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ITINERARYTime spent in each place (in days)
Welcome the City of Angels and the most almighty 55 days of your life. Energy will be higher than ever as you meet your brand new Contiki fam. Just imagine the friendships you'll have by the end of this absolute travel extravaganza!
The first leg of the journey will take your group through Southern California and the vast Mojave Desert. It is here that you will become acquainted with the iconic Joshua trees, which the National Park and the U2 album are both named after. From here we'll head onwards into Nevada.
Viva Las Vegas! And you certainly will live the life of Las Vegas on this extended stop in the place so aptly dubbed ‘Sin City’. A nighttime tour of the famous ‘Strip’, including a stop for pics at the legendary Vegas sign will show you the after dark offerings of this absolutely outrageous city. Fremont Street is on tonight's agenda, where the main attraction is a super impressive light and laser show, before hitting the town, Sin City style.
You have today all to yourself but you’ll need to run to a tight schedule to fit in all of Vegas' weird and wonderful charms. Travel the world in a day, taking in the Eiffel Tower, a Venetian gondola and even an Egyptian pyramid, all whilst staying firmly within the city. Feeling romantic? Stop by and see one of the many Elvis impersonators for a shotgun wedding ceremony, and maybe even get hitched yourself...(joking). Tonight live like a baller while you cruise along the 'Strip' in a party bus and don't stress, the bill is on us. Later, you’ll witness the 24-hour party scene first hand when you head out for a night with the crew.
Today we are on the move through the desert of Nevada, heading into Arizona’s high country. You will have some down time on the coach, so kick-back, relax, and take in the surroundings as you watch the big ol' US of A fly by.
Following the legendary Route 66, we stop off for a souvenir hunt in the old historical town of Seligman. You’ll be transported back to the 1940s while you stroll past the original facades of shops and motels.
We'll settle in for the night at our comfy lodge in the heart of the National Park walking distance to the rim of the great Grand Canyon.
You will be contemplating life, existence, and the immense size of the Grand Canyon with a free day to spend in Grand Canyon National Park. You can spend your day feeling a part of the wilderness as you go hiking through the exposed rock, but by far the most spine tingling experience at this natural wonder is one of our optional chopper rides through the UNESCO World Heritage site. Indulgent sure, but one of those life moments you deserve to treat yourself to. Tonight settle in to watch the sunset on the rim - the epitome of a #NOREGRETS moment for you and the squad.
It is undoubtedly difficult to leave the Grand Canyon, but it is time to enter the Wild, Wild West! Onwards to Monument Valley! But first, one last stop for photos at the red rockin' canyon before it's time to hit the road.
An iconic desert backdrop that has been home to countless movie sets, Monument Valley serves up mesas and stone spires as far as the eye can see. You'll recreate the world famous running scene from Forrest Gump, because Life is Like Box of Chocolates! You'll get to know the Native American history of the area as you learn about the Navajo way of life in the largest reservation in the United States. Later, we will head through a narrow gorge to the striped walls of the Painted Desert where you'll even see a rock shaped like a sombrero - hola!
Next it's on to Colorado’s adventure capital, our home for the night. Set amidst a mountainous backdrop, Durango is a cute old mining town where the terrain is rugged, the trees are abundant and quaint gets a whole new meaning. This college town has young blood running through it's veins, so a great place to head out and explore when the sun goes down.
The great outdoors is a way of life in Durango with adrenalin pumping river rafting on offer to you and your fellow thrill seekers. If you’d rather explore the region on horseback then pick your trusty steed and be on your way in true old school traveller style. This afternoon it’s a total change of scenery when we enter New Mexico, where sunbaked earthen brick buildings stand out against the bright blue sky.
Be prepared for another scene change ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Famed for Breaking Bad and mountain landscapes, Albuquerque is beautiful desert oasis. Earlybirds can take to the skies tomorrow morning on an optional Hot Air Balloon ride.
Rise and shine with the larks for an experience to remember- an optional hot air balloon ride that will have you drifting over the mighty Rio Grande. Albuquerque is legendary for its perfect ballooning conditions so get out there and experience the incredible vistas from such great heights.
Safely back on land, we will head towards the delightful melting pot of Santa Fe. America's oldest capital city boasts influences from Mexico, Spain, and American Indian cultures, a true melting pot of history, food, and culture! Take a walk around town to see interesting styles of architecture, shop for beautiful turquoise jewellery in the market and sample all of the different types of regional food on offer. This is one seriously tasty stop.
Today we head east into the heart of cowboy country-yes, this really is the way to Amarillo. What this town lacks in size, they truly make up for in big country pride. In true Americana Style we will visit the Cadillac Ranch, a route 66 roadside art installation dedicated to the classic age of the American Cadillac. Our hotel tonight even has a Texas Shaped pool and a hotel for your horse if you thought to bring it along. Feeling like a champion? Try your hat at 'the Big Texan Steak Challenge'- a true Man vs Food experience where you will pit your metabolism against a Texas Sized Steak. Eternal glory waits for the 10% of challengers able to complete the meal in under an hour. Are you texan enough?
After sleeping off that gigantic Texan steak dinner it's time to head somewhere BIG, because everything is bigger in Texas.
Today we arrive in Fort Worth, ready to take on anything and everything Texan. Still hungry after last night's feast? We've got you covered. Dive mouth first into an over-indulgent big BBQ feast of ribs, sausages, chicken and more - not for the faint hearted (veggies don't worry, you won't be going hungry). A night out with the locals will get you in the Texan spirit, before falling into a blissful sleep which will probably having you dreaming of BBQ.
Dallas is well known for its oil tycoons, ranchers, millionaire tech innovators, and of course, the Dallas Cowboys football team, better known as "America's Team." Feeling like an investigation? We include a visit to the 6th floor museum where you can learn more about the assassination of President John F Kennedy and try your hand at figuring out 'whodunnit.' Back in Forth Worth, enjoy lunch and sightseeing around Sundance Square, try a craft beer on the Ale Trail or pick up some genuine leather boots and hats at the world famous Justin's Boots. You will be looking good tonight as we head to the Fort Worth Stockyards, home of the cowboy hall of fame and the world's largest honkey tonk, Billy Bob.
We'll farewell Dallas as we head on to the border of Texas and Arkansas where you can literally be in two places at once. Stand with one cowboy boot planted in Texas and one in Arkansas when we visit the town of Texarkana (see what they did there).
See Little Rock the capital of Arkansas, and the infamous Central High School, the scene of a major turning point of the Civil Rights movement before continuing on to Memphis
This afternoon we cross over the Mississippi River and pull in to the musical mecca and BBQ capital of Memphis. Memphis moves to its own rhythm; blues, soul and rock’n’roll to be exact. Get a feel for this historically musical place as we start out with a city tour. See the Lorraine Motel (now the Civil Rights Museum), where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated back in 1968. See Mud Island, the Gibson guitar factory, the Orpheum Theatre, Rock’n’Soul Museum and the buzzing hub, Beale Street just to name a few. Get geared up tonight for a night to remember on world famous Beale Street.
Today we pay homage to the late, great, king of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley as we tour his former home, Graceland. You will get up close personal with his fabulously flamboyant jumpsuits and gold records. The afternoon is yours to do with what you will-we recommend a visit to Sun Studios, where many of Rock and Roll's greats have recorded over the years.
After feasting on BBQ delights and visiting Beale St in Memphis it's time to move it right along, heading to New Orleans.
On route to New Orleans we stop off at Jackson for a cruise around town before crossing over Lake Pontchartrain, which, interestingly enough, is the longest causeway in the world.
This city will romance you with its soul and have you swooning over its spiritual heart - the French Quarter. The main drag culminates at Jackson Square with the iconic wrought iron balconies lining the streets. You’ll be hard pressed to pick which you find more enchanting, the European/Caribbean fusion food or the non-stop jazz festival vibe. No matter which, tonight we turn up the volume and hit Bourbon Street to sample the live music and bar culture that New Orleans has to offer.
With a full day to yourself, it's time to get fully immersed in everything New Orleans. Start out at Cafe Du Monde for a tasty beignet, and shop at the French Market. This diverse city has so much going on; visit the Garden District, spend a few hours in the soul kitchens and jazz clubs of the French Quarter or even hang out in Jackson Square with the musicians, artists and fortunetellers. There's a cooking school on offer for those looking to fine-tune (or learn) their Gumbo, jambalaya and creole recipes.
There's some coach relaxation time today, which means we're on the road again. We will be travelling though Southern Mississippi and onto Panama City Beach. Hello coastal views...
Arriving in to the heat of Florida today we soak up some sun with an overnight stop at one of "The World's Most Beautiful Beaches" - Panama City Beach, testing out the hype with a dip in the clear blue waters.
With its white sand and aqua blue water, this beach is popular all year round with just about everyone from families to spring breakers. But all good things must come to an end, so onwards we go.
Orlando was once a farming town but has since undergone a transformation into the most visited place in Florida. It is now home to the happiest place on earth, Disney World. Walt Disney’s imagination was instrumental in turning this place into the fun, fantasy and amusement-loving spot that it is today. Savvy shoppers, this place has many an outlet mall just waiting for you to flex your credit card in - think rock-bottom prices on Nike, Ray-Ban, Lululemon and more - so prepare to do some serious bank balance damage.
How you spend today is entirely up to you. Will you be downing butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Straining your vocal chords on slides with gradients that shouldn't be legal at a water park? Or cuddling up to childhood friends like Minnie and Mickey at one of Disney World's four parks? Whatever your choice, it's sure to be a ripper of a day, and seeing as most parks also offer themed bars and clubs, it techically doesn't have to end.
We’ll bid adieu to the happy times had in Orlando with many fun memories and Mickey Mouse memorabilia as we move onto the sweet, sweet heat of marvellous Miami.
Hot, loud and fabulously flashy, Miami will knock your socks off. This character driven place has so many diverse neighborhoods, each with their own unique cultures. We'll cruise downtown, taking in the Miami Heat basketball arena and the outdoor shopping mecca, Bayside Marketplace, then why not go a little Miami Vice on a 'Thriller' speedboat tour of the Bay. After experiencing a slice of the city's Cuban side with a mouthwatering dinner tonight (on us), take a stroll down the super cool South Beach and peruse the art deco buildings and bright neon lights, finishing up with a night of dancing amidst Miam's uber fun club scene. Want to make it a night to really remember? Opt for our boat party and cruise around Miami harbour, spending your evening like the flashpack.
You’ll discover energetic Miami today with free time to do as you please. This urban tropical paradise is a fabulous place to people watch, so head down to Ocean Avenue and drink it all in. Swimming, bike riding tours or museum visits are also on the cards this afternoon. Little Havana is a must see with Cuban flavours to taste, dominoes to be played and salsa music to be danced to. Tonight, get into the nighttime vibes once again, because well, why not?
We'll be leaving Miami this morning, but Florida, we're not done with you yet...
It’s all about fast cars as we make our way to Daytona Beach, most well known as the NASCAR capital of America.
This morning is dedicated to down time, either laying low on the beach or hitting the skies on a parasail, then we're back on the road.
Next up, you can opt to visit the Kennedy Space Centre, where we make contact with planets far, far away. Home to NASA, the space centre represents a very important part in intergalactic exploration history. Here you’ll see the space shuttle launch pad, the massive buildings that make up the centre, and all the astronaut gear you could dream of.
We head though a wild life reserve and arrive in the picturesque city of St. Augustine, a true hidden gem in every sense of the word. This is America’s oldest inhabited city complete with cobblestone streets, quaint beaches and a lazy harbor port, and we'll start off with a walking tour to see it up close for ourselves. Spin back the clock a little more with a visit to the Spanish quarter, where you can romanticise about colourful courtyards and visit the 17th Century Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.
Adios St. Augustine, it’s been real nice. But we must push on to freewheeling Savannah where the southern charm will certainly be turned on for you and your fellow globe roamers.
Spared from the destruction of the Civil War, this stunning place still retains its original city squares and mansions, all in mint condition. You will have the chance to visit the beautiful Forsyth Park where oak trees covered in moss stand tall about the grounds, whist sub-tropical plants and flowers grow beneath. As the sun goes down, enjoy the nightlife this evening with a waterfront dining experience complete with the crew.
This morning we leave Raleigh behind and cross over the border into Richmond for a fine slice of history.
Welcome to this mighty nation’s capital, world travellers. It is the very core of the USA’s political world and is packed full of museums, monuments and some of the most important history in the country. Enjoy an overview of presidential history at the Lincoln Memorial, famous for being the spot where Martin Luther King gave his ‘I have a dream’ speech. With our Trip Manager leading the charge, we'll cruise on the coach under the city's glow, stopping for photos and talks along the way at the most iconic monuments.
Leaving the capital in our wake, we continue on the road to NYC, stopping off for a visit in Philadelphia.
Wassup Philly! Here we'll check out Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and you’ll see the historic Liberty Bell – Philadelphia’s main landmark - that weighs in at a whopping 2080lb (944kg). Make sure you save room for the local specialty - Philly cheese steak - before channelling Rocky on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Get some rest on the coach this afternoon, NYC is calling...
Start spreading the news, we're leaving today, to be a part of it in old New York. That's right ladies and gents, made it to ever wonderful NEW YORK!
HELLOOOOO BIG APPLE! Let’s get you somewhat more familiar with this place by opening up Manhattan. Museum Row includes all the most prestigious NYC galleries and historical museums and you will get to see it all. Shop till you drop on Fifth Avenue or take a spin over this huge city island in a chopper for the best possible view.
The Statue of Liberty is one of the world’s most recognisable icons - how many times have you seen her on the TV or in the movies? Well today if you're turn to see her for real, on us of course, and then you are free to roam wonderful New York. Peddle through Central Park, explore Greenwich Village or Soho, have a street vendor make you a hot dog - this place is just so vast and diverse. Foodies could take to the streets for a food cart walking tour, so keeping hungry is essential as you munch your way around the city on foot, or channel your inner Upper West-sider with a Gossip Girl tour. No matter what you choose to do, try and take in as much as possible because there's nothing like seeing NYC for the very first time.
Start your day with a stroll over the historic Brooklyn Bridge, then hit the Lower East Side and take in some immigration history at the Tenement Museum. Grab a gourmet bite to eat at the famous Chelsea Market or opt to channel New Yorks most famous foursome on a Sex and the City tour, then perhaps hit trendy Williamsburg or the East Village to check out some impressive urban street art. Then it's another one for the bucket list - we're heading to the most famous New York landmark, the Empire State Building. With an uninterrupted view of the concrete jungle lit up like a Christmas tree, that's one big tick off the ever growing list.
Boston is a delectable mix of history, hipsters and – thanks to the world-famous Red Sox - baseball. Spend the afternoon with your Trip Manager getting acquainted with the city’s core spots and distinct Irish flavour, then come night get friendly with the team over an included dinner and boogie round town.
Boston is steeped in history, so weave your way through the 18th century today on the Freedom Trail. This red-brick path winds past a plethora of sites integral to the revolution, and is guaranteed to inspire your inner rebel. Visit Harvard University (yes, the very same) and get a tour with one of the students. This hilarious look at student life will bring out the LOLs. Take well-deserved coffee breaks at groovy cafes, have a snooze in one of the nine parks that comprise the city’s “Emerald Necklace” and reward yourself with a mouthwatering seafood feast.
With the luck of the Irish, we pack our bags without leaving anything behind and make for Quebec via the wilds of Maine. Whizzing by jaw-dropping scenery and spotting the occasional moose out the window is sure to give you a second wind before we cross the border to Canada.
Quebec’s capital – Canada's Paris – is the only walled city in North America, and once you cop an eyeful of its beauty, you’ll see why they wanted to lock it away. We’ll pull in late today, and tonight you're welcome to take a traipse through town and sample the local watering holes.
With its cobbled streets and ancient stone houses, Quebec City’s UNESCO World-Heritage-listed old town is an open-air museum. After a history lesson with a Local Guide, get out and explore more of what the region has to offer: its vibrant art scene, Parisian-style eateries and quaint river boardwalk. If your tastebuds are feeling adventurous, try munching on duckling with maple syrup – a local delicacy. What else? You could check out the Chateau Frontenac - this red brick building built in 1983 is a landmark the city is definetely proud of. Champagne anyone? The city also boasts some pretty cool nightlife, so lets get out there and boozie, French style.
Bid Quebec au revoir as we head towards the jazzy island city of Montreal. Pretty scenic views, yes yes yes, we're talking panoramic. Camera at the ready.
Together, we’ll take a spin around Montreal’s Old Port and quays before driving up to Mt Royal, which offers sensational views of the city that will leave your head reeling. Back on sea level, we’ll familiarise ourselves with a few signature sites. If you’re hungering for an adrenaline rush this afternoon, jump in a jet boat and get wet in the rapids of the St Lawrence River, or perhaps just take a wander around time trying out your best high school French.
Today is all yours - soak up as much of Montreal’s creative juices and infectious joie de vivre as you can take. Add some cutting-edge threads to your wardrobe at The Main, munch your way through various countries at Jean-Talon market and dance the night away at a jazz bar downtown or in the Latin Quarter. It would be rude not to grab a serving of poutine on the way home, wouldn’t it?
Still bopping along to the sax from the night before, we bid farewell Montreal.
These 1000 islands are as pretty as a picture and a great way to relax and take in the views before we hit the city. On our stop, you'll have chance to board a boat and float your way along the water for an hour of bliss. These islands are dotted with historic buildings and castles (who said castles were just for Europe, right?). Back on land we make our way further into Canadian territory, with Toronto in our sights.
Welcome to Toronto, the largest city in Canada. Your Trip Manager will fill you in on the hot spots of this fabulous city soon after we arrive, and will then give you the afternoon off to find your niche in its cosmopolitan melting pot.
It’s time to wash away the city grit at what is undoubtedly the best-known waterfall on the planet: Niagara Falls.
We leave Toronto behind us and continue on back across the border into the US and Cleveland, home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
What was once a workingman's town has now had a complete musical make over and cultural re-awakening. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is it’s most popular attraction with memorabilia like Janis Joplin’s Porsche, Jimi Hendrix’s hand written lyrics and Ray Charles’ sunglasses. Even if you aren’t a music head this place will inspire you. Tonight we head out to see just what all the Cleveland fuss is about, if there's a game on you could head to the Baseball, or hit up the the town for a taste of the nightlife.
Departing Cleveland today we'll head through America's Midwest as we move on towards Chicago, known as the ‘windy city’.
Next up, the Great Lakes and Chicago. Fusing the cutting-edge and the traditional, Chicago serves up innovative architecture and all-American sports, as well as an arts scene that pushes the boundaries yet also keeps to its roots. There is plenty to do, so we'll start by seeing the city sights as we tour the city. Tonight, we focus on the authentic and raw theatrical nature of the back room blues clubs you’ll find hidden throughout the city.
Head to Navy Pier for great city views, bike around town for a street level perspective, jump on an architectural cruise to further understand the city’s skyline, scoff down a Chicago style street hot dog or even see the White Sox or the Cubs play in a huge stadium game. Feel like some LOL's? Head to the Second City Comedy club, where some of America's most famous comedians started out their side splitting careers. But first, tuck in to one of the city's famous deep dish pizza's for a taste of the good stuff.
After two days of food, sports, museums and shopping in Chicago, we continue on into the USA’s heartland - beautiful Wisconsin.
Next stop: Milwaukee. It’s home to the nation’s largest beer brewers and also Harley Davidson.
Later on we pull into the town of Madison, know for it’s friendly college vibes. If you’re up for a night out, grab a few buddies and hang out as the students do on the popular State Street, where the taverns, local specialty breweries, comedy clubs and bars will have you spoilt for choice.
Cross the Midwest and see the pretty as a picture Minnesota farmlands before hitting the wild yet wonderful 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. You’ll learn the background of the city’s name (and maybe even learn how to pronounce it properly) and also visit the SPAM Museum, yes travellers you read that right. Think weird, wacky and most definitely spammy.
After learning about Sioux Falls (Sioux is the name of a native American tribe we'll have you know) and seeing the beautiful landscapes, it is time to move on to Mt. Rushmore, but not without a stop off at Badlands National Park on the way.
An interesting name, and an even more interesting place. You will notice 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. We'll stop off here for a leisurely walk along the Fossil Trail.
It is here we stay for the night, where the excitement really builds in the group, because tomorrow we see the incredible carvings of four past Presidents' faces etched into the mountainside. It's time to really start making every single moment count with the crew who by now will be feeling like family.
Escape to the mind-blowing Grand Canyon as we see this wonder from a different angle, the less-visited and pristine North Rim. Hike along the rim of the canyon at your own pace to really get a feel for the size and drama of it all. There are trails for all levels of ability so no matter your fitness level you will definitely be able to have the full experience. Drink it all in, these are the travel moments you'll be re-telling for years to come.
After breakfast, say goodbye Kanab and hello to the finale of the breathtaking outdoors of America for your last wilderness experience of the trip - Zion National Park.
Scene change! We cut back into Utah where we visit Zion National Park, with waterfalls, colourful cliffs and lush green as far as the eye can see. Famous landmarks including the Watchman and the West Temple will be on the agenda for this stop. What's on offer? Perhaps a hike through the 'narrows', also known as small canyons, or maybe get your toes wet with a visit to the lush emerald pools - the name says it all.
We are back in Sin City for one more round of debauchery. If you feel like you only scaped the surface before, here’s your chance to finish what you started. This gigantic man made oasis in the desert is larger than life in oh so many ways.
You have today all to yourself but you’ll need to run to a tight schedule to fit in all of Vegas' weird and wonderful charms. Travel the world in a day, taking in the sights of the world, all whilst staying firmly within the city. Feeling romantic? Stop by and see one of the many Elvis impersonators for a shotgun wedding ceremony, and maybe even get hitched yourself...(joking). Tonight live like a baller on a party bus (the bill is on us) as we cruise the strip. Later you can dance the night away with you Contiki Crew at one of Las Vegas' 25 world class night clubs.
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6 independent reviews
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