22 Jan Southern Cross Country Westbound – USA – 22 Nights
Day 1: New York City
Arrive JFK International Airport. You will be met & transferred to your hotel for check in. Proceed for a welcome meeting at 7:00pm. From the Statue of Liberty to Ground Zero to Chinatown, New York City is full of things to do and see. Optional activities include a visit to the Empire State Building, visit to Times Square – the hub of the city that never sleeps, Central Park Visit, Staten Island Ferry & 9/11 Memorial Visit and One World Trade Center Observation Deck. Overnight in New York.
Day 2: New York City – Washington DC
After breakfast spend the morning exploring one of the best cities in the world. Optional activities includes a visit to Chinatown which is lively and diverse. Visit the Brooklyn Bridge which is one of the most iconic structures in New York City, cross the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn as you stroll along the Brooklyn Bridge. Dive into the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple on a brief orientation walk of the city. Arrive at the capital of the USA, Washington DC, in the late afternoon in time to wander the monuments by moonlight. Take a tour after the sun sets to see some of Washington DC’s most popular monuments and memorials all lit up. Overnight in Washington D. C.
Day 3: Washington DC
After breakfast enjoy free time to explore this fascinating city. Choose to visit the White House, visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and learn more about where the president of the US lives and works, visit the Washington Monument , visit the massive obelisk built to honour George Washington, the United States’ first president. The Washington Monument is the world’s tallest structure made entirely of stone and the world’s tallest obelisk. Reopened after suffering damage from an earthquake and hurricane, visitors can opt to travel to the top for a gorgeous view of the city. you can also choose to visit Lincoln Memorial which is a monument dedicated to the 16th US president, Abraham Lincoln, who was instrumental in the abolition of slavery. Take a walk to the National Mall, a park in downtown Washington DC that occupies the area between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol. Wear comfy shoes – there’s lots to explore in this spectacular green space. The National Mall includes the Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Constitution Gardens, World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the District of Columbia War Memorial, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian, and much more. Overnight in Washington D. C.
Day 4: Washington DC – Appalachia
After breakfast visit Arlington Cemetery before continuing on the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park, a truly beautiful, historic national treasure. Standing on top of the peaks of Shenandoah National Park while gazing across the silent mountains, it’s hard to believe Washington DC is just a short distance away. Opt to take a short hike on the many trails throughout the park. Take in the tranquil natural beauty of its rolling green hills against a backdrop of mountains. Drive to Appalachia & check in to your hotel. Overnight in appalachia.
Day 5: Appalachia – Nashville
After breakfast continue through the Appalachian Mountains, a perfect place to relax. Enjoy the fresh, clean air and see the true beauty of North America. Travel to Nashville & check in to your hotel. Overnight in Nashville.
Day 6: Nashville – Memphis
After breakfast leave for Memphis. Explore the vibrant cultural melting pot of Memphis. Take an optional tour of Graceland & visit Elvis Presley’s home, opt to relive history at the National Civil Rights Museum which is located where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, or tour the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. Head to Beale Street at night for great food. Overnight in Memphis.
Day 7: Memphis – New Orleans
After breakfast leave for New Orleans & drive into the home of Mardi Gras
& & explore the French Quarter. Overnight in New Orleans.
Day 8: New Orleans
After breakfast enjoy a free day to explore New Orleans. Take an optional captivating boat tour into swamps and bayous, through the preserved wetlands in Louisiana. Get up close and personal with alligators, wild boar, snakes, and more in their natural habitat. Learn more about this fascinating city by discovering its past. New Orleans has all kinds of tour options for all kinds of tastes. Opt for a voodoo tour, ghost tour, cemetery tour or vampire tour — you name it, there’s probably a tour for it. All the tours bring a different historical side of New Orleans to life, with a little bit of creepy thrown in. Overnight in New Orleans.
Day 9: New Orleans – Austin
After breakfast travel from New Orleans to Austin. Sit back and gaze at the scenery while travelling through the southern United States. Upon arrival in the ‘Lonestar’ state, settle in at the campsite for a night under the stars. Overnight in Austin.
Day 10: Austin
After breakfast spend a free day in Austin, or opt for a day trip to San Antonio to visit “The Alamo,” a former Roman Catholic mission and fortress compound built by the Spanish in 1744, and the site of the infamous Battle of the Alamo. Mexico gained independence and control of the mission in 1821. In 1836, the infamous Battle of the Alamo transitioned control to Texas. You can also choose to stroll along the River Walk or Tube on the Guadalupe River & find out how the locals like to beat the heat. Soak up the sun and take the occasional dip while slowly travelling down river from Austin to San Antonio. Overnight in Austin.
Day 11: Austin – Carlsbad
After breakfast travel to Carlsbad Caverns, dodging the 400,000 bats heading out to hunt at sunset. Explore one of the oldest and most famous cave systems in the world. Explore a cave on self-guided trails and be fascinated by the largest underground chambers with countless formations which was formed by sulfuric acid that dissolved the surrounding limestone. In the evening, witness a stunning spectacle as nearly 400,000 Mexican free-tail bats exit Carlsbad Cavern. Overnight in Carlsbad Cavern.
Day 12: Carlsbad – Santa Fe
After breakfast leave for Santa Fe. Stop by infamous mystery-steeped Roswell before taking in Southwest culture in Santa Fe. Continue the journey back in time and explore one of America’s oldest and most beautiful cities, Santa Fe. Overnight in Santa Fe.
Day 13: Santa Fe – Cortez
After breakfast enjoy a free morning to explore Santa Fe & try some world-famous roasted green chillies before travelling towards Cortez for the night. Overnight in Cortez.
Day 14: Cortez – Monument Valley
After breakfast wind up the side of a mountain through Mesa Verde National Park’s rocky slopes and inspiring vistas. Hike to ancient cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde, some of the most notable and best preserved sites in North America. Opt to discover one of the most majestic places on earth, Monument Valley. Explore this magical and sacred place by 4×4. Tour the Tribal Park to see the magnificent colours, miles of mesas, buttes, and pinnacles that make Monument Valley a truly wondrous experience. Stay overnight in a traditional Navajo Hogan or sleep under the endless shooting stars. Wake for a breathtaking monumental sunrise. Overnight in Monument Valley.
Day 15: Monument Valley – Grand Canyon
After breakfast hike the trails of the Grand Canyon which is considered to be among nature’s most spectacular offerings, or take an optional helicopter flight over the natural wonder. Visit the south rim of the canyon for a great first impression. Marvel as the Grand Canyon unfolds before you. Don’t get too close. The land drops almost straight down for more than 1km (3,280 ft) into the serpentine canyons below! The gorge is filled with rocky buttes, sheer limestone cliffs, and deep canyons all arrayed in a rainbow of colors. Words defy. This is truly one of the most magnificent sights on earth. Enjoy a sunset at the edge of the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon helicopter ride is a must! Enjoy a bird’s-eye view as you fly over the canyon, taking in the stark contrast of the the blue-green Colorado River against the thousand shades of red rock found in the canyon. From above you can fully appreciate the greatness of the gorge and see why it is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Day 16: Grand Canyon
After Breakfast enjoy free time at leisure in the Grand Canyon. Opt to wander throughout the park and take a hike. Experience breathtaking scenery with spectacular views. Bring lots of water, a hat and plenty of energy. Remember that hiking down is optional, hiking back up is mandatory! Hire a bike, check out a museum or see the canyon from the sky by helicopter. On a giant six-story movie screen, watch the most viewed IMAX film of all time, “Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets”. Escape, fly, and discover the history and beauty of this awe-inspiring landscape. Overnight in the Grand Canyon.
Day 17: Grand Canyon – Las Vegas
After breakfast travel Route 66 and stop at a wacky burger joint. Explore Las Vegas and stroll along the famous Vegas Strip. With an ever-evolving architecture and multitude of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment, there’s so much to see and do. Overnight in Las Vegas.
Day 18: Las Vegas
After breakfast enjoy a full day free at leisure to explore Las Vegas. Walk the strip and try your luck at the tables or slot machines. Or spend the day shopping, dining or chilling poolside. Overnight in Las Vegas.
Day 19: Las Vegas – Bishop
After breakfast visit a land of extremes with one of the country’s most rugged landscapes in Death Valley National Park – the hottest and driest spot on earth and home to the lowest point in North America. Surrounded by peaks which soar more than 14,000 ft (4,267m) in elevation, Bishop, one of “America’s Coolest Mountain Towns” sits directly in the centre of an incredible area of natural beauty. Opt to stargaze at secluded hot springs. Take a dip and relax in the natural springs that flow from the ground. Slip in. Exhale. Heal.
Note: we intend on using the Tioga Pass tomorrow; it’s a scenic route through the Sierra Nevada mountain range that connects Bishop with Yosemite NP. In the spring and autumn seasons, there’s a chance that the pass will be closed due to poor weather conditions or even snow. In such a case, we use an alternate route, and will spend the night in Lake Isabella instead of Bishop. The status of the road is monitored daily, and our travel plan for the area will be confirmed during the trip.
Day 20: Bishop – Yosemite National Park
After breakfast take a morning trip to Mono Lake. Unusual rock towers created by underwater springs line the shore of this stunning lake. Walk along the shore and imagine what existed here nearly a million years ago. The salt waters are home to trillions of brine shrimp and alkali flies. Mono Lake also attracts nearly 100 species of migratory birds each year. Walk among the tufa towers.
Take this scenic route through the Sierra Nevada mountain range connecting Bishop with the Yosemite Valley floor. Pass by lakes, meadows, and groves, and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the way. Be in awe of the spectacular views of Yosemite National Park’s magnificent peaks and granite domes while enjoying one of the most scenic drives in California: the Tioga Pass! Discover Yosemite’s peaks, granite domes, and giant sequoias. Marvel at majestic waterfalls, lakes, and meadows. Hike one of the many trails Yosemite has to offer and be inspired by this beautiful and amazing landscape. More than 16 types of granite make up this internationally recognized National Park. Overnight in Yosemite National Park.
Day 21: Yosemite National Park
After breakfast enjoy free time in Yosemite NP. Admire spectacular views of Yosemite National Park’s magnificent peaks and granite domes. Yosemite has many trails to offer. Be inspired by this beautiful and amazing landscape and opt to rent a bike to better explore the Yosemite Valley. Set your wheels in motion with tandem, hand crank or mountain bikes, and opt to cycle some of the 20km (12mi) of paved trails throughout the valley floor. Bring a water bottle, stop to shoot photos, and enjoy some of the most picturesque spots in Yosemite NP. Panoramic vistas, gushing waterfalls, and elusive wildlife await. Bring water, wear a hat and sunscreen, and choose to hike Yosemite National Park. Keep an eye out for black bears, deer, and coyotes.
Day 22: Yosemite National Park – San Francisco
After breakfast leave for San Francisco. Catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge on the way into one of America’s most iconic cities. Travel back in time and hop onto the world’s last manually operated cable car system or depart from Fisherman’s Wharf and catch a glimpse of marine life as we sail around San Francisco Bay. Admire the city’s remarkable skyline, get up close and personal with the infamous Alcatraz Island, and sail underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Choose to rent a bike to peddle across the Golden Gate Bridge, through the scenic Marina district or perhaps to Golden Gate park. Overnight in San Francisco.
Day 23: San Francisco
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight back home.