Leave the beaches and glamour of Miami behind, it's time to get amongst the action with a highly recommended optional airboat ride in the Everglades area. Explore the 'River of Grass', where lazy alligators resting in the sun and turtles sunbathing on lily pads are a common sight. Spot wildlife in their natural habitat and then for the ultimate experience in this unique environment, spend the night in a traditional 'chickee'. These simple cabins on stilts have no electricity and bathrooms can be found in the communal central building. Though basic in nature, it's a pretty special place to admire the sunset from.NB: Please be aware that Billie's Swamp Safari keep an enclosure of animals. TrekAmerica do not endorse animals in captivity. This is one of the reasons why we recommend our passengers view native inhabitants of the Florida Everglades on an optional airboat ride, for an authentic experience of this unique environment.
The oldest city in the whole of Georgia is your stop for the next two nights. Get your first chance to sample the music, heritage and delicious grub of the Deep South in Savannah. With just over 20 historic squares it's easy to see why this was once the state's colonial capital. If you're looking for a combination of historic homes, park fountains and a huge helping of Southern hospitality (devilled crab and smoked pork anyone?) then you'll be in your absolute element.
Charleston is defined by its beautiful cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel pre-Civil-War-era houses. Take a wander through the bustling French Quarter and Battery areas on a self-guided walking tour to really pull out the unique flavours of this city.
Your Deep South stretch takes an altogether wilder turn as you enter Asheville. Sandwiched between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge, the self-proclaimed ??Land of the Sky', charms visitors with its effortless bohemian vibe and panoramic mountain views.
This is what the Blue Ridge Mountains are all about and although this is America's most-popular national park you'll still be treated to a peaceful and inspirational natural experience that'll stay with you for years to come. Loads of hiking trails give everyone the chance to soak up the misty mountain views.
Just try and stop yourself singing 'Country Roads' as you head northwards out of North Carolina and into West Virginia. For those with an adventurous streak you won't want to miss a spot of white water rafting or zip lining right next to New River Gorge National River.
Cross the great state of Virginia and hike a section of the Appalachian Mountains on your way to Washington DC. Interestingly, Washington DC is not in a state, but its own District - the District of Columbia (DC for short). DC is home to some of the most well-known monuments including the White House, Jefferson Monument and Capitol Hill. Thanks to the Smithsonian Institution's generous attitude towards art and culture you'll be able to enter the majority of the capital's museums free of charge - great news if you're planning to save your dimes for a night out in New York!
The states on this side of the country are pretty ??small' so you can cruise through five of them in no time at all. Try to collect a souvenir from each state on your way through! After visiting the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the ??Rocky' steps leading up to Philadelphia's Museum of Art, it's time to move on to a few more famous film sites as you head for the city that never sleeps - New York. The next two days will be crammed full of iconic buildings, historic monuments and more razzmatazz and bright lights than vendors selling pretzels and hot dogs. This is your chance to revel amongst some of the world's most famous landmarks, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.
After you've had your fill of the ??Big Apple' there are two more states to tick off your list as you make tracks for the cobbled streets and cultural trails of Boston, renowned as being one of the key locations for the start of the American Revolution. Aside from the Freedom Trail (which takes in 16 revolutionary sites), Boston is a legend on the food and drink scene. Delight in a whole host of Irish bars, coffee shops, and snack-joints providing the sustenance to keep you going until the wee small hours.
Onwards and upwards through New England and into Maine, which is not only the birthplace of Stephen King but also the home of Acadia National Park. This is the perfect place to hike, picnic and mountain bike. Mount Desert Island gives you the pick of beautiful natural areas and this stop is all about exploring the great outdoors with mountains, woodlands, lakes and ocean views providing an exceptional backdrop.
After time spent in Maine, it's time to hop over to the neighbouring state of New Hampshire and discover over 100 miles of Appalachian Trail, criss-crossing through the White Mountain National Forest. This place will have you hiking and camping amongst some of the best terrain that New England has to offer. As weather conditions can change in a flash you're advised to pack accordingly but, with views above the timberline ranging from 'WOW' to 'OMG', a spot of drizzle will probably be the last thing on your mind.
The ??Greens', as local hikers sometimes refer to this small mountain range, are a perfect introduction to this area. In Autumn this area comes alive with the changing of the colours, however in summer months the thick forest and beautiful views give you an excellent idea why so many Americans travel for miles to visit the Green Mountains.
Located on the shores of Lake Erie and packed full of arts and culture, Buffalo is a mere stone's throw from the thundering water of Niagara Falls - a certain highlight! Your visit to the famous falls takes place this evening and if you thought this incredible landmark looked cool in the day then try taking a look when it's illuminated with coloured spotlights at night. The word ??magical' just doesn't do this experience justice.
Today you'll be donning your waterproof poncho and clambering aboard the ??Maid of the Mist' before you venture into the spray-drenching realm of pretty much the most famous water feature on the planet. After Niagara by day, you'll be skirting the edge of Lake Erie as you journey to Cleveland, Ohio, for a spot of free time and lake swimming.
You should be getting the hang of 'lake life' by now and you'll be pleased to know that for the next couple of nights you'll be located within Van Buren State Park which promises 400 acres of woodland trails, gigantic sand dunes and a mile of sandy beach. Unwind with some excellent spots for swimming and generally taking it easy!
Now for something completely different as you travel south to Indianapolis and the kooky capital of Indiana. Guaranteed to feed your cultural, retail and nightclub needs, Indianapolis is an awesome city with indie brewery tours, ethnic food corridors and mind-bending live shows always proving popular.
Continue south and into Kentucky where the world's longest known cave system, the aptly named Mammoth Cave, is awaiting your exploration. This is twice the size of the world's next largest cave setting with over 400 miles of sandstone and limestone passageways, corridors, rivers, stalactites and stalagmites providing an amazing adventure deep beneath the hills of Green River Valley.
Nashville has so much more to offer than catchy country tunes and as you venture ever-further into America's Deep South you'll be treated to a whole host of things to do along the banks of the Cumberland River. The Country Music Hall of Fame, Civil War heritage, Elvis's recording studios and more honky-tonk bars than you can hit with a banjo - have fun y'all!
Time to tune into Lynyrd Skynyrd as you check into Birmingham, Alabama, the home of Southern jazz, civil rights and juicy country-fried steak with butter beans - mmmm!
If you've just started to get into jazz then prepare to crank it up a notch as you make your way into New Orleans' historic French Quarter. Here, you're never far away from a sax or trumpet, as well as some darn fine bars to kick up your heels. Your home for the next couple of nights is right in the beating heart of New Orleans and from tours along the Mississippi to tasty Cajun cuisine, this is the perfect place to celebrate your 30th day on the road.
For all you lovers of slicked back hair and rock 'n' roll, Tupelo will certainly resonate as this is the birthplace of ??The King'. An optional visit to the stomping ground and birthplace of Elvis Presley will no doubt inspire at least a couple of renditions of ??Blue Suede Shoes', ??Hound Dog' and many more classics!
Stop by Clarksdale, which many claim to be the birthplace of the blues, to see the famous crossroads of Highway 61. More musical heritage can, of course, be found in Memphis and as we turn our attention to blues and 60's soul, we'll stop for a couple of nights just to check that the largest city on the Mississippi has still got it going on. With Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters and Otis Reading to guide you, this stopover in Memphis is pure gold for music fans. Take the chance to visit Graceland and Sun Studio as well as the National Civil Rights Museum which presents a thoroughly absorbing tour.
After managing to scrape the swamp off those rhinestone boots you bought in Memphis it's time to hit the 'coasters and thrill rides at Six Flags, St Louis, before checking out the night life or sampling the local beer on an Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour.
Cross the state of Illinois heading north and you'll find your home for the next two nights surrounded by the shimmering towers, designer malls and the all-important Lake Michigan views of Chicago. The ??Windy City' is an exciting and fast-paced metropolis with a huge range of cultural museums, live music venues and deep-dish pizza houses. This promises to be an extremely exciting stopover as you near the halfway stage of your incredible tour of America.Due to the length of the tour, it is likely your tour leader will change in Chicago.
After all of that deep-filled pizza indulgence you may consider taking it easy for the next few days however, you're bound to find room for some tasty Wisconsin Dells fudge before you ease in the reigns. Aside from the sugar-laced loveliness, The Dells is jam-packed full of water parks, roller coaster rides and chances to tour on land and water on-board an amphibious Wisconsin Duck bus. Why not opt to visit the park (not included)?
You've made it to the halfway stage of this phenomenal tour and now you'll get the chance to celebrate in Minneapolis on a short break for lunch at Black River Falls. More cascading water lies in store this afternoon at Minnehaha Falls and if you fancy going all 'Man v. Food' then chomping into a 'Juicy Lucy' burger before you check out America's largest mall. The Minneapolis nightlife comes highly recommended.
There's no place like home and as you travel through Iowa, Missouri, and into Kansas you'll get to stop at Des Moines for lunch before reaching the heart of Middle America. Steamboat museums, barbecue smoke pits and some fairly swanky country clubs provide plenty of options for your single night in Kansas.
You're on the southern trail again where the wind comes rushing across the plain as you head to Oklahoma City; the home of cattle, cowboys and some of the wildest nightspots this side of Texas.
Welcome to Texas, the largest of the ??Lower 48' states. Things are bigger in Texas and Dallas is no exception. You'll find several museums, as well as some terrific local steakhouses. The assassination of JFK is obviously one of the darker moments in Dallas' history, and with your free time you may want to check out the John F Kennedy tour featuring the grassy knoll and the infamous 6th floor of the School Book Depository. Dallas also has some great live music so may sure you venture out in the evening.
After taking in the stalactites and stalagmites in the Carlsbad Caverns you may be forgiven for thinking that things couldn't get much spookier. At night this area comes alive with bats - millions of bats - that come alive with the setting sun. It's worth checking out!
Moving onto Santa Fe, we soak up the artsy vibe of the oldest US capital city, sat high in the desert foothills. Stroll down Canyon Road where locals are peddling their wares, check out contemporary art galleries and admire the Pueblo Revival architecture, with the noticeable style of earth coloured walls.
As you travel northwards and across the border into Colorado you'll be well aware of the ever-changing scenery that has formed the backbone of your tour. Entering Great Sand Dunes National Park provides yet another chance to immerse yourself in some incredible landscapes. After a spot of sand-surfing and swimming in Medano Creek it's time to spend a night surrounded by snow-capped mountains under a velvet blanket pin-pricked with twinkling stars.
The moment when someone whispers ??what's that?' is when you know that your wildlife trail has reached its high point. The chance to hike amongst the fantastic formations of the Rocky Mountain National Park has to be up there with the best of them! Spending two days exploring and keeping your eyes peeled for eagles, elk and bear is definitely an experience to savour.
Check out the views as you travel further north through Nebraska and into South Dakota where you'll be treated to a photographic opportunity like no other as you edge ever closer to the chiselled presidential features of Mount Rushmore. Step into the shadows of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln prior to paying your respects to another heroic icon from American history, Crazy Horse, who also has a mountain memorial carved in his honour.
Next up, explore Theodore Roosevelt National Park. If you're starting to get into your birdwatching you'll have around 200 species to look out for including grouse, eagles and wild turkeys.
As you start your journey heading west out of North Dakota and into Montana you'll no doubt be discovering more about America's often brutal past and nowhere has this been immortalised more than the place of Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of Little Bighorn. The national monument is a shrine to the Sioux and Cheyenne Native American struggle to survive in an ever-changing world and will no doubt give you the chance to reflect as you pay your respects.
Make sure you keep your eye on your picnic baskets as you head into Yogi country and the awesome range of experiences that abound in one of the best-loved national parks on the planet, Yellowstone. Spurting geysers, grazing buffalo, star-filled nights and no end of wildlife peeping out from lush green forest and valley trails, will make the next two days incredibly special, so enjoy every minute of it!
The solidified lava flows at Craters of the Moon are the closest thing you'll get to a real lunar landscape. Explore the cinder cones and caves and appreciate this surreal experience that you'll no doubt remember for many moons to come.
Temples, museums, heritage parks and hip-hop clubs can be all found in Salt Lake City, the Mormon capital of the world. For your evening's entertainment, et the gang together for a night at the drive-in cinema. If you fancy a bit of a hop-on/hop-off sightseeing then the Salt Lake Connect Pass is the way to go.
Photography students take note: if you're searching for a sandstone archway juxtaposed against an infinite blue sky you'll find plenty of that here - you won't know where to point your camera first! Arches National Park not only contains more than 2000 natural archways but it's also considered to be America's ultimate adventure playground with mountain biking, hummer safaris and canyon trekking all considered epic fun in the sun. Add in the Tower of Babel, the Organ, Delicate Arch and Dead Horse Point State Park - it's no wonder that Moab is Utah's inspirational adventure capital.
More movie moments arise today as you hit the trail into Monument Valley and those legendary landscapes that have formed the backdrop to a whole host of Westerns. Optional 4x4 tours with a Native Navajo guide will take you deep into the heart of the valley where you'll discover the sandstone formations and vast stretches of canyon that have long been the spiritual home of the Navajo Nation.
Undoubtedly the highlight of any trip to Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park is simply a breathtaking experience that you'll want to enjoy again and again. Optional helicopter rides take you swooping through the valleys and buzzing over the river far below. No matter how you decide to spend your time, the sunset on your first day will prove to be another moment that'll leave you speechless. If your first day was spent looking down then the next day should all be about delving into the depths of the canyon from the Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point. The views of the epic Colorado River have never looked so grand!
There are road trips and then there's a journey down the infamous Route 66. As you leave Arizona behind and head west into Nevada you'll get that tingling feeling that something special is just around the bend. After a cheeky stopover in the long-preserved town of Seligman, it's time to hit the slots, soak up the sights and party like you've just been on tour for 67 days, that's right - you're in Vegas, baby! The Strip, the Fremont Street Experience, the Bellagio Fountains and a couple of nights in a hotel - is there any reason not to get excited? We'll even throw in a party bus - the ultimate way to experience The Strip!
So, you've just left 'Sin City', where next? Well, there's only one stop on the California trail that's going to top Vegas and that's the movie star-filled boulevards and beaches of LA. Los Angeles presents your first taste of the Pacific Coast with the brash and the beautiful! From Venice Beach and Santa Monica to Mullholland Drive and the Hollywood sign, this is where your tour really gets the VIP treatment.
Head away from the bright lights of Hollywood as you continue your Californian leg northwards and onto the prestigious waterfront attractions of Santa Barbara. If you're hoping to chill and watch the world go by over a coffee or sip on some tasty vino from a local vineyard, then you'll find plenty of opportunities to do so in Santa Barbara. There's also almost 700 eateries and a whole host of arts and crafts centres to help you get into the laid-back West Coast vibe, your time here is going to be awesome!
From Santa Barbara, we travel north, making our way to the Big Sur / Monterey area. Unfortunately, we are unable to visit the McWay Falls viewpoint due to a landslide - however we'll be showing you the best of the area under the Cali sunshine!
Drive to stunning Yosemite National Park, and get lost in the wilderness for a couple of days. Attempt to put your arms around a Giant Sequoia, dip your toes into the Merced River or simply marvel at the mountains as you hike or bike over some of the lesser-frequented forest trails - it's easy to understand why this is one of America's most treasured national parks. With legendary land features (Half Dome, El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks) as well as some of the world's highest waterfalls (Nevada, Vernal and Yosemite), Yosemite National Park will definitely be one of your road trip highlights!
Say goodbye to Yosemite and hello to San Francisco as you reach the epic red arches of the Golden Gate Bridge. With a tour of the famous bridge included, you'll also be treated to an array of classic San Francisco highlights with a free day enabling you to discover Chinatown, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf and even the foreboding walls of Alcatraz (make sure you book this well in advance of your tour as spaces fill up fast). Clam chowder, sea lions and cable cars by day, combined with clubs, bars and speakeasys by night - San Francisco is just one of the places that you'll want to return to again and again.If you are interested in visiting Alcatraz we recommend you book your tickets well in advance direct with Alcatraz Cruises. For this tour you should book your ticket for day 71 (anytime). See Tour Extras tab for more information.
Hopefully you've saved room on your camera for a few more shots of California's giants as over the next couple of days you're going to be gazing skywards as you enter the realm of the tallest trees on the planet, the Giant Redwoods. Infinite prairies, sublime coastline and rushing river trails - there's going to be much more to Redwood National Park than you may have first imagined.
Your penultimate day on tour sees you head to Portland where you'll have the chance to recount a few of the many awesome highlights that you've experienced over the past 79 days with your new Trek mates. Portland is one of the coolest cities on the West Coast and the hipster vibes and friendly locals will see that your road trip ends on a high. The micro-breweries and Voodoo Donut shop are yours to indulge in, so make sure you do!
Seattle has one heck of a music scene and with Eddie Vedder ringing in your ears it's one last opportunity to get some souvenirs at the boardwalk empire of Pike Place Market. If you have any camera space left then the Space Needle is always worth a snap however, you may just want to save your last iota of memory for a group shot as your epic trip finally draws to a close. 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.