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Best USA tours for 2020

Get to know the USA better with these tours that bring you to the breathtaking sites and cities across the nation.

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Exploring a country so big is not always an easy task but these tours do it best, highlighting the top areas for travelling deep or for spending time visiting must-see and must-do destinations.

On top of tour companies that specialise in the country, we’ve compiled a list of tours that take you from coast to coast, focus on the areas that you want to explore, cover the immense amount of history and show you the extreme diversity across these scenic lands.

Our favourite USA tour companies

1. Best for youth travel: Contiki

Contiki is the company for millennials to travel the world with and to have #NOREGRETS adventures. It takes travellers across the US from eastern road trips to quick city weekends and tours catered to adventure or discovery.

  • Cost: Low-mid range
  • Our favourite itinerary: The Grand Southern tour doesn’t disappoint with all of the must-see stops between Los Angeles and NYC (including a stint along the famous Route 66), scenic nature sites and top cities.
  • What we love about Contiki: You can change your departure date for free and tours offer plenty of free time to explore on your own or book an additional activity.
Browse Contiki tours

2. Best for in-depth exploration: Trafalgar

Relish the moments and live “the good life” on an award-winning Trafalgar trip. Opt to explore the Hawaiian Islands, iconic cities, cowboy destinations or national parks.

  • Cost: Mid-high range
  • Our favourite itinerary: The Tastes and Sounds of the South tour explores the culinary trail of the southern states from Nashville to New Orleans for an entirely new and authentic experience of the South.
  • What we love about Trafalgar: Geared to ensure you won’t have to worry about a thing from accommodation to activities once you book, Trafalgar offers expertise and excellent service from day one.
Browse Trafalgar tours

3. Best for in-depth exploration: Intrepid

Real life experiences, connecting with locals, a dedication to responsible travel and small groups, Intrepid is one of the world’s leaders when it comes to travel and the company makes adventure available to everyone.

  • Cost: Mid-range
  • Our favourite itinerary: See some of the USA’s most jaw-dropping natural sites on the USA National Parks Explorer with plenty of optional excursions that include hiking and getting a view from above.
  • What we love about Intrepid: Expect dozens of trips across North America that are often discounted when booked early or last-minute. Qantas points can be earned on trips over $1,000.
Browse Intrepid tours

4. Best for backpackers: Topdeck

With over 70 tours to choose from in the USA alone, Topdeck brings curious millennial travellers together for unforgettable trips around the country with authentic experiences and tours that just hit the highlights or explore further.

  • Cost: Low-mid range
  • Our favourite itinerary: Get a good feel for the diversity of the USA on the Southern Charm tour from New York City to Miami that explores the must-see highlights.
  • What we love about Topdeck: All tours are geared towards the 18 to 35 age group with a focus on social activities to make friendships that can last a lifetime.
Browse Topdeck tours

5. Best for ecotours: G Adventures

G Adventures has paved the way for eco-friendly travel. In small groups, you have the option to choose your adventure: classic, hiking, family, millennials, marine, National Geographic Journeys and more.

  • Cost: Mid-range
  • Our favourite itinerary: Get to experience the Best of the West if you’re limited for time on this two-week trip of California’s coast and Arizona’s inland desert landscape.
  • What we love about G Adventures: Its commitment to small group tours with a focus on ecotourism and local living is exceptional.
Browse G Adventures tours

6. Best for small groups and local guides: Trek America

Trek America is the original small group adventure tour company in the USA that is 100% locally run with local tour guides to destinations that get you off the beaten path. With flexibility built into every tour and mainly solo travellers making up the groups, it’s bound to be an adventure.

  • Cost: Mid-range
  • Our favourite itinerary: The Alaskan Denali tour is perfect just to get a taste of Alaska in nine days without breaking the budget and getting close to nature by camping.
  • What we love about Trek America: Specialists in travelling the Americas, Trek America offers 40+ tours across North and South America so you can see and do it all.
Browse Trek America tours

Best USA tour company for:

East coast

  • Insight Vacations: Luxury travel with holidays that highlight sections of the east coast with tours that focus on national parks, cuisine and more.
  • Trafalgar: Affordable travel with destinations across the USA, many exploring the east coast with a focus on VIP experiences with locals.
  • Topdeck: Topdeck offers tours all over the USA but with a good amount in the East highlighting the top cities for millennial travellers.

West coast

  • Cosmos: Cosmos makes travel down the west coast by tour affordable with a number of tours created to visit the must-see spots.
  • Contiki: Contiki has one of the largest selections of tours across the USA with a good amount being along the west coast through cities, national parks and more.
  • G Adventures: G Adventures gives travellers the choice to explore the west coast how they like by road trip, camping, hiking and more.

USA and Canada

  • Contiki: Contiki has tours for millennials that explore the highlights of each country with many trips crossing into the USA or Canada for a taste of each.
  • Trafalgar Tours: Trafalgar offers combined tours of the USA and Canada on the east coast and between Northern Canada and Alaska, as well as to the Rocky Mountains.
  • CostSaver: Affordable travel with the option to explore the USA and Canada at a leisurely or moderate pace with tours exploring the natural wonders and scenic cities of both countries.

Over 30s

  • Insight Vacations: Insight gives you the bit of luxury you’re craving on tours that cater to over 30s, designed to focus on nature, special interests/events, quick discoveries and more.
  • Trafalgar Tours: Trafalgar has one of the largest selections of tours for over 30s whether you’re travelling in a group or on your own.
  • CostSaver: Affordable travel with the option to explore the USA and Canada at a leisurely or moderate pace with tours exploring the natural wonders and scenic cities of both countries.

Families

  • Grand American Adventures: Specialising in North American destinations, Grand American Adventures offers a number of small group tours specifically for families with active itineraries that are based around camping or hotels.
  • Adventures by Disney: Adventures by Disney caters to families with holidays that are not just at Disney resorts but explore natural wonders and city escapes.
  • REI Adventures: REI Adventures connects families with nature on active trips for all ages exploring the mountains, canyons and national parks of the USA.

Seniors

  • Collette: Collette caters for a senior crowd with tours that include national parks, cities loaded with history, music and more.
  • Road Scholar: This tour company is geared towards educational travel for mature adults with tours across all 50 states with varying levels of active activities.
  • Senior Tours: The name says it all. Tours designed for seniors that have a relaxed pace with short and long journeys all across the USA.

Train

  • Amtrak Vacations: Amtrak is the USA’s largest rail company and offers holiday packages across the country for all ages, lengths of trip and families.
  • Vacations by Rail: A company specialising in train travel, Vacations by Rail takes you on a journey across the USA to destinations such as Alaska, national parks, mainland USA and Canada, through historic states.
  • America by Rail: With America by Rail you’re spoilt for choice with cross-country trips. Journeys specific to national parks, autumn colours, music regions, you name it, there’s a rail trip for it.

Popular USA tour routes

Western USA

Western USA covers the entire west coast and some inland parts as well. By far the most popular routes are across California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, taking travellers through diverse regions from major cities to massive national parks.

Other tours of Western USA focus on the north with more cities and national parks typically in Washington and Oregon for active adventures.

Western Discoverer

Western Discoverer from Trafalgar Tours

This tour takes you to San Diego, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and more in a limited time frame, without rushing. It allows you to explore the highlights of this stunning region through cities, nature and culture.

  • Tour company: Trafalgar
  • Best for: First-time visitors
  • Length of tour: 14 days

View details

Sunbelt

The Sunbelt stretches across the southern and southwestern states typically from Florida to California where you can experience a true change in culture, architecture, food and landscapes. Most tours highlight California and the Canyonlands.

Southern USA Road Trip

Southern USA Road Trip from TourRadar

This Southern USA Road Trip brings travellers from New Orleans to Las Vegas, across parts of Route 66 and with stops in 3 national parks: Monument Valley, San Antonio and Santa Fe. This trip is all about the ride so get ready to kick back and enjoy the scenery.

  • Tour company: Intrepid
  • Best for: Exploring natural and cultural sites in-depth
  • Length of tour: 10 days

View details

Eastern USA

The Eastern USA is another large section of the USA that covers ground from New York all the way down to Florida. Major cities that are usually included in Eastern USA include NYC, Philadelphia, Miami and New Orleans.

Some tours of Eastern USA focus primarily on fall foliage, history, combine with Eastern Canada or focus on the culture of the South.

Eastern Discovery

Eastern Discovery from Contiki

This Eastern Discovery tour hits all the must-see places from NYC to New Orleans with the best stops in between in Washington, DC, Charleston, Miami, Orlando and more. On this tour you’ll be able to dive into culture, cuisine, music and nightlife.

  • Tour company: Contiki
  • Best for: Millennials and backpackers seeking culture
  • Length of tour: 14 days

View details

Southern USA

Southern USA deserves some extra attention as it is an area that isn’t as travelled as the west coast, but certainly should be. The culture here is an entirely different story and the cuisine is unlike any other.

Exploring the South is between Florida and Texas but most tours focus on the Deep South of Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia.

Old South

Old South from TourRadar

This tour dives into the Southern culture and history that is rooted deep in this area. You’re bound to get a good taste of music with stops in New Orleans and Nashville and the Southern charm in Savannah. This tour even adds some extra stops in Florida.

  • Tour company: Cosmos
  • Best for: Travellers on a budget, culture and cuisine
  • Length of tour: 13 days

View details

How long do I need in USA?

The USA is like Australia, it’s big and takes quite a bit of time to explore. This massive country is best explored in sections as you could easily spend months there.

Quick one-week highlight trips are best explored in areas such as California and its Canyonlands or two to three major cities in Eastern USA such as New York, Boston and Washington, DC.

If you wish to explore more in-depth or see other destinations add an extra week to these areas or explore the South.

If you want to travel across the country to experience as much as possible give yourself a minimum of three weeks by tour.

Best week-long tour of the East:

Cities of the Great East

Cities of the Great East from TourRadar

This eight-day tour explores the great Northeast cities that are packed full of history and pretty city streets. These major cities are for those who love to explore culture and want a quick taste of big city life, from cuisine to learning about how this country was formed.

  • Tour company: Cosmos
  • Best for: History and city lovers
  • Places visited: Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Boston, New York City

View details

Best week-long tour of the West:

Los Angeles to San Francisco Express

Los Angeles to San Francisco Express from G Adventures

Cover some of America’s biggest (and best) cities for major thrills between natural sites that will blow your mind over seven days. This tour perfectly combines the varied landscapes of California and Nevada, active activities and bustling city life, for a trip to take when you’re short on time.

  • Tour company: G Adventures
  • Best for: Active travellers with limited time
  • Places visited: Los Angeles, Lake Havasu, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco

View details

Best 2-week tour:

Southern Comfort USA

Southern Comfort USA from TourRadar

This two-week tour takes travellers through the comforts of the southern states: music and cuisine. This area has a past filled with a mix of cultures and needs to be explored. There’s enough to see, do, eat and hear that two weeks is the perfect amount of time without rushing through it.

  • Tour company: Intrepid
  • Best for: In-depth culture and music
  • Places visited: Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston, Asheville, Nashville, Memphis, Vicksburg, New Orleans

View details

Best 3- to 4-week tour:

Journey across the mighty US of A

Journey across the mighty US of A from Topdeck

This whirlwind of a tour will take you across the country in 25 days from one major city to the next. Explore NYC, get a taste of the South, party in Miami, take in the epic sites of the Grand Canyon and watch the scenery change right before your eyes as you drive from state to state.

  • Tour company: Topdeck
  • Best for: Cross-country highlights
  • Places visited: New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Orlando, Miami, Panama City, New Orleans, Lake Charles, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Durango, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Los Vegas, Los Angeles

View details

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