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THE Great American Crossing

21 days Guided Tours
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Gettysburg
  • Niagara Falls
  • Detroit and the Great Lakes
  • Chicago
  • Mt Rushmore
  • Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks
  • Bryce Canyon
  • The Grand Canyon
  • Route 66
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • The Pacific Highway
  • San Francisco

Virgin Holidays' view

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.

Itinerary

Day 1: UK– New York

Fly from the UK to New York. Arrive in New York City and transfer to your hotel where you will meet with your ATI Tour Director in the evening. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in New York.

Day 2: New York – Philadelphia – Washington, D.C. (Approximately 269 miles)

We depart New York for Philadelphia, where we spend the morning exploring the historic district of the “City of Brotherly Love” and the birthplace of a nation. See the Liberty Bell, and stroll through Independence National Historic Park and Mall. Then continue to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Accommodation stay – 2 Nights in Washington D.C.

Day 3: Washington, D.C.

Enjoy a city tour with such highlights as the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the White House and Arlington National Cemetery, site of the JFK Memorial. Spend the remainder of the day exploring some of the many museums comprising the Smithsonian Institute or simply stroll the banks of the Potomac River.

Day 4: Washington, D.C. – Gettysburg – Niagara Falls (Approximately 541 miles)

Today, visit Gettysburg National Military Park, site of one of the most decisive battles during the American Civil War, and the place where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous address in 1863. We then travel through upstate New York to Buffalo and finally cross the international border into Canada, where the thundering noise and mist of Niagara Falls permeates the air. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in Niagara Falls.

Day 5: Niagara Falls – The Great Lakes – Detroit (Approximately 296 miles)

Spend the morning sightseeing at Niagara Falls. Stroll along Table Rock and view the thundering waters of Horseshoe Falls. In the late afternoon, return to the United States, crossing the border and continuing to your hotel in a suburb of Detroit, known as “Motor City USA”. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in Detroit.

Day 6: Detroit – Chicago (Approximately 323 miles)

This morning we make an early start to visit the fascinating Henry Ford Museum. After time exploring the many exhibits of the museum we will visit the nearby Ford plant and watch a modern production vehicle roll off the ever busy factory floor. We then leave Motor City behind and travel along Lake Michigan to Chicago for our overnight stay. Accommodation stay – 2 Night stay in Chicago.

Day 7: Chicago

Today we will enjoy a short tour of the city’s highlights including Lake Shore Drive, the Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 8: Chicago – Mississippi River Crossing – Sioux City (Approximately 598 miles)

Travel through Midwest farm country abundant in corn fields, wheat fields and dairy farms. Then we cross the mighty Mississippi River and travel into the state of Iowa to arrive just as Lewis & Clark did 200 years ago on the banks of the Missouri River. Overnight in Sioux City. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in Sioux City.

Day 9: Sioux City – Badlands – Mt. Rushmore – Deadwood/Rapid City (Approximately 588 miles)

Travel westward through the grasslands of South Dakota and onwards to Badlands National Park, once home to the buffalo and antelope, and filled with colorful rock formations. Then we continue on to the Black Hills, sacred to the Plains Indians and home to Mount Rushmore. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in Rapid City.

Day 10: Deadwood/Rapid City – Bighorn Mountains – Cody (Approximately 399 miles)

Enter the state of Wyoming, which has twelve mountain ranges intermixed with deserts and rolling grasslands, and continue to Cody for the night. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in Cody.

If overnight in Cody is not possible due to weather or adverse road conditions in Yellowstone, overnight will be in Billings Livingston, Montana.

Day 11: Cody – Yellowstone (Approximately 110 miles)

Drive past the mountains in Wyoming to Yellowstone, America’s first National Park, and enjoy a sightseeing tour of this immense geothermal wonderland including: geysers, waterfalls, wildlife and canyons. Highlights will include Yellowstone Lake, Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Canyon’s majestic falls, and the beautiful Hayden Valley. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in Yellowstone.

Day 12: Yellowstone – Grand Teton – Salt Lake City (Approximately 489 miles)

Travel through Grand Teton National Park (weather permitting) and see awesome mountain peaks towering over 13,000 ft. Visit the Snake River Outlook and try your eye at capturing the stunning landscape made famous by Ansel Adam’s iconic shot. Later, arrive in the Mormon State of Utah and take a short city tour of its capital, Salt Lake City. The followers of Brigham Young built one of the best-planned cities in the country. See the State Capital building and visit famed Temple Square and the Tabernacle before arriving at the hotel for the evening. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in Salt Lake City.

Day 13: Salt Lake City – Bryce Canyon (Approximately 304 miles)

Continue today to spectacular Bryce Canyon, where a tour through a multi-colored world of sandstone spires and pinnacles, “hoodoos”, will dazzle the eye. This evening, weather permitting, be sure to gaze upon the spectacular night sky filled with sparkling stars & brilliant constellations and the aroma of pinewood campfires. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in Bryce Canyon.

Day 14: Bruce Canyon – Lake Powell – Grand Canyon – Flagstaff (Approximately 319 miles)

Depart Bryce Canyon this morning and journey to stunning Lake Powell, where crystal blue water laps against towering red-rock canyon walls. Lake Powell is the second-largest man-made lake in America, and one in a series of lakes formed by the damming of the Colorado River. Then visit colossal Grand Canyon National Park, one of the seven great natural wonders of the world. Stop at the Canyon rim to fully experience this mile-deep canyon’s plunging gorges, rising spires, extinct volcanoes and, below the rim, the winding Colorado River. Overnight in Flagstaff, a famed stop on Historic Route 66. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in Flagstaff.

Day 15: Flagstaff – Seligman/Route 66 – Las Vegas (Approximately 293 miles)

This morning depart Flagstaff and travel on to Las Vegas, the dazzling “Entertainment Capital of the World”. Along the way, pass through Seligman, a town built along the famed Route 66 that looks as if it were frozen in time sixty years ago. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to explore the dazzling Las Vegas Strip. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in Las Vegas.

Day 16: Las Vegas – Mojave Desert – Beverly Hills – Los Angeles (Approximately 311 miles)

Travel to Los Angeles through the Mojave Desert, where clusters of unique Joshua trees dot the mountainous landscape. Upon arrival in Los Angeles you will enjoy a tour through the “City of Angels” including Hollywood, Sunset Strip and parts of Beverly Hills, before reaching your hotel. Accommodation stay – 2 Night stay in los Angeles.

Day 17: Los Angeles

Today we suggest an optional full-day tour visiting the world’s largest movie studio and theme park: Universal Studios. Get an inside look at the sets and uncover the behind the scenes secrets of legendary films or perhaps, for the more adventurous, take one of the Studios’ feature rides including Jurassic Park and Revenge of the Mummy.

Day 18: Los Angeles – Malibu – Santa Barbara – Shell/Pismo Beach (Approximately 217 miles)

Leave Los Angeles in the morning and travel north through one of California’s favorite vacation spots, Santa Barbara, where palm-lined walkways border white sandy beaches. The city is famous for its mission and Spanish heritage. Along the way, stop at an iconic California lifeguard tower made famous in “Baywatch”. Continue along the coast to Shell/Pismo Beach. Accommodation stay – 1 Night  stay in California Central Coast.

Day 19: Shell/Pismo Beach – Carmel/Monterey – San Francisco (Approximately 309 miles)

Today we make our way north to Carmel, home of actor/director Clint Eastwood. Enjoy browsing the shops and galleries of this famous artists’ colony. Traveling further north, visit Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Stroll the Pier to Cannery Row, brought to fame by John Steinbeck’s novel. In the afternoon pass the fertile valleys of Castroville and Santa Clara en route to San Francisco, the “City by the Bay.” Tour concludes upon arrival at the hotel. Accommodation stay – 1 Night stay in San Francisco.

Days 20-21: San Francisco – UK

Explore San Francisco before transferring to the airport by Supershuttle for your overnight flight to the UK. Arrive into the UK on day 21.

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability, flights (if included) and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated, not tour only. Single room and flight upgrade prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the 2018 tour itinerary and additional tour notes.

Pre/Post Tour information

If you would like to extend your trip or make the tour part of a longer holiday, we can easily add on a pre or post night stays for you. Our Sales Team will work with you to arrange the best connecting flights and book any additional hotel stays. Simply tell us what you’d like and we can arrange it.

Time difference

  • GMT – 5 hours Eastern States
  • GMT – 6/7 hours East/Mid-Western States
  • GMT – 8 hours Western States

Hotel List

  • New York City - Affinia Manhattan (or similar)
  • Washington, D.C. - Omni Shoreham (or similar)
  • Niagara Falls - BW Cairn Croft (or similar)
  • Detroit - Best Western Greenfield Inn (or similar)
  • Chicago - Hilton Oakbrook Resort (or similar)
  • Sioux City - Marina Inn & Suites (or similar)
  • Rapid City - Best Western Ramkota (or similar)
  • Cody - Buffalo Bill Village (or similar)
  • Yellowstone - Gray Wolf Inn / Brandin Iron Inn (or similar)
  • Salt Lake City - Red Lion Hotel Salt Lake Downtown (or similar)
  • Bryce Canyon - Bryce View Lodge (or similar)
  • Flagstaff - Days Inn Route 66 Flagstaff (or similar)
  • Las Vegas - Luxor Las Vegas - Pyramid Rooms (or similar)
  • Los Angeles - Marriott LAX (or similar)
  • Central Coast - Holiday Inn Express Solvang (or similar)
  • San Francisco - Hotel Carlton (or similar)

Tour inclusions

  • Private air conditioned motorcoach transportation throughout
  • Accommodation and sightseeing as listed above
  • Service of an English Speaking guide.

Tour exclusions

  • International flight in economy class, including all UK and overseas airport taxes and applicable fuel surcharges
  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips & gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required ESTA application
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary.

Dining inclusions

Room Only

Included activities

Tours listed in the itinerary.

Optionals

Tours will be listed in the itinerary. Should you choose to participate in an additional excursion, payment to the tour director can be made with cash or credit card. We encourage you to request and save your receipt. Please note that optional tours cannot be booked in advance, as many require a minimum number of passengers in order to operate.

  • Washington Monuments at night with dinner in fashionable D.C.
  • Maid of the Mist ride with lunch at Niagara Falls
  • Architectural river cruise in Chicago
  • Visit the Willis Skydeck
  • Santa Monica visit with dinner
  • Tour Universal Studios, learn how movies are made
  • Dinner at the Roof Restaurant in Salt Lake City for panoramic views of Temple Square
  • Stop by the finish line of Historic Route 66
  • “All-American” Picnic at a surprise destination en route

Accommodation

Accommodation listed on the itinerary is a mix of 3-4V graded properties. Please note some tours are up to 3 weeks in duration and there may be some nights when staying in remote locations e.g. the National Parks, when the ‘V’ rating may vary. Hotels are subject to change up until 30 days prior to departure, but you will be advised of any changes.

U.S. Occupancy

It is important to keep in mind that in U. S. hotels, rooms that have been booked for two people may contain one or two beds, of varying sizes. Normally, hotel rooms contain one Queen / King Size bed, or two Double beds. A room with two Double beds is considered suitable for three or four occupants. Unlike other areas of the world, it is extremely rare to find a “triple” room, or a room containing three beds. Oftentimes, hotels are able to provide an additional “roll-away” bed (for a nominal nightly fee, to be paid on an individual basis by the passenger directly to the hotel.) Please be aware that such extra beds are not available in the National Parks, in some older hotels, and in areas where fire regulations place strict restrictions on the number of guests and/or beds in a room. While requests can certainly be made ahead of time, and while every effort will be made to secure a room that meets your specific bedding needs, ATI cannot guarantee bedding arrangements at any given hotel, as these arrangements lie wholly within the discretion of each hotel.

Journey times

Please note due to long distances covered on some of the tours, there will be some days when the majority of the day will be spent on the coach, so just sit back and enjoy the view.

Group size

Minimum 20 passengers, maximum approximately 50 passengers (full coach).