at one of their favourite Chinatown restaurants.
Ending your adventure under the neon canopies of Las Vegas, our ‘in-the-know’ local shares the highlights of The Strip and Downtown, before you’re free to experience the shows, casinos, and day trips to spots like the Grand Canyon at your leisure.
THE Great American Crossing
If you’re going to do it, we say ‘do it big’, and this isn’t called THE Great American Crossing for nothing. Powering from Washington D.C. to San Francisco, landscapes morph from urban jungles, past pastoral scenes, thundering waterfalls, raging rivers, mountains, national parks, mesmerising deserts and canyons, peaceful lakes, and wild beaches; before throwing you back into city life again. Packing in some of the States’ most talked about metropolises, you get a multitude of ‘city breaks’, seeing the highlights of Philadelphia, Washington D.C, Chicago, Las Vegas, LA, and San Francisco, with experiences from a Chicago Architectural Cruise to a tour round the famous Ford plant. Away from bright lights and city sights, America’s historic dramas unveil themselves. Like a time traveller, you’ll be on Civil War battle elds as you visit Gettysburg, in Steinbeck’s Great Depression era on Monterey’s Cannery Row, or back in Route 66’s heyday at its birthplace, Seligman, where little’s changed in 60 years. Time stands still in America’s National Parks and Heritage Areas too. You can still imagine the thunder of bu alo as you cross Badlands NP, hear the thunder of Niagara Falls, and be wowed by spectacles like Yellowstone’s Old Faithful, Grand Teton’s crests, Bryce Canyon’s amber sandstone, and the Grand Canyon’s sheer immeasurable scale.
Northern California Adventure
Canny travellers have been flocking to NorCal for decades — swapping the USA’s cookie-cutter cities for the dazzling nature and small-town feel of this picture-perfect patch of America. This little slice of California manages to squeeze in a national park, a vast lake, swanky vineyards, and one of the most-loved cities in the States. And this trip lets you explore them all; with its slow pace and long stopovers giving you time to truly immerse yourself in NorCal’s sights and spirit.
It all starts with three nights in San Francisco, a blissfully free-thinking city thanks to the swinging sixties’ hippies and today’s dotcom generation. With 24-hour bike rental included, you could cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, the beaches, and Muir Woods – or brave the hills and zigzagging Lombard Street. With so much to squeeze in, it’s lucky you return for an extra day at the end of your trip.
Some head to Sonoma County for the wineries and tasting rooms of Napa and Sonoma, others for the fabulous things the vineyards attract – like exquisite restaurants, chic galleries, and stunning vine-striped scenery for hiking and biking. Of course, with three nights here you can fit in the sightseeing and the wine tasting.
Blessed by Mother Nature, NorCal’s beauty comes into full view at Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. With two nights in each, you’ll have time to bike or hike your way through forests, past beaches, and along the shore of Lake Tahoe; and to snap Yosemite’s jaw-droppingly photogenic monuments like Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and El Capitan.