While the majority of our time is spent on arranging that perfect, tailored holiday to Florida, that’s not to say that we ignore the other 49 states in the USA; helping a healthy portion of clients to explore and experience the different cultures, climates and landscapes across the entire country.
I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore a huge chunk of America over the years and, believe me, there’s plenty to see. The great cities of the east coast, the scenic routes through New England, the sprawling midwest, the arid, rocky landscape of the Southwest, the sultry deep south and sunshine, glamour and scenery of West coast USA.
Recently we have been helping put together an amazing itinerary for a family from the UK planning for a real whopper of an American adventure. A coast to coast extravaganza that takes in some stunning destinations and truly iconic landmarks along the way.
While I’m not going to reveal the exact itinerary here I will outline the different cities and routes taken with some of the respective regions attractions and you can get a flavour of what a truly tailor made family road trip across the USA can really look and feel like.
First Stop – New York City
Departing from the UK the first port of call is on the east coast to experience the unique vibe of the Big Apple itself.
A few days and nights here is a pretty full-on, energetic start to your holiday with so much to see and do that you won’t know where the time has gone.
Stay in one of the numerous classy midtown hotels to put yourself in prime location to see the sights and get the full Manhattan experience. From here you are within easy access to some of the most iconic landmarks – Empire State & Chrysler Buildings, Madison Square Gardens, Times Square, Central Park – as well as the retail heaven around 5th Avenue and all the entertainment of Broadway’s theatre district.
Some Things to See while in NYC
- Observatory Level of the Empire State (sunset is a particularly spectacular time) to get an awesome view across the skyline
- Ferry out to the Statue of Liberty (our view is that it’s more impressive looking at than looking from so stay on the ferry and take your pics)
- The 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero
- The Rockefeller Center
- There are,of course, many more sights and experiences – why not pre-book one of the tour passes before you leave including hop on / hop off buses to all major sights and attractions.
It’s Vegas Time
The pace really isn’t slowing down on stage 2 of the trip. Flying from JFK and heading west to the (in)famous desert city of sin and opulence that is Las Vegas.
This is one of those places that needs to be seen to be believed and, in truth, it’s a place that as a family you’d only want to spend a couple of days visiting.
Yes this is a city built upon gambling and casinos which is essentially what all the hotels double up as. But boy are they on some scale. I’ve heard the place described as Disney World for adults (although in my opinion, Disney World is every bit for adults as kids!) and the reason for this is the many varied themed hotels that, like them or loathe them, astonishing creations.
There’s the enormous MGM Grand which is great for families given its stunning pool and entertainment facilities; the iconic Ceasars Palace, the opulence of the Bellagio and the recreation of Venice (gondolas and all) of the Venetian – to name but a few.
And of course, at night there’s an incredible array of entertainment with some of the world’s great acts sure to be in town whenever you arrive here.
The Grand Canyon
You want my advice, if you are thinking of following our client’s and putting a similar trip together then don’t head out this way and forget to visit the Grand Canyon.
If Vegas is an eye-bulging scene of man made glitz and architecture then Grand Canyon is the polar opposite; a simply jaw-dropping natural wonder on such a monumental scale that you can barely take it in on first viewing.
There are a number of ways to visit the Canyon. You can book to fly by small plane or helicopter from Las Vegas with a number of different trips that either simply fly around (and within) the canyon or in some cases will land to let you walk and tour for a while.
Another option is to rent a car and head out on your own. It’s about a 4 1/2 hour drive so the best option might be to say farewell to Vegas and book into one of the rustic hotels near the Canyon (or maybe into Flagstaff, a little farther away) so that you can get up early next day and experience a staggering sunrise over this amazing scene. Of course, if you drive there, then you have to drive on (either back to Vegas or perhaps a few hours south to the beautiful Scottsdale / Phoenix area).
Don’t worry about flowers in your hair but do take the time to visit the delightful city of San Francisco. From Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf, Pacific Heights to Haight Ashbury this is a city very much with its own unique vibe. Home for the Hippies of the sixties, the liberal legacy lives on in the city alongside a modern, cosmopolitan feel and a huge range of nightlife, dining and entertainment.
Take the hop on / hop off bus routes to see the main attractions and DEFINITELY pre-book a trip out to Alcatraz. It’s quite an experience and one that gets booked up well in advance.
One of the most scenic driving routes in the USA, if not the world. Take a car from San Fran and make the journey south on the winding road on the edge of America. With the pacific ocean as your companion you can make gentle progress through the small towns and incredible scenery and wildlife that the highway has to offer. Take a day or two to make the journey stopping off at the beautiful towns of Monterrey or Carmel or maybe Santa Barbara for a night or two.
Final calling point is LA. Home of the movies and a sprawling urban centre of commerce, entertainment and general American razzmatazz. Maybe base yourself on the coast at Santa Monica, Newport or Long Beach from where you can spend a few days taking in the sights from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to the Hollywood walk of fame, a trip among the rich and famous on Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills or a studio tour around Universal perhaps.
A stay in LA seems to be a fitting end to a trip which began in the big city back east and another memorable chapter in a holiday that will stay in the memory for a lifetime.
At Florida Travel Service (as part of the Three Arches Travel Company) we can tailor a dream holiday to all destinations across the USA, calling on our own experiences and knowledge and understanding what you wish to do. So if the above has whet your appetite or if you have anything else in mind, give us a call or get in touch via our contact form here…