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Hit the road on a trip like no other through the eastern USA, where each city is a culture unto itself. One day you're in Nashville munching Southern-style biscuits for breakfast, the next you're wandering around the iconic buildings of Chicago. This 18-29s tour is full of flexibility, making it perfect for the independent traveller who wants to see as much of this part of the country as possible in a short amount of time. The Victorian-era homes of Louisville, the winding Shenandoah River, thundering Niagara Falls and a sunset over Lake Erie - this is a real east USA adventure.
Day 1: New York (Newark)
Welcome to New York! There are no activities planned until your welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm. If you arrive early there’s no shortage of fun in the city that never sleeps. You can get a delicious crash course in how immigration has shaped the city on a Tenements, Tales, and Tastes tour with Urban Adventures. Stroll through New York's unique culturally signifcant sites in the Lower East Side, Chinatown and Little Italy, trying food along the way and gaining an appreciation for those who risked everything in search of the American dream. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/Tenements-Tastings-Tales-A-Tour-Of-New-York-Lower-East-Side.
Day 2: Philadelphia/Washington DC
Leave the skyscrapers in the rear-view mirror and head towards Washington DC. Along the way make a stop in Philadelphia, where you’ll have time to check out a few highlights before continuing to the USA’s capital. Spend a couple of hours in Philly and take in some icons of the Old City. Check out the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the 72-steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art that Rocky climbed while training for the fight of his life (ask your dad). Continue to DC for a free evening in the capital. Tonight, maybe grab some buddies and head out in search of dinner. You can plan your schedule and consult your maps over a bowl of ramen in Chinatown, or maybe over a beer at one of the rowdy bars in Georgetown.
Day 3: Washington DC
Hit the streets today at your own pace. Many of the iconic monuments and museums in DC are free to visit, including the White House, National Archives, National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. Prefer the structure of a guided tour? Ask your leader about the optional Bike and Roll tour options and you could be exploring the city on a bicycle or segway in no time. News buffs might want to check out the Newseum, where (for a small entry fee) you can learn about the First Amendment, press freedom and the historic threats to both.
Day 4: Appalachian Mountains
This morning you’ll head into Virginia along the scenic Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. It’s a long drive, but an incredibly beautiful one. We’re not saying a ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ singalong is mandatory, but it is a great way to pass the time and get into the spirit of the journey. The beauty of travelling in a small group is that there’s a certain amount of flexibility on these drives. See something incredible you want a closer look at? If everyone’s on board, go for it. You’ll arrive in the Blue Ridge Mountains after an approximately 5-hour drive.
Day 5: Nashville
Drive approximately 4 hours to Nashville, Tennessee. Settle into the campground and then get your bearings on an orientation tour with your leader. See some highlights of the city, including Broadway – home to historic buildings and honky-tonks. After you’ve familiarised yourself with the city, talk to your leader about what else is on offer in the home of country music. If you have time, perhaps visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains the golden Cadillac that once belonged to Elvis. When the sun goes down in Nashville, it’s time to hit the honky-tonks. Head to the Wildhorse Saloon tonight, where you’ll soon be stomping the boards with the locals during a line dancing lesson.
Day 6: Nashville
Start your day in Southern style with a breakfast of coffee and hot, buttery biscuits. This down-home staple is kind of like a savoury scone but tastier. After breakfast, enjoy a free day in Nashville. Maybe celebrate the ‘Man in Black’ with a trip to the Johnny Cash Museum. Or perhaps take a tour of the Ryman Auditorium, one of the city’s most famous performance halls. If you’re having difficulty deciding what to do, pick your leader’s brain for details of the optional activities on offer. If you’ve got a hankering for more southern-fried goodness, ask your leader where to grab a plate of ‘meat and three’. That’s what locals call a meal that includes your choice of meat (usually the options include fried chicken and country-fried steak) plus three side dishes such as collard greens, mashed potato and creamed corn.
Day 7: Louisville
Leave Nashville behind today and drive north for around 3 hours to Louisville, Kentucky. On arrival, you'll have free time to explore this huge city. You may have heard of the city’s namesake derby or baseball slugger, but the city’s got a multitude of unexpected charms to go along with its big hitters. An inventive but unpretentious food scene makes Louisville the perfect place to try variations on classic Southern dishes like hot, fried chicken and crab legs. The city is also home to some gorgeous parks (120, to be exact) and the largest collection of Victorian-era homes in the country, both of which can be explored on foot (and mostly for free). Of course, Kentucky is also known for its tipple of choice – bourbon. You could always take a self-guided trip between distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Just be aware that any activities undertaken today will be at your own expense.
Day 8: Chicago
Sit back and relax on the 6-hour drive to Chicago. With more than 45 kilometres of lakefront paths, Chicago is one of the world's most walkable cities, so what are you waiting for? This a great opportunity to bust out your walking shoes and start exploring on foot. Maybe head to Millennium Park, a massive public space with gardens and artwork throughout. Make sure you check out the Cloud Gate, the massive silver sculpture (also known as ‘The Bean’) that reflects the cityscape on its shiny surface. Another great way to see the city is by walking along the Magnificent Mile, an upscale stretch lined with attractions like then Art Institute and the Wrigley Building. Dinner tonight is included and a Chicago classic – deep-dish pizza. After dinner, perhaps grab some of your fellow travellers and head to the John Hancock Center to take the elevator to the 95th floor. Here you’ll find the Signature Room, where for the price of a drink you can enjoy sweeping views of the city.
Day 9: Chicago
Take a whole day to explore Chicago, with heaps of optional activities to choose from. Check out the full list of recommended optional activities below and, as always, make sure to grill your leader for advice. The Museum of Contemporary Art is a tranquil place to while away a few hours for a small cover charge. If your interests lie more with politics, the past, or both, the History Museum is great place to learn more about Chicago. If you’d like to be shown the city by someone who knows it inside-out, consider booking a tour with Bobby’s Bike Hike.
Day 10: Sundusky
Skirt the edge of Lake Erie and cross the Midwest into Ohio, with Sandusky as your destination (approximately 2 hours). Choose whether to join the group on an optional trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park, the so-called ‘Roller Coaster Capital of the World’ (extra cost). 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 you’re not big on thrills, you may prefer to 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 lake’s shore for a memorable sunset.
Day 11: Niagara Falls
Visit one of the country's greatest natural attractions – Niagara Falls. Continue along the border of Lake Erie all the way to this famous sight, which sits sandwiched between the borders of the USA and Canada (approximately 4.5 hours). There are numerous viewpoints from which you can appreciate the power of this amazing set of falls, including from the water on an optional Maid of the Mist cruise. For the ultimate show, head to the falls at night and see them lit up in all their glory.
Day 12: New York (Newark)
Return to New York today (approximately 7 hours). Traffic coming into the city can be incredibly busy, so please be prepared for delays. This is the perfect time to listen to a podcast or crack open a book. Arrive in Newark in New Jersey. There are no included activities planned on arrival, and no accommodation included this evening. If you plan to stay in New Jersey (or make the short trip to NYC by boat, train or bus) we can help you book additional accommodation (subject to availability). Chat to your travel agent or an Intrepid representative before you begin your tour.
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The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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