You will visit: Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada & California
True to its name, escape for 2 weeks to some of the USA’s hottest destinations & experience what this amazing country has to offer. Start in Chicago & roll through America’s Midwest on your way to Sioux Falls. Salute Presidents past at Mt Rushmore, buckle up for a rodeo in Cody, then get back to nature on a hike through a National Park. Take it up a notch at the end as you rub shoulders with Vegas' high rollers & spot an Elvis or two! This tour really is a unique mix of things to see & do in the good ol’ USofA.
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Itinerary + Backstage Pass & ME Time Optionals
ME Time Optionals
ME Time optionals will take your trip to a whole new level with unforgettable experiences unique to the places you visit. See more, do more, live more & go home completely regret-free. Costs for these aren’t included in your tour cost & are payable to your Tour Manager in local currency.
Your Backstage Pass gives you incredible exclusive experiences you’ll only get with Contiki. From food to accommodation to exclusive access to the best sights, your Backstage Pass gives you unbeatable value & a completely unique travel experience.
Meet up with your fellow travelers and Tour Manager in happening Chicago before we continue on into the USA’s heartland and across the plains of Wisconsin.
Next stop: Milwaukee. It’s home to the nation’s largest beer brewers and to Harley-Davidson. Learn about the city’s famous brew in a behind the scenes look with our Local Guide at the Miller Brewery.
Later, we pull into Madison, a friendly college town. If you’re up for a night out, grab a few buddies and hang out among the lively student population on State Street, where there’s a choice of taverns, local specialty breweries, comedy clubs and bars.
- Drive through the American Midwests' beautiful farmlands
- Visit Miller Brewing Company, home to the nation's largest beer brewer
- Enjoy an evening in Madison, home to the University of Wisconsin
Cross the Midwest and pretty Minnesota farmlands before hitting the wild and stunning state of South Dakota.
We travel across the county’s biggest prairies and enter a region once dominated by the Sioux Tribes – the only Native American Nation to defeat the US army.
Arrive in Sioux Falls and get the background behind the city’s name with a visit to Falls Park, where many tribes originally established their homes.
- Visit Falls Park and the waterfall that gave the town its name
Watch the amazing natural sites of South Dakota go by as we journey through Badlands National Park, past a surreal, lunar landscape of rugged-edged cliffs, sharp spires and crevices. With a stop here there’s time to walk the easy-going Fossil trail, take it all in and see fossils found within the park that are on display.
- See the fascinating lunar landscape with its colourful buttes, pinnacles & spires
- Walk the Fossil Trail
Today is all about South Dakota’s Black Hills - sacred land to the Sioux and patriotic hot spot for Americans.
We visit iconic Mt Rushmore and see the 18 m (60ft) stony faces of four former US presidents. It took over 14 years to carve Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington and Roosevelt into the rock.
You’ll be blown away by the massive monument of the famous Sioux warrior, Crazy Horse. Standing at 563 feet tall and carved out of rock, this work in progress is amazing. Get a crash course in heroism and learn how he led the Sioux tribes to victory at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
Get ready for Deadwood and a real taste of the Wild West. Packed with old saloons, gambling parlors and Wild West storefronts from the gold rush era, Deadwood is National Historic Landmark. See shoot-outs in the street in the former stomping ground of outlaws like Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok.
- Visit Mt. Rushmore National Memorial & the Crazy Horse Memorial
Cut into Wyoming’s cowboy country and travel across historic routes that the legendary Pony Express (postal service on horseback) used to follow and see where the pioneers lived.
Then it’s on to Cody. With pick-up trucks, dusty streets, lots of cattle and legendary beginnings, this ‘rodeo capital of the world’ still has its Wild West charm.
Use your free time to check out Cody’s Historic Trail Town and get the low down on the cowboys who used to hang out in the local saloons, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or see the Irma Hotel Bar, an expensive gift from Queen Victoria to Buffalo Bill Cody, the town’s namesake.
Otherwise, if the season’s right, you’ve got a chance to experience an authentic rodeo and see some of professional cowboys at work in a fun night time optional.
- Cody Rodeo USD $19.00
Today we’re up for some of the USA’s most awe-inspiring scenery as we head to Yellowstone, the world’s first national park. The result of a massive volcanic eruption, the park is a breathtaking spectacle of nature. Tonight we head back to Cody.
- Catch a glimpse of buffalo, elk and possibly bears
- Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center USD $20.00
This morning we explore the crown jewel of America's national parks. It's a masterpiece of wilderness, wildlife & natural wonders. Set you sights on the towering spires of the Teton Range & arrive in the chic, yet western-styled ski & boarding town, Jackson Hole.
- See Yellowstones' stunning lake & some of its almost 300 waterfalls
- Trail Ride & Cookout (seasonal) USD $100.00
Take in the views through Idaho before arriving in the mountain town of Park City. Although it’s famous for its skiing & the Sundance Film festival, Park City is definitely a summer playground as well.
PLEASE NOTE: Trips departing before April 2015 will stay in Salt Lake City as the itinerary below
Enjoy the scenic drive through Idaho before arriving in Salt Lake City, Utah where you'll visit Temple Square and see the impressive six-spire Temple & Mormon Tabernacle.
- Visit Temple Square
- See the impressive six-spire Temple & Mormon Tabernacle
- Whitewater Rafting (Seasonal) USD $64.00
Get active & hike among the richly coloured rock formations of Bryce Canyon
National Park on the road from Park City to Kanab
- Hike one of the trails into the canyon & enjoy the dazzling colours
- See the bizarre shaped canyons & spires called "hoodoos"
Today, we discover the mind-blowing landscape of the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s most recognizable natural wonders and pride of Arizona.
A day here means time to take in the immensity and spine-tingling beauty of the scene-stealing canyon – you won’t be able to stop looking at it!
Hike along the rim for full-blown vistas of the dramatic scenery. See some of the oldest exposed rocks on earth, take in the depths of the abyss and soak up the wildness of the area. There are trails for all levels of hiking, so take it up a notch or cruise along at your own pace.
- Capture incredible photos with a visit to a panoramic viewpoint
- Visit a panoramic viewpoint for photos
- Visit Grand Canyon National Park
It’s a change of scene today when we cut back into Utah and visit Zion National Park – with loads of greenery, waterfalls and colorful cliffs, it’s a far cry from the dry parks and rock formations we’ve seen so far. Your Tour Manager will point out the park’s landmarks, including the Watchman and the West Temple.
Get ready to arrive in larger-than-life Las Vegas – a man-made entertainment oasis smack in the middle of the desert. Often dubbed Sin City, it’s all about glitz, neon lights, and excess. See the bright lights of this city and its world-famous casinos in a first taste of Vegas kitsch as the group heads down the main drag, the “Strip”, and your Tour Manager fills you in on the story behind Vegas. Then cruise downtown to Freemont Street and experience a slice of the spectacular at a light and laser show in a massive pedestrian mall.
- See the gigantic red & white stone formations of West Temple & Watchman
- See the soaring cliffs, sculptured canyons, and dramatic landscapes
- Evening tour of the famous Vegas 'Strip'
- Visit Fremont Street & see the light-and-laser show
With a free day, you’ve got time to get a real feel for this outrageous town, so keep an eye out for Elvis impersonators and fast-paced chapel weddings!
Explore more of the Strip and check out over-the-top versions of international icons, like the Eiffel Tower, Venetian canals and gondolas, a Roman temple or the pyramid, whose nightlight can be seen from the moon. Try your luck at one of the casinos, sit yourself down at a blackjack table and watch the high-rollers or go for a ride at one of the casino’s theme-parks. If you work up an appetite, tuck into an all you can eat buffet, and lunch American style.
For something different, discover Las Vegas’ trademark art at the Neon Museum and for a look into this town’s atomic heyday in the 50s, visit the Atomic Testing Museum.
If you just want to relax, position yourself poolside back at the hotel and soak up the Las Vegas sun.
Tonight, get some pointers on Las Vegas’ hot spots from your Tour Manager and make the most of this towns’ 24/7 action with some of your new friends.
Hotel Hotel Breakfast
- Live it up Vegas-style with a limo ride & champagne
- Experience some of the world's largest hotels & casinos
- Non-stop nightlife
- V Theater USD $58.00
- Helicopter Flight - Grand Celebration USD $367.00 (plus fuel surcharge)
Leaving behind Las Vegas, we journey through the vast Mojave Desert, with its iconic Joshua trees, into Southern California. Our tour ends once we arrive in Los Angeles, where it’s time to say goodbye to your new friends.
- See the famous Joshua Trees
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