Day 1 - New York (Newark)
Welcome to the USA. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until your welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6pm. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details, food kitty and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all of these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, perhaps see the sights of Manhattan, such as Times Square, Broadway or Central Park. As there's no time spent in New York City on this trip, we recommend you arrive a few days earlier to see the sights. Consider joining our one-day sightseeing tour of New York at urbanadventures.com.
Day 2 - Philadelphia/Washington DC
Leave New York behind in the morning and journey to Washington DC, stopping to visit Philadelphia along the way. Founded in 1682, Philadelphia is home to the Liberty Bell and it was here that Thomas Jefferson signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. You'll have time to see a couple of the highlights of this city before continuing on to Washington DC. Don't worry about not having too much time to explore today, as you'll have a full free day tomorrow.
Day 3 - Washington DC
Today is a free day to explore Washington DC, with the city being easily explored on foot. To see as much as you can today, it may be an idea to get a map and make a plan. Don't miss the White House, Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and National Air and Space Museum. These are just a few of the optional activities available, as there as tons of museums, monuments and parks to venture to.
Day 4 - Blue Ridge Mountains
This morning you'll cross into the state of Virginia and drive along the scenic Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the south of the state (approximately 8 hours). The Blue Ridge Mountains are one of the most beautiful and iconic parts of the American landscape, with an abundance of flora and fauna peppering the steep slopes of the mountains. This is a long travel day but it is incredibly scenic with views over the Shenandoah Valley along the way, as well as the snaking and looping Shenandoah River.
Day 5 - Great Smoky Mountains
Cross into the state of Tennessee this morning to the town of Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains (approximately 2-3 hours). Depending on the group's arrival time, you should be able to use your free time to see some of the town's attractions. Take a stroll on one of the nearby trails or pay a visit to Dollywood, the Dolly Parton-themed amusement park that's also owned by the singer.
Day 6 - Nashville
Drive approximately 4 hours east to Nashville, Tennessee. Once settled into the campground, perhaps visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains the golden Cadillac that once belonged to Elvis. Another point of interest is Music Row, where more than 50 recording studios and approximately 200 music publishing houses are located. The Wildhorse Saloon is a great spot in the evening to experience authentic southern food and live music.
Day 7 - Louisville
Leave Nashville behind today and drive north for around three hours to Louisville, Kentucky. On arrival, you'll have free time to explore this huge city. Louisville is perhaps best known as being the home of the Kentucky Derby, although it's also famous in baseball circles as being the birthplace of the Louisville Slugger bats. Aside from sports, Louisville has an up-and-coming food scene, several interesting museums, pretty parks, the largest collection of Victorian-era homes in the country, and to top all that, it is the final resting place of Colonel Sanders. Of course Kentucky is also well-known for its bourbon, and in Louisville you can follow the Bourbon Trail, learn about the history of the beverage, visit distilleries and perhaps trying a sample or two.
Day 8 - Chicago
Enjoy a six hour roadtrip to Chicago. In the evening, search out an authentic blues bar for a night of music. B.L.U.E.S is a great place to spend your evening, but be prepared to be drowned out by the music.
Day 9 - Chicago
With more than 45 kilometres of lake front paths, Chicago is also one of the world's most walkable cities so it's a great place to explore on foot. For amazing views of Chicago, visit the Skydeck at Willis Tower, which has huge glass panels and a glass balcony so you can see all the way down.
Day 10 - Detroit
Leave the state of Illinois and head east into Michigan and Detroit (approximately 4.5 hours). The city is gritty and urban, but it also has an undeniable energy that its recent bankruptcy hasn't been able to dim. More recently, Detroit has been reinvented with young artists and entrepreneurs moving in, as well as the opening of quirky bars, urban farms, and street art installations like the Heidelberg Project. You could also pay a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts for a look at one of America's most significant art collections. Alternatively, head to the Motown Museum and Ford Museum for an insight into two of the city's famous exports. The balmy evenings in the city are also perfect for strolling riverside paths and sitting on brew pub decks.
Day 11 - Sandusky
Skirt the edge of Lake Erie and cross the Midwest into Ohio, with Sandusky as your destination (approximately two hours). Make your way to Cedar Point Amusement Park, the so-called ‘Roller Coaster Capital of the World’. Cedar Point also features the Millennium Force, which has been voted the greatest roller coaster in the world, making it the place to be if you love an adrenaline hit. If the thrill of the ride gets too much for you, head to the nearby beach and simply stretch out on the sandy shoreline. In the late afternoon, set up camp near Lake Erie and wander down to the lakeshore for a memorable sunset.
Day 12 - Niagara Falls
Visit one of the country's greatest natural attractions – Niagara Falls. Follow the edge of Lake Erie all the way up to this famous sight, which sits sandwiched between the borders of the United States and Canada (approximately 4.5 hours). There are numerous viewpoints from which you can appreciate the power of this amazing set of falls, but there's no better way than to approach them from the water. Don a blue poncho and experience the full force of the falls with an optional Maid of the Mist cruise. A word of warning though, prepare to get a little wet. For the ultimate show, head to the falls at night and see them lit up in all of their glory.
Day 13 - Finger Lakes
Cross into upstate New York and drive to the town of Seneca Falls on the Finger Lakes (approximately three hours). This area is named for its 11 finger-like lakes that stretch north to south between Lake Ontario and the state boarder. As New York’s largest wine producing region, the Finger Lakes region has over 100 wineries to discover (just don’t try and visit them all today!) Perhaps indulge in a wine tasting session or head out on a hike to a nearby waterfall. Taughannock Falls State Park is home to a 215-foot waterfall, 33 feet higher than Niagara Falls itself! The park's walks are dotted with little waterfalls along the way and the surroundings are just beautiful. Set up camp for the night in the state park.
Day 14 - New York (Newark)
Leave the natural setting of the Finger Lakes and head to the urban jungle. This journey usually takes around five hours, but as the traffic can be really busy, please be prepared for delays. This adventure comes to and end on arrival in Newark, just across the river from New York City. There is no accommodation included tonight. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, the possibilities are truly endless in the global city of New York, so why not stay a few days longer. We’ll be happy to help you book additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money