Bright lights, bustling streets, seasonal events and exciting restaurants - you'll never be short of things to do in the busy metropolises of the East Coast USA. Whether it's grabbing a bagel and people watching in New York, exploring the antebellum architecture and charm of Savannah or relaxing on the beaches of Miami after a night on the town, travelling down the Atlantic coast is a brilliant way to explore and discover the Land of the Free as a surface sector on your round the world trip!
Travelling by train is a great way to explore the USA, with over 200,000 miles of track throughout the country. Coast to coast, north to south, almost any route is possible. With an Amtrak Rail Pass you can explore on a pre-paid ticket price. Much like inter-railing in Europe, reservations must be made ahead of time as you have a certain amount of days in which to travel.
Begin in New York, the city that never sleeps. You'll want spend a good few days here to explore the iconic sights, wander the streets and soak up the buzzing atmosphere that New York radiates in every season. The Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center and the Natural History Museum are all must visit attractions but make sure you have time to enjoy some low-key places too. Try a pizza at Lombardi's, the first pizzeria in America (I'd recommend red pepper and sweet Italian sausage!) and spend an afternoon wandering the High Line, an elevated train track turned into a mile-long greenway. The views over the Hudson River to the West of Manhattan are fantastic. The High Line ends on the outskirts of Greenwich Village where you can rest your weary legs in Washington Square Park and people watch to your heart's content.
Next, head down to Philadelphia, only 1.5 hours by train from New York. Home of the Liberty Bell, the mighty city of Philly is one of the best places to learn more about American history. The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were both signed in Independence Hall and although a visit there is free, there are only a certain number of tickets per day, so collect one in the morning and plan your day around the allotted time.
Philadelphia is a great city for walking and the historic quarter is perfect for discovering small museums and art galleries in the heart of the city, where the independent America began. Don't leave before trying a cheesesteak, Philadelphia's most famous sandwich: a combination of thin steak, cheese and onions in a long sub roll.
It's time to hit the capital! Washington DC has been home to the President of the United States since 1800, when John Adams moved into the newly built White House. After visiting the historic sights of the Washington Monument and the United States Capitol, it's time for the museums, which Washington has in abundance! The Smithsonian Institution is the largest museum complex in the world, made up of 19 museums and a zoo. After exploring the National Air and Space Museum (always a favourite, especially with children) stroll down toward the Lincoln Memorial and gaze upon the face of Abraham Lincoln, the beloved former president.
When you've had your fill of history, head to Georgetown and wander amongst the boutique shops and cobbled streets before finding a table at one of many restaurants and enjoying your last evening in this spectacular city.
Head south and you'll hit the Deep South. Charleston, South Carolina is a small town of historic charm. Several pre-war colonial mansions remain in beautiful condition here, including Magnolia Plantation which has the oldest gardens in America, dating back to 1680. Charleston loves food; full of delicious Caribbean and African influences you'll find big plates of shrimp gumbo and 'Charleston Red Rice', a dish of white rice, smoked sausage, tomatoes and peppers.
A little way out of Charleston is the pretty village of Mount Pleasant, with the colonial Boone Hall sits at the end of its one mile drive lined with 250 year old oak trees. Grab a cherry soda and enjoy the old fashioned style of Charleston that oozes the atmosphere of the South.
For a classic taste of the South, Savannah is sure to fit the bill. The old quarter is architecturally beautiful - cobbled squares, antique fountains and tree-lined boulevards that are perfect for wandering leisurely. Locally known as 'the Hostess of the South' Savannah isn't short on bars; the perfect place to enjoy a tipple in the quiet evenings of this quaint city.
To escape the built up centre, head out to Tybee Island, where a 3 mile long beach with open dunes and a relaxed atmosphere await. Dine out on famous Georgia shrimp and sip cocktails into the night at one of the many chilled out beach bars.
Orlando is the theme park capital of the world, home to Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, Legoland, Sea World and Epcot. Spend your time here wisely - it would be easy to spend weeks taking in everything these huge parks have to offer but with a little planning ahead, you can decide on your highlights the whole experience will be much easier.
Hotels will often have deals with theme parks with cheaper tickets if you stay inside the park - ask us and we can sort out the appropriate accommodation for you. It's not all theme parks though; if you fancy a break from the Disney madness, why not go and watch the Orlando Magic play basketball at their home the Amway Center or splurge in one of Orlando's huge malls.
You'll soon be running out of land, but there's still time to experience Miami, the deco city with endless golden beaches. Miami enjoys a huge Latin influence in its food, music and architecture. Head to Little Havana and you can drink it all in, literally - with a quick Cuban espresso or a pitcher of Sangria. If it's sea and sand you're craving, South Beach is the perfect place. Turquoise waters lapping against white sand, high-octane water sports and plenty of sunbathing - it's a great way to end your trip. For one final day out, explore the Everglades National Park just west of Miami where you can kayak through the swamps and hopefully spot an alligator amongst the rushes.
If you'd like to explore the East Coast of America this is the trip for you! We can organise this route with any alterations or additions that you might want (for example by car or camper, rather than train) totally tailored to your ideal trip. Contact us on +44 1273320580 or request a quote to get the ball rolling on this American adventure!