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Grand Southern (Start New York City)
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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.

North America

Duration: 27 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Physical rating: Easy
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 160583
Starts: New York City, United States Finishes: Las Vegas, United States
You will visit
  • New York City
  • Washington DC
  • Raleigh
  • Savannah
  • Charleston
  • St Augustine
  • Daytona Beach
  • Miami
  • Orlando
  • Tallahassee
  • New Orleans
  • Memphis
  • Dallas
  • Amarillo
  • Albuquerque
  • Cortez
  • Grand Canyon
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles

Itinerary

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Day 1: New York to Washington D.C.

Stop in both Annapolis and Philadelphia on our way to the city where it all happens, Washington, D.C. See the city all dressed up in light during tonight's illumination tour that includes views of the White House and the Capitol Building.

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Day 2-3: 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. We’ll visit Arlington National Cemetery, where JFK is buried and thousands of US soldiers lie. You’ll see the sobering sight of endless rows of white headstones and have the chance to watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There’s a chance to cover a lot of ground and get familiar with DC by renting a bike. Get some pointers from your Tour Manager on where to go next. Get a dose of culture at the Smithsonian Museums. This is a one-stop culture spot, made up of 19 different museums. It has it all – from natural history to space, so the choice is yours, and best of all, it’s free! You can also visit the world-class Holocaust Museum and learn about one of history’s darkest moments as you honor the victims. For something fun and intriguing, head to the Spy Museum. Find out about infamous FBI cases and what it means to be a secret agent, while you listen to bugs and play around with gadgets and interactive displays. Later, hit Georgetown, D.C.’s oldest district and see how it has injected itself with new energy. 200 year-old buildings hold hip galleries and boutiques – it’s a great place to pick up something funky. It’s also a global kitchen - try something from the 50 different types of ethnic food on offer. With a university crowd, Georgetown is vibrant and young, so spend some time exploring the laid-back lounges and upscale bars. For something more upbeat, get down and funky in Adams-Morgan, another trendy district.

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Day 4: Washington D.C. to Raleigh

We leave hustle and bustle of Washington D.C. for a little Southern Hospitality. Take a break in historic Richmond, a city steeped in American history, before arriving in Raleigh.

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Day 5: Raleigh to Savannah

Continue to travel through the gracious Old South with a stop in hospitable Charleston as you head to charming and free-spirited Savannah.

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Day 6: Charleston

Get a full dose of Southern charm with a day trip to historic Charleston. Stroll the cobblestone streets and take in the beautiful 17th century homes along Church Street. Take a horse carriage ride or dig into a "low country" favourite - shrimps and grits.

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Day 7: Savannah to St. Augustine

Wander the historic squares of Savannah before heading into the cobblestoned ones of America's oldest city, St. Augustine.

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Day 8: Daytona Beach to Miami via Kennedy Space Center

We depart Cocoa Beach today and head south to Miami with a drive along Florida’s “Space Coast.”

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Day 9: St. Augustine to Daytona Beach

Today drive south and touch base with outer-space as you explore the Kennedy Space Center before arriving at the surfing capital of the East Coast, Cocoa Beach.

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Day 10: Miami

Tropical Miami oozes energy and a free day here means time to get into this happening hub. Head down to the boardwalk and people-watch. If you’re looking to relax, kick back among the toned, bronzed bodies on South Beach and take a swim in the warm waters of the southern Atlantic. Have a go on 2 wheels in a fun biking optional excursion with the group and get familiar with the waterfront neighborhoods. Your Local Guide will give you an insider’s view on this colorful town, and take you to many of Miami’s signature sites like Casa Casuarina (Versace mansion), the Bass Art Museum, the Holocaust Memorial before winding down with something cool to drink at Miami’s Marina. If you’ve got time to live a bit of the local Latin lifestyle, return to Little Havana and order some Cuban rice and beans, followed by some sweet Cuban coffee. Try your hand at dominoes on one of the outdoor tables on Calle 8 (Eighth Street) or pick up a Cuban cigar and some salsa music at one of the little shops. Before you hit the shops, get some pointers about where to head from your Tour Manager, who knows Miami’s ins and outs. For shopping in style, stroll through the outdoor shopping promenade of the Lincoln Road mall and for bargains, head to Espanola Way. Tonight, live a slice of the high life and party it up Miami style out on the water in our optional harbor party cruise.

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Day 11: Miami to Orlando

Venture north, with a drive through the country’s largest subtropical wilderness- the Everglades. Then, it’s on to the entertainment hub of Orlando.

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Day 12: 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, SeaWorld 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.

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Day 13: Orlando to Tallahassee

Roll on through “Sweet Home Alabama” to the ’Gone with the Wind’ feel of Florida’s state capital.

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Day 14: 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. Hang out in Jackson Square and watch musicians, fortune tellers and artists. For a taste of tradition, sit down in historic Café du Monde and order the only two things on the menu: café au lait (milk coffee) and beignets (French donut). To learn more about local flavours, sign up for the New Orleans Cooking School optional and watch well-known local chefs make classics like gumbo (a type of stew), shrimp Creole and bread pudding, and then eat the food afterwards. Other ideas for your free time include rummaging through the farmers and flea markets on the square, visiting the Voodoo Museum for a look into more spellbinding traditions or reliving Mardi Gras at the Mardi Gras Museum.

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Day 15: Tallahassee to New Orleans

Leave the quiet country charm of Tallahassee behind & get set for the energy of Florida’s entertainment hub, Orlando.

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Day 16: New Orleans to Memphis

Home of the Blues and the King. Say goodbye to the home of jazz and Dixieland as we head for the Mecca of Rhythm and Blues… Memphis, Tennessee. Join us for a night out on the street that made it famous, Beale Street.

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Day 17: Memphis

Jump start the day with a tour of Graceland and pay homage to the King of Rock’n’Roll. Your Tour Manager will tell you Elvis’ story before you tour his 70’s style mansion and get up close to his lifestyle, gold records and jumpsuits. After Graceland, you’ve got free time to explore Memphis. If you’re keen, we’ll drop you at the Civil Rights Museum. Housed in the Lorraine Motel, this is where Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated. You can find out more about the American Civil Rights movement and its legacy here. Stop by at Memphis’ signature site, Sun Studios, where Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash all recorded. If you want to find out more about Memphis musical heritage, have a look around and even make your own record! If you’re hungry while your here, make sure you try out some Memphis BBQ, as this place is known for it. Later, head to Memphis’ core and former hub of African American culture, Beale Street. Birthplace of the blues, stomping ground of famous singers like B.B. King and Tina Turner, this historic street is a major landmark and a great place to listen to live music, kick back with a beer and party.

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Day 18: Memphis to Dallas

Stop in Little Rock as you journey through the Deep South to Dallas, where you'll discover why everything is bigger and better in Texas!

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Day 19: 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 JKF’s life and assassination and even stand in the “gunman’s nest”(from where Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have taken aim). In your free time, chalk up a local experience and move around at your own pace on the city’s easy public transport. Check out where Dallas’ elite shop at the landmark Neiman Marcus – an upscale department store complete with 6 stories of luxury items. For something different, head to Deep Ellum, a neighborhood packed with funky clothing stores, up-and-coming galleries and loads of affordable restaurants. Later, we visit Fort Worth and its historic stockyards. Pick up some cowboy boots and keep an eye out for the Texas long-horn steer. There’s a chance to catch some rodeo action in our optional here tonight, where you can see bronco riding, calf-roping and professional cowboys .

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Day 20: Amarillo to Albuquerque

Explore the exotic mix of Native American and Hispanic cultures in artistic Santa Fe before we arrive in Albuquerque.

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Day 21: Dallas to Amarillo

We journey across the Texas plains and head into the cowboy town of Amarillo for a night of real Texan culture.

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Day 22: Albuquerque to Cortez via Durango

Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Durango provides an absolute paradise for adventure seekers before continuing on to Cortez.

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Day 23: Cortez to the Grand Canyon via Monument Valley

We leave the Rocky Mountains for Monument Valley's quintessentially 'Wild West' landscape which offers you unrivaled photo ops before arriving to the Grand Canyon.

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Day 24: 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. See some of the oldest exposed rocks on earth, take in the deep abyss and soak up the wildness of the area. There are trails for all levels of hiking, so take it up a notch or cruise along at your own pace. Wrap up the day with a canyon sunset and take in the stunning changes of light while the sun goes down.

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Day 25: Grand Canyon to Las Vegas

Leaving behind the Grand Canyon, we stop off at Seligman, an historic Route 66 town. Get a feel for the old style as you check out 1940’s shop fronts and motels. Maybe pick up a souvenir for back home. Then following a section of the legendary Route 66, we head north. With down time on the coach, plug in your MP3, catch on some sleep or chat with your friends. Get ready to arrive in larger-than-life Las Vegas – a man-made entertainment oasis smack in the middle of the desert. Often 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 as the group heads down the main drag, the “Strip”, and your Tour Manager fills you in on the story behind Vegas. Then cruise downtown to Freemont Street and experience a slice of the spectacular at a light and laser show in a massive pedestrian mall.

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Day 26: 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! Explore more of the Strip and check out over-the-top versions of international icons, like the Eiffel Tower, Venetian canals and gondolas, a Roman temple or the pyramid, whose nightlight can be seen from the moon. Try your luck at one of the casinos, sit yourself down at a blackjack table and watch the high-rollers or go for a ride at one of the casino’s theme-parks. If you work up an appetite, tuck into an all you can eat buffet, and lunch American style. For something different, discover Las Vegas’ trademark art at the Neon Museum and for a look into this town’s atomic heyday in the 50s, visit the Atomic Testing Museum. If you just want to relax, position yourself poolside back at the hotel and soak up the Las Vegas sun. Tonight, get some pointers on Las Vegas’ hot spots from your Tour Manager and make the most of this towns’ 24/7 action with some of your new friends.

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Day 27: Las Vegas to Los Angeles

Goodbye! It's not over quite yet! On our way back to Los Angeles you can shop 'til you drop at the outlet stores. Start planning your next Contiki tour, your day at Disney, or a reunion with your new friends before the tour's end late this afternoon.

Inclusions:
      Accommodation
    • 26 nights accommodation: 24 nights in twin-share hotels, 2 nights in twin-share lodge
    • An experienced & professional Trip Manager & Driver team
    • Modern, air-conditioned coach with powerpoints for charging
      Staff
    • An experienced & professional Trip Manager & Driver team
      Food
    • 34 meals: 20 breakfasts & 14 dinners
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Tour Highlights:
  • Mardi Gras World Mask making
  • Visit Beale Street, home of Blues music
  • Pay tribute to the 'King of Rock & Roll' at Elvis' home Graceland
  • Visit the Civil Rights Museum
  • Experience some of the world's largest hotels & casinos
  • Las Vegas Limo Ride
  • Non-stop nightlife