Southern Sun

Viva Cuba OldAt Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.

  • Trip code : ASN
  • Trip length : 21
  • Trip starts in : New York Area
  • Trip ends in : Los Angeles
  • Maximum group size : 13
  • Ages : 18 - 34
  • Meals : We run a Food Kitty on this trip - you will need to contribute CA$10 a day which covers all your meals whilst camping.
  • Accommodation : Camping
  • Transport : Private transportation - The vans are also equipped with WiFi (USA & Alaska only) so you can keep in touch from the road
  • Pre-tour accommodation: As this tour departs at 0730 we recommend that you book pre-tour accommodation. Please request hotel details at the time of booking.
  • Post-tour accommodation: 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 straight after the tour, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.

 

highlights1

  • Limousine ride in Las Vegas
  • New Orleans' Bourbon Street
  • Grand Canyon sunrise or sunset
  • San Antonio's Riverwalk
  • Alien spotting in Roswell
  • Visit the Alamo
  • Travel along the original Route 66
  • Tour of Philadelphia, Washington DC & Los Angeles
  • See stunning Lake Powell
  • Walk amongst the Appalachian Mountains
  • National Parks - Carlsbad Caverns, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon & Zion

This is one varied snapshot of The States! Experience the fast paced East, the slow moving South and the laidback West coast, with exciting activities like whitewater rafting, horseback riding and hiking on offer - don't forget about the nightlife of New Orleans and Las Vegas!

 

daily-itinerary1

Day
1-2

New York Area, Philadelphia & Washington DC

We head out of the New York area and on to Philadelphia where we have the chance to break a sweat climbing up the famous 'Rocky' steps, see the symbol of American independence the Liberty Bell and opt for an early Philly cheese steak lunch. Next up is Washington DC, the perfect introduction to the social, cultural and political history of the United States. Explore the best of America's Capitol - from the Smithsonian Museum to the Lincoln Memorial on a guided tour of Washington's illuminated monuments. 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
3

Appalachian Mountains

You'll need no second invitation to appreciate the grand views of the rolling green slopes of the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia. At the half way lunch stop we visit the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest so you can stretch your legs with a hike through lush national forests and breathe in that sweet mountain air.

Accommodation: Camping included

Day
4

Ocoee, Tennessee

Next up is the hard-hitting State of Tennessee where we overnight in Ocoee. In 1996 the world's eyes were on Ocoee as it hosted the world's first Olympic white water event on a natural river and you have the chance to don a life jacket, grip a paddle and bounce along a churning stretch of white water on an optional rafting trip. Pure adrenalin! For those of you not keen on the rapids, there are a number of surrounding trails to explore.

Accommodation: Camping included

Day
5

Birmingham, Alabama

License plates proclaim you're in the `Heart of Dixie', and the radio pumps out a playlist of blues and country tunes. Birmingham's Civil Rights Institute and the Chickamauga Battlefield guarantee an A+ in American history.

Accommodation: Camping included

Day
6-7

New Orleans

Beyond Mississippi we hit Louisiana, home of the Big Easy & Bourbon Street. 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: Hotels included in tour price

Day
8

Louisiana/Texas

Look for gators on our optional Louisiana swamp tour through the mysterious bayous of Cajun country (a must do!). The Lone Star bids you a big-hearted welcome for four nights in mighty Texas.

Accommodation: Camping included

Day
9-10

San Antonio

Don your Davy Crockett hat and check out the Alamo, symbol of Texan pride and independence from Mexico. Included is a stroll on the Paseo del Rio, and if your Spanish is shaky that's the cobbled 'river walk', bursting with greenery, cafes and boutiques. This is one of the unmissable excursions whilst in San Antonio but other excellent options include the Western Shooting Range or a visit to the Majestic Theatre.

Accommodation: Camping included

Day
11

West Texas

The biggest state in the continental USA is also home to plenty of Mexican-American cuisine, `Tex-Mex', including 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 and has a cool mineral springs to relax in.
Accommodation: Camping included

Day
12

Carlsbad Cavern National Park

Do you know your stalactite from your stalagmite? Carlsbad Caverns boasts over 100 limestone caves sporting glinting minerals and telling names like the Hall of the White Giant and Green Lake Room. Rocky slopes and canyons, cactus, grass, thorny shrubs, and the occasional tree... who could guess at the hidden treasures deep underground?

Accommodation: Camping included

Day
13

Roswell & Santa Fe

Alien spotting in Roswell could be on the cards, and with the vast desert stretching out before you, you'll need to keep a sharp eye out for these extraterrestrial beings! Tonight, Santa Fe is sure to work its charm on you with its artsy vibe and best Tex-Mex food in the USA.
Accommodation: Camping included

Day
14

Monument Valley

Venturing into the desert southwest, we hit iconic Monument Valley, used in countless Hollywood scenes from Westerns to 2001: A Space Odyssey and Forest Gump. It is also the most photographed place in America and for good reason. Get 4x4-bound and flit between towering buttes and massive mesas. This is sacred Navajo land; take home their secrets, legends and the odd handcrafted keepsake. Tonight, experience a stunning sunset overlooking the valley.

Accommodation: Camping included

Day
15-16

Grand Canyon National Park

No trip west is complete without a stop at the Grand Canyon and we have a full day tomorrow 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 choose the "bird's eye" view on a scenic flight. As you watch the sinking sun paint it amber, maroon and red, its breathtaking immensity will still blow you away.

Accommodation: Camping included

Day
17

Lake Powell

Without doubt one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Southwest, Horseshoe Bend makes for an impressive stop, before washing 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
18

Zion National Park

Onwards to Zion National Park and explore the hidden canyons or maybe hike to Angels Landing for incredible views over the valley floor, as well as being an exceptional lunch spot. Okay, so getting up there can be devilish at times, but the famous trail puts on a full 360-degree display of this magnificent national park.

Accommodation: Camping included

Day
19-20

Las Vegas

With a sudden burst of neon, Vegas is right in your face - the greatest show on earth. Watch out though - some dub this place 'Lost Wages'! Cruise "The Strip" in our included super-stretch limo, 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, buy tickets to a show or just gamble the night away in one of the world class casinos. Oh and there's a saying here: Wwhat happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"!

Accommodation: Hotels included in tour price

Day
21

Los Angeles

Our final leg of the journey today has us driving past Joshua Trees to our final stop on the tour, the 'City of Angeles'.but it's not over just yet! With the California sunshine on your face you hit visit Hollywood Boulevard for a stroll along the Walk of Fame and photo of that massive Hollywood sign. A quick visit to the sandy shores of Venice Beach makes for awesome people watching before our tour comes to a close, leaving you with 21 days of action packed memories!

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.

 

included1

  • Services of a tour leader
  • All accommodation - 16 camping & 4 hotel nights included
  • Private transportation with free Wi-Fi
  • Evening illumination visit to Washington DC monuments
  • Limousine ride in Las Vegas
  • New Orleans' Bourbon Street
  • Grand Canyon sunrise or sunset
  • San Antonio's Riverwalk
  • Alien spotting in Roswell
  • Visit the Alamo
  • Travel along the original Route 66
  • Tour of Philadelphia, Washington DC & Los Angeles
  • See stunning Lake Powell
  • Walk amongst the Appalachian Mountains
  • National Parks - Carlsbad Caverns, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon & Zion

 

optional-extras

  • Whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River US$36-$119
  • New Orleans jazz clubs US$10-$20
  • Mississippi riverboat cruise US$60-$70
  • Smithsonian National Museums US$FREE
  • Grand Canyon helicopter flight US$244-$274
  • Navajo guided 4x4 tour of Monument Valley US$45-$55
  • Grand Canyon IMAX theater US$15
  • Las Vegas clubs & casino shows US$10+
  • Las Vegas helicopter flight: US$115
  • Mardi Gras World in New Orleans US$20
  • San Antonio Alamo IMAX Theater US$14
  • New Orleans Voodoo & Graveyard tour US$20
  • Bike rental in Washington DC US$15-$35
  • New Orleans School of Cooking US$25
  • San Antonio western gun range from US$65
  • Las Vegas rollercoasters US$4-$30
  • Alligator swamp tour, New Orleans US$23-$49
  • Las Vegas Gun Range from US$30

 

tripgrade1

RAW

Our Raw tours are best suited for those with a sense of adventure, are willing to step outside their comfort zone and don’t mind being thrown in at the deep end. For independent travellers who want to travel with others. Just the ticket for those aged between 18-35 or anyone young at heart who has an open mind, an eye on the budget and a nose for adventure. Authentic experiences that expand the mind rather than hold the hand.

Style Facts

  • The freedom to explore without breaking the bank
  • Time to do your own thing – or join in optional group activities
  • YOU choose where YOU want to eat
  • Basic accommodation
  • A variety of public transportation
  • Fully trained and experienced leader.

Active

Explore the world on two feet - or two wheels! Our active trips range from classic treks & trips where walking forms an integral part of the itinerary to cycling tours offering a totally new perspective on a destination.

Some of our active adventure tours include the classic treks such as the Inca Trail, Kilimanjaro or Everest Base Camp as well as shorter one day or overnight hikes. Our cycling tours allow you to access hidden corners of a destination, discover remote villages and meet the locals – either en route or even by cycling alongside them. All our active trips are fully supported – with either porters and mules or by a support vehicle.

This tour is operated by our partners Trek America

 

visa1

A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.

The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.

Please click here for more information

 

health-and-fitness

If you have any medical condition such as diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, take prescribed  medicines, or have a condition that will affect your participation in the trek, you must tell us at the time of booking. Please be aware we may require a doctor’s note prior to travel for some conditions. This information is essential in case of emergency. All the vehicles carry a basic first-aid kit, but for everyday use you should bring your own medical supplies, such as, pain relievers, antibiotic cream, upset stomach relievers, in addition to sunscreen and insect repellent.

 

Money1

Local Payment

We run a Food Kitty on this trip - you will need to contribute CA$10 a day which covers all your meals whilst camping.

 

travel-insurance

You must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information

 

responsible-travel1

Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.

As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.

We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.

For further information about responsible travel please click here.

 

other-important-informationAs this tour departs at 0730 we recommend that you book pre-tour accommodation. Please request hotel details at the time of booking.

This tour also departs from Los Angeles

 

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