Washington, Atlanta & The Carolinas
- All international flights
- Authentic local experiences
- 14 days' car hire
- 14 nights in 4-4.5* hotels & hand-picked accommodation
- Washington Explorer pass
- One-way fee, payable locally
What to expect
- See Washington DC’s monuments lit up at night on a DC After Dark tour
- Explore Shenandoah National Park’s scenic mountains and valleys
- Drive the forest-lined Blue Ridge Parkway, particularly impressive in the fall
- Laze on the relaxed beaches of Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach
A tailor-made holiday
Need to know
- Arrives: Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
- Time difference: GMT-4
- Visa requirements: British passport holders require an electronic travel authorisation (ESTA), available online
- Language: English
- Currency: US dollar (USD)
- Flying time from UK: around 8 hours direct
- Plug type: 2 flat pins
- Voltage: 120V
Fly from the UK to Washington DC and check into your hotel.
Take in the sights of the historic US Capital, Washington DC. It is here, inside the buildings and offices that the business of running America happens. With world famous monuments such as the White House and Capitol Hill, there’s plenty to see. But you haven’t truly experienced Washington DC until you’ve seen the city lit up at night on your after dark city tour, taking in the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
Continue to the Shenandoah Valley and the relaxed town of Winchester, a historic place with a pretty main square. Learn more about local art, history and culture at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, housed in an impressive 18th century building with six acre of gardens. The town makes a good base for discovering the beauty of Shenandoah National Park, which is visited by over a million people every year. Drive the beautiful Skyline Drive, particularly popular in autumn when the leaves are golden.
At the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is a picturesque town home to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Plantation and the University of Virginia, which together form a designated World Heritage Site. Both are well worth a visit, with the pretty architecture of the university campus some of the most beautiful in the country and the house and gardens of Monticello offering a fascinating insight into the life of a former president.
Cross into the state border to the pretty town of Boone, found in the North Carolina Mountains. Boone is the main access point for the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway drive. This scenic 469-mile route follows a chain of the Appalachian Mountains through Virginia and North Carolina, including part of Shenandoah National Park and the Cherokee Indian Reservation. Drive the route and take in beautiful views of the peaks and valleys, verdant forests and glittering lakes.
Admire the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Asheville, another stop along the relaxing Blue Ridge Parkway. Surrounded by rugged hills and pretty forest, which are especially beautiful when the red and yellow leaves of autumn are displayed, Asheville also offers attractions of its own. Don’t miss the town’s unique architecture, with beautifully preserved 1920s art deco buildings, and the neo-gothic style Jackson Building skyscraper.
Charlotte is a large, sprawling city, the largest in North Carolina. Here you’ll find a fine range of restaurants, shops and bars, and a number of towering modern skyscrapers. Look among the buildings to discover a number of excellent museums and historic sites, including the Levine Museum of the New South, which tells the history of the region, Discovery Place, which includes interactive science exhibits for children, and the Mint Museum, which displays plenty of arts, coins and costumes.
Relax on the sands of Myrtle Beach, a lovely spot to sit down and relax with a book or to dip your toes in the ocean. The sunsets here are particularly magical, especially as you’ll likely have the beach to yourself. Along the beach you’ll find a row of bars, restaurants, shops and clubs, as well as an interesting aquarium. Step back into nature at Myrtle Beach State Park, home to a nature centre and some pretty trails through the forest. Mini-golf fans can head down to Mount Atlanticus, a fun-filled 36-hole course with some imaginative sculptures.
Charleston epitomises a southern South Carolina town. Here horse-drawn carriages take punters on gentle rides around the antebellum mansions, the warm sun giving the whole place a hazy, romantic feel. Charleston is a great place to swot up on your Civil War knowledge, with Civil War tours and museums dotting the town, as well as the crumbling ruins of Fort Sumter, the location for the first shots of the American Civil War on 12th April 1861.
Hilton Head Island
Just across the South Carolina border with Georgia, Hilton Head Island is a lovely, beach fringed island popular with domestic vacationers. Take a look around and spot the enormous yachts bobbing up and down in the marina, the peaceful green parks and over nine miles of sandy, surfable beaches along the Atlantic coastline. With kayaking, cycling paths, golf-courses, cruises and tennis also on offer, there’s plenty to do – and remember to look out for dolphins offshore.
Not far from the Georgian coastline, Savannah is surrounded by trees and swamps. While the town’s history and antebellum architecture are a worthwhile diversion, the real joy lies in the many happening bars and mouth-watering eateries. Enjoy home-cooked southern fried chicken and gumbo in Mrs Wilkes Dining Room, where Barack Obama once ate.
Finish your Journey in sunny Atlanta, the hometown of Martin Luther King Jr. The city is filled with culture and adventure, with excellent concerts, operas and ballet performances to watch and a wide range of fine hikes to try in the mountains just outside the city limits. To learn more about the Civil Rights Movement be sure to visit the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site, set in his childhood home and now a commemorative museum of his life.
Depart Atlanta and return to the UK.
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