USA Tour Grand Trek

43 days from £4,199

Trip Highlights

  • Cover 26 states and 7 National Parks!
  • Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist cruise
  • Limousine ride in Las Vegas
  • Evening illumination visit to Washington DC Monuments
  • Guided Chicago Bike Tour
  • Alien spotting in Roswell
  • Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Walk amongst towering granite peaks in Yosemite
  • City tours of Philadelphia, Washington DC, San Francisco & Hollywood, LA
  • Grand Canyon sunrise or sunset
  • Travel along the original Route 66
  • Wildlife viewing opportunities in Yellowstone & Yosemite
  • See Old Faithful geyser and spot bear in Yellowstone
  • Explore the California coast - Monterey, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo
  • National Parks and Monuments - Carlsbad Caverns, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Zion, Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Yellowstone, Grand Teton & Yosemite

Trip Summary

Over six non-stop weeks you'll travel from coast to coast and back again. From towering mountains to white sand beaches, from the top of skyscrapers to the bottom of canyons, this fast and furious loop highlights the best of the USA - North and South!

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

Trip Info

Day 1 New York Area & Cayuga 

From the New York area to the edge of Lake Ontario, the sensation of crashing water is stupendous, the noise immense, at America's greatest national attractions, Niagara Falls. Wait until you're down on the water aboard the included 'Maid of the Mist' cruise, where the cascades pound, churn and foam right before your eyes. That's what you call a front row seat! Accommodation: Camping included

Day 2 Niagra Falls & Lake Erie

Niagara Falls is three waterfalls all rolled into one, so you can only imagine how epic it will be to witness this natural wonder with your own two eyes. Get as close as you dare to the booming cascades of Niagara Falls on an optional Maid of the Mist cruise, just be prepared to get wet. After an awesome day at the falls you'll head over to Lake Erie where you'll spend the night. Accommodation: Camping included

Days 3 Cedar Point, Ohio 

Travelling further on up the road you'll cross over into the state of Ohio, ask a `Buckeye' to tell you all about their beloved state nut. Still on the shore of Lake Erie you'll head over to Cedar Point, where you'll find `The Best Amusement in the World' and you'll soon see why as the parks roller coasters dominate the skyline as far as the eye can see. After a day full of excitement and thrills, you'll be pleased to rest your weary head for another night next to the beautiful Lake Erie. Accommodation: Camping included

Day 4-5 Chicago 

Visit the Amish community in Shipshewana, Indiana who maintain a more traditional way of life, and make a brief stop in Gary, Indiana for a photo of the house that Michael Jackson grew up in; then it's into Chicago - the "Windy City", home to some of the greatest blues music in America. Soar up Willis Tower for dizzying views over the Windy City. Trawl the upmarket malls of Magnificent Mile before taking to pedal power on the included famous "Bobby's Bike Hike" tour. For awesome views of the city skyline head down to Lake Michigan taking in the laid back city vibes and then go and grab yourself a slice of Chicago's deep-dish pizza, yum! Accommodation: Hostel included

Day 6 Wisconsin & Minnesota 

Wisconsin is known for cheese, and today and you have a taste of Wisconsin before saying hello to the Jolly Green Giant Statue in Blue Earth. Head out across the great prairies of America's original western frontier. Resident coyotes may utter the occasional howl as you settle back for some shut-eye under canvas.
Accommodation: Camping included

Day 7 Badlands National Park 

All signs lead to Wall Drug - the renowned drug store in the little frontier town of Wall, it's so big you need a map to get around and it's also your last stop before heading into the Badlands. Touching down here feels more like a moon landing due to the bizarre lunar landscape of low slung buttes, chiselled spires and saw tooth ridges. The rugged beauty draws in people from all over the world and you may even see bison, bighorn sheep and prairie dogs. Accommodation: Camping included

Day 8 Mount Rushmore

It's not every day you get to see the faces of America's presidents peering out from the granite face of Mount Rushmore. The sculpture features presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln and it is pretty darn huge with 60 foot high faces, 500 feet up. Close by, another rock-carved epic is shaping up: the Crazy Horse monument, a memory to the famed Lakota Indian war leader, very impressive and a sight not to be missed. Accommodation: Camping included

Days 9 Cody

Wild Wyoming is up next and you'll head to Cody in the heart of cowboy country. Embrace the cowboy roots, shake a leg and try some two-step as the buckin' bronco rears its massive head! Nothing says Wyoming more than a good dose of rodeo and a Stetson, so why not indulge yourself in a summer rodeo.Enjoy an included visit to Cody Rodeo for an evening of fun (only on departures 1st June-31st August). Accommodation: Camping included

Days 10-11 Yellowstone National Park

Pitch up in the world's first National Park, Yellowstone. View the iconic explosive Old Faithful Geyser and colourful waterfalls whilst keeping your eyes peeled for the abundant wildlife that the roam park such as, Bison, bear, moose and elk. If after all that exploring of this beautiful park you're a little tired, why not make the most of the nearby Boiling River for a well-earned soak in the hot spring? Accommodation: Camping included

Days 12-13 Jackson & Grand Teton National Park

Next up are the wonderful views and hikes that await in the majestic Grand Teton National Park. With few foothills to speak of, the jagged peaks here rise like teeth from lush, flat meadows against bright blue sky. We recommend taking the ferry across Jenny Lake with a hike up to Inspiration Point for sensation views of the valley, lake and forest below. Next you visit the truly western town of Jackson, Wyoming. Rafting the raging Snake River rapids, one of America's last great untamed rivers, should definitely get that adrenaline pumping but, if you prefer to stay on dry land how about a shot of 'Red-Eye' Whiskey at the Silver Dollar Saloon?
Accommodation: Camping included

Days 14-15 Elko, Nevada & Lake Tahoe 

Sit back and enjoy the scenery as you and your travelling posse continue westward across the Northern Great Basin. You'll bite off a big chunk of Nevada desert today, but when you arrive in Tahoe you are sure to be blown away by the stunning crystal clear waters and the incredible vistas that surround it, making this the perfect opportunity to go for a quick swim or just chill out. Top the day off with an optional sunset sailboat cruise and then try and win big at one of the nearby casinos. Accommodation: Camping included

Days 16-17 Yosemite National Park 

Heading through Central California we take a scenic drive into the Yosemite National Park, here you will get the opportunity to hike or bike through the extraordinary landscape of glacier-carved granite monoliths and spectacular waterfalls. Once inside Yosemite, keep your eyes peeled and your cameras at the ready for some incredible wildlife sightings. Bears often frequent the area and when the sun goes down listen out for coyotes howling amidst the pines and sequoias. This is a paradise for any lover of the outdoors and whatever activities you get up to in Yosemite, you're sure to have a blast. Accommodation: Camping included

Day 18-19 San Francisco 

Come fog or shine this city is awesome! Start with a tour of Haight-Ashbury a street oozing with hippy vibes and plenty of quirky shops and cafes. The highlights keep coming thick and fast with an included and guided tour of San Francisco's famous China Town and North Beach, helping you scratch beneath the surface of the 'City by the Bay'. Head down to Pier 39 to see the resident sea lions who flock there in their hundreds and then grab yourself a delicious crab roll at Fisherman's Wharf. You can't go all way to San Francisco without a stroll across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and better yet why not set sail on an optional sunset sail cruise for a different perspective of the famous bridge. Accommodation: Hotel included

Day 20 Monterey, Big Sur & California Coast 

With each passing mile on California's most famous road, the Pacific Coast Highway the shore grows yet more spectacular, as Redwood forested mountains lean down towards beautiful sandy beaches and the pounding Pacific swell. Stick close to the coast and soak up the chilled-out vibe in historic Monterey. Whales and sea lions frequent this area from April-October so keep your eyes and cameras at the ready. As the highway snakes further south, get away from it all amongst the pristine wilderness of Big Sur and stop for that iconic photo viewpoint of McWay Falls before settling in for a night under canvas on the California Coast.
Accommodation: Camping included

Days 21 Santa Barbara & Los Angeles

Enjoy a free day in sunny Santa Barbara to explore the pier, shop or relax on the beach. Known as 'The American Riviera', you'll find no shortage of palm trees to sit beneath - perhaps with a glass of local wine? Want more adventure? This quirky town is surrounded by mountains and offers some great hiking, kayaking and boogie boarding. This is grade-A California right here! We then roll into LA with a tour including Hollywood Boulevard, stroll the Walk of Fame and photo of the massive Hollywood sign. Accommodation: Hotel included

Days 22 Los Angeles 

A free day to explore the city at your own pace. Relax on the beach, check out Santa Monica Pier or take on the rides at Universal Studios. Accommodation: Hotel included

Day 23-24 Las Vegas 

With the California sunshine on your face we head into the desert to the neon city of Las Vegas - the greatest show on earth. Watch out though, some dub this place 'Lost Wages'! With so much to see and do why not start with an included cruise down "The Strip" in a super-stretch limo and afterwards indulge in an all-you-can eat buffet, take in a show or just watch the amazing crowds and neon signs as the glitzy hotels try to outdo each other with spectacular attractions. And if that's not enough, take a helicopter flight back down The Strip, or just gamble the night away in one of the world class casinos. Oh and don't forget, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Accommodation: Hotels included in tour price

Day 25 Zion National Park 

Onwards to Zion National Park where you can explore the hidden canyons and take a walk through the incredible Narrows, but for the ultimate view of the entire national park, hit the Angels Landing trail and even though the hike can be strenuous at times, the full 360-degree display of this magnificent national park, will definitely be worth it. Accommodation: Camping included

Days 26 - Lake Powell 

Time to wash off the desert dust in the refreshing waters of Lake Powell. Swim the deep blue water or just sit back on the shore and soak up the powerful rays of this beautiful and surreal man-made desert oasis.
Accommodation: Camping included 

Day 27- 28 Grand Canyon National Park 

Without doubt one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Southwest, Horseshoe Bend makes for an impressive stop before the big event. No trip west is complete without a stop at the mighty Grand Canyon to experience the grandeur of one of the Earth's natural wonders. Pack your boots and don't forget your camera for a sunrise/sunset hike along the rim. For the more ambitious take the long hike down Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point or take to the sky and see the Grand Canyon in all its glory on an optional helicopter flight. The Grand Canyon is magnificent from any angle, but one thing is for sure you will never forget your first glimpse of the canyon, whether it be from a walk along the rim or the ultimate birds eye view. Accommodation: Camping included

Day 29 Monument Valley 

On the road again and off to one of North America's most iconic landscapes, used as the set for countless Western movies, including the recent remake of The Lone Ranger. Immerse yourself in the native culture on an optional guided jeep tour of the Navajo Reservation and back roads. As you marvel at the sight of towering buttes and mesas which dominate the awe-inspiring landscape during the day, wait till the sun goes down and you're swapping camp fire stories under a blanket of stars. Accommodation: Camping included

Day 30 Santa Fe 

For all the art lovers out there Santa Fe is the one for you, visit Canyon Road, home to art galleries, cultural treasures such as hand-woven Navajo rugs, historic adobe buildings and a vibrant restaurant scene. Santa Fe will definitely win you over with its laid back charm and with tons of festivals and events throughout the year, you're bound to stumble upon something interesting. Accommodation: Camping included

Day 31 North Texas 

A state which is larger than some countries is the biggest state in the continental USA and is also home to plenty of delicious Mexican-American cuisine, `Tex-Mex', spicy fajitas and tacos. Hitch up in Fort Stockton and opt for a historical tour of this frontier army post, active from 1867-1886. If you want to cover more ground, Balmorhea is a great place to stop to enjoy the crystal-clear water of the world's largest spring-fed swimming pool. Swim, scuba dive, or just relax under the trees. Accommodation: Camping included

Days 32-33 Austin Texas

The music keeps on flowing as you arrive in Austin, another place which vies for the title of capital of America's music scene. Austin is an electric, cultural and artistic city which packs a punch. Live music can be heard almost any night of the week, so after a day of exploring, hit up the city for a dose of top shelf music and of course as the drinks start flowing, lots and lots of dancing. Accommodation: Hostel nights included

Day 34 East Texas/Louisiana

We say farewell to the biggest state of continental USA, and goodbye to the home of 'Tex-Mex' cuisine and a big hello to Louisiana, the home of gumbo stews and all that jazz. Accommodation: Camping included

Days 35-36 New Orleans

We hit Louisiana and can search for gators on our optional swamp tour through the mysterious bayous of Cajun country (a must do!) Next up is the home of the Big Easy & Bourbon Street - New Orleans. Now we're talking all that jazz! Every music fan must make a pilgrimage here at least once in their lifetime. We head into the enchanting French Quarter of New Orleans and hear the real deal at Preservation Hall, echoing with chirpy trumpets and smooth sax. New Orleans has more than just food, drink and music to offer, so after sampling a Hurricane at Pat O'Brien's do the Huckleberry Finn thing and chug along the Mississippi River. By staying right in the historic French Quarter you are right in the thick of it! Accommodation: Hotel included

Day 37 Memphis 

Turn up that radio you're about to hit Memphis, the birthplace of Rock `n' Roll! With that in mind why not visit Sun Studios the home of Rock `n' Roll which opened in 1950, a place where many great names have passed through. Stroll along Beale Street where the electric atmosphere will keep you entertained for hours as you listen out for some of the best Jazz and Blues music in town. There is more to Memphis than just music, pay a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum located in the former Lorraine Hotel and see the place where Martin Luther King was assassinated. Accommodation: Camping included

Day 38 Nashville 

From Honky Tonk bars to The Grand Ole Opry, they don't call Nashville the `centre of the music world' for noth-ing! This place is full of life and you'll be hot footing your way from one country bar to the next. Find out all about the history of music at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, home to the largest collection of country music in the world. Even if Country isn't your thing, there's live bands everywhere you go, so you're sure to be singing along by the end of the day. Accommodation: Camping included

Day 39 Ocoee, Tennessee 

Next up is the hard-hitting State of Tennessee where you overnight in Ocoee. In 1996 the world's eyes were on Ocoee as it hosted the world's first Olympic white water event and still to this day it boasts some of the world's best rafting. Don a life jacket, grip a paddle and bounce along an exhilarating stretch of white water on an optional rafting trip, but don't forget to look up as you'll fly past some pretty awesome scenery. For those of you not keen on the rapids, there are a number of surrounding trails to explore, so don't forget your camera. Accommodation: Camping included

Days 40 Appalachian Mountains

You'll certainly appreciate the grand views of the rolling green slopes of the Appalachian Mountains as you cruise through Virginia. The numerous trails are calling out your name, so strap on your walking boots and stretch those legs with a memorable walk through the lush national forests. With photo opportunities around every bend, make sure you also keep an eye out for Appalachian residents such as cougars, deers, black bear and great horned owl, this really is a magical place. Accommodation: Camping included

Day 41 - 42 Washington DC 

Next up is Washington DC, the social, cultural and political hub of the United States. A great introduction to the city is to make your way central as the sun goes down for a self-guided illuminated view of America's Capitol - from the Smithsonian Museum to the Lincoln Memorial. During the day the city is awash with greenery, so once you're done with sightseeing, go people watching in the parks or take advantage of the great nightlife in Georgetown! A great way to see the city is to explore by bike at your own pace.
Accommodation: Camping included

Day 43 Philadelphia & New York Area 

Leaving the capital behind we head to Philadelphia where you can have your own movie moment with a climb up the famous 'Rocky' steps, see the symbol of American independence the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, plus opt for an early Philly cheese steak lunch. It's food galore at the Reading Terminal Market, so grab yourself some tasty treats for your journey home. Your final stop on what has been one heck of a journey is New York. Make sure yourself an extra couple of nights to explore this vibrant and exciting city. Splurge along Fifth Ave, hit the top of the Empire State Building, or soak up the trendy, laidback vibe of Greenwich Village before heading home.
This tour ends at approximately 17:00 hrs. We can book you post-tour accommodation at our gateway hotel if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.

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Accommodation & Meals

All accommodation - 32 camping, 4 hotel, 2 hostel nights and 2 apartment nights

On our camping tours, our groups share in the preparation and cooking of the food. Supplies, excluding soft drinks and alcohol, are purchased from the food kitty, and each member of the group pays US$10 per day en route. This covers three meals on most days while we are camping; eating fresh foods that we purchase as we travel to satisfy the international flavour of the group - a healthy way to travel at an unbeatable price. Naturally this does not cover hotel stops or when Trek groups sometimes sample regional cuisine at local restaurants.

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Eligibility & FAQ's

Minimum age 18 years old. Maximum age is 38 years.

How Many People Will There Be On The Tour?

Between 6 and 13 people with one tour leader.

What Is The Average Age Of The Tour Participants?

The age range is 18-38 and early to mid twenties are the most common ages.

How Fit Do I Need To Be?

There will be a fair bit of walking and hiking on the tour as well as the opportunity to do lots of activities. So you should be relatively fit but dont forget that activities are optional so you can do the trip at your own pace.

Will I Be The Only Person Travelling On My Own?

No, the majority of our travellers are solo travellers and you will meet lots of people on your tour!

What If I Have Never Camped Before?

Don't worry, your fantastic tour leader will show you how to put your tent up and use your camping equipment.

How Much Money Do I Need To Bring On The Tour?

For camping tours you will need to budget for the food kitty. This is usually US$10 a day however see individual tour pages for specific details. This will cover all of your meals while camping but does not cover meals during hotel stops or when the group chooses to sample regional cuisine.

Do I Need To Tip?

Although it may not be customary in your country, it is normal and expected in North America to tip waiters, bar staff, any type of guide and taxi drivers. Service workers are paid a low wage and depend upon their tips for their livelihood. A minimum of 15% is standard in restaurants. Your tour leader works long and hard for you. He or she may well become your close friend during the tour, but they also need to pay their bills. If the leader's performance meets or exceeds your expectations we recommend a tip of US $5 per person, per day.

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Whats Included

  • Services of a tour leader
  • Transportation by adventure vehicle
  • Admission to Carlsbad Caves
  • Crazy Horse Monument
  • Guided Chicago Bike Tour
  • Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist Cruise
  • Admission to Monument Valley
  • Illumination Tour of Washington Monuments
  • Admission to all National Parks and Monuments
  • All Accommodation - 32 camping, 8 hotel and 2 hostel nights
  • All camping equipment (except sleeping bag)

What's Not Included

  • International Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Food
  • Optional Activities

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Visa Information

Real Gap Experience are not visa experts and it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct travel documents before your trip starts. We advise you check the visa and general entry requirements with the relevant embassy before travel.

Visa courier service

If you prefer to use a specialist visa courier service to apply for your visa on your behalf, we recommend Visa Central who can offer you assistance and advice, making your visa application straight forward.

To investigate costs for this service click here to select the country or countries that you wish to travel to.

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cat peart

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What were the highlights of your trip?

The national parks, Chicago bike tour, white water rafting, helicopter ride in the Grand Canyon, staying in a Navajo Indian camp in Monument Valley... We did so many amazing things it's hard to pick just a few highlights!

Tips for other travellers?

Take every opportunity that comes your way! Keep smiling whatever happens! Take your camera!

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