Just think, there are some poor unfortunate souls that have to fly from New York to LA, trapped above the clouds while we're down here seeing every damn thing this country has on offer. Niagara Falls, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, deep dish pizza in Chicago, farmlands of the Midwest. You guys, the grass is very green down here.
The dizzying city of New York is home to a whopping 8 million stories, and from the minute you meet up with your Contiki crew, you’ll have your own to add to the mix. Today we make for Boston, stopping by New Haven, Connecticut on the way - home to Yale University, known its thriving student culture.
Achingly cool Boston is a delectable mix of history, hipsters and – thanks to the world-famous Red Sox - baseball. Spend the afternoon with your Trip Manager getting acquainted with the city’s core spots and distinct Irish flavour, then come night get friendly with the team over an included dinner and boogy round town.
Boston is steeped in history, so weave your way through the 18th century today on the Freedom Trail. This red-brick path winds past a plethora of sites integral to the revolution, and is guaranteed to inspire your inner rebel. Visit Harvard University (yes, the very same) and get a tour with one of the students. This hilarious look at student life will bring out the LOLs. Take well-deserved coffee breaks at groovy cafes, have a snooze in one of the nine parks that comprise the city’s “Emerald Necklace” and reward yourself with a mouthwatering seafood feast.
With the luck of the Irish, we pack our bags without leaving anything behind and make for Quebec via the wilds of Maine. Whizzing by jaw-dropping scenery and spotting the occasional moose out the window is sure to give you a second wind before we cross the border to Canada.
Quebec’s capital – Canada's Paris – is the only walled city in North America, and once you cop an eyeful of its beauty, you’ll see why they wanted to lock it away. We’ll pull in late today, and tonight you're welcome to take a traipse through town and sample the local watering holes.
With its cobbled streets and ancient stone houses, Quebec City’s UNESCO World-Heritage-listed old town is an open-air museum. After a history lesson with a Local Guide, get out and explore more of what the region has to offer: its vibrant art scene, Parisian-style eateries and quaint river boardwalk. If your tastebuds are feeling adventurous, try munching on duckling with maple syrup – a local delicacy. What else? You could check out the Chateau Frontenac - this red brick building built in 1983 is a landmark the city is definetely proud of. Champagne anyone? The city also boasts some pretty cool nightlife, so lets get out there and boozie, French style.
Bid Quebec au revoir as we head towards the jazzy island city of Montreal. Pretty scenic views, yes yes yes, we're talking panoramic. Camera at the ready.
Together, we’ll take a spin around Montreal’s Old Port and quays before driving up to Mt Royal, which offers sensational views of the city that will leave your head reeling. Back on sea level, we’ll familiarise ourselves with a few signature sites. If you’re hungering for an adrenaline rush this afternoon, jump in a jet boat and get wet in the rapids of the St Lawrence River, or perhaps just take a wander around time trying out your best high school French.
Today is all yours - soak up as much of Montreal’s creative juices and infectious joie de vivre as you can take. Add some cutting-edge threads to your wardrobe at The Main, munch your way through various countries at Jean-Talon market and dance the night away at a jazz bar downtown or in the Latin Quarter. It would be rude not to grab a serving of poutine on the way home, wouldn’t it?
Still bopping along to the sax from the night before, we bid farewell Montreal.
These 1000 islands are as pretty as a picture and a great way to relax and take in the views before we hit the city. On our stop, you'll have chance to board a boat and float your way along the water for an hour of bliss. These islands are dotted with historic buildings and castles (who said castles were just for Europe, right?). Back on land we make our way further into Canadian territory, with Toronto in our sights.
Welcome to Toronto, the largest city in Canada. Your Trip Manager will fill you in on the hot spots of this fabulous city soon after we arrive, and will then give you the afternoon off to find your niche in its cosmopolitan melting pot.
It’s time to wash away the city grit at what is undoubtedly the best-known waterfall on the planet: Niagara Falls.
You can’t get much wetter than at the world’s ninth-largest waterfall. Experience Niagara Falls’ surging power first-hand on the Niagara Cruise boat by getting right up to its thundering base, then soar above the action in a chopper or just take in the scene from the safety of a viewing platform. And don’t worry – the ponchos are our treat
Later today we head back to Toronto where we will spend the night.
Toronto is another one of Canada's mulit-cultural hotspots. Maybe catch a baseball game, Head to the of the CN Tower, visit Gallery 44 or Toronto Park for people watching. Tonight, feel the global vibe of this city's nightlife.
We leave Toronto behind us and continue on back across the border into the US and Cleveland, home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
What was once a workingman's town has now had a complete musical make over and cultural re-awakening. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is it’s most popular attraction with memorabilia like Janis Joplin’s Porsche, Jimi Hendrix’s hand written lyrics and Ray Charles’ sunglasses. Even if you aren’t a music head this place will inspire you. Tonight we head out to see just what all the Cleveland fuss is about, if there's a game on you could head to the Baseball, or hit up the the town for a taste of the nightlife.
Departing Cleveland today we'll head through America's Midwest as we move on towards Chicago, known as the ‘windy city’.
Next up, the Great Lakes and Chicago. Fusing the cutting-edge and the traditional, Chicago serves up innovative architecture and all-American sports, as well as an arts scene that pushes the boundaries yet also keeps to its roots. There is plenty to do, so we'll start by seeing the city sights as we tour the city. Tonight, we focus on the authentic and raw theatrical nature of the back room blues clubs you’ll find hidden throughout the city.
Head to Navy Pier for great city views, bike around town for a street level perspective, jump on an architectural cruise to further understand the city’s skyline, scoff down a Chicago style street hot dog or even see the White Sox or the Cubs play in a huge stadium game. You can't leave Chi -town with sampling their famous deep-dish pizza - come hungry!What. A. Day.
After two days of food, sports, museums and shopping in Chicago, we continue on into the USA’s heartland - beautiful Wisconsin.
Next stop: Milwaukee. It’s home to the nation’s largest beer brewers and also Harley Davidson.
Later on we pull into the town of Madison, know for it’s friendly college vibes. If you’re up for a night out, grab a few buddies and hang out as the students do on the popular State Street, where the taverns, local specialty breweries, comedy clubs and bars will have you spoilt for choice.
Cross the Midwest and see the pretty as a picture Minnesota farmlands before hitting the wild yet wonderful state of South Dakota.
We travel across the county’s biggest prairies and enter a region once dominated by the Sioux Tribes – the only Native American Nation to defeat the US army. You’ll learn the background of the city’s name (and maybe even learn how to pronounce it properly) and also visit the SPAM Museum, yes travellers you read that right. Think weird, wacky and most definitely spammy.
After learning about Sioux Falls (Sioux is the name of a native American tribe we'll have you know) and seeing the beautiful landscapes, it is time to move on to Mt. Rushmore, but not without a stop off at Badlands National Park on the way.
An interesting name, and an even more interesting place. You will notice the amazing natural sites of South Dakota go by as we journey through Badlands National Park, past a surreal, lunar landscape of rugged-edged cliffs, sharp spires and crevices. We'll stop off here for a leisurely walk along the Fossil Trail.
It is here we stay for the night, where the excitement really builds in the group, because tomorrow we see the incredible carvings of four past Presidents' faces etched into the mountainside. It's time to really start making every single moment count with the crew who by now will be feeling like family.
It's a crazy concept but yes, there are 18m (60ft) faces of Presidents, Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington and Roosevelt carved into the side of a stony mountain. It is quite surreal to see it in such natural surrounds, especially knowing that it took 14 long years to create this work of art. You'll also be blown away by the massive 563 feet tall monument of the famous Sioux warrior, Crazy Horse, currently a work in progress being gradually carved out of a mountain. What else is in store today? Custer State Park, where you can get some good old MN (mumma nature) time, or get on 4 wheels for a jeep safari through the park.
After reliving in the old Wild West complete with saloons and gambling parlours, we cut across Wyoming. It is here we learn about the Pony Express and cowboy culture.
Saddle up and get ready for two nights in the western of Cody. Use your free time here to visit the Buffalo Bill Centre of the west, or learn the ways of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid along the Old Trail Town or even catch a true show of professional cowboying at a raucous nighttime rodeo.
Nature works in very mysterious ways sometimes. Yellowstone National Park is the incredible result of a massive volcanic eruption, and what a sight it is. The scenery is like something out of a film, and if you are lucky (and super quiet) you might even get to experience the wildlife too - this area known for grizzly bears, buffalos and wolves. We'll stop to visit the glorious Old Faithful geyser, the most famous in the world, and with erruptions on the regular it's a must to have the camera at the ready.
After a chilled night in the peaceful surrounds of Cody, we hop back on the coach and head onto Jackson Hole, but not before stopping off at two National Parks.
Thought you'd seen it all? Yellowstone, we're not finished with you yet. It's back to the park for a last minute nature hit at West Thumb geyser basin, a brilliantly blue basin of steaming lakes, and a sight that will give you goosebumps at just how incredible our planet really is.
Yet another wonder that will have you praising Mother Nature, the famous ski resort of Jackson Hole is full of wildlife and postcard like vistas, backed by the Teton Mountain range. This cute western town turns on the charm, with the option to spend your evening on horseback followed by a smokey and delicious cookout.
It's back on the coach this morning with wide eyes as we travel through the stunning mountain ranges of Idaho and onto Salt Lake City, but not before thrill seekers could take to the Snake River for some rafting to really awaken the body and mind.
This city is known for many things, it's mountain scene, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and of course being the state capital of Utah. We've got one night here, so best be getting out there asap to see what's going on. We'll head to Temple Square for an orientation around town and a peek at the local scene, before finding a spot for dinner. Tomorrow is going to be a day of big sights and beauty, so best get good nights sleep tonight for National Park glory awaits!
SLC, you've been grand, but nature calls and we're ready to take it on with all we've got.
You've probably seen it on Pinterest, and today Bryce Canyon is yours for the taking. OMG's and 'ohhh and ahhh' will be the words of the day today, as you throw on your comfy walking shoes and ake on the Navajo Loop Trail to see what's in store. With the landscape scattered as far as the eye can see with the areas famous 'hoodoos', or tall, thin spires of rock, this is like something out of a movie. Ranging from 1.5 to 45 massive metres these are jawdropping, and as you breathe in the clean pine filled air, you'll be left pondering just how good life is. With plenty of photo stops, this is truly a no regrets moment.
With Bryce Canyon imprinted in our minds forever, we pull up at Kanab, our home for the night. Grab a bite and a few drinks with the crew, and toast the day, and what's to come tomorrow, the magnificent rim of the North Grand Canyon!
Escape to the mind-blowing Grand Canyon as we see this wonder from a different angle,the less-visited and pristineNorth Rim. Hike along the rim of the canyon at your own pace to really get a feel for the size and drama of it all. There are trails for all levels of ability so no matter your fitness level you will definitely be able to have the full experience. Drink it all in, these are the travel moments you'll be re-telling for years to come.
Back to Kanab, yet another toast will be in order to another day of incredible nature and sights. We'll hit our third National Park in two days tomorrow, the glorious Zion will be showing off all it's best angles.
After breakfast, say goodbye Kanab and hello to the finale of the breathtaking outdoors of America for your last wilderness experience of the trip - Zion National Park.
Scene change! We cut back into Utah where we visit Zion National Park, with waterfalls, colourful cliffs and lush green as far as the eye can see. Famous landmarks including the Watchman and the West Temple will be on the agenda for this stop. What's on offer? Perhaps a hike through the 'narrows', also known as small canyons, or maybe get your toes wet with a visit to the lush emerald pools - the name says it all.
We are back in Sin City for one more round of debauchery. If you feel like you only scaped the surface before, here’s your chance to finish what you started. This gigantic man made oasis in the desert is larger than life in oh so many ways.
You have today all to yourself but you’ll need to run to a tight schedule to fit in all of Vegas' weird and wonderful charms. Travel the world in a day, taking in the Eiffel Tower, a Venetian gondola and even an Egyptian pyramid, all whilst staying firmly within the city. Feeling romantic? Stop by and see one of the many Elvis impersonators for a shotgun wedding ceremony, and maybe even get hitched yourself...(joking). Tonight live like a baller on a party bus (the bill is on us) as we cruise the strip. Later you can dance the night away with you Contiki Crew at one of Las Vegas' 25 world class night clubs.
We are on the home stretch peeps. We’re leaving Las Vegas on a journey through the vast and dusty Mojave Desert and back into unmistakable scenery of Southern California.
Can it be true - is it really over? We'll finish of this truly slife changing trip by book ending it back in Los Angeles where it’s time to say goodbye to you're new best friends (who won't be feeling so new by this point). Many a teary hug will be had with the people you have made unforgettable memories with. What a truly once in a lifetime opportunity for adventure, and we hope you leave with a brand new perspective on travel.
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Trip Name: Grand Northern
Duration: 26 Days
From Price: $3,799
Supplier Tour ID: 107.210B/225813
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