America is famously a country of multitudes, a melting pot of cultures, and incredible geographic and human diversity. And one of the best, and most classic, ways to experience America as a whole is through a road trip. We’ve put together a bucket list itinerary of where you should stop on the ultimate American road trip.
New York City
New York City is one of the most international and culturally significant cities in the world. From learning about the city’s immigrant history at the Tenement Museum, to walking the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge, to checking out world-class art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the city that never sleeps has a little something for everyone.
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Just a four hour drive from New York is the seat of American political power: Washington, D.C. Politics isn’t all D.C. has to offer, though; once you’ve seen the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court, walk the beautiful streets of Georgetown and check out one of D.C.’s best restaurants. World-renowned chef José Andres’ restaurant Oyamel is a favorite.
The Appalachian Mountains offer stunningly beautiful nature, and have a rich cultural history and tradition for any visitor to explore. A drive around the crests of the region’s mountains is an unforgettable experience, as is pitching a tent in one of the area’s gorgeous forests.
Nashville may be the country music capital of the world, but that’s not all it is. This bustling city has become a foodie destination with standout restaurants like The Catbird Seat and Husk, and a has a spate of excellent boutiques, like Emerson Grace. Don’t miss the chance to line dance downtown.
Another musical city, Memphis was the home of American icon Elvis Presley. Graceland, where he resided, is a must-visit. Afterwards, make sure you try legendary Memphis barbecue before heading to Beale Street’s bars to listen to some of the best blues musicians in the world.
Head south from Memphis and you’ll find yourself in (arguably) America’s funnest city, New Orleans. A unique mix of European, Cajun, and Creole cultures, NoLA offers a seemingly endless array of activities. Visit the famous Café du Monde, have a drink on rowdy Bourbon Street, and take a stroll through the beautiful antebellum architecture of the Garden District.
East Texas is a remarkable stretch of desert and swamp. Seeing this entirely unique ecosystem is a must for understanding the full scope of the United States. Embrace the open road and keep an eye out for swamps to explore.
The Mexican influence is strong in San Antonio, not least because of the Alamo, the famous last battle between the United States and Mexico that resulted in Texas becoming a part of the former. After you’ve visited, stroll along the famous River Walk and have what’s sure to be an excellent meal at one of the city’s many Mexican eateries.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Explore the enormous Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which is one of the largest caverns in the world, and is still only partially explored. The Caverns are best explored right before sunset, when thousands of bats take flight from the roofs of the caves.
Santa Fe has a distinctly spiritual and magical air about it. Founded by the Spanish in the 16th century, the city’s architecture is full of adobe houses trimmed in bright turquoise. Have lunch at Geronimo restaurant and stroll the galleries of Canyon Road before heading up to the famous Ten Thousand Waves spa for a massage high up in the hills.
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park plays host to the largest and best-preserved collection of Anasazi Indian cliff dwellings. For a small fee you can have a park ranger guide you to some of the more hidden (and completely breathtaking) cliff dwellings.
Monument Valley’s landscape is dotted with massive sandstone structures, giving the entire area an otherworldly feel. The Valley is home to around 200,000 Navajo Indians and has been the backdrop to countless Westerns. Don’t forget to take your camera here!
Another incredible natural landscape, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is a must on any travel buff or nature lover’s bucket list. The incredible 1.5-kilometer gorge is the result of six million years of erosion from the Colorado River. The area is great for hiking and you can even opt to take a helicopter ride over the Canyon to get a true sense of its immensity.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. The party capital of the United States offers ample opportunities to let loose, whether that’s in one of the city’s many famous clubs, at a top-notch restaurant, or by trying your hand at the slot machines.
One of the hottest places in the world, Death Valley is dotted with huge rocks, sand structures, volcanic craters, and gorgeous salt flats. Embrace the heat and a wholly unique part of the American West.
Yosemite National Park
Full of hiking trails, waterfalls, wildlife, and stunning scenery, Yosemite is one of the United States’ most famous national parks. Take a float trip down one of the park’s rivers and stop for a refreshing drink or meal at one of the park’s many cafés and restaurants.
Your final road trip stop, and a must-visit on any trip to the States, is San Francisco. Although the Golden City has become synonymous with the technology industry, there is much more to the city than Twitter and Facebook. Walk the famous Golden Gate Bridge, take in the buzz at the Marina, and check out the residual hippie culture of the Haight-Ashbury district.
If you are looking to have an unforgettable holiday experience, check out Intrepid Travel.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.