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Grand Tour of America

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4.5 stars(22 reviews)
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Uncover the USA’s most iconic sights by rail

18 days From £4,295 £3,995 per person
Booking Offer

Save up to £300 per person on selected 2023 Worldwide holidays when you travel before May 2023, when you book by midnight 23rd December 2022.

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2023 Tour code: SUG23

About the tour

Discover the vibrant, varied United States on a once in a lifetime journey that takes you to some of America's most famous sights including Alcatraz, the Las Vegas strip, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls and Yosemite National Park.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and San Francisco

We fly from London Heathrow to the vibrant city of San Francisco, where we spend two nights. With its harbourside charms and laid-back culture, bohemian San Francisco is one of America's most-loved cities.

Day 2 - San Francisco

We're introduced to the city during a sightseeing tour. We see the incredible Golden Gate Bridge, which was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was built in the 1930s and is an iconic shade of orange. Continuing, we explore Fisherman's Wharf before cruising to the famous island of Alcatraz. Once an 'escape-proof' maximum security prison housing notorious criminals such as Al Capone, today Alcatraz is a fascinating museum. The rest of the day is free. You could indulge in some seafood at one of the harbourside crab stalls, or step back in time with a visit to a historic saloon or speakeasy.

Day 3 - Yosemite National Park

We board an Amtrak train today for a journey inland, to Merced. From here, we take a coach to nearby Yosemite National Park, one of the most stunning areas of natural beauty in the United States, known for its deep valleys, tumbling waterfalls and ancient, towering trees. We enjoy a tour of the valley floor, taking in views of Half Dome, a well-known rock formation with a unique shape. We also see the 3,000-foot El Capitan, a huge rock face popular with rock climbers, and the spectacular Bridalveil Falls. We return to Merced, where we spend the night.

Day 4 - To Las Vegas

We board our Amtrak rail service to Bakersfield, continuing across the desert by coach on our way to Las Vegas. On arrival in the vibrant city, we check into the famous Park MGM hotel on the bustling Las Vegas Strip, where we spend the next two nights. Las Vegas is bursting with life and colour, and its easy to lose yourself in the hypnotic neon lights. With free time, you could visit one of the city's iconic casinos, or catch a dazzling Cirque du Soleil show.

Day 5 - Las Vegas

You're free to spend the day exploring incredible Las Vegas at your own pace, and there's plenty to occupy yourself with in the city. The Las Vegas monorail is a great way to discover the fantastic sights and spectacles of the city and runs adjacent to the lively Las Vegas Strip. The city boasts also a great variety of resorts, with top-class shows, excellent restaurants, and an extraordinary selection of entertainment to choose from.

Day 6 - The Hoover Dam and Flagstaff

Leaving the lights of Las Vegas behind, we make our way across Nevada to Arizona. We stop off on the way at the Hoover Dam, located in Black Canyon just outside of Vegas. An engineering masterpiece that was designed to stop the mighty Colorado River from flooding, today it's one of the region's most famous sights. Back on the road, we enter Arizona, travelling along the legendary Route 66 until we reach Flagstaff. We spend the next two nights here.

Day 7 - The Grand Canyon

We travel in vintage carriages hauled by historic locomotives on the Grand Canyon Railway today. Opened in 1901, the Grand Canyon Railway journeys through the spectacular landscapes to the Canyon's South Rim. Arriving, we're treated to views of one of the world's most awe-inspiring sights, the Grand Canyon. The canyon, created by the Colorado River over a period of 6 million years, is up to 18 miles wide, 1 mile deep, and is one of the most visited sites in the US. We arrive at the South Rim and main viewpoint of the canyon to take in the dramatic vistas.

Day 8 - Monument Valley

We drive through Navajo country and Utah's Monument Valley - familiar as the rugged setting of many American Western movies. The whole region presents the imagery of a bygone era, where cowboys still spend lonely months herding cattle across miles of untouched hills and Native Americans perform age-old rituals. We enjoy excellent views of the vast and wild scenery as we make our way to the town of Durango, where we spend the night. A former mountain town surrounded by mighty mountains, Durango is one of Colorado's most fascinating destinations, bursting with rich history.

Day 9 - Durango and Silverton Railroad

We board the Durango and Silverton Railroad for a journey to the mining town of Silverton. Incredibly, the line has been in continuous use since its inception more than 130 years ago. As the imposing black coal-fired locomotive pulls its distinctive yellow carriages through the remote, tree-lined mountain backdrop of Colorado, past azure flowing rivers and towering evergreens, the untouched landscape feels almost forgotten by the rest of the world. Our trip harks back to the late 19th century when the train was first used to transport silver and gold ore mined from the nearby San Juan Mountains. We continue by coach to Grand Junction, nestled in Colorado's fruit growing area, where we spend the night.

*During the early part of the season the Durango & Silverton Railroad operates a winter timetable. During this period we enjoy a journey from Durango to Cascade Canyon by rail.

Day 10 - California Zephyr

Leaving Grand Junction, we board Amtrak's California Zephyr for a journey on what's known as one of the USA's most scenic rail journeys. The full route of the California Zephyr runs between Emeryville and Chicago, and the portion we travel on takes us up into the Rocky Mountains, through the heart of Colorado's wine region towards Chicago. We settle down for a night on the rails.

Day 11 - Chicago

We arrive in Chicago's Union Station this afternoon, and you're free for the rest of the day to start exploring the city. Set on the shores of vast Lake Michigan, the 'Windy City' is home to a wealth of fantastic things to see and do. A must-try for visitors is Chicago-style deep dish pizza. By no means your traditional Italian-style pizza, this delicious pie-like dish is made with layered cheese and chunky tomato sauce encased in a high crust and is served in many iconic eateries across the city.

Day 12 - Chicago

You're free to continue exploring the city. Chicago boasts a magnificent skyline along with many highly rated museums, restaurants and cafés. The 110-storey Willis Tower was the world's tallest building on its completion in 1974, and has a great observation deck for views over, on a clear day, four states - Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana. Millennium Park, with its iconic 'Bean' sculpture and tranquil green spaces, is also worth a visit.

Day 13 - Chicago

We gain further insight into the city of Chicago today on a fascinating guided sightseeing tour, seeing many of its incredible sights. After a day of explorations, we board the Amtrak Lake Shore Limited for our overnight rail journey. Staying in cosy berths that consist of two comfortable seats by day and upper and lower berths by night, we enjoy a comfortable journey to Buffalo on the cusp of Niagara Falls.

Day 14 - Niagara Falls

The Lake Shore Limited pulls into Buffalo today. Disembarking, we transfer to our hotel, located close to the spectacular Niagara Falls. The rest of the day is free, so head to the nearby natural wonder for once-in-a-lifetime views of the waters. The waterfall is loved by travellers all over the world for its emerald colour and a descent so forceful that the spray casts a mist around it. You could take a boat tour of the falls (payable locally) that takes you into the heart of the heavy mist for stunning views, or admire the thundering waters from the towering Observation Deck.

Day 15 - New York

We take the train to cosmopolitan New York, an adrenaline-charged metropolis bursting with some of the world's greatest art, culture, cuisine and history. On arrival, we take a unique 'behind the scenes' tour of iconic Grand Central Terminal. This is one of the USA's most famous stations. It boasts elegant marble floors and an incredible vaulted ceiling painted with a stunning celestial mural, with thousands of golden stars and constellations set against a turquoise backdrop. We continue to our hotel, where we spend two nights.

Day 16 - New York, New York

We wake up in 'the city that never sleeps' today, setting out on a guided tour that includes some of New York's most spectacular sights. We take a harbour cruise around Manhattan, which takes us past the world-famous Statue of Liberty. We continue with a visit to leafy Central Park, a green oasis of calm set against a backdrop of towering skyscrapers, and glamorous Fifth Avenue, the city's most famous shopping street. Later, you have some free time to explore this exciting city; perhaps visit poignant 'Ground Zero' or catch a show on Broadway.

Day 17 - To London

Bidding a fond farewell to New York and the US, we transfer to the airport for our flight to London Heathrow.

Day 18 - London

We arrive back in London and your holiday comes to an end.

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Visa requirements
Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Hampton Inn Chicago Magnificent Mile, Chicago

Hampton Inn Chicago Magnificent Mile, Chicago

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Holiday Inn & Suites Durango Central, Durango

Holiday Inn & Suites Durango Central, Durango

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Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

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Hampton Inn, Grand Junction

Hampton Inn, Grand Junction

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MGM Park Hotel

MGM Park Hotel, Las Vegas

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El Capitan Hotel, Merced

El Capitan Hotel, Merced

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New York Marriott Marquis

New York Marriott Marquis, New York

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Hyatt Place, Niagara Falls

Hyatt Place, Niagara Falls

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Zephyr Hotel, San Francisco

Zephyr Hotel, San Francisco

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Trains

Amtrak Trains
Durango & Silverton Railroad
Grand Canyon Railway

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Upgrade your flight to Premium Economy
London Hotels
UK rail connections
Overnight Train Upgrade

Extend your holiday

San Francisco
Simply New York

Reviews

4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 22 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (13)
  2. 4 stars
    (8)
  3. 3 stars
    (1)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Gillian Thornhill

5 stars

Submitted 28/Oct

An amazing adventure expertly led across the USA

Collected by Trustpilot

Keith Underwood

5 stars

Submitted 27/Oct

Lots of wonderful experiences and places

Collected by Trustpilot

EH

5 stars

Submitted 27/Oct

Great holiday, although quite full on! Scenery was amazing particularly with the autumn colours. Interesting cities - all very different. San Francisco - great for its historical cable cars, Las Vegas - very noisy, Chicago - scenic and cultural, New York - vibrant. Grand Canyon and Yosemite were as spectacular as expected. Goosenecks was also great. The journey from Durango to Silverton was beautiful and Niagara Falls exceeded my expectations. The train journey from Grand Junction to Chicago was long and not the most comfortable. (The roomettes are smaller than the cells in Alcatraz).However, it was an experience (but not one I would necessarily wish to repeat). The overnight journey from Chicago to Buffalo was so much better. All in all, a fantastic holiday with all sorts of experiences, enjoyed with a great group of people and a super Tour Manager, Adrian.

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Christine W

4 stars

Submitted 10/Oct

Fabulous holiday, what an experience! We knew it would be full on but at times it was too full on. Early starts, as early as 6.30am so hotel restaurant not open for breakfast, rushed lunch breaks, often just a case of grabbing a sandwich from a supermarket. Hotels on the whole good especially the Little America and Marriott in New York. Couple of hotels poorly staffed and couldn't cope with numbers of people wanting food but as there was no option but the hotel so we had no choice but to wait for poor food and service. Don't bother with a sleeper upgrade on the train, complete waste of money, didn't sleep a wink! Overall though the trip was great and out tour manager Martyn was very helpful. Take into consideration the hectic schedule, you need to be fit!

Collected by Trustpilot

Mark White

3 stars

Submitted 30/Sep

You will see some amazing sights on this whistle stop tour of America. It’s very fast paced with very little downtime, mostly early starts and long days. We were disappointed with some of the hotels, particularly the locations out of town without a decent restaurant. The heritage railroad trips were great fun . Unfortunately the highlight of the holiday, The California Zephyr, was cancelled due to a strike. The company arranged alternative travel by coach and air to Chicago. Martyn, the Tour Manager, was very knowledgeable and had lots of tips on where to go or eat in the cities. Take as little luggage as possible as you will never unpack your bag. Most hotels have laundry facilities. Upgrade on the sleeper trains as the space is very tight.

Collected by Trustpilot

Graham Rex Kenworthy Peace

4 stars

Submitted 29/Sep

Very memorable trip.

Collected by Trustpilot

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Uncover the USA’s most iconic sights by rail

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