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The Great American Road Trip – Suggested Self Drive

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The Great American Road Trip

Ah, The Great American Road Trip. It's a rite of passage, a combination of nostalgia, discovery and adventure ideally set against a sweeping landscape. Travel along favorites like Route 66 or head off into the unknown. The U.S. highway network rewards travellers who simply hit the road in search of the American driving dream.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: New York arrival
Arrive in New York, the city that never sleeps, and transfer independently to your hotel.

Day 2: New York
This morning enjoy the city of New York. Catch glimpses of the famous skyline as you absorb the bustle and energy of the Big Apple. May we suggest a stroll through Central Park, a bird's eye view on a Manhattan Helicopter Tour (optional), or reenact history with a kiss in Times Square. Bring your camera!

Day 3: New York - Philadelphia - Washington, D.C
Depart New York for Philadelphia, where you may spend the morning exploring the historic district of the "City of Brotherly Love" and the birthplace of a nation. See the Liberty Bell, and stroll through Independence National Historic Park and Mall. Then continue to the nation's capital, Washington, D.C for overnight.

Day 4: Washington, D.C
Enjoy DC with such highlights as the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the White House and Arlington National Cemetery, site of the JFK Memorial. Spend the remainder of the day exploring some of the many museums comprising the Smithsonian Institute or simply stroll the banks of the Potomac River.

Day 5: Washington, D.C, - Gettysburg - Niagara Falls
Today, visit Gettysburg National Military Park, site of one of the most decisive battles during the American Civil War, and the place where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous address in 1863. We then travel through upstate New York to Buffalo and arrive at the majestic Niagara Falls, where the mist of the falls permeates the air.

Day 6: Niagara Falls - The Great Lakes - Detroit
Spend the morning sightseeing at Niagara Falls. If desired, cross the international border to Canada and explore the falls on the Canadian side. Stroll along Table Rock and view the thundering waters of Horseshoe Falls. In the late afternoon, return to the United States, crossing the border and continuing to your hotel in a suburb of Detroit, known as "Motor City USA". Enjoy an evening at leisure.

Day 7: Detroit - Chicago
Travel along Lake Michigan and on to Chicago, where you can soak up the city's highlights including Lake Shore Drive, the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier and one of the world's tallest buildings, the Willis Tower (admission not included).

Day 8: Chicago
A full day at leisure to explore the museums, architecture or a river cruise. (optional)

Day 9: Chicago - Mississippi River Crossing - Sioux City
Travel through Midwest farm country abundant in corn fields and dairy farms. Then cross the mighty Mississippi River into the state of Iowa to arrive just as Lewis & Clark did 200 years ago on the banks of the Missouri River. Overnight in Sioux City.

Day 10: Sioux City - Badlands - Mt. Rushmore - Deadwood/Rapid City
Travel westward through the grasslands of South Dakota to Badlands National Park, once home to the buffalo and antelope, and filled with colorful rock formations. Continue on to the Black Hills, sacred to the Plains Indians and home to Mount Rushmore, monument to four great American presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt.

Day 11: Deadwood/Rapid City - Bighorn Mountains - Cody
Enter the state of Wyoming, which has twelve mountain ranges intermixed with deserts and rolling grasslands, continue to Cody for the night.

Day 12: Cody - Yellowstone
Drive past the mountains in Wyoming to Yellowstone, America's first National Park, and enjoy a sightseeing tour of this immense geothermal wonderland including: geysers, waterfalls, wildlife and canyons. Highlights will include Yellowstone Lake, Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Canyon's majestic falls, and the beautiful Hayden Valley.

Day 13: Yellowstone - Grand Teton - Salt Lake City
Travel through Grand Teton National Park (weather permitting) and see awesome mountain peaks towering over 13,000 ft. (4,000 meters). Visit the Snake River Outlook and try your eye at capturing the stunning landscape made famous by Ansel Adam's iconic shot. Later, arrive in the Mormon State of Utah and take a short city tour of its capital, Salt Lake City. The followers of Brigham Young built one of the best-planned cities in the country. See the State Capital building and visit famed Temple Square and the Tabernacle before arriving at the hotel for the evening. May we suggest dinner at the Rooftop Restaurant for panoramic views of Temple Square (optional)

Day 14: Salt Lake City - Bryce Canyon
Continue to spectacular Bryce Canyon, where a tour through a multi-colored world of sandstone spires and pinnacles, "hoodoos", will dazzle the eye. This evening, weather permitting, be sure to gaze upon the spectacular night sky filled with sparkling stars and constellations.

Day 15: Bryce Canyon - Lake Powell - Grand Canyon - Flagstaff
Depart Bryce Canyon this morning and journey to stunning Lake Powell, where crystal blue water laps against towering red-rock canyon walls. Lake Powell is the second-largest man made lake in America. Then visit colossal Grand Canyon National Park, one of the seven great natural wonders of the world. Stop at the Canyon rim to fully experience this mile-deep canyon's gorges, rising spires, extinct volcanoes and, the winding Colorado River. Overnight in Flagstaff, a famed stop on Historic Route 66.

Day 16: Flagstaff - Seligman/Route 66 - Las Vegas
This morning travel on to Las Vegas, the dazzling "Entertainment Capital of the World". Along the way, pass through Seligman, a town built along the famed Route 66 that looks as if it were frozen in time sixty years ago. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to explore the dazzling Las Vegas Strip.

Day 17: Las Vegas - Mojave Desert - Los Angeles
Travel to Los Angeles through the Mojave desert, where clusters of unique Joshua trees dot the mountainous landscape. Upon arrival in Los Angeles you will enjoy driving through "City of Angels" passing through areas such as Hollywood, Sunset Strip and Beverly Hills, before reaching your hotel.

Day 18: Los Angeles
Today we suggest an optional full-day tour visiting Universal Studios. Get an inside look at the sets and behind the scenes secrets of legendary films or perhaps, for the more adventurous, take one of the Studios' feature rides including Jurassic Park and Revenge of the Mummy.

Day 19: Los Angeles - Malibu - Santa Barbara - Central Coast
Leave Los Angeles in the morning and travel north through one of California's favorite vacation spots, Santa Barbara, where palm-lined walkways border white sandy beaches. The city is famous for its mission and Spanish heritage. Along the way, stop at an iconic California lifeguard tower made famous in "Baywatch". Continue along the coast to Shell/Pismo Beach.

Day 20: Central Coast - Carmel/Monterey - San Francisco
Dip your toes in the cool, refreshing waters of the Pacific during an early morning beach stroll, then we leave Shell/Pismo Beach and make our way north to Carmel, home of actor/director Clint Eastwood. Enjoy browsing the shops and galleries of this famous artists' colony. Traveling further north, visit Monterey's Old Fisherman's Wharf. Stroll the Pier to Cannery Row, brought to fame by John Steinbeck's novel. In the afternoon pass the fertile valleys of Castroville and Santa Clara en route to San Francisco, the "City by the Bay."

Day 21: San Francisco
A full day at leisure to explore San Francisco and make any last minute purchases as a reminder of your great trip across North America.

Day 22: San Francisco Departure
Return your rental car in time for your return flight.

Customise this itinerary to travel at your own pace.

Highlights worth seeing along the way
New York City -
Discover New York City.
Philadelphia - Tour Philadelphia and see the Liberty Bell.
Washington, D.C, - Experience Washington, D.C, and visit the museums.
Gettysburg National Military Park - Take a tour through Gettysburg National Military Park.
Niagara Falls - Stroll the banks of Niagara Falls.
Chicago - Visit Chicago including Lake Shore Drive, Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile.
Yellowstone National Park - Visit Yellowstone National Park and check out geysers, lush forests and natural hot springs.
Bryce Canyon National Park -
Take a walk along the rim of Bryce Canyon National Park.
Seligman- Travel along Route 66 ad stop in the historic town of Seligman.
Los Angeles - Enjoy Los Angeles including a tour of the Walk of Fame.
California - Stop at an iconic California lifeguard tower or visit the famous Cannery Row in Monterey & shops of Carmel.
Las Vegas - Shop till you drop at designer discount outlets in Las Vegas

Our favourite places to stay:
• Iberostar 70 Park Avenue, New York City
• The Ven Embassy Row, Washington, D.C.
• La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham, Niagara Falls
• Best Western Greenfield Inn, Detroit
• Hotel Versey Days Inn by Wyndham, Chicago
• Quality Inn & Suites, Sioux City
• Best Western Ramkota Hotel, Rapid City
• Buffalo Bill Village - Cabins, Cody
• Canyon Lodge & Cabins, West Yellowstone
• Crystal Inn Hotel & Suites
• Bryce View Lodge, Bryce Canyon
• Quality Inn, Flagstaff
• Excalibur Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
• Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel, Los Angeles
• Cottage Inn by the Sea, Central Coast
• Comfort Inn by the Bay, San Francisco

Choosing your Rental Car
Take into consideration the size of the vehicle you require. We recommend a minimum of a medium sized SUV for two adults. This will give you space and freedom when you're travelling, and room for those extra purchases that you may make along the way. Book your car with House of Travel before leaving home as this will save money and ensure you get the car of your choice. 

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