Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles)

Company : Contiki
Duration: 3 weeks to 4 weeks
Approx Costs: 2500 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Southern delicacies include chicken and ribs, biscuits and gravy, and more curiously, Elvis' favorite Graceland snack, a peanut butter and banana concoction. 

But here's food for thought: Our equally eclectic travel menu of mouth-watering southern destinations, nicely sandwiched between prime left- and right-coast stop-overs. Get a taste of Texas, full servings of Memphis and New Orleans, and a naughty nibble of Las Vegas, before a final bite in the Big Apple, New York City.

 

Itinerary

1 LOS ANGELES TO LAS VEGAS  
Meet up with your Contiki crew and Trip Manager before we hit the road. Journey through Southern California and the vast Mojave Desert, with its iconic Joshua trees, into Nevada. Get ready to arrive in larger-than-life Las Vegas – a manmade entertainment oasis smack in the middle of the desert. Dubbed “Sin City”, it’s all about glitz, neon lights and excess. See the bright lights of this city and its world famous casinos in a first taste of Vegas kitsch. 

2  LAS VEGAS  
With a free day, you’ve got time to get a real feel for this outrageous town, so keep an eye out for Elvis impersonators and fast-paced chapel weddings! 

3  LAS VEGAS TO THE GRAND CANYON  
Leaving the desert of Nevada, we head into Arizona’s high country. With down time on the coach, plug in your iPod, catch up on some sleep or chat with your new friends. Following a section of the legendary Route 66, we stop in the town of Seligman. This historic town will give you a feel for the old style as you check out 1940s shop fronts and motels. This is a good place to pick up a souvenir for back home. We continue on to the mind-blowing landscape of the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s most recognizable natural wonders and pride of Arizona.

4  GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK  
A day here means time to take in the immensity and spine-tingling beauty of the scene-stealing Canyon – it has got a rep for a reason! This morning get up close to this UNESCO World Heritage site on an optional helicopter ride and get another angle on the Canyon as you fly over it. Hike along the South Rim for mind-blowing vistas of the dramatic scenery.

5  GRAND CANYON TO DURANGO VIA MONUMENT VALLEY  
It’s into the Wild West today as we travel past cacti, rocky plateaus and the iconic desert backdrop of Monument Valley. Packed with stone spires and mesas (flattop mountains), the valley is also home to Navajo culture. Learn about the American Indian and Navajo way of life as the group visits the Navajo Tribal Park with a Local Guide. Your jaw will drop as we travel through a narrow gorge to the Painted Desert, where colorful rock formations dot the desert. 

6  DURANGO TO ALBUQUERQUE  
Get into the region’s outdoor lifestyle in an adrenaline-pumping river-rafting optional or choose to discover the back country and an old mine on a four wheel drive excursion. This afternoon, it’s a total change of scene when we enter New Mexico, where sun-baked earthen brick buildings stand out against the bright blue sky. When we pull into Albuquerque, you’ve got time before dinner to uncover the city’s Spanish heritage. 

7  ALBUQUERQUE TO AMARILLO  
Enjoy an unforgettable experience by choosing an optional hot air balloon ride over New Mexico in the early morning. This region is famous for hot air ballooning, so grab hold of your camera for the full-blown vistas over the desert and the Rio Grande. Next up is Santa Fe. Eastbound, we travel into the heart of cowboy country to laid- back Amarillo, a small, quirky town known for its ranches and cattle auctions. Make the most of our “old west” accommodation tonight, complete with a Texas-shaped pool and horse hotel (stables for those travelling steeds). 

8  AMARILLO TO DALLAS  
Home to the Dallas Cowboys football team, oil millionaires, rich ranchers and a famous soap opera, Dallas doesn’t do things by halves. The “Big D” dishes up big attitude.  You’ll get your bearings as your Trip Manager shows the group some of downtown Dallas’ core spots. Then there’s time to get out there among the city slickers and pound the pavements for a first taste of the Lone Star State’s famous city.

9  DALLAS  
With a day to discover why things are bigger and better in Texas, you’ll get a real feel for this fast moving city. This morning, get the low down on one of Dallas’ darkest moments at the Sixth Floor Museum. Learn about the background on JFK’s life and assassination and even stand in the “gunman’s nest” (from where Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have taken aim). Pick up some cowboy boots and keep an eye out for the Texas long-horn steer.

10  DALLAS TO MEMPHIS  
With one foot in Texas and one foot in Arkansas, we visit the town of Texarkana! Make sure you grab a photo of yourself standing in two states. Stop by Little Rock and see the Central high school - a hot spot during the Civil Rights Movement! Then we cross over the mythical Mississippi River and pull into the 'musical mecca' and BBQ capital, Memphis. Hometown to blues, soul and rock’n’roll, Memphis moves to a lot of different beats. Get a feel for its rhythm as your Trip Manager points out the Gibson guitar factory, the Orpheum Theatre, Rock’n’Soul Museum and Beale Street.

11  MEMPHIS  
Jump start the day with a tour of Graceland and pay homage to the King of Rock’n’Roll. After Graceland, you’ve got free time to explore Memphis.

12  MEMPHIS TO NEW ORLEANS  
Drop by Jackson, Mississippi, and then cross Lake Pontchartrain on the longest causeway in the world. A meeting point of European style and Caribbean flavors, swinging New Orleans is busy with soul, flamboyance, festivities and a whole lot of jazz! 

13  NEW ORLEANS  
A free day means time to absorb the atmosphere and lose yourself in the energy and diversity of New Orleans. You could hop on a historic street car and head to the southern end of the Garden District, where you can soak up the rundown elegance and old-world charm of the quarter’s Victorian mansions. Experience more of the stunning French Quarter, made up of hidden courtyards, soul-kitchens and jazz clubs. 

14  NEW ORLEANS TO PANAMA CITY BEACH  
With time to relax on the coach, enjoy a siesta or get some tips for the up-coming destinations from your Trip Manager. Travel through Southern Mississippi. Afterwards, we head to Southern Alabama to soak up some sun with an overnight stop at "The World's Most Beautiful Beaches" - Panama City Beach.

15  PANAMA CITY BEACH TO ORLANDO  
Get ready to arrive in the former farming town of Orlando. This ordinary town was transformed into the most-visited place in the state by Walt Disney’s imagination, when he created Disney World. Now Orlando is all about wild rides, fantasy and amusement parks, so get some pointers from your Trip Manager and take your pick!

16  ORLANDO  
Free time means a day out in one of the many fun parks located here with some friends. There are loads of options; Disney World with its 4 parks, Universal Studios and several water parks. The parks also serve up theme-bars and clubs, so if you’re keen, keep it moving tonight at one of them.

17  ORLANDO TO MIAMI  
Flamboyant, flashy and fabulous, Miami is hot and loud. Packed with diverse neighborhoods, each with their own character, Miami is great place to hang out. 

18  MIAMI  
Tropical Miami oozes energy and a free day here means time to get into this happening hub. 

19  MIAMI TO DAYTONA BEACH  
We head north today, to the incredible Daytona Beach. Take in the sand, sea and sun on one of the most famous beaches in the world.

20  DAYTONA BEACH TO ST. AUGUSTINE VIA KENNEDY SPACE CENTER  
Hit the Space Coast, home to NASA, and visit the fascinating Kennedy Space Center, the only rocket launch point for space missions in the Western Hemisphere. 

21  ST. AUGUSTINE TO SAVANNAH  
Free-wheeling Savannah is up next and its all about southern charm. Fall under its spell as you check out the old cotton warehouses, historic city squares and mansions. Spared from the destruction of the Civil War, you’ll see original historic buildings here. 

22  SAVANNAH TO RALEIGH VIA CHARLESTON  
Practice your best Southern drawl and get ready for a little Southern hospitality as you cross the Carolinas today. On our way, we stop in charming Charleston for lunch before reaching the college town of Raleigh, where we’ll have a bit of fun tonight.

23  RALEIGH TO WASHINGTON D.C.  
This morning, cross over the border into Richmond for a slice of history. After a look around the old center we head to Carytown, a young and funky district, for lunch. Next up: the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. It’s the USA’s political core, buzzing with decision makers and busy with museums, monuments and politics. Your local guide will fill you in D.C’s signature sites and monuments, like the Capitol Building, Washington Monument and the White House. 

24-25  WASHINGTON D.C.  
With two full days to explore the capital, you can visit some fascinating museums and monuments, or hang out in the city’s vibrant neighborhoods for a different feel. 

26  WASHINGTON D.C. TO NEW YORK  
Leaving the capital behind, we continue on to New York. First up is Philadelphia. Check out Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the historic Liberty Bell – Philadelphia’s landmark that weighs in at 2080lb (944kg). Don’t forget to try a Philly cheese steak, a local speciality. We top off your travels with New York, where it’s time to say farewell to your new friends, as the trip ends here late this afternoon.

 

Tour Price

£3475

Booking / Enquiry

Contiki Grand Southern (Start Los Angeles) Reviews

Can honestly say this was the best experience of my life.

Our tour guide was absolutely amazing and knew all the best places to see/ eat. The tour was so easy, and everything from meals to accommodation and activities were organised for us. I highly recommend this tour for anyone wanting to experience authentic America.

By: Kate
Nationality: Australian
Age: 25

Trip of a lifetime!

I’ve never travelled by myself before and I was so nervous going into a big tour by myself but from day 1 you meet the greatest people who are all in the same situation as you. I did the Great Southern US trip and it’s the best and most affordable way to see so much over a decent amount of time. Didn’t want it to end. Our tour guy was amazing and so informative and helpful and you didn’t have to worry about a thing! The hardest part was saying goodbye to everyone at the end. I highly recommend booking this tour with Contiki!

By: Kellie
Nationality: Australian
Age: 24

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