Essential New York to New Orleans
9 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Restricted to Ages 18-29
Day 1 New York (Newark)
Welcome to New York AKA the Big Apple! There are no activities planned today until your welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm, so if you arrive early perhaps check out Central Park and the Empire State Building or take a walk around Times Square – in fact we recommend arriving a couple of days earlier to make the most of what this incredible city has to offer. For the inside scoop on all the famous landmarks and local eateries, consider doing the half-day Midtown Sights & Bites Food Tour with Urban Adventures (for more info visit urbanadventures.com). After your welcome meeting, why not join your new friends for dinner and grab yourself a slice of pizza, New York style.
Day 2 Washington DC
This morning, kickstart your journey along North America’s history trail and drive south towards the nation's capital, stopping at Philadelphia on the way for a quick look at some of the highlights of the Old City, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the 'Rocky' steps. After touring around Philly, continue on to DC where your leader will point you in the direction of all the major sights on an orientation tour of the city. The total driving time from New York to Washington DC will take about 4 hours, so in the evening why not stretch out your legs on H Street – an artsy and energetic two-and-a-half kilometre (one-and-a-half mile) corridor in Northeast DC, renowned for its communal atmosphere and buzzing nightlife!
Day 3 Washington DC
Today is free to explore Washington DC, a city easily discovered on foot – we suggest grabbing a map and planning your day to ensure that you maximise your time in this iconic city. Choose from any of DC’s almost 100 world-class museums – the National Air and Space Museum, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Museum of Natural History and the Newseum are just a few. There are also many other small fascinating museums hidden around the city. The city is overflowing with famous monuments and buildings, so don’t miss the White House, Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, MLK Monument, FDR and Jefferson Memorials (some places charge an entrance fee, so make sure you bring some spare cash along). You’ll most likely do a lot of walking today, so maybe reward yourself with a relaxing evening.
Day 4 Appalachian Mountains
Escape the city grind and venture into the breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains. Stop by Shenandoah National Park, one of the highest and most scenic portions of the Appalachians. Continue your journey along Skyline Drive – a famed mountain highway which winds through deep woods and past spectacular vistas. Stop to stretch your legs under the impressive oak trees and admire the gorgeous views. Later in the afternoon, drive to your campsite and pitch your tent in the heart of the great outdoors, share stories with your fellow travellers around the campfire and make s’mores (a traditional night time campfire treat in North America) – you may even learn some new skills! Total drive time today will be around 5 hours.
Day 5 Nashville
Head south this morning on a 4-hour drive to the USA’s Country Music Capital - Nashville, Tennessee. Once settled into the campground, join your leader on a short orientation tour of Nashville’s Downtown area – focusing on the bustling entertainment hub of Broadway – a famed strip renowned for the honky tonk bars which offer live music every day of the week. The rest of the day is at your leisure, so perhaps visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains the golden Cadillac that once belonged to Elvis or check out some iconic music venues like Grand Ole Opry House and the Ryman Auditorium. The Wildhorse Saloon is a great spot in the evening to experience authentic southern food and live music.
Day 6 Memphis
Say goodbye to the glitz and glamour of ‘Nashvegas’ this morning as you continue your musical pilgrimage to the birthplace of rock and roll: Memphis, Tennessee (approximately 3.5 hours driving time). Join your leader on a short walking tour to familiarise yourself with the city. You’ll head down bustling Beale Street, where traditional blues clubs and ritzier tourist traps rub shoulders – but don’t worry, your leader will give you the lowdown on which bars are worth a look. After an included world-famous fried chicken lunch, the rest of the day is free to explore. If you have time, a must-see in Memphis is Sun Studio, the 'Birthplace of Rock', which boasts the first recordings of legendary performers like Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. For those with an interest in history, there's the National Civil Rights Museum (at the former Lorraine Motel) where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. This evening, why not head out for a famous Memphis-style barbecue.
Day 7 Memphis
With no activities planned today, consider heading out of the city to visit Graceland, Elvis Presley’s former home and the site of his tomb. Exploding with kitschy glamour and over-the-top Southern charm, here you can see the famous jungle room, as well as Elvis’s cars, private planes and much more. For an unusual and local experience, check out the popular Duck Parade at the famous Peabody Hotel – where ducks that live in the hotel perform waddle from their rooftop palace to splash in the lobby fountain (and then back again) at 11 am and 5 pm daily.
In the evening, get into the groove of Memphis and consider heading back down to Beale Street's traditional blues clubs, made famous by legends such as WC Handy, Howlin' Wolf and BB King.
Day 8 New Orleans
It’s a long drive today as you head across the state of Mississippi and prepare to get down in New Orleans AKA the ‘Big Easy’ (approximately 8 hours). Get back to nature with a stop at Honey Island and perhaps opt for a tour down one of the least-altered river swamps in the country. It's pretty much in its original condition, almost a pristine wilderness and home to a variety of critters. Residents include nutrias (river rats), snakes and wild boars – spot alligators sunbathing on the banks and absorb the incredible scenery as you cruise through the eerie marshland. Continue your drive into New Orleans – with a mix of Creole, Cajun and European culture reflected in the city’s architecture, cuisine and music there’s plenty to explore and do. On arrival, your leader will point you in the direction of all the major attractions on a short walk of the eclectic French Quarter, the historic heart of the city, famous for its cast-iron balconies and vivacious nightlife. The rest of the time is yours! Perhaps take a walk down rowdy Bourbon Street or through the former plantation area of the Garden District, or head out for a typical Cajun-style dinner and toast to your adventure.
Day 9 New Orleans
With no activities planned today and so much to explore in New Orleans, why not dig further into the rich and varied flavours that make New Orleans a food-lover’s haven on an Urban Adventures French Quarter Food Tour. Or, (if you’re over the ripe old age of 21) get to grips with the city’s outstanding cocktail culture and sip away on your favourite concoctions on the New Orleans Cocktail Tour. Find out more at urbanadventures.com
All This Included
Take a bite out of the Big Apple and boogie on down in the Big Easy on this historical, scenic and musical pilgrimage from New York to New Orleans. Admire the profound monuments of the USA’s capital, wind through the jaw-dropping Appalachian Mountains, hit up the live music along Honky-Tonk Highway, perfect your best ‘Elvis’ in the birth place of Rock and Roll, cruise the murky swamplands of the Mississippi and toast to your adventure with some Creole cuisine and round-the-clock nightlife on buzzing Bourbon Street. This carefully designed route encompasses everything from political history to musical legacies – and with less drive time and more jive time, you’re guaranteed to maximise your experiences in the essential destinations.
Camping (with facilities) (6 nights)
Hotel (2 nights)
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.