Running between New Orleans and Wyoming along the Mississippi Delta, the Blues Highway is a music lover’s paradise. Ease into the relaxed atmosphere; sit back and listen to the sound of the saxophonist on the corner or tap your toe on the terrace of that blues bar offering happy hour.
Visit the birthplace of blues music before being carried to the great cities of New York and Chicago. The Blues Highway, rolls through the countryside where it began.
When planning a self drive road trip along the Blues Highway your tour should certainly include the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis. Experience a short 10 minute drive and enjoy the rest of the day in Sun Studio. Here you will discover the history of the recording studio that was opened in 1950 by the American musician, Sam Philips.
Continue on to the intersection of highways 61 and 49 where guitarist Robert Johnson was said to have sold his soul to the devil to achieve success. Then travel with your hire car through to the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, the Poor Monkey Lounge juke joint (Po’ Monkey’s), and Dockery farms in Cleveland.
DAY 1 – ARRIVE HANNIBAL
Arrive in Hannibal, MO. Tour the town with Hannibal Trolley Company Sightseeing Tours. Join them for an old fashioned trolley ride. Step back in time and relive the adventures of Mark Twain’s days in Hannibal. Check into hotel. Dinner at one of Hannibal’s group-friendly restaurants. Overnight Hannibal.
DAY 2 – HANNIBAL
Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum Properties – The Stories Started Here… Discover how a young boy growing up in the small village of Hannibal became one of the world’s most famous authors. A self-guided tour of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum Properties gives you the chance to explore the Hannibal of Samuel Clemens’ childhood and experience the beloved stories he created through the power of his imagination. Generally will take 90 minutes to 2 hours.
The Mark Twain Cave Complex – Mark Twain wrote, “By and by somebody shouted, “Who’s ready for the cave? Everybody was. Bundles of candles were procured and straight away there was a general scamper up the hill.” An experienced guide will escort you on a one-hour tour featuring points of interest mentioned in Mark Twain’s writings. Walkways are level and smooth and there are no steps. Persons of any age can easily make the tour. Bring a light wrap as the cave is 52 degrees year around. Wear sensible walking shoes and be sure to bring your camera.
‘Unsinkable Molly Brown’ – Visit the home of Hannibal’s famous survivor of the Titanic. Learn more about the lady herself and her Titanic experience. Generally takes 30-45 minutes.
This evening, enjoy dinner on the Mark Twain Mississippi Riverboat. Cruises on this nostalgic Riverboat start from the landing at the foot of Center Street and depart at 6:30 PM. See this famous river town from the boat that bears the name of its most famous citizen…Mark Twain. Enjoy excellent food, live music, dancing, and beverages aboard the heated/air conditioned Mark Twain during this two-hour cruise. Overnight Hannibal.
DAY 3 – ST. CHARLES TO ST. LOUIS
After breakfast depart for St. Charles. The first stop is the First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site the first seat of the state’s government. Its rough hewn timbers and dark wood floors whisper the tales of the state’s first legislature. Interpretive programs help visitors understand how the state’s government was formed and what life was like in the early 1800’s.
Lewis & Clark Boathouse & Nature Center – The Lewis & Clark Boat House and Nature Center is the Discovery Expedition’s permanent home. Situated beside the Missouri River at Bishop’s Landing, the educational facility features exhibits relating to the Lewis and Clark expedition as well as the Missouri River ecosystem. The facility houses a museum dedicated to the Lewis & Clark Expedition, Missouri River habitats, and St. Charles history. The full-size replica boats constructed by the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles and used during the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial are on display.
Depart St. Charles for St. Louis Cathedral Basilica. View the world’s largest collection of mosaic art at the spectacular Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Pope Paul VI called the Romanesque/Byzantine style church “the outstanding cathedral of the Americas.” More than 41 million pieces of tesserae in 8,000 colors fill more than 83,000 square feet. The west chapels are the work of Tiffany and Company and the main altar and another chapel features the work of Gorham. Docent led tours ($2) are available daily from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Reservations are suggested for tours (314) 373-8240 but guests can walk through anytime between 10am-4pm.
Missouri History Museum – This neoclassical building was built with proceeds from the World’s Fair to honor President Thomas Jefferson’s role in the Louisiana Purchase. It was dedicated in 1913. It was built on the site of the main entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair and was designed by Isaac S. Taylor, who was also the chief architect of the Fair. In 1913 the Jefferson Memorial Building was the only monument of national stature honoring Thomas Jefferson, preceding the more famous domed structure in Washington, D.C., by 25 years. Exhibits include the 1904 World’s Fair, Lindbergh and Seeking St. Louis to name a few.
Driving tour of Forest Park, where the famous World’s Fair of ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ took place in 1904, with such sights as the Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Zoo, Jewel Box, World’s Fair Pavilion, The Muny outdoor amphitheater, and the St. Louis Science Center. Overnight St. Louis
DAY 4 – ST. LOUIS
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before departing for the Gateway Arch where we will take a trip to the top of the arch for a magnificent view of St. Louis. Next visit the Museum of Westward Expansion which preserves rare artifacts from the days of Lewis and Clark along with exhibits of early day pioneers who helped shape the history of the American West.
Visit the Old Court House overlooking the Arch grounds. View exhibitions about the Dred Scott case that made history, artifacts and memorabilia in this self-guided tour. See where it all took place.
Enjoy Historic Laclede’s Landing located just north of the Gateway Arch grounds for lunch. This 9 ½ block historic district is a favorite of the locals for lunch, dinner and nightlife. The district takes its name from Pierre Laclede, St. Louis’ French founder.
Explore Missouri Botanical Garden before we board the garden’s tram for a narrated tour through the beautiful gardens. Founded in 1859 the Missouri Botanical Garden contains 79 acres of scenic landscaping and sculptures. Highlights include: the Climatron® tropical rain forest; Linnean House, Japanese Garden, and the Grigg Nanjing Friendship Chinese Garden.
The City Museum has taken the term “recycling” to dizzying new heights. Housed in the 600,000 square-foot building that was once home to the International Shoe Company, the museum is the brainchild of local artists who created the museum from all sorts of “found stuff.” They didn’t have to go far to find materials for the facility, as the curious curators reclaimed a variety of building materials such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even a couple of abandoned airplanes. There are 4,000 square-feet of man-made caves and tunnels, an enchanted forest with sky tunnels, an aquarium, a working shoelace factory, daily circus performances and much more.
This evening, let your mind wander back to the days of Lewis and Clark, the fur traders, and riverboat gamblers, as you enjoy dinner and a riverboat cruise down the mighty Mississippi, on the Gateway Riverboat Cruise. Gateway Riverboat Cruises is the oldest passenger vessel company operating on the Mississippi. Overnight St. Louis
DAY 5 – STE. GENEVIEVE TO CAPE GIRARDEAU
Depart St. Louis and travel the Great River Road to the French Colonial Country section. The region along the Mississippi River south of St. Louis is French Colonial Country having been claimed by France after an expedition led by Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette. The area is the oldest region settled by Europeans west of the Appalachian Mountains with the founding of Cahokia in 1699, the same year as Williamsburg, the colonial capital of Virginia, and predating New Orleans by nearly 20 years. Although English is the common language spoken in the region today, the French heritage is not forgotten. Ste. Genevieve has more than 150 pre-1825 structures and the region has the largest concentration of French Colonial architecture in the North America. Fort de Chartres, a rebuilt 18th century French Fort, is the Mississippi Valley’s premier site for French Colonial re-enactments.
In Ste. Genevieve, Missouri’s oldest town, a charming, laid-back town, where bicycles stand on the sidewalks without locks and people stroll in and out of inviting little shops filled with antiques, crafts, gifts, sweets and wine. Visit the Great River Road Interpretive Center before enjoying lunch at one of Ste. Genevieve’s unique restaurants including the Old Brick House, the Anvil Restaurant & Saloon, The Hotel Ste. Genevieve Café Or Restaurant St Gemme Beauvais.
Tours of historic sites such as the Felix Valle Historic Site can be arranged. The Jacob Philipson House (historic name) is a one and one-half story, side gabled, limestone dwelling with a merchant store and family quarters. This facility gave Philipson an opportunity to establish a business in the town trading manufactured goods for the fur pelts and lead ore obtained in the Missouri territory. Philipson sold the house in 1824 to the son of Francois Valle, Jean Baptiste Valle. Felix Valle, the fourth son of Jean Baptiste became the owner in 1835. The house, located at the corner of Merchant and Second Street is open to the public all year and is operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Depart Ste. Genevieve and continue your Great River Road journey to Cape Girardeau. Cape Girardeau, “Where the River Turns a Thousand Tales” is one of Missouri’s earliest settled areas. The Mississippi River has played a significant part in the city’s history especially the early commerce of the steamboats. Riverboats can still be seen docked along the riverfront. Historic Downtown, nestled alongside the Mississippi River, which is a designated Missouri Main Street program city. The downtown highlights include eclectic shops, restaurants, pubs, art galleries and seven outdoor murals, ranging from the expansive “Missouri Wall of Fame” to the colourful “Heritage of Music”. In the downtown area, you will also find several National Historic Register Sites, including the completely restored Glenn House and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church built in 1853.
Cape River Heritage Museum – Revered as a local landmark the Cape River Heritage Museum is located in an old police and fire station dating back to 1908. The museum features changing exhibits about people and events from south-east Missouri. Audio/video, dioramas, personal presentations and hands-on exhibits will enhance your experience.
Check out exhibits such as the Police Memorabilia, Steamboat Photographs, Women’s Suffrage, The Nuns of St. Francis Hospital, and Celebrating Cape Women – Society, Fashion and Education. Included in the exhibits is an autographed letter from Amelia Earhart addressed to the Cape Girardeau Business and Professional Women’s Organization along with scrapbooks from the organisation dating back to the early 1900’s. Other exhibits include the 1936 Sharecropper’s Demonstration, the Missouri State Flag, and 1950’s vintage fire trucks, photos and equipment and gear. Browse through the Museum store and find unique gift items made in Missouri artisans including wooden toys, jewellery, art prints, books written by local authors and more.
DAY 1, 2 & 3 – ORLANDO
America’s family fun capital, Orlando is home to Walt Disney World, Sea World and other famous mega-theme parks, including Discovery Cove and Universal Studios. There’s more going on in the city than just Mickey, Goofy and the gang though. Once you’ve had your fill of the theme parks, adults will also be able to choose from several outstanding golf courses in the area, a family-friendly science centre, plenty of entertainment options and a fine art museum.
DAY 4 – ST. AUGUSTINE
Leave Orlando and begin your journey just two hours away with a stop in St. Augustine, FL. Old World majesty, the quiet strength of a mighty fortress, the promise of a new life free from tyranny and oppression…Those who visit Old City will absorb centuries of colourful adventure. From the coquina stone walls of the Castillo to the lush grounds of Fort Mose, every door, every corner of Old City reveals a story.
DAY 5 & 6 – GEORGIA’S GOLDEN ISLES
Head North from St. Augustine on I-95 to St. Simons Island where the shopping is grand, the food is fabulous and the beach is calling your name. Christ Church and Fort Frederica are just a couple of the excellent attractions that await you on this island.
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center, on Jekyll Island is one of the Golden Isles newest attractions. Dedicated to education and rehabilitation of turtles on the East Coast, the Center has displays, turtle tanks and a surgery suite designed so that visitors can watch procedures live.
While you are in the area take advantage of grand historic lodgings such as the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort or the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and fresh seafood caught in local waters at restaurants such as Blackbeard’s Restaurant or Cargo Portside Grill. If you are looking for the freshest seafood possible don’t miss a ride on the Lady Jane. A working shrimp boat, the Lady Jane will drop her nets and bring aboard a catch sure to entertain, educate and fill your stomach!
DAY 7 & 8 – SAVANNAH
Get to know Savannah by experiencing a city tour. The Savannah Visitor Information Center is a good place to join a tour. This will help you get better acquainted with our genteel Southern beauty and give you a sample of the attractions you will want to explore on your own. Next, Savannah’s City Market and River Street have numerous dining establishments to tempt your taste buds. Then it’s time to get a closer look at some of Savannah’s magnificent architecture and 22 splendid squares.
Savannah’s 250-year-old history creates many opportunities to explore various eras of history. Take a tour focused on our antiques, architecture, Black heritage, Civil War history, cemeteries, ghosts or gardens. Savannah has more than 45 historical and cultural attractions. Spend day two discovering the treasures and history that lie within our many house museums, forts and historic sites.
DAY 9 & 10 – CHARLESTON
Just two hours north of Savannah is Charleston, SC, another gem situated on the Southeastern US coast. It is the second largest city in South Carolina and is brimming with rich history, tradition and Southern charm. Charleston is a major tourist destination due to its prominent art, music, food and fashion scenes, and since its establishment over 300 years ago, the historic areas of the city remain intact and as beautiful and picturesque as ever, leaving visitors with an old-world feel.
The city’s annual calendar is sprinkled with various cultural events and fairs, along with a vibrant theatre scene, thus catering to the many interests of its visitors. This has ultimately led Charleston to be recognised as one of the top ten cities for theatre, as well as one of the top 25 art destinations in America.
One of the most famous highways in the US, Route 66 stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles. Built in 1926, it became the main route for migrants seeking a better life in California. The historical route has now been replaced with modern highways but the townships have preserved the heritage of historical Route 66. After exploring the windy city of Chicago and Lake Michigan, begin your journey through the farmland of Illinois and onto St Louis, Missouri.
From the Mississippi River, Route 66 will take you through Oklahoma City, where the migrant convoys in the 1930’s, once began. Stop off at Oklahoma Museum which tells the story of this historical journey.
Travel through the region of the Cheyenne and Arapao Indians, where they once hunted bison; and onto Amarillo Texas, home to cowboys and oil fields. Stop off at the infamous Cadillac Ranch where you will find 10 tail-finned Cadillacs buried nose first into the sand!
Continue to New Mexico through the hunting lands of the Comanche Indians and onto Alberquerque. Here, take a ride on the aerial tramway to the top of the Sandian Mountains. The city is world famous for its hot air balloon festival in October. Travelling onto Santa Fe, take the famous Tortoise Trail through the small artist-mountain communities. Built in 1610, visit the oldest government building in the US, Palace of the Governors. Continue onto Holbrook, the Petrified Forest National Park, then through Navajo Indian Country toward the Grand Canyon National Park where you can take a helicopter flight or a hike and experience its vast majestic scenery. Stop off at Flagstaff and try your hand star-gazing at the Lowell Observatory.
Journey onto Las Vegas, otherwise known as Sin City, the entertainment capital of the world! Here you may choose to visit the Red Rock Canyon or take a flight over the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. Highlights include the Skywalk, shopping and, of course, the nightlife Vegas is renowned for.
From Las Vegas, head west through the Mojave Desert, stopping at the ghost town of Calico. Finally, Route 66 concludes at Santa Monica, Los Angeles – The City of Angels, where you can take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk and marvel at the alternative culture along Venice Beach!
Take a convertible on the road for a gorgeous trip through southern Florida on the Overseas Highway, traveling from Miami through the Florida Keys to Key west, America’s “southernmost city”. This route is ideal for scuba divers, seafood lovers and those who just want to relax with the sand and sun.
Known as the “Highway That Goes to Sea”, the Overseas Highway follows the path of the historic Florida East Coast Railroad, which was irreparably damaged by a hurricane in 1935. Rather than rebuilding as it was, the US government decided to create highway on the old rail bed. While this road is rather narrow, it provides views of astoundingly blue water as you glide from key to key.
Pick up your vehicle in Miami and spend a few days enjoying the highly esteemed beaches, cuisine, shopping, art and, of course, nightlife of this famous cultural hub. Get a taste of Cuban culture as you stroll through the neighbourhood of Little Havana, or hit the town at some of South Beach’s high-end clubs and restaurants.
From Miami, start your journey on the Overseas Highway, which covers 181km of this 241km drive. There are five main regions in the Keys: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and Key West. Heading south you’ll find them in this order, each with their own personality and a plethora of options for quick stops or overnight stays. If it’s scuba diving you’re after, select a location between Tavernier and Big Pine Key, a segment of this path said to provide the best water and marine life for diving.
While exploring the immaculate waters and scenery of the Florida Keys, take care to keep a safe distance from all coral and do not feed any animals. This entire region is protected as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and must be protected.
With car hire in Los Angeles, you will also have the chance to explore further afield. There are two iconic routes to take; the Pacific Highway and Route 66.
The Pacific Highway goes northwards along the sunny Californian west coast to San Francisco. You could probably drive the route in a day, but you would be missing out on a tremendous amount to see and do along the way. Malibu would be the first logical place to stop off, and by exiting via Topanga Canyon, you would be able to drive by quirky stores, diners and saloons before checking out the views over the San Fernando valley at the Topanga Overlook.
Ventura would also make a great stop, a historic downtown area with plenty of boutique shops. It is perhaps better known for its surfing. Santa Barbara is another buzzy place to take a break, with a good botanical garden and impressive zoo. San Luis Obispo would make another good stop, for its restaurants, gardens and more. But the thing that most tourists head to is Bubblegum Alley. Only in America would a 75 foot long alleyway be covered in bubblegum spat out onto the walls 15 feet high! It is kind of disgusting, but everyone seems to love it. Would you add your gum there?
Big Sur is the next area to either stop, or certainly get out and take plenty of photos. To get there, you will need to cross the Bixby Bridge, and then you will be able to visit all the main sights, such as Pfeiffer Beach, McWay Falls and Big Sur State Historic Park. This area is definitely worth spending a few days in, and is a great place to relax.
Route 66 is popular with many people holidaying with a hire car from Los Angeles though. This iconic route is almost the definitive US road trip. Stretching from Los Angeles to Chicago, it covers some 2,000 miles along the way. Drive the full length, collecting a hire car in LA, and leaving it in Chicago. It is a long trip to make though, and some people can take weeks or even months to complete the entire journey.
Or you can just drive a section or ‘loop trip’, starting and ending in Los Angeles. First drive to London Bridge, and on to visit the Grand Canyon. One of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world, it is certainly a sight at which to marvel. If staying for a few days it is definitely worth a unique, birds eye view hot air balloon ride over the Canyon to take in its enormity.
Next up, stay and play in Las Vegas for a few days. Renowned for the casinos, it has sometimes been described as America’s biggest theme park! Many of the casinos are attractions in themselves and have their own shows. Keep your eyes peeled for pop stars or acts and shows such as the Cirque du Soleil.
If your driving appetite is still not satisfied, continue on Route 66 to rock to the blues beats in Chicago or stop off to see the giant redwood trees in Yosemite National Park, or simply drive back to LA with your winnings.
Whether driving the Pacific Highway or the entire length of Route 66, or experiencing just part of it, a hire car from Los Angeles is perfect for your driving holiday.
Awaken your senses with the lush and rewarding scenery of the Blue Ridge Parkway, skimming the tops of the Appalachian Mountains connecting the states of Virginia and North Carolina. Start this drive from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, just 120km from Washington, D.C., America’s capital city. This 754km course yields breathtaking panoramas and up close encounters with its expansive forests and meadows.
Heading south, stop at Grandfather Mountain, a 1179m peak, known for the “Mile High Swinging Bridge”. Looking Glass Rock is also worth a visit, a granite fixture standing 1219m tall. When water freezes to the rock face, its surface reflects the sun creating a mirror-like appearance.
Spend the night at The Pisgah Inn, posted atop Mount Pisgah at 1524m elevation, the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The inn holds an on-site restaurant showcasing the landscape with wrap-around windows. End your journey in Asheville, North Carolina- a quirky and delightful hippy town, recognised for delicious craft beers and cuisine as appealing as the abundant nature surrounding the city. Get to know the locals and explore Asheville’s burgeoning art scene.
So we know the USA is a wonderful place to visit, with vast landscapes, delicious food experiences and monuments to visit. But, did you also know driving around Chicago (and even New York) is not as bad or congested as you might think. The city is a grid with easy to follow directions and plenty of road signs to help you feel relaxed and happy behind the wheel.
Throughout the city there are ample car parks and garages in case you need to stop or find somewhere to park to pack up luggage near your hotel. There are so many things to see, do and eat in Chicago.
Chicago is one of the biggest cities in the US and is well-known for its architecture. One attraction that comes to mind is The Sears Tower. Sitting at a modest 108 stories high, it is also known as Willis Tower. At the top of this great skyscraper is the ‘Skydeck’, located at level 99. Bravely step out in one of the glass boxes allowing you to stand and look down at the city below through glass.
Driving down the main strip, Michigan Avenue, spot another great piece of architecture, the silver bean also known as Cloud Gate. This amazing piece is seen by hundreds of tourists daily. If it’s art and history that tickles your fancy then the Art Institute of Chicago is a great idea, with artwork by Grant Wood, Mary Cassatt and many others in the collection.
Driving east from Chicago you will arrive at your first stop – Cleveland, Ohio – the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. Be sure to check out a basketball game while you are here. The games are very entertaining and once you go to one you will want to keep on going back.
Another great attraction for many people who come to this city is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. This is an activity for all types of people and really brings to life the history of Rock and Roll.
Continuing the drive south-east for 2 hours and you will hit Pittsburgh – another unique American city to stop over on your road trip. Full of tourist attractions like the Andy Warhol Museum, the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium and Mount Washington, Pittsburgh will have you wanting to stay for longer. Season permitting, the sport in Pittsburgh is also a great way to understand the passion of the locals and their city, including Hockey and NFL.
Only 6 more hours to go until you arrive into NYC. The drive into New York City, if travelling during the working week, is fairly congested so it would be an idea to arrive early morning or late at night, or alternatively drop the car off to the airport instead of the city. This gives you more time to head on into the city and start discovering what dreams are made of. Driving over the Brooklyn Bridge is an incredible experience, cruising alongside all the yellow cabs that honk every couple of seconds for people to move out of the way. Enjoy the big apple!
Yes, “something for everyone” might be a cliché, but this trip really is that kind of all-in-one trip.
Visit iconic family destinations such as Disneyland Resort, SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND California, the San Diego Zoo, and Los Angeles attractions including Universal Studios Hollywood. Get grownup fun in the big-city lights of L.A., Hollywood, and Palm Springs.
Add natural splendor with stops in mountain and desert parks, plus a visit to unforgettable Mammoth Lakes.
The Enchanted highway begins at Exit 72 on I-94 near Gladstone and terminates 30 miles down the road in the small town of Regent.
Beginning with “Geese in Flight” at Exit 72, large metal sculptures are placed along the county highway, each with a parking area and kiosk. The gift shop in Regent has miniatures of each statue available to purchase.
Geese in Flight
Grasshoppers in the Field
Pheasants on the Prairie
Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again
World’s Largest Tin Family
Alaska is a destination growing quickly on everyone’s to-do list and The Seward Highway is definitely a must-see!
Named by the US government as an All-American Road, The Seward Highway in Alaska extends 125 miles (approximately 200 km) between Seward and Anchorage, and is a destination in itself. The highway winds through a land of remarkable beauty, saltwater bays, frigid blue glaciers, knife-edged ridges and alpine valleys.
Admire the flora and fauna of the westernmost and the northernmost national park in the US – Chugach State Park. Marvel at the silty Turnagain Arm that stretches to the sharp angles of the Kenai Mountains. Spot Beluga whales, their white bodies easily visible in the dark waters of the Kachemak Bay around Bird Point.
Slopes of wildflowers greet visitors at Mount Alyeska while the majestic eagles soar overhead. Watch the trains plow by against great backdrops and meet friendly locals along the way.
The glaciers, icebergs and lush wetlands of Portage Valley will charm as you make your way between Anchorage – a favorite for migratory birds and Seward – the mural capital of Alaska.
The crowning view on the Seward Highway is the approach to Resurrection Bay. The magnificent views you’ll find along this drive are not complete without a slab of a freshly baked pie or some fresh local oysters. The best time for driving along Seward Highway is in the US summer months (July-August), but always watch out for a moose on the road!
If you’re heading to California, consider taking one of America’s most scenic drives: Los Angeles to San Francisco. Heading north west out of LA, the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) will take you along the sparkling coastline of Santa Monica and Malibu Beach. Journey through Ventura County and stop in Santa Barbara. As you continue along the highway, look out for sea lion colonies and wildlife along the coast.
At picturesque Morrow Bay, once an abalone fishing port, stop off at Morro Rock – a volcanic plug. The highway will lead you through the stunning coastal region of Big Sur, where the Santa Lucia Mountains abruptly meet the Pacific Ocean. The region is renowned for its giant Redwood forests and coastal views, stretching for around 140kms.
Continue along the coastline of Monterey Bay, Sand City, Seaside and Marina, then north west to Santa Cruz and your destination of San Francisco. There is much to see and do in this vibrant city, but don’t miss a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge or visit to the former island prison of Alcatraz.
The Pacific Coast Highway spans the entire western coast of the United States, from the Mexican border into Canada, so an alternative (or additional) route is to head north from San Francisco to Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. Bring an umbrella, as this region is known to be rainy.
A day’s drive north of San Francisco (10-12 hours), you’ll find Portland, Oregon. This ultra-hip city is divided into four distinct districts, offering something for any interest group. Hit up the Portland’s famous food carts for lunch and take a brewery tour in this city lovingly called, “Beervana”. Catch a glimpse of Mount Hood in the horizon before taking on Portland’s stimulating culinary scene.
Just a few hours north, you’ll reach Seattle, known for its iconic Space Needle, Pike Place Market and Seattle Underground Tour. Visit the Museum of Flight in the home of the Boeing Corporation, or enjoy a cup of coffee at one of Seattle’s many cafes. If you’re looking for a day trip out of the city, check out Bainbridge Island, Tacoma, Leavenworth or Mount Rainier.
Cross into America’s neighbour to the north and experience Vancouver, one of the most enchanting cities in Canada. Stop off at Wreck Beach or head out to the slopes- Vancouver’s location offers remarkably diverse climate and terrain, so it’s not uncommon for visitors to ski and sail in the same day. Take a ride on the Aquabus Ferry and stroll through Stanley Park to enjoy all this city has to offer.
California State Route 29, fondly known as the Silverado Trail, will lead you around the eastern edge of Napa Valley’s six towns: Calistoga, St Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, Yountville and Napa. Take your time savouring some of the best wine the US has to offer while exploring this unforgettable wine region. Napa Valley is very close to the city of San Francisco and there are hundreds of wineries in this area, providing options for every palate and budget.
Built not far from Calistoga, Castello di Amorosa is a medieval replica castle holding 107 rooms over eight levels, both above and below ground. This opulent structure includes a moat, drawbridge, defensive tours, interior courtyard, chapel, torture chamber and great hall. To top it all off, wine is sold in the castle and available for visitors to taste.
For a side of history with your wine, visit the Beringer Rhine House, Napa Valley’s oldest continuously operating winery. The town of Napa also offers a variety of restaurants and hotel options for visitors to revel in this quaint and inviting region, so take your time to explore.
DAY 1 – ARRIVE ST. LOUIS
Arrive mid afternoon in St Louis, MO and check into one of the many hotels this Gateway City has to offer. Then this evening sit back and relax with an elegant dinner and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Mississippi River as we cruise aboard one of the Gateway Arch Riverboats. Overnight St Louis, MO.
DAY 2 – ST. LOUIS
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before departing for the Gateway Arch where we will take a trip to the top of the arch for a magnificent view of St. Louis. While at the Arch visit the Odyssey Theatre for a larger than life glimpse of Lewis and Clark’s Great Journey West and visit the Museum of Westward Expansion which preserves rare artifacts from the days of Lewis and Clark along with exhibits of early day pioneers who helped shape the history of the American West. See one of the largest mosaic collections in the world as we tour the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Enjoy lunch at the Missouri Botanical Garden before we board the garden’s tram for a narrated tour thru the beautiful gardens. Founded in 1859 the Missouri Botanical Garden contains 79 acres of scenic landscaping and sculptures. Highlights include: the Climatron® tropical rain forest; Linnean House, Japanese Garden, and the Grigg Nanjing Friendship Chinese Garden.
Next, tour the World Headquarters of Anheuser-Busch. Visit the historic stable home to the Budweiser Clydesdales and see first hand how the world’s greatest beer is crafted in the Brew House and packaged in the Bevo Packaging Plant. After the tour sample the different brews and relax in the Hospitality Room or browse the gift shop. Select one of St. Louis great restaurants for dinner before returning to the hotel for the evening. Overnight St. Louis, MO area.
DAY 3 – ST. LOUIS TO KANSAS CITY
After breakfast at the hotel we depart for Saint Charles, Missouri’s first state capital between 1821 and 1826. A guide in period dress will take us on a city tour of this historic town located on the banks of the Missouri River. It was here in 1804 where Lewis and Clark met to begin their westward expedition. We’ll take time to stop at the Lewis & Clark Boat House and Nature Center which houses several full-scale replicas of the boats used by Lewis & Clark. The museum above the boats includes a diorama illustrating the highlights of the expedition along with Native American displays. After our tour enjoy some free time shopping for antiques, decorating accents, stained glass, pottery, and framed art, or visit the boutique shops available along St. Charles’ 200 year old Historic Main Street.
Enjoy lunch downtown or at Ameristar Casino which offers several dining areas along with the largest selection of gaming options in the region. This afternoon we depart for Kansas City where we check into our hotel before enjoying dinner at one of Kansas City’s restaurants. Overnight Kansas City metro area.
DAY 4 – KANSAS CITY
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning before we begin our day with a driving tour of Kansas City, also known as the “City of Fountains”. The Arabia Steamboat Museum tells the story of a group of men that uncovered the Arabia which had been lost over 100 years earlier when it sank in the Missouri River just north of Kansas City. As the river changed courses the steamboat was buried under a cornfield. The men were amazed when they found that the 200-tons of cargo had been preserved in a remarkable condition. Fine china, clothing, tools, canned food, buttons, cloth, and perfume were among the cargo that the Arabia had on board. At the Hallmark Visitors Center we learn the Hallmark story, from J.C. Hall’s humble beginning in 1910 to the creation of the world’s largest greeting card company. Among the exhibits is the collection of 17 unique Christmas trees created and decorated by Hallmark employees. See a demonstration of hot-foil stamping and the process of die-cutting used in the manufacturing of Hallmark cards.
Next, we will enjoy free time at Crown Center for lunch and shopping. This afternoon includes a tour of the 358,000-square-foot Harley-Davidson Vehicle and Powertrain Operations. The tour begins with an introductory film before we step into the factory floor where our guide takes us thru the plant explaining the process necessary to produce each motorcycle. This evening enjoy a live performance at one of Kansas City’s theaters, offering award-winning performances. Overnight Kansas City metro area.
This loop drive takes in the best of the Bay Area, a diverse, dynamic, and beautiful region with lively cities, celebrated wine country, and outstanding natural wonders.
Start at the gateway to San Francisco, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, to head north across the Golden Gate Bridge. Explore coastal parklands before heading northeast to Napa and Sonoma wine countries. Continue circling the bay to visit Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, with rides and exotic animals, then onto the East Bay city of Oakland, a hot bed of outstanding restaurants. Drive south to San Jose and the tech-y Silicon Valley, home to Google and Apple, then head to the coat for more family-friendly fun in Santa Cruz.
Finish in San Francisco for shopping, dining, nightlife, and other urban attractions.
The name itself conjures a vision of something very special, and indeed it is. This road is a spectacular feat of engineering, running east to west through the Glacier National Park. It is a self-drive holiday dream with breathtaking scenery ranging from alpine tundra to cedar forests, incredible glacial lakes to mountains that look as if they have exploded out of the earth.
The hard part will be actually getting out of the park with so many places to stop and enjoy this unique countryside. Major highlights include the Jackson Glacier, the “Weeping Wall” and Logan Pass, where you can hike up to a hidden look-out. It is likely that you will see some of the local wildlife near Logan Pass, including moose, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. If you take the time to visit, there is plenty to see off the Sun Road as well, so take one of the tours hosted by the local rangers.
Montana is not usually a stop-off for Australian tourists, but is definitely worth a visit. It’s not often you get a chance to enjoy countryside as pristine as what you’ll find in this northern American state. Montana is known for its good food, microbreweries and farmers’ markets – don’t forget to try some of the local Huckleberry Pie!
Please note that the Sun Road is only accessible from June to mid-late October depending on the snow fall.
The north east region of the United States, known as New England, is celebrated each autumn (September-November) for its miraculous show of colour as the leaves turn and fall. Start and end this 1,125km tour in Boston, one of America’s favourite historical cities. This path holds an abundance of visually rewarding routes for those seeking the gorgeous hues for which this region is known.
Start your drive from Boston and go south east to Providence, Rhode Island where you’ll find a booming wine scene just an hour away from your starting point. Follow the Coastal Wine Trail and taste regional wines before spending the night in Rhode Island’s capital.
Head back in to Massachusetts for the town of Deerfield, a historic village covered in Maple trees and family homes from the 18th and 19th centuries. On your way to Deerfield, make a pit stop at Old Sturbridge Village and have historic interpreters in authentic costumes transport you back to the 1830s or enjoy fresh cider while apple picking at a nearby farm.
Next, you’ll head north to St. Johnsbury, Vermont, following the Connecticut River through the state of New Hampshire. Known as “Old Man River”, the colourful foliage on this path is sure to please even the most seasoned travellers. Traverse through the White Mountains via Fraconia Notch State Park, where you can take in the sights from the Cannon Aerial Tramway, then follow the Kancamagus Highway to rest in the town of Conway.
Moving back east toward the Atlantic Ocean, enjoy freshly caught lobster on the coast of Maine in the aptly named city of Portland. Once you’re well-fed and ready to move on, head to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a small city offering quaint cafes and beautiful gardens. Upon your return to Boston, stroll through the Boston Common or take a trip across the Charles River to Cambridge and walk the grounds of Harvard University.
DAY 1 – ATLANTA, GEORGIA
Arrive in Atlanta and transfer to your hotel. This evening, one may want to visit Underground Atlanta . Located in the heart of downtown, this six-block area was once the city centre. During the 1920’s, construction of the concrete “viaducts” elevated the street system one level, thus giving birth to what is now Underground Atlanta. Today it is bustling with activity. Take a guided history tour or enjoy a variety of clubs and restaurants.
DAY 2 – ATLANTA
Spend the day exploring Atlanta from its place in the Civil Rights movement to the iconic attractions of today. Drive to the birthplace of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in the Sweet Auburn district to see the restored King birth home, the Ebenezer Baptist Church where three generations of the King family preached, and Dr King’s burial site. Or visit the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum, next to The Carter Center. The library includes a replica of the Oval Office and Jimmy Carter’s Nobel Peace Prize, as well as seasonal exhibits.
This afternoon, return to downtown. Choose to take the Inside CNN Studio Tour and watch behind-the scenes action of the newsroom, or head to the World of Coca-Cola where the famous soft drink’s story is told through fascinating exhibits, a 4-D theater, classic ads and a fully-functioning bottling station. Also sample more than 70 Coca-Cola products from around the world. In the evening visit the Virginia-Highland district, Atlanta’s most popular neighbourhood for shopping, dining and nightlife.
DAY 3 – ATLANTA TO BLUE RIDGE, GEORGIA
Travel north-west to the gateway of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Blue Ridge was once an elite health resort because of it’s mineral waters, today people visit for its upscale antique and speciality shops, galleries, restaurants and small town atmosphere. This afternoon ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. The railroad connects the towns of Blue Ridge and McCaysville and offers a journey along the beautiful Toccoa River. Cross the blue line in McCaysville and stand in two states at one time, Tennessee and Georgia.
DAY 4 – BLUE RIDGE TO NASHVILLE
En route to Nashville, stop in Chattanooga. The Downtown Riverfront District runs along the Tennessee River and offers visitors museums and cruises along the river. Walk across the nation’s longest pedestrian bridge, the Walnut Street Bridge and enjoy lunch at one of the Riverfront’s many restaurants. Upon arrival in Nashville, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Rhinestone costumes, seasoned instruments and tear-stained lyric sheets are only the beginning. Here one can also take a tour of Historic RCA Studio B – where Elvis and others recorded over 35,000 songs. This evening, explore the area between Broadway and 2nd Avenue, which is filled with entertainment venues, night clubs and an assortment of restaurants.
DAY 5 – NASHVILLE
This morning, tour the Grand Ole Opry House. Guides provide a rare glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of the world’s most famous country music show. In the afternoon, visit Ryman Auditorium, built in 1892 it is a National Historic Landmark. One can take a self-guided museum tour or a guided backstage tour and record a CD in the new Ryman Recording Studio. This evening, return for a show or concert at this premier performance hall.
DAY 6 – NASHVILLE TO MEMPHIS
En route to Memphis, visit Belle Meade Plantation. Once a world-renowned thoroughbred horse farm, today it is a historical site. Period costumed interpreters guide visitors through the 1853 Greek Revival Mansion. Also on site are 7 historic outbuildings, including The Winery at Belle Meade Plantation.
Arrive in Memphis, where the roots of Blues, Country and Gospel music formed in the 1930s. Begin your visit at The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and learn about the explosion of Sun Studio, and Memphis’ musical heyday in the 70s to its global musical influence. Stroll at your own pace through the seven galleries featuring audiovisual programs, instruments, costumes and other musical treasures.
DAY 7 – MEMPHIS
No visit to Memphis is complete with a tour of Graceland. Walk in the footsteps of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and learn of Elvis’ humble beginnings through to his rise to superstardom. See how a rock ‘n’ roll legend lived and relaxed with family and friends. The Graceland experience includes Graceland mansion, Elvis’ Automobile Museum, and Elvis’ custom jets. This evening spend time on Beale Street, the melting pot of delta blues, jazz, rock-n-roll, R&B, and gospel. Enjoy the rich, spicy food of the south, cold brew and hot music.
DAY 8 – MEMPHIS TO VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI
Upon arrival in Vicksburg, you may want to visit Vicksburg National Military Park which preserves the site of the Civil War’s Battle of Vicksburg.
DAY 9 – VICKSBURG TO NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Steeped in a rich history of influences from Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and beyond, New Orleans is one of America’s most culturally and historically rich destinations. This afternoon, tour some of the city’s various neighborhoods. The Garden District homes are still known by the names of the families that built them over a century ago, and the Arts District features the national World War II Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center. The French Quarter is the most famous neighbourhood in New Orleans. Filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars, it is a unique place to spend the evening.
DAY 10 – NEW ORLEANS
There are 20 historic districts on the National Register in New Orleans, more than any other city in the USA. Inside these districts, an array of architectural styles from different time periods and cultures are reflected in individual homes and buildings. Visit homes such as the 1850 House and the Beauregard Keyes Home. Also view Houmas House Plantation and Gardens – a Grand Southern Mansion surrounded by the some of the south’s most beautiful gardens.
DAY 11 – NEW ORLEANS TO MOBILE
Before departing New Orleans, make time to enjoy a traditional Louisiana Creole Brunch at Brennan’s. Located in the French Quarter, breakfast at Brennan’s is a tradition among New Orleanians. This afternoon, arrive in Destin. Stunning white beaches, challenging golf and world-famous fishing define this Emerald Coast of Florida City. Settle into your accommodation and begin to enjoy its amenities.
DAY 12 – MOBILE
Today, you are free to explore Mobile Bay. Start at Bellingrath Gardens and Home, the 1930s Eden of Mobile’s first Coca-Cola bottler. Tour Fort Gaines, an old federal citadel guarding the bay’s entry, then take a ferry to Fort Morgan. Take scenic Route 9B to Point Clear and ogle gorgeous mansions on its seaside walk before crossing the bay back to Mobile. Visit Fairhope, a resort and arts haven founded as a utopian town in the 1890s. The Fairhope Museum of History has lots of local stories, and the views and sunsets from the public park are spectacular.
DAY 13 – MOBILE TO MONTGOMERY
Depart Destin for Montgomery, the capital of Alabama and a centre of activity during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s. This afternoon, visit the Rosa Parks Library and Museum. Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old seamstress, sparked the modern civil rights movement by taking a stand and keeping her seat on a city bus. Watch a renactment of the events and listen to actual participants of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. One can also visit the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and see the actual pulpit where Dr Martin Luther King Jr. first preached his message of hope and brotherhood. This evening, explore downtown Birmingham’s many dining and nightlife options.
DAY 14 – MONTGOMERY TO ATLANTA
This morning, visit “Old Alabama Town”. This village features authentic 19th and early 20th century homes and buildings that have been saved from demolition, they have been carefully restored, and reopened to the public as a history museum. Here one will learn how early Americans of all backgrounds lived and worked in Central Alabama.
Soak up the vast beauty of some of America’s most prized national parks on this venture through Yosemite and Big Sur. Start your trip in the fascinating city of San Francisco, major technology hub and home to Haight Street, Ghirardelli Square and the Golden Gate Bridge, before reconnecting with Mother Nature on this illustrious path.
The first stop is Yosemite National Park, just a few hours east of San Francisco. Yosemite’s pristine landscape is filled with rushing waterfalls, imposing cliffs and colossal monoliths. Popular sites within the park include El Capitan, Half Dome and Tuolumne Meadows. Make sure to plan in advance, as Yosemite hosts 3.5 million visitors annually and it’s necessary to book ahead if you plan to stay in or around the park.
Following Yosemite, travel south to Kings Canyon in Sequoia National Parks, home to the gargantuan Redwood and Sequoia trees. Park and follow foot trails leading high into the alpine wilderness. Next, head west toward the Pacific Ocean to Big Sur, frequently noted as the best view along the Pacific Coast Highway. There’s plenty of space to camp in Big Sur State Park, or a selection of hotels in the town of Big Sur for those seeking a more luxurious option.
Just a quick drive (less than one hour) going north up the coast and you’ll reach Point Lobos State Preserve, hailed “the crown jewel of the State Park System”. Here you can partake in a range of activities from scuba diving to photography to nature study. Point Lobos is home to a variety of unique and endangered flora and fauna, so enjoy these rare finds before heading off to Monterey Bay, where you can relax in the towns of Carmel or Pebble Beach.
The final two stops on this extraordinary road trip are Ano Nuevo State Park and Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Check out the Northern Elephant Seal at Ano Nuevo, home to the largest breeding colony of this mammal. Book in advance during winter, as it is peak mating season. Last but not least, travel to California’s oldest state park, Big Basin, home to the largest continuous habitation of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco.
You’ll experience the best of Florida on this tour as your ride through the most southern parts of the USA. Head to Florida City and explore the Everglades National Park and the fragile tropical wetlands. You’ll also experience the excitement of South Beach and the laid back lifestyle of the Florida Keys, plus you’ll travel across the world famous Seven Mile Bridge on the overseas highway.
Take a round-trip of the most southern part of continental USA, Miami and the Florida Keys. Spend a few days in the southern section of the US 1, the highway which hugs the US east coast for over 2,400 miles.
Ride to South Beach to avoid most of the heavy city traffic. A hundred years ago this was just a mangrove swamp until some developers dredged up sand from the ocean floor, paved the swamp and turned it into a tropical getaway.
Cruise for an hour southwest until you reach Florida City, the entrance way to the Everglades National Park. Covering over 1.5 million acres at the far south-western tip of mainland Florida, the Everglades National Park protects the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. A fair portion of the park is actually underwater, and the entire Everglades ecosystem basically a giant, slow-flowing river that is 50 miles wide, but averaging only a few inches deep, so you’ll swap the motorcycle for a canoe to explore.
Soak up the views of the Atlantic and Florida Bay waters on each side of the overseas highway and Seven Mile Bridge down to Key West. The Keys are as much Caribbean as Floridian, and you can’t get this far from the American mainstream without leaving the country anywhere else. Key West itself is quite unique, a laid back community, and still one of the most lively and anarchic places in the USA. Take the opportunity to pose for your photo at the end of the road, the southernmost point in the United States.
Stay for a while or start the journey north back to Miami, stopping in at your favourite places on the way down or new places such as Sugarloaf Key and Key Largo.
Forget going to the cinemas for some dinosaur action, Utah is home to the most complete record of fossil life anywhere on earth.
Salt Lake City is highly accessible from domestic airports and the perfect city to start a dinosaur adventure. In Salt Lake City, the capital city of Utah, the state’s National History Museum showcases natural wonders from life in ancient times.
Head up state, around half an hour’s drive north, to the town of Ogden for a day trip where you will walk around the George S Eccles Dinosaur Park, sharing the outdoors with 125 life size sculptures. Before you leave the Salt Lake area, head up to the mountain ski resorts if visiting in winter or try some water sports during summer.
Vernal, 200 miles east of Salt Lake, hosts must see attractions for curious visitors. Touch more than 1,500 dinosaur bones embedded in the mountain and try your hand at a fossil dig in the Dinosaur National Monument and the Utah Field House of Natural History.
On the way to Moab, see the greatest collection of Jurassic bones in the world. At Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, a colossal 12,000 specimen have been uncovered!
In addition to the stunning and well known Arches National Park, the Moab area has some unique dinosaur themed trails. Walk alongside prehistoric footprints on the Mill Canyon Dinosaur trail and the Copper Ridge Dinosaur Trackway.
Take a trip to the Moab Giants Dinosaur Park when it opens in mid-2015. The park will be mainly devoted to the extensive dinosaur footprints which track the site and transport visitors back in time over millions of years.
From Moab, head east to Colorado or southwest to Arizona or Nevada to continue your USA road trip.
The world’s most famous rivers, this tour takes you on a journey from Chicago to New Orleans going through some of the the rural heartland and delightful small towns and cities to which the river gave birth.
Experience traditional blues music, with a mix of gospel and soul. Great musicians emerge and thrive in the cities from where their music first caught the world’s imagination.
DAY 1 – CHICAGO
DAY 2 – CHICAGO
This morning take a sightseeing tour of this magnificent city built around Lake Michigan. The afternoon is free to explore the city’s highlights with the curving Lakeside Drive and the stunning views of the skyline, dominated by the John Hancock Center buildings. The view from the top of the building offers a breathtaking panorama over the city and the lake beyond. Stroll the grounds of Millennium Park and take a look at the reflective Cloud Gate Sculpture or cross the Chicago River and head into downtown, with a thriving centre of boutiques, cafés, restaurants and specialist shops, lively by day and night.
DAY 3 & 4 – CHICAGO TO ST LOUIS
Today depart Chicago and head towards St Louis. En route stop at the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, home to thousands of artefacts and memorabilia related to Route 66 – The Mother Road. Stop for lunch at Springfield, Illinois before arriving at St Louis, where you will overnight.
DAY 5 – ST. LOUIS
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before departing for the Gateway Arch where you can take a trip to the top of the arch for a magnificent view of St. Louis. While at the Arch visit the Odyssey Theatre for a larger than life glimpse of Lewis and Clark’s Great Journey West and visit the Museum of Westward Expansion which preserves rare artefacts from the days of Lewis and Clark along with exhibits of early day pioneers who helped shape the history of the American West. Enjoy lunch at the Missouri Botanical Garden before boarding the garden’s tram for a narrated tour thru the beautiful gardens. Founded in 1859 the Missouri Botanical Garden contains 79 acres of scenic landscaping and sculptures. Highlights include the Climatron® tropical rain forest; Linnean House, Japanese Garden, and the Grigg Nanjing Friendship Chinese Garden. Next, tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.
Visit the historic stable home to the Budweiser Clydesdales and see first-hand how the world’s greatest beer is crafted in the Brew House and packaged in the Bevo Packaging Plant. After the tour sample the different brews and relax in the Hospitality Room or browse the gift shop. Select one of St Louis’ great restaurants for dinner before taking in some authentic St. Louis blues music.
DAY 6 – ST. LOUIS TO MEMPHIS
This morning view one of the largest mosaic collections in the world as we tour the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis We then depart for Memphis, the heartland of gospel and birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll where we stay at the Holiday Inn Select Downtown for the next two nights. This evening you’ll have the chance to enjoy some Memphis barbeque.
DAY 7 – MEMPHIS
Today have a sightseeing tour of Memphis before a visit to Graceland, home of Elvis Presley. Explore the mansion and grounds of his 14-acre estate, your ticket includes exploration of the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, the Lisa Marie Jet and Hound Dog II Jetstar planes. After lunch make a visit to the famous Sun Studio where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and B.B. King first recorded. Continue to Mud Island River Park and the Swiss-made monorail affording great views of downtown Memphis, the Mississippi River and Mud Island River Park. This evening take the opportunity to experience the nightlife of Beale Street.
DAY 8 – MEMPHIS TO NATCHEZ
Continue to follow the Ol’ Man River to Natchez. Along the way make a stop at Clarksdale and the Delta Blues Museum, to give yourself the chance to explore the history and heritage of the unique American musical art form of the blues.
DAY 9 – NATCHEZ
Founded in 1716 by the French and named after the Indians who dwelt there, this unique town is recognised as the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River. This morning, visit the Frogmore Plantation, a cotton plantation of the early 1800s and still producing cotton and gin today. Learn of the early Natchez planters and their slaves, following their evolution from the wilderness to the thriving 1850s cotton plantation, beyond the ‘War Between the States’ to a struggling new way of life. Examples of authentically furnished slave quarters can be seen. Later this afternoon go on to the Antebellum Homes of Natchez and this evening enjoy some authentic blues alley entertainment.
DAY 10 – NATCHEZ TO NEW ORLEANS
Today visit the Oak Alley Plantation protected as a National Historic Landmark. It is named after its distinguishing feature, an alley or canopied path created by a double row of live oaks about 800 feet long planted in the early 18th century, long before the present house was built. The alley runs between the house and the Mississippi River. After lunch we continue to New Orleans and a guided city tour. This evening take time to explore the French Quarter.
DAY 11 – NEW ORLEANS
This morning take a guided sightseeing tour of New Orleans. The afternoon is the perfect way to sample the mix of cultures is to stroll along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, where you will hear traditional jazz wafting through the air, providing a wonderful opportunity to stop and soak up the atmosphere. There are plenty of bars and restaurants for al fresco dining, perhaps sampling some of the city’s famous Creole and Cajun cuisine. The glass enclosed Spanish plaza emporium down by the riverfront is a dramatic contrast to the French Quarter and is well worth a visit.
DAY 12 – NEW ORLEANS
Today take a ride on the famous St Charles Streetcar; visit the Jackson Square Katrina museums or shop at the Riverwalk. The state of Louisiana offers tax-free shopping for international visitors at over 1,000 stores, so shopping in New Orleans offers a unique opportunity. This evening board a Mississippi paddle steamer for an evening of a traditional jazz dinner cruise along the mighty Mississippi.
DAY 13 – LAST DAY NEW ORLEANS
Transfer to New Orleans Airport for return flight home.
If you’re heading to California, consider take one of the most scenic drives, Los Angeles to San Francisco. Heading north west out of LA, Highway 101 will take you along beachfront of Santa Monica and through the decadent hills of Malibu Beach. Head up through Ventura County and stop at Santa Barbara. As you continue along the highway, look out for sea lion colonies and wildlife along the coast.
At picturesque Morro Bay, once an abalone fishing port, stop off at Morro Rock – a volcanic plug. The highway takes you into the stunning coastal region of Big Sur, where the Santa Lucia Mountains abruptly meet the Pacific Ocean. The region is renowned for its giant Redwood forests and coastal views, stretching for around 140kms. Travel across the impressive Bixby Creek Bridge, which opened in 1932 to connect the residents in winter and is one of the tallest spanning bridges in the world.
The highway then continues along the coastline of Monterey Bay, through Sand City, Seaside and Marina. A popular stop for families, Monterey Bay Aquarium is renowned for its Ocean Sunfish, along with stingrays, jelly fish and sea otters. The waterfront street of Cannery Row is a great place to dine with its many restaurants where the offshore area is home to one of the largest Californian Sea Lion colonies.
Heading further north west onto Santa Cruz and into San Francisco. There is so much to see and do in this vibrant city, but a must is to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and visit Alcatraz. Stop off for a few days and explore the shopping, take a tram ride, dine at Fisherman’s Wharf and drive the 8 hairpin bends of Lombard Street!