45 days in Continental USA Itinerary

45 days in Continental USA Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Continental USA holiday planner

Make it your trip
+2
Drive to Philadelphia International Airport, Fly to McGhee Tyson Airport, Drive to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Mound Bayou
— 1 night
Drive
3
New Orleans
— 2 nights
Drive
4
San Antonio
— 1 night
Drive
5
Big Bend National Park
— 3 nights
Drive
6
Phoenix
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Grand Canyon National Park
— 3 nights
Drive
8
Bryce Canyon National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
9
Zion National Park
— 3 nights
Drive
10
Las Vegas
— 2 nights
Drive
11
Joshua Tree National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
12
Laguna Beach
— 1 night
Drive
13
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive
14
Death Valley National Park
— 4 nights
Bus
15
Yosemite National Park
— 3 nights
Drive
16
Great Basin National Park
— 1 night
Drive
17
Arches National Park
— 4 nights
Drive
18
Rocky Mountain National Park
— 3 nights
+2
Drive to Denver International Airport, Fly to Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal, Drive to Champaign
19
Champaign
— 1 night
+2
Drive to Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal, Fly to Philadelphia International Airport, Drive to Fort Washington

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

— 2 nights

A Wondrous Diversity of Life

Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains some of the highest mountains east of the Mississippi River, but it's the ease of access that makes this national park the United States' most visited.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Thu): tour the pleasant surroundings at Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail, trek along Charlies Bunion, then admire all the interesting features of Newfound Gap Road, and finally pause for some photo ops at Rockefeller Memorial. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire the sheer force of Spruce Flats Falls, then hike along Upper Tremont Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and then take a memorable drive along Foothills Parkway Southwest Parking.

To see maps, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park day trip planning app.

Fort Washington to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an approximately 8.5-hour combination of car and flight. You can also drive. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from Fort Washington in December: highs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park hover around 13°C, while lows dip to 2°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) so you can travel to Mound Bayou.

Things to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Scenic Drive
Find places to stay Dec 1 — 3:

Mound Bayou

— 1 night
Mound Bayou is a city in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States. Kick off your visit on the 4th (Sat): stop by Peter's Pottery.

To see reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Mound Bayou travel itinerary planner.

Explore your travel options from Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Mound Bayou with the Route module. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Mound Bayou due to the time zone difference. In December, daytime highs in Mound Bayou are 15°C, while nighttime lows are 4°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 4th (Sat) to allow time for travel to New Orleans.

Things to do in Mound Bayou

Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 3 — 4:
Highlights from your trip

New Orleans

— 2 nights

The Big Easy

Known for its Creole cuisine, rich musical tradition, and nearby swamps and plantations, New Orleans is one of the nation's oldest cities.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Sun): pause for some serene contemplation at Immaculate Conception Church, appreciate the extensive heritage of French Quarter, and then explore the different monuments and memorials at Lake Lawn Metairie. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the different monuments and memorials at Lafayette Cemetery No.1, then appreciate the extensive heritage of Jackson Square, then pause for some serene contemplation at St. Louis Cathedral, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Old River Road Plantation Adventure.

To find reviews, where to stay, photos, and more tourist information, go to the New Orleans trip itinerary planning website.

Traveling by car from Mound Bayou to New Orleans takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight. Traveling from Mound Bayou in December, plan for a bit warmer nights in New Orleans, with lows around 16°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Mon) to allow enough time to fly to San Antonio.

Things to do in New Orleans

Historic Sites · Parks · Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 4 — 6:

San Antonio

— 1 night

The Alamo City

As the state’s second largest city, San Antonio embodies Texas’ rich cultural heritage while maintaining the Old West charm of an oil town.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Tue): pause for some serene contemplation at San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral, take an in-depth tour of The Guenther House Museum, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, then take in the history at Mission San Jose, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Medina River Natural Area. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 8th (Wed): take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Joseph Catholic Church and then get engrossed in the history at The Alamo.

For maps, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, use the San Antonio online trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from New Orleans to San Antonio takes 9 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive; or take a bus. When traveling from New Orleans in December, plan for a bit warmer days in San Antonio, with highs around 22°C, while nights are slightly colder with lows around 9°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 8th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Big Bend National Park.

Things to do in San Antonio

Historic Sites · Parks · Wildlife · Museums
Find places to stay Dec 6 — 8:

Big Bend National Park

— 3 nights
Situated where the Rio Grande River takes a big southerly dip in West Texas, Big Bend National Park covers a massive expanse of desert, woodlands, and grasslands full of rivers, limestone canyons, and high mountains. Nearly 2,000 species of plant and animal life call this place home.
Get outdoors at Dug Out Wells Picnic Area and Nature Trail and Pine Canyon Trail. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Chisos Mountains and Chihuahuan Desert. And it doesn't end there: tour the pleasant surroundings at Ernst Tinaja Trail, whizz through the canopy at Lajitas Zip-Line Tour, get to know the fascinating history of Castolon Historic District, and contemplate the long history of Homer Wilson Ranch.

To see reviews, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Big Bend National Park tour planning website.

Traveling by car from San Antonio to Big Bend National Park takes 9 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of flight and car. Traveling from San Antonio in December, expect little chillier with lows of 5°C in Big Bend National Park. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) so you can travel to Phoenix.

Things to do in Big Bend National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Trails
Find places to stay Dec 8 — 11:

Phoenix

— 2 nights
Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona. Visiting Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center and KOLI Equestrian Center will get you outdoors. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Right On Target Clay Guides of AZ and Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix. Venture out of the city with trips to Spur Cross Ranch (in Cave Creek) and Sunrise Peak Trail (in Scottsdale). There's still lots to do: take in the awesome beauty at Piestewa Peak, indulge your senses at Arizona Scenic Tours - Day Tours, and relax and float downstream with Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours.

For more things to do, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Phoenix trip planner.

Traveling by combination of car and flight from Big Bend National Park to Phoenix takes 8.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Big Bend National Park to Phoenix due to the time zone difference. Expect a daytime high around 23°C in December, and nighttime lows around 9°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) so you can drive to Grand Canyon National Park.

Things to do in Phoenix

Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 11 — 14:

Grand Canyon National Park

— 3 nights
The size, shape, and color of Grand Canyon National Park combine to leave an impression on visitors as deep as the canyon itself.
Step out of the city life by going to Grand Canyon South Rim and Yavapai Point. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Yaki Point and Grand Canyon Railway Depot. There's much more to do: get great views at Maricopa Point, explore the stunning scenery at Inner Canyon, trot along with Canyon Trail Rides, and examine the collection at Kolb Studio.

To see maps, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Grand Canyon National Park travel itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Phoenix to Grand Canyon National Park takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of flight, taxi, and bus. Traveling from Phoenix in December, things will get much colder in Grand Canyon National Park: highs are around 8°C and lows about -11°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) so you can travel to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Things to do in Grand Canyon National Park

Nature · Parks · Outdoors · Scenic Drive
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 17:

Bryce Canyon National Park

— 2 nights
You can find hoodoos--rock pillars formed by erosion--all around the world, but those of Bryce Canyon National Park remain the standard bearers thanks to their bright red color, tall stature, and arrangement in large amphitheaters.
Start off your visit on the 18th (Sat): explore the striking landscape at Thor's Hammer, then explore the striking landscape at Wall Street, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Navajo/Queens Garden Loop, and finally explore the striking landscape at Queen Victoria. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the striking landscape at Natural Bridge, get great views at Paria View, trek along Bristlecone Loop, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Rim Trail, and finally explore the striking landscape at Bryce Amphitheatre.

To find reviews, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, read Bryce Canyon National Park trip planning site.

Drive from Grand Canyon National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. Traveling from Grand Canyon National Park in December, things will get slightly colder in Bryce Canyon National Park: highs are around 2°C and lows about -15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Zion National Park.

Things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park

Parks · Nature · Trails · Outdoors

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 17 — 19:

Zion National Park

— 3 nights
Towering cliffs of red, white, and pink Navajo sandstone, stream-carved slot canyons, and big blue sky all characterize Zion National Park.
On the 20th (Mon), explore the stunning scenery at Hidden Canyon, stroll through Temple of Sinawava Trail, and then hike along Riverside Walk. Keep things going the next day: trek along Pa'rus Trail, tour the pleasant surroundings at Watchman Trail, and then take a memorable drive along Kolob Terrace Road.

For where to stay, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Zion National Park trip itinerary builder site.

Traveling by car from Bryce Canyon National Park to Zion National Park takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. In December, Zion National Park is a bit warmer than Bryce Canyon National Park - with highs of 11°C and lows of -7°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Las Vegas.

Things to do in Zion National Park

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Nature
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 22:

Las Vegas

— 2 nights

Sin City

Nicknamed the "Entertainment Capital of the World," Las Vegas sits in the middle of a desert in the southern section of Nevada.
Start off your visit on the 22nd (Wed): admire the local landmark of Fountains of Bellagio, then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and then get a taste of the local shopping with The Strip. Keep things going the next day: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Spring Mountains Visitor Center and then take in breathtaking views at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Take the guesswork out of planning a Las Vegas vacation by using our trip itinerary maker.

You can drive from Zion National Park to Las Vegas in 3 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of car and bus. The time zone difference moving from Mountain Standard Time (MST) to Pacific Standard Time (PST) is minus 1 hour. Traveling from Zion National Park in December, expect Las Vegas to be somewhat warmer, temps between 16°C and 4°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) so you can fly to Joshua Tree National Park.

Things to do in Las Vegas

Nature · Parks · Neighborhoods · Shopping

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 22 — 24:

Joshua Tree National Park

— 2 nights
Joshua Tree National Park takes its name from the Joshua tree, a twisted, spiky tree with bayonet-shaped leaves at the top that's one of the few plant species hardy enough to thrive in the extreme climate of the Mojave Desert.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Fri): steep yourself in history at Keys Ranch, explore and take pictures at Joshua Tree Ranch, and then take in the dramatic natural features at Wonderland of Rocks. Here are some ideas for day two: trek along Ladder Canyon Trail, then explore the landscape on two wheels at Box Canyon Road, and then admire nature's extreme beauty at Cottonwood Spring Oasis.

To find maps, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Joshua Tree National Park vacation planner.

You can drive from Las Vegas to Joshua Tree National Park in 5.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or drive; or do a combination of bus and car. December in Joshua Tree National Park sees daily highs of 19°C and lows of 4°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 26th (Sun) early enough to go by car to Laguna Beach.

Things to do in Joshua Tree National Park

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Nature

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 24 — 26:

Laguna Beach

— 1 night
Laguna Beach is a seaside resort city located in southern Orange County, California, in the United States. Kick off your visit on the 26th (Sun): tour the pleasant surroundings at Treasure Island Beach, kick back and relax at Table Rock Beach, and then stroll around Aliso Beach Park. On the next day, tour the pleasant surroundings at Pacific Marine Mammal Center, hike along Bluff Top Trail, identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, then pause for some serene contemplation at Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Victoria Beach.

To find traveler tips, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Laguna Beach trip maker app.

You can drive from Joshua Tree National Park to Laguna Beach in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, bus, and train; or do a combination of car and bus. In December, Laguna Beach is a bit warmer than Joshua Tree National Park - with highs of 24°C and lows of 11°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Laguna Beach

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wildlife

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 26 — 27:

Santa Barbara

— 2 nights

The American Riviera

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is a solid vacation destination with its wide beaches, renowned wineries, and some of California's finest shopping and dining options.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Tue): get outside with Santa Barbara Sportfishing Charter, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Douglas Family Preserve, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Arroyo Burro County Beach Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 29th (Wed): tour the pleasant surroundings at Carpinteria Harbor Seal Preserve and Rookery, then enjoy the sand and surf at Carpinteria State Beach, and then hike along Cabrillo Bike Path.

For reviews, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, read Santa Barbara itinerary planner.

Drive from Laguna Beach to Santa Barbara in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of taxi and train. Traveling from Laguna Beach in December, expect slightly colder with lows of 5°C in Santa Barbara. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife · Tours

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 27 — 29:

Death Valley National Park

— 4 nights

Hottest, Driest, Lowest

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Get in touch with nature at Golden Canyon and Badwater Basin. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Zabriskie Point and Devil's Golf Course. Change things up with these side-trips from Death Valley National Park: Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (in Amargosa Valley) and Gold Point Ghost Town (in Goldfield). There's much more to do: take a memorable drive along Artists Dr, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Panamint Range, contemplate the long history of Harmony Borax Works, and trek along Daylight Pass.

For where to stay, photos, and tourist information, read Death Valley National Park online road trip planner.

You can drive from Santa Barbara to Death Valley National Park in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of train, bus, and car. Expect slightly colder temperatures when traveling from Santa Barbara in December; daily highs in Death Valley National Park reach 15°C and lows reach 0°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Historic Sites

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 2:

Yosemite National Park

— 3 nights
Massive granite mountains, towering waterfalls, groves of Giant Sequoia trees, and wilderness as far as the eye can see distinguish the landscape of Yosemite National Park.
On the 3rd (Mon), explore the striking landscape at Taft Point, then take in the dramatic natural features at Sentinel Dome, then explore the striking landscape at Glacier Point, and finally make a trip to Yosemite Village. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll through Nevada Falls Loop, take in the dramatic scenery at Vernal Fall, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Nature Center at Happy Isles, and finally trek along Panorama Trail.

To see traveler tips, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Yosemite National Park trip planner.

Traveling by bus from Death Valley National Park to Yosemite National Park takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in January, you will find days in Yosemite National Park are slightly colder (7°C), and nights are much colder (-12°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Great Basin National Park.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks · Nature · Trails · Outdoors
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 5:

Great Basin National Park

— 1 night
Great Basin National Park is one of the U.S.'s more out-of-the-way national parks, but those who make the trip are rewarded with the striking contrast of snowcapped peaks rising from a high-altitude desert.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Wed): explore the activities along Teresa Lake, then Head underground at Lehman Caves, and then hike along Alpine Lakes Loop. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 6th (Thu): take a memorable drive along Mather Overlook and then hike along Baker Lake Trail.

To see maps, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Great Basin National Park day trip planning site.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Yosemite National Park to Great Basin National Park. In January, daytime highs in Great Basin National Park are 5°C, while nighttime lows are -13°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 6th (Thu) early enough to travel to Arches National Park.

Things to do in Great Basin National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 6:

Arches National Park

— 4 nights

A Red Rock Wonderland

Mother Nature kept reaching for red when she painted Arches National Park's 2,000 sandstone arches, resulting in one of the country's more distinctly shaped and colored landscapes.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Delicate Arch and Fiery Furnace. Step out of the city life by going to Landscape Arch and Pine Tree Arch Trail. Change things up with a short trip to Sego Canyon Petroglyphs in Thompson (about 52 minutes away). And it doesn't end there: take in the dramatic natural features at Double Arch, hike along Windows, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Tunnel Arch.

For maps, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Arches National Park trip planner.

Traveling by car from Great Basin National Park to Arches National Park takes 6 hours. The time zone changes from Pacific Standard Time (PST) to Mountain Standard Time (MST), which is usually a 1 hour difference. Expect a daytime high around 2°C in January, and nighttime lows around -10°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Mon) early enough to fly to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Things to do in Arches National Park

Parks · Nature · Trails · Outdoors

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 6 — 10:

Rocky Mountain National Park

— 3 nights
Rocky Mountain National Park presents an ideal setting for recreation in the mountain range for which the park is named.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Trail Ridge Road and Fern Falls. Take a break from the city and head to Deer Mountain and Chasm Falls. There's much more to do: take in the awesome beauty at Many Parks Curve Overlook, trek along North Inlet Trail, stroll through Tundra Communities Trail, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Sheep Lakes.

To see ratings, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Rocky Mountain National Park trip planner.

You can drive from Arches National Park to Rocky Mountain National Park in 8 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or do a combination of car and bus; or do a combination of car, train, and bus. Traveling from Arches National Park in January, you will find days in Rocky Mountain National Park are somewhat warmer (10°C), and nights are about the same (-8°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Champaign.

Things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature
Find places to stay Jan 10 — 13:

Champaign

— 1 night
Champaign is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, United States. On the 14th (Fri), take in nature's colorful creations at Idea Garden.

To see other places to visit, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Champaign day trip planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Rocky Mountain National Park to Champaign. The time zone changes from Mountain Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a 1 hour difference. When traveling from Rocky Mountain National Park in January, plan for slightly colder days in Champaign, with highs around 1°C, while nights are about the same with lows around -9°C. You will have some time to spend on the 14th (Fri) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Champaign

Parks

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 13 — 14:
Highlights from your trip