Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)

Tour Length
27 days
From
US$4008
Overview Reviews

  • Alice
  • Alice
  • Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 7 Countries
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Southern in November

05 Nov 2015 - 30 Nov 2015

So honesty. November 2015 was a VERY warm November for the USA, so while this is true for my time, it is probably not true for a usual November tour!!!

The Grand Southern is a combination of two tours (LA-NOLA) Southern Adventure and (NOLA-NYC) Eastern Discovery.

The first half of my trip is a fantastic mix of party, history and natural wonder. The second half is a lot more party. History and culture is more focused on DC on this half.

My guide Rachael Bushner was freaking amazing! Info, playlists, local insights always on point. She made it a really fantastic trip. Really approachable. More than earned her tip! The driver, less amazing.

This tour can be super fun. Relax and let everything else go. I held on to work pressures for a while, but after a while (particularly Vegas) you bond and end up with new friends.

We missed seeing Little Rock, which left a bad taste in my mouth. But I still had a great time on tour.

Weather: Pack layers. Admittedly it was super warm, so I only really needed them in Grand Canyon, DC and NYC, but have options. The canyon gets super cool, particularly at night.

The Optionals:
Group Photo: I like them, they are nice to look back on.
Cirque Show: Worth it, seeing a show in Vegas is always different.
High Roller Pass: The people on my trip that did it said it was great for views of the strip (better at night).
Canyon Helicopter: No question, do it! I did the longer one, the shorter one apparently can be a little short. We went all the way over to the North Rim (far side). I am still in awe!
Canyon Jeeping: My group went Jeeping around the canyon, a great way to cover a lot of ground and our guide was super knowledgeable and hilarious!
Durango stuff: None was in season when we were there, and there is really nothing in Durango before noon.
Ballooning: Couldn't operate, but I am told it is amazing.
Cowboy Stadium Tour: I wouldn't do it again, but it was interesting. Their guides will spend a lot of time talking about tiles and the number of TV screens. It is more a funny story later thing, particularly if everyone is relaxed and having fun.
Rock and Soul Museum: If you are hard core muso or enthusiast it is great, if you only do one in Memphis do Sun Studios. If doing both you will have virtually no free time in Memphis.
Sun Studios: A bit of fun, but between this and Graceland most of your full day in Memphis is gone. I would go to the Lorraine Motel (Civil Rights Museum) instead of either.
Taste of New Orleans: Not worth it. Pretty much everyone on my trip did it, but everyone on my table was disappointed.
School of Cooking: Fun, but the class is with the general public. Also it is watching someone else cook, not cooking yourself, just a heads up, I misunderstood.
Swamp Tour: Check if it is alligator season! The people on my tour saw some and had fun, but the warm weather really helped in that regard.
Universal Studios: Fun day. A bit of something for everyone. Some demonstration shows, meet characters, rides, etc. I liked it. Choose LA or Orlando, not both!
Party Cruise: Can be a bonding experience and a fun night. Drinks are super expensive in Miami, there are some included. I stayed at the hotel drinking on the roof top with some of the other travellers which was super fun too!
Bike Tour: You don't have to be super fit, so it can be a great way to kick of your day.
Speed boat: A bit of fun, seeing the homes of the rich and influential. Can also get you soaked!
Parasailing: Didn't run.
Speedway: If you are a serious rev-head it can be great, otherwise it is a long time at an empty race track.
NYC Pass: Great. If you are doing NY Uncovered, it is included in that.
Other NYC extras: Base on your own likes and dislikes. Note, they only run on certain days, so unless you are in NYC for over a week you can plan it, otherwise wait and see what is there on your days.

Would I recommend anything?
New Orleans, do a ghost tour.
Dallas, go to the rodeo.
Canyon, get up for the sunrise.
Pack a sense of adventure!!!

Review written Mar 2016

My Contiki was: Culture, History, Fun

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Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Best month of my life!

14 Jul 2014 - 08 Aug 2014

This trip was seriously great. We had an amazing tour guide and a great bunch of people on our tour, which I've learnt is very important. Loved the combination of big nights out in places like Vegas and Miami and the more relaxed places like the Grand Canyon.

Review written Jan 2016

My Contiki was: Epic, Party, Scenery

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  • Pippa
  • Pippa
  • Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Awwesomesauce

10 Dec 2015 - 04 Jan 2016

Trip was awesome!! The Grand Southern was a blast. It exceeded my expectations by so much. I had a great guide and bus driver (Sexy Chocolate). Our guide James was so knowledgeable about the history of the places we visited. He knew all the best place to eat and drink and made recommendations that were spot on, so we didn't waste our time trying to figure things out. Also he managed to score us a dinner reservation at the famous Mrs Wilkes Dinning Room in Savannah. Obama has eaten there. By far the best southern food I've ever had. If your tour guide can't get you in there, go and line up as soon as you get into Savannah, it'll be worth it.

All the places we hit were fantastic. There wasn't a spot where I thought "Meh could have skipped this". If anything I'd wish we'd had longer in some places, especially the places we hit up for just one night.

Great people on the tour. I was worried it'll just be a bunch of people looking to get drunk but it wasn't like that at all. I think when you spend that much money, people actually want to experience the trip and not just drink through it. At least that's what I found with my group.

If you're on the fence about doing this trip...jump! Don't hesitate, you won't ever regret it.

Review written Jan 2016

My Contiki was: Over&Over, SexyChocolate, Hashtag!

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Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Suddenly, you wish you did this everyday

22 Oct 2015 - 16 Nov 2015

This trip was incomparable to anything that I have ever done in my entire life. It was by far the best experience that I have ever done in my entire life.

The places we visited were amazing, from Vegas to Miami, from the Grand Canyon to Memphis, from Savannah to Panama City Beach - every place was a perfect stopover for another beautiful day with everybody on the trip.

It's crazy to think what suddenly becomes the norm, waking up every morning hungover and yet, still so ready for the day ahead with the people you love, is all but over now. While the majority of the people on the trip were Australian, we had influences from the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Switzerland who were all just the loveliest of people.

Our tour guide Serena was the perfect leader for a group so kind and caring and I can't thank her enough for making my first Contiki trip so enjoyable that now I can't wait to do many more. Money is all but irrelevant to the time you spend gaining such an enriching experience on Contiki.

The places were great, the tour was great, the options were great but what trumps all were the people on my trip. They are what made our trip the best time of my life and while I like to think I've made everyone's trip just a little bit more enjoyable, I'm grateful and humble that they have made such a positive impact on my life.

Book this trip, enjoy the journey and when it gets to the end, don't be upset that it's over and it's "goodbye", it's just a "catch you later".

Review written Nov 2015

My Contiki was: Relaxing, Comforting, Best

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Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The absolute best time of my life

24 Aug 2015 - 18 Sep 2015

I could go on and on and on about this trip because it really was the most incredible time in my life. But, honestly for anyone who is even mildly considering doing this tour - do it! I cannot give you my experiences but I can promise you it will be absolutely incredible.

I went on my own and made lifelong friends that I'm already planning another trip with.

From the moment you start this tour it's high intensity, lots of drinking, lots to take in and super fast paced - and that never stops. The entire time is crazy busy, crazy partying and crazy fun. Some of the destinations where you think you'll have a quiet night and just wash your hair are the nights that you end up naked in the ocean at 3am. I'm not by any means a big partier, but this trip brings the best out in you and I cannot emphasise that enough.

My favourite places were Vegas and Miami - just for the atmosphere and weather, but absolutely everywhere was a new and exciting experience. I did the majority of the optionals and for the most part they were really awesome. And the accommodation is amazing (the Grand Canyon being the exception)!

If you're lucky enough to get Harold (sexy Chocolate) as your driver and Serena as your Tour Manager, you'll have an absolutely amazing and hilarious time.

For anyone who is like me and is reading reviews to work out whether or not you want to do the tour, DO IT. You will have #noregrets :)

#ContikiSerena #RollOut

Review written Oct 2015

My Contiki was: Exceeded huge expectations, Best time of my life, SoManyRegretsWhileDrunk

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Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

TRIP OF A LIFETIME

25 May 2015 - 19 Jun 2015

I would do this trip again in a heartbeat! Such an amazing way to see and do so much in a month! Don't plan on sleeping - you get used to it! You also get used to the large alcohol consumption everyday/night... Long live the American free pour!

The huge cities are amazing but so are all the little ones in between, the trip is so well planned out! Do all the optionals if you can! Especially the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon!

We had the BEST tour guide Maloney, I love you doll! And our bus driver Big E was such a honey!

You truly make the best memories and friends for life! If you are thinking about booking this trip just do it! #noregrets #maloneycontiki

Review written Oct 2015

My Contiki was: WILD , AMAZING, LIFECHANGING

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  • Mitchell
  • Mitchell
  • Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 1 Country
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Best time ever!!

28 May 2015 - 22 Jun 2015

I can see why this trip is so popular!!
Seen so much in such a small amount of time, such a well organised trip with the best road crew (Dylan & Ricky) who made it the best trip!!
Being underage did limit the nightlife experience for me - but planning to do it again when i am 21.
Only negative - i wish i was still there :(

Review written Jul 2015

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  • Tatiana
  • Tatiana
  • Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 6 Countries
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Grand Southern was a Grand Adventure!!!

16 Apr 2015 - 11 May 2015

Review written May 2015

My Contiki was: Every day was the best day of my life!!!

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  • Meg
  • Meg
  • Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 6 Countries
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

No words,

08 Jan 2015 - 02 Feb 2015

Review written Apr 2015

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  • Vayda
  • Vayda
  • Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 2 Countries
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

UNBELIEVABLE #noregrets

06 Nov 2014 - 01 Dec 2014

Honestly this was the most amazing experience of my life!!! My friend and I come from Australia and were only 18 when we did this contiki tour and although there is +21 drinking age limit it was fairly easy to score drinks where ever we went - we were never ID'd.
Now I thought I would right a review on what to expect for this tour, what I would recommend and what I wouldn't.

Now I would first of all recommend rocking up to the night before get together, as it gives yourself the chance to meet the tour manager as well as the other people you will be travelling with for the next month. I would also HIGHLY RECOMMEND staying in the hotel where you will be meeting the next day. Although it can be pricey (especially if you are starting in New York) it is well worth it and you don't have to stress over catching a cab in time.

Also incase you didn't know, no matter where you start (whether it be New York or Los Angeles) you will not be given the opportunity to explore that city with Contiki!!! The moment you hop on that bus you set off to your next location (e.g. Washington D.C. or Las Vegas), so make sure you give your self at least a minimum of 4 days to explore the city your in (I recommend at least a week).
Also whether you start in New York or end there I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND doing the New York Uncovered contiki tour. It not only gives you accommodation at a cheap price, but it also takes you absolutely everywhere you want to go! They get you tickets for Nix games, Broadway tickets etc. Remember #noregrets

Now do not forget to bring your drivers license as a form of photo ID, as you don't want to be bring your passports with you to clubs etc. My tour started at the beginning of November and it was so cold it wasn't funny! Make sure you pack way more warmer clothes than shorts etc.

Now as to the ME Time optionals, here is what I recommend and what I don't etc.:

- Cirque du Soliel: even if you have seen this show in your own country, it is nothing like it is when you see it in Vegas! A must do!

- Grand Cayon Biking: It wasn't available when I went on this trip

-Grand Canyon Helicopter: ABSOLUTELY MUST DO NO EXCEPTIONS!!! Also I would recommend going on the longer more costly flight as you see more, plus it takes 5 minutes to fly to the Grand Canyon and then fly back.

- Group Photo: up to you, I didn't get one. Plus members on Contiki tag you in them on facebook, so there really isn't any need.

- Rafting: It wasn't available when I went on this trip

- Snowmobile: It wasn't available when I went on this trip

- Horseback riding: It wasn't available when I went on this trip

- Hot Air ballooning: It was too windy the morning we went to do it, but apparently its breath taking!!!

- Cowboy Stadium: you might be thinking it sounds crap, but it is absolutely cool and worth doing even if your not into sport (which I'm not). Well worth the money for the tour.

- Stockyard Championship Rodeo: was cheap and actually a good time, plus its one of those stereotype American things that you can say that you've gone and done.

- Sun Studios: I wasn't particularly fond of this mini museum (lasted for about 20mins), but I think it was worth it to go and see it, besides you probably will never be back again!!

-Rock & Soul Museum: I wouldn't recommend this as there are better things to do and see while in Memphis.

*When in Memphis make sure you go and see the Martin Luther King Jr. Museum (its not included in ontiki) it is worth it for the history alone.*

- School of Cooking: I didn't do this as I wanted to explore New Orleans in my own time, but I heard it was enjoyable, but just a reminder you don't get much of a chance to explore New Orleans (so consider your options).

- Airboat Swamp Tour: Do NOT do this if it is not alligator season!!!! We went out for two whole hours and saw absolutely nothing because it wasn't the season. I think the season is from June to September.

- Universal Studios: A MUST DO, NO EXCEPTIONS!!! This is the mecka of all theme parks, don't bother doing the one in L.A. if your doing this tour.

- Thriller Speed Boat Ride: Really enjoyable and a great way to see Miami and the rich suburb/islands. Tip: don't sit at the back if you don't want to get wet!

- Group Photo: not really worth it to be honest

- Newseum: by far the best museum in Washington D.C. So therefore a must do.

- New York City Pass: a must get if you a planning to stay in New York for a few days, it allows you to see absolutely everything you wan't to see. Don't get it however if you a planning on doing the New York Uncovered (they will provide you with a free one).

- Sex and the City Tour: didn't do it but wished I had, apparently it was amazing!!!

- Gossip Girl Tour: didn't do it but wished I had, apparently it was amazing!!!

- TV & Movie Tour: again didn't do it but wished I had, in this tour you see scenes from Friends, How I met your mother etc.

Review written Mar 2015

My Contiki was: AMAZEBALLS

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  • Jackie
  • Jackie
  • Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 2 Countries
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

AMAZING

25 Dec 2014 - 19 Jan 2015

This was our second Contiki and just like the last one it was an incredible experience. Our tour manager Rachel was so blimin good, and always went out of her way to make sure every single person was doing good. Marquis our driver was 1. an incredible driver (have you ever parallel parked a bus) and 2. hard case! such an awesome guy.

We were really lucky and had a great, diverse mix of people and everyone kind of found their "place" quite quickly.

The accomodation and the included meals were pretty decent and i'll be honest some of those early starts were hard work!

If you're looking for a way to see the USA in a hurry this is for you, don't over think it, just book it!

Highlights for me had to be NYC, Charleston and the Grand Canyon.

If anyones interested I was away for 5 weeks and did a weekly blogpost while I was there, heaps of photos and info on the stuff we did for anyone yet to make up their mind on this trip =)

http://jackiejean.blogspot.com/search/label/Travel%20Diaries#.VO6aybOUePU

Review written Feb 2015

My Contiki was: life changing, fastpaced, amazing

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  • Tarajl93
  • Tarajl93
  • Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The bomb :)

08 Jan 2015 - 02 Feb 2015

Awesome trip, very fast-moving and so much fun

Review written Feb 2015

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Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Amazing

01 Aug 2013 - 26 Aug 2013

Trip of a life time

Review written Jan 2015

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  • kate
  • kate
  • Level 5 Traveler
  • 5 Contikis
  • 22 Countries
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

had a GRAND time :)

23 Jun 2014 - 18 Jul 2014

It's hard to put into words how amazing this trip was. There was countless moments when I felt like pinching myself because I didn't believe I was there. I really recommend this tour if you want to see a great snapshot of America. I would love to list all my favourite moments but I would be typing an absoltute novel. Big shoutout to my amazing tour manager, Jack Larsen and our driver Marcel "E" - who helped make the tour so incredible!

Review written Dec 2014

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Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Great Tour

04 Apr 2013 - 29 Apr 2013

Had a great tour with a great group of party goers and the trip was made all the better with Jack Larsen as our Tour Manager!

Review written Dec 2014

My Contiki was: Epic, Awesome, Crazy

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  • Sarah
  • Sarah
  • Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 2 Countries
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Grand Southern Tour Sept/Oct 2014

02 Oct 2014 - 27 Oct 2014

What an amazing trip! I highly recommend everyone to do this trip. What an unbelievably great Contiki crew that I had to make my trip absolutely awesome. Rachel and Ricky were so helpful the whole trip AND after the trip. I had an absolute ball. #family #noregrets

Review written Nov 2014

My Contiki was: amazing, full on, mateship

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  • Holly
  • Holly
  • Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 2 Countries
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Grand Southern USA

31 Jul 2014 - 25 Aug 2014

This is an amazing way to see so much in a short space of time. From biking around the Grand Canyon to pool parties in Vegas to boat rides in Miami, there was so much to see and do. The optionals were fantastic, great variety of activities. I went on my own and it was my first time travelling out of Europe but I met so many great people, there was a fantastic atmosphere between everyone. The accommodation was good, some lovely hotels and some basic but we were so busy that we hardly spent much time in the hotel rooms. Our tour manager and bus driver were amazing, they were always there to help, give advice and just have a chat. It takes the hassle out of planning and organising and allows you to make the most of travelling and having fun!
I would highly recommend doing a contiki tour, it is one of the best things I've ever done. I'm doing another contiki next year in Australia!

Review written Oct 2014

My Contiki was: Amazing, Incredible, Unforgettable

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  • lynsey12
  • lynsey12
  • Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 2 Countries
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

What an unforgettable, life changing experience!

21 Jul 2014 - 15 Aug 2014

This was honestly the best thing i decided to do in my life! although travelling half way across the world was quite nerve wracking at first i cannot tell you how much it was completely worth it!

In this trip we saw everything there was possibly to see in southern america, i was at first looking forward to miami the most but was completely taken aback by how different places were! durango was AMAZING, moe's.. don't expect to be on good behaviour.. and texas was by far the peak of my trip due to a crazy band we met in a bar and had a rooftop drinking/..../ jam session all night, bus at 7 however KILLS YOU. but you find a way to get on with it.

the bus, no wifi, but it honestly doesn't matter, the people you meet become your best friends. i still face time the people i met constantly and am already arranging to go to australia and see them.

this trip offers everything but from my opinion it is a lot more fun if you enjoy partying, we had crazy day drinking sessions in the grand canyon and basically drank most nights. but there is something for everyone!!!

monte and ray ray were the BEST driver and tour manager we could of asked for. i cant tell you how sad i was to say goodbye to everyone when standing in the centre of new york!!!

if you don't do this trip then you will miss out on an experience that i cannot even summarise in words. just do it!

NO REGRETS.

Review written Oct 2014

My Contiki was: lifechanging, insane, PARTAY

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  • Sophi
  • Sophi
  • Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 3 Countries
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)

Grand Southern

14 Aug 2014 - 08 Sep 2014

was the best experence of my life...
amazing trip saw almost everything... makes me want to go back for more!

cant wait to book the grand northen

Review written Oct 2014

My Contiki was: Amazing, Enjoyable, Fun

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  • Sammieb389
  • Sammieb389
  • Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 17 Countries
Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

So many friends to sit with !

21 Aug 2014 - 15 Sep 2014

I went on this trip solo, and it was the best!
Made so many friends , and had so many awesome experiences.
They free pour in the USA so get ready to get really drunk, like white girl wasted , bed at 3 in the morning and up at 7 for bags to coach !
Like your sleep? We'll Soz you won't be getting much, but it's totally worth it, you don't want to miss out. You get to see so many things and visit so many places that I can't even remember them all. Make sure you do Grand Canyon helicopter ride and horse riding in Durango.
Tips: girls take a pair of flats because after one night in heels you won't want to wear them anymore.
Best places were Grand Canyon, but don't follow the cowboy with the lights on his bike into the forest, just saying. Also loved Washington , so many historical things to see, but don't overload the hotel elevator and have to get the fire department to get you out, just saying !
In summary, if your considering this trip, just do it ! You will never know if you never go!
P.s beware of the new people :-/ they will come .

Review written Sep 2014

My Contiki was: Friends , Laughter , Mind opening

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  Back to Overview

What's Included

All of this & more, included as standard on your trip.

Accommodation

  • 26 nights accommodation: 24 nights in twin-share hotels, 2 nights in twin-share lodge
  • An experienced & professional Trip Manager & Driver team
  • Modern, air-conditioned coach with powerpoints for charging

Team

An experienced & professional Trip Manager & Driver team

Food

  • 32 meals: 19 breakfasts & 13 dinners

Inclusions

  • 2 World Heritage Sites visited
  • Evening tour of the famous Vegas 'Strip'
  • Visit Fremont Street & see the light-and-laser show
See More

Me Time

  • Group Photo
  • Cirque du’ Soleil show
  • High Roller Day Pass 11:30 - 18:00
  • High Roller Anytime
  • Grand Canyon Biking (seasonal)
  • Helicopter Flight - Imperial
  • Helicopter Flight - North Canyon
  • Rafting (seasonal)
  • Snowmobiles - Single or Double Rider (seasonal)
  • Horse Back Trail Ride (Seasonal)
  • Hot Air Balloon
  • Cowboy Stadium Tour (including transportation)
  • Rock & Soul Museum
  • Visit the legendary Sun Studios
  • Taste of New Orleans
  • School of Cooking
  • Airboat Swamp Tour
  • Universal Studios
  • Miami Party Cruise
  • Bike tour of South Beach
  • Thriller speed boat ride
  • Parasailing
  • Speedway Tour
  • Group Photo
  • New York City Pass
  • 'Sex and the City' Tour
  • 'Gossip Girl' Tour
  • TV & Movie Tour
See More

On a budget?

  • The average cost per day for this tour is US$148
  • You only need a US$200 deposit to book and pay in full 45 days before you travel.
  • Pay in installments, with Contiki Easy Pay
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