Fly For Free Road Trip USA
Wave at the White House, catch the rays on Florida's Miami Beach, tuck into top-notch gumbo in New Orleans, and marvel at Utah's Monument Valley – part of the Navajo Nation. This action-packed American adventure will definitely be an experience to write home about.
Day 1: New York City to Washington, District of Columbia, via Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Leave the bright lights of the Big Apple behind for DC, via Philly. Take a driving tour of Philadelphia to see the sights – you’ll channel your inner champ at the Rocky statue, and feel the love as you swing by the Love statue. For a bird’s eye view of the city, you can choose to head to the One Liberty Observation Deck. Enjoy an illuminated tour of the capital’s monuments when you hit Washington tonight.
Day 2: Washington, DC
Snap yourself in front of some of the US’s most iconic buildings, recreate famous movie moments, spot a senator, today you can get a real feel for the powerhouse that is DC. Get your bearings and tick off all the must-see places with an optional hop on/off bus tour. If speed is more your style you can see the city by segway or bike. However you travel, this is the place to clue yourself up on all things American history, and visit some of the many memorials, monuments and museums.
Day 3: Washington, DC to Wilmington, North Carolina
Historical buildings, moss-covered oaks and antebellum homes, rock up to Wilmington and drive around downtown to see this historical side of this North Carolinian city. Beer geeks rejoice, because this place knows how to do craft beer. There’s an ale trail to try or just a boatload of bottle shops to wobble your way around.
Day 4: Wilmington to Savannah, Georgia, via Charleston, South Carolina
Before hitting Savannah, sample the charm of Charleston. They’ve got giant sea turtles, blooming lovely gardens to wander around, fancy-pants shops to peruse and a WWII aircraft carrier to clamber in. Safe to say, there’s something for everyone. Tonight it’s the Savannah ghost tour (if you dare). Not to scare you, but this is one of America's most haunted cities.
Day 5: Savannah
After a hopefully nightmare-free sleep, enjoy the bona fide southern belle that is Savannah, it’s filled with 18th-century buildings and dreamy tree-lined walkways. Pare the pace way back with a Slow Ride bike crawl, then have your own “life is like a box of chocolates” moment where Forrest Gump waited for the bus.
Day 6: Savannah to Orlando, Florida
Welcome to Orlando, where there’s year-round sunshine and a certain friendly mouse reigns supreme. Contain yourself – Mickey and friends are just around the corner. And if theme parks aren’t your bag? There’s always souvenir shopping and plenty of tasty eateries.
Day 7: Orlando
Spend the day rollercoastering your way around the theme park capital of the world or hit the Kennedy Space Center for an out-of-this-world optional experience (see what we did there?). Don't have $250,000 for a trip to space Virgin Galactic? This place will solve that.
Day 8: Orlando to Miami
B’bye Magic Kingdom and mouse ears, we’re off for an Everglades airboat tour on the way to Miami. Tonight we roll into the land of ice cream-toned art deco buildings, Double Ds and Cuban deliciousness.
Day 9: Miami
Take a trip to Little Havana to people watch in the cafes, while street musicians provide a Cuban backing track. Stroll by the pretty pastel houses and dodge the Speedo-clad skaters of South Beach. Or let the hop on/off bus tour show you the sights so you get your bearings and get to see more of the nooks and crannies of the city. After an authentic Cuban dinner, see Miami come to life at night (if this place could get more lively) and join a club crawl with VIP entry.
Day 10: Miami to Florida Gulf Coast
The closest you’ll get to flying…without really leaving the ground. Take an airboat tour, shoot across the Everglades and (almost) get tangled in the mangroves. And as you catch your breath, learn all about the area’s sharp-toothed inhabitants and some of the friendlier wildlife. After the thrills of the day, ease into things in Florida’s Gulf Coast with an optional sunset cruise.
Day 11: Florida Gulf Coast to Panama City Beach
‘Gators be gone, we’re off to seek out turquoise waters and sandy beaches for an afternoon of shopping, mooching or just plain lying around doing very little. If sprawling out in the sun isn’t for you, there is just about every watersport under the sun, national parks to explore and beachside restaurants to park up in for a spot of lunch. (Try the chargrilled grouper or Apalachicola oysters for a taste of the area.)
Day 12: Panama City Beach to New Orleans, Louisiana
A relaxing day by the beach will just about ready you for the awesome assault on the senses that is New Orleans. Music-lovers are spoilt for choice with all the jazz clubs and cajun dancing spots. A good bet is to hit Bourbon or Frenchmen Street for live music every night of the week. Foodies will have a hard time picking between gumbos and po-boys, jambalaya and muffulettas, beignets and bananas Foster. Maybe just try ‘em all.
Day 13: New Orleans
You can take to the water and see New Orleans from a steamboat tour. On dry land you could browse the shops and stalls of the French Market, peruse the art and antiques on Royal and Chartres Streets and learn about the local brewing scene in NOLA. All for free. And when night falls, head out and hit the clubs to hear New Orleans do its thing.
Day 14: New Orleans
Today’s the day to tick off any leftover items on your ‘things I MUST do in the bayou’. Swing dance in NOLA, creep yourself out in one of the ‘Cities of the Dead’ like Lafayette Cemetery, find out a Steam Calliope sounds like, or just have a last taste of true New Orlean crawfish.
Day 15: New Orleans to Lafayette
Lafayette has more restaurants per capita than any other American city. Also Zydeco (Google it). Taste its Cajun roots tonight with an included group dinner. But before then you can dip into an optional swamp tour. You’ll travel through a beautiful and strangely surreal cypress/tupelo swamp, spotting alligators and egrets and other wildlife found in this part of the world.
Day 16: Lafayette to San Antonio, Texas
Time to trade the cowboy hat for a sombrero - we're off to soak up the Latino vibes in San Antonio - be sure to try the Tex-Mex food. When you get to San Antonio, there’s a walk along River Walk. It’s dotted with independent restaurants and shops, all well worth a return visit after the walk. Then again you could spend the afternoon at the toilet seat art museum. It has
over 1000 decorated and decoupaged toilet seats, each one with their own story. And they all belong to 92 year old Barney Smith.
Day 17: San Antonio to Austin
A fulfilling experience comes via our visit to the Alamo Mission this morning before we rock up in Austin. There’s a pub crawl you can join tonight, unless you prefer to watch 1.5million bats emerge from the underside of Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. In fact, that happens about 20mins before sunset (March to October), so there’s time for bats and then beers around the bars.
Day 18: Austin
Hello thrift shopping, Airstream cuisine (cooler than regular food trucks) and the ethos ‘Keep Austin Weird’. Need more? Nudists, boot scooters, cheese makers and a cathedral of junk - just a few of the things you might see on your free day in Austin. And when you’re done with the weird, there’s Zilker Park and SoCo to check out. But be sure to hit 6th Street tonight for a live music smorgasbord.
Day 19: Austin to Amarillo
Fun fact: Amarillo was once the self-proclaimed helium capital of the world (imagine all those hours of party tricks). It’s also a go big or go home kinda place. See someone take the 72oz. steak (2kg) challenge at Big Texan steakhouse for proof.
Day 20: Amarillo to Santa Fe, New Mexico
Channel Banksy at Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 - an art installation of half-buried Cadillacs - where you’ll get to crack out the spray paint and get creative on the tailfins of these all-American automobiles. Then wash away the last flecks of dayglo paint at Blue Hole where we stop for a swim in this gorgeous sapphire lake in the middle of the desert. Dry off and drive on to Santa Fe.
Day 21: Santa Fe to Durango, Colorado
After breakfast there’s a walking tour of Santa Fe, then time to explore. See the mishmash of architecture: centuries-old clay houses, a Victorian mansion, the Pueblo-style Palace of the Governors and Territorial-style shops and restaurants. In the afternoon we’re off to the fairytale-esque town of Durango (named after the Mexican city, named after the Spanish city). Stop to watch the sunset before dinner then find a local to chat to, if only to ask if they’re really called Durangotangs.
Day 22: Durango
Hitting the white water rapids on Animas River is on offer today. Less bumpy options include hiking, biking and ziplining, and completely smooth-ride seekers can spot prairie dogs and cracking scenery from the Durango Silverton steam train in this gorgeous old mining town. And after all that you could book the Chuckwagon Dinner Show, cowboys sing, comedians crack jokes and dinner is served.
Day 23: Durango to Grand Canyon region, Arizona
On our way to that great, big hole in the ground, we make a stop for a Navajo jeep tour through Monument Valley. Even though it’s a bumpy ride, you'd be forgiven for wanting to miss the bus, especially once you learn the stories of the mesas from our Navajo guide. But a night in Flagstaff before seeing a rather grand canyon awaits!
Day 24: Grand Canyon
Take your free day and soak it all in (including billions of years of rock history). If you take the chopper tour, you’ll get a 360° view of the grandest of canyons. Or stay grounded (and feel smug) by hiking the rim. This is going to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime-type experiences, however you spend your day.
Day 25: Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, Nevada
From the red stripes of the Grand Canyon to the Strip in Vegas, via the oh-so-famous Route 66. Arrive to a driving tour of the Strip and go around the world Vegas-style, to see the Eiffel Tower, an Egyptian pyramid, the New York City skyline and Venice's St. Mark's Square. Then when the sun sets, board the bus and do what Vegas does best - parties.
Day 26: Las Vegas
Anything goes in Vegas. You could go high with a heli-tour over the Strip or a ride the High Roller Observation Wheel. If you feel the need for speed, get your go-karting on. You can even go to a heavy equipment playground and drive a bulldozer around. Just remember to save some energy for the optional nightclub crawl amongst the bright lights and sights.
Day 27: Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California
It’s time to say goodbye, wipe away the last traces of Las Vegas glitter, board the coach and drive across the cactus-scattered Mojave desert to our last stop. La La Land.
Interested in this; ready to enquire?
Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. StudentUniverse should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.