Ultimate USA Itinerary Planner & Travel Guide

Planning a trip to the United States of America and looking for USA itinerary Ideas? Whether you are planning a 2-week long US trip or a 3-week long trip, we have got you covered. Use our USA Itinerary planner to see the country from coast to coast. See epic attractions along the East Coast including Niagara Falls and New York City then head to the West Coast to enjoy beach life in California. Read now for great itinerary ideas to explore America. You might also like our post on Best Places to Visit in the USA.

Welcome to our ultimate USA trip planner! 

We created this USA Itinerary Planner to help you plan the ultimate American trip. It contains all essential information including which places to visit, how to travel around the USA, sample itineraries, where to stay, what to eat, budgets and costs, etc.

Here you will find recommendations for a variety of USA trips whether you plan to fly, take a bus, or road trip around the country. Whether you are a first-time visitor or planning a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th trip to the country we have ideas for most well-known destinations to the hidden gems in the country.

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“This is America … a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”
— George H.W. Bush

Here is our guide to planning the perfect USA Itinerary around your favorite attractions. 

Where to Visit in the USA

The USA is vast and diverse. You really need to know where you want to go to plan the perfect trip. Otherwise, a lot of your time will be spent traveling from one destination to another with very little time to actually explore the cities and natural areas. To read the most popular destinations to visit in the USA, read our post on USA Travel Bucket List.

Most people usually start planning a USA trip with their favorite cities on the East Coast or the West Coast. The USA is home to many vibrant cities including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle. You can read more about the best cities in the country in our post 22 Best City Breaks in the USA

The USA also has stunning natural beauty. We recommend visiting at least one of the country’s most popular national parks to experience wildlife, hiking, and outdoor activities in the country. Some of the USA National Parks that are frequently visited by international visitors include Grand Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

How to Travel around the USA

If you are planning a trip around the major cities in the country, then you can either fly or take a bus during your USA trip. Amtrak Trains are also a good option while visiting certain areas. However, if you are planning to visit national parks and outdoor areas, then consider a road trip across the USA. 

If flying domestically in the US, then consider budget airlines like Spirit or Frontier. The tickets are usually cheapest if you book in advance and fly on weekdays, especially Tuesdays or Wednesdays. 

The US also has great bus service in certain regions like the Northeast, Midwest, and California. Bus operators like Greyhound and Megabus operate buses between popular cities. The journeys are often overnight which means you can save on hotels if traveling via an overnight bus. 

Amtrak operates the trains in the USA. Traveling within the USA by train is neither cheap nor fast. However, it is definitely a scenic option especially along routes like the California Zephyr from San Francisco to Chicago. Amtrak has Rail Passes which you can use to get down and explore attractions for multiple days before reboarding the train.

However, one of our favorite ways to get around the country is via road trips. The USA is made for road tripping. Americans love taking road trips and you can rent cars, SUVs, and even RVs for your road trip. Read our post on Best Road Trips in the USA to learn about iconic road trips in the country.

1 Week in USA Itinerary Ideas

While a week is a very short time to explore the country, there are many small trips that you can take in a week. We have divided these trips mostly by region – you can definitely cover the highlights of a US region in 7 days. Here are a couple of different 1 week USA Itinerary Ideas – click the names of the destinations to read in-depth articles on the best things to do in the cities and national parks:

Itinerary 1: Las Vegas Los Angeles San Francisco

This itinerary may be just a week-long but it covers 4 major highlights of the country: Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. You can complete this as a road trip or as a flying itinerary.

Las Vegas – 2 Days

Las Vegas or Sin City is famous for its casinos and gambling. Besides gambling, Las Vegas also has many free attractions including the Bellagio Fountains, the Mirage Volcano, Eiffel Tower, etc. With two days in the city, you have enough time to explore Vegas nightlife and see a show or two. You can also explore outdoor Las Vegas: there are many natural areas close to Las Vegas including Valley of Fire State Park, Hoover Dam and Lake Mead Recreation Area, and Seven Magic Mountains. 

Grand Canyon – 1 Day

The Grand Canyon is one of the natural wonders of the world. This beautiful landscape is the result of years of erosion carried out by the Colorado River. You can easily see the Grand Canyon as a day trip from Las Vegas. While you won’t have time to visit the Grand Canyon National Park, you can see the Grand Canyon Skywalk at the West Rim. Book day tours to the Grand Canyon here. 

Los Angeles – 2 Days

Next head to Los Angeles in California. Los Angeles is home to Hollywood, America’s film industry and there are a lot of things to do in the city for movie buffs. See the stars on the sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd, take a photo with the Hollywood sign, take a behind the scenes tour at Warner Bros Inc, and take thrilling movie-inspired rides at Universal Studios. Los Angeles also has many museums and is a great place for foodies. 

San Francisco – 2 Days

After seeing Los Angeles, visit the northern California city of San Francisco. See America’s icon – the Golden Gate Bridge. Spend time at Fisherman’s Wharf, see the twisting Lombard Street, and visit the notorious island of Alcatraz. Take a day trip to Napa Valley to tour wineries and go wine tasting or visit Muir Woods National Monument to see the coastal redwoods. 

Itinerary 2: Chicago NYC Philadelphia

In this Midwest & East Coast itinerary, you will be visiting some of our favorite cities in the USA. You will be seeing beautiful architecture, visit impressive museums, spend time in grand urban parks, and eat delicious food. You will also be squeezing in a day trip to Niagara Falls, one of the best attractions in the USA. 

Chicago – 2 Days

Chicago is the jewel of the Midwest. Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is home to famous architects and impressive architecture. To see the most beautiful buildings in the city, take the Chicago River Architectural Cruise. Spend some time at Millenium Park and enjoy its attractions including the Cloud Gate sculpture and the Crown Fountain. Go shopping at Magnificent Mile and eat Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza.  

Niagara Falls – 1 Day

From Chicago, fly to Niagara Falls, located on the border of the US and Canada. Niagara Falls are actually a group of 3 falls – Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. The stunning falls are a year-round travel destination and they look beautiful even when frozen in winter. In summer, take the Maid of the Mist boat tour to see the falls from up close. The falls also look beautiful when they are illuminated at night. 

New York City – 2 Days

After seeing Niagara Falls, visit New York City – one of the best cities in the world. New York is the capital of fashion, finance, culture, art, and food. Spend a couple of days exploring the city. Visit the touristy Times Square and eat at the cafes in Greenwich Village. See the city from above at the Empire State Building and take a stroll in Central Park. See the city’s famous museums including the Met, American Museum of History, and MoMa. On your second day, see the Statue of Liberty at Ellis Island.

Philadelphia – 2 Days

Last, visit the historic city of Philadelphia. Begin your visit at the Independence National Historic Park. This is where the country came into being and where the most important monuments to liberty and democracy are located. See the iconic Liberty Bell and tour Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the must-visit attractions in the US. Other things to do in Philadelphia include the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the ‘Rocky’ movie steps, the Love sculpture, City Hall, and the Reading Terminal Market which is famous for its many eateries.

Itinerary 3: Southwest road trip

This road trip will take you through the best attractions of the American Southwest. Expect to see stunning natural landscapes of gorges, canyons, and deserts on this amazing trip. Camp to lower your budget and to stay closer to nature. At every turn, you will be treated to photogenic vistas and unique indigenous cultures. Read our post on Vegas Zion Bryce Grand Canyon road trip to plan a trip along these attractions.

Las Vegas – 2 Days

Las Vegas is the ultimate starting point for an American Southwest road trip. Fly into Sin City and explore the attractions of the Las Vegas strip. Enjoy the unique attractions of Vegas like the roller coaster at New York New York, musical fountains of Bellagio, the volcano at Mirage, nightlife, gambling, and more at night. By day, explore the desert of Nevada. Hike at Red Rock Canyon State Park and drive the scenic route around Lake Mead. Tour the Hoover Dam and check out the museums in Las Vegas. 

Zion National Park – 1 Day

Then drive to Zion National Park in southwest Utah. Zion is located just 2 hours away from Las Vegas and can be easily seen during one day. The best way to see Zion is to take the park shuttle, which goes along the Zion Scenic Drive. You will be able to see breathtaking views of Zion’s deep red canyon walls and the Virgin River that flows through the canyon. Zion has many hiking trails but to hike the most popular trails of Angel’s Landing and the Narrows you will need more than a day. 

Bryce Canyon National Park – 1 Day

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most underrated national parks in the country. Bryce is famous for its deep red – crimson hoodoo rock formations. These spire-shaped narrow rock formations are formed due to weathering action by wind, snow, and water. You can easily see the hoodoos in the area known as the Bryce Amphitheatre. Take a walk along the Rim Trail to see the hoodoos from above or descend down into the depression along the Navajo Loop Trail to see the most famous hoodoos.

Bryce Canyon National Park Thor’s Hammer (Photo Credit – Pixabay / skeeze)

Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend – 1 Day

After seeing Bryce Canyon National Park, head over to Page, Arizona to see the famous Antelope Canyons. The two slot canyons of Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons are famous the world over for their striking beauty and vivid colors. You can see them both on guided tours. The tour through Lower Antelope Canyon is more strenuous than the one through Upper and requires some climbing. Pick the Upper Canyon if you have small kids or are not physically fit. After seeing Antelope Canyon, see another Page attraction – Horseshoe Bend. From the observation area, you can see a panoramic view of the Horseshoe shaped bend in the Colorado River. 

Monument Valley – 1 Day

From Page, drive further east towards Monument Valley. This landscape of red sand desert and weathered rock formations located along the Arizona Utah border is one of the highlights of this road trip. Drive along the 17 mile Valley Drive to see the towering sandstone buttes and take iconic photographs. 

Grand Canyon National Park – 1 Day

Finally, make your way to the Grand Canyon National Park. Drive to the South Rim and Grand Canyon Village to see the best views of the Grand Canyon. If it is too crowded, take the park shuttle. Visit the Visitor Center for exhibits, souvenirs, and movies about the Grand Canyon. Take the scenic Desert View Drive to the Desert View Watchtower for iconic views. Hike into the Grand Canyon to enjoy its beauty from different vantage points. 

Itinerary 4 – Pacific Coast Highway, California

This stunning road trip will take you along the highlights of California. See the vibrant cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco and drive through the stunning natural area of Big Sur. This drive is said to be the best road trip in the world. Finish your trip with a visit to the famous Yosemite National Park. Check our post on Pacific Coast Road Trip Itinerary to plan this trip.

Los Angeles – 2 Day

Start your visit by flying into Los Angeles. Movie buffs can take a stroll along Hollywood Walk of Fame or take a movie studio tour or tour celebrity homes in Beverly Hills. Culture enthusiasts can visit LA’s top museums including the Broad, La Brea Tar Pits, LACMA, Petersen Automotive Museum, and the Getty Center. If you have kids, spend a day in Anaheim at the Disney parks. 

Big Sur – 2 Day

Take the Pacific Coast Highway up north to Big Sur. Along the way, you will pass California’s iconic coastal cities of Malibu and Santa Barbara and drive alongside small beachside communities of Pismo Beach and Morro Bay. In Big Sur, visit the highlights of McWay Falls, Bixby Creek Bridge, San Simeon Elephant Seal Rookery, Pfeiffer Beach, and Big Sur Village. Then drive north along Monterey and Half Moon Bay to San Francisco. 

San Francisco – 2 Day

Enjoy Northern California’s mild climates and foggy coastline in San Francisco, the city by the bay. See the iconic Golden Gate Bridge from Vista Point and ride a cable car to Chinatown. Eat some dim sums and egg tarts in Chinatown. Walk down twisting Lombard Street and buy chocolates in Ghirardelli Square. Admire the view from Twin Peaks and take a cruise to the former federal prison on Alcatraz Island. 

Yosemite – 1 Day

Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the country. Located in the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges, Yosemite has stunning mountain beauty. Visiting Yosemite is a must while visiting California. While one day is not enough to explore all of Yosemite’s attractions, you can see the highlights and tour the Yosemite Valley in that time frame. A ranger-led 2 hours tour of the Valley is your best option to see Yosemite in a day. On the tour, you can see Yosemite Falls and the granite rock formations of El Capitan and Half Dome. If you have time, hike in the Yosemite Valley and take photos of the national park. 

Itinerary 5: Best of Florida

If you want to spend your 1 week in the USA exploring Florida, then use this itinerary. Start your trip in Orlando and visit a theme park. Then visit Miami and relax at South Beach. See the architecture on Ocean Drive and visit Little Havana. Then make the trip down to Key West via Overseas Highway. Finally, visit Everglades National Park and take an airboat tour. See our post on Miami to Key West Drive: 25 Awesome Stops along the way to plan this trip.

Orlando – 2 Days

Orlando is one of the best places to start your USA trip. The city has over a dozen theme parks. Our favorite is ’The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ at Universal Studios. There are also 5 Disney Parks in Orlando including the popular Walt Disney World. There are also many other things to do in Orlando besides the theme parks. You can take a stroll through the beautiful Bok Tower Gardens and admire the wildlife at Central Florida Zoo. Explore the many different neighborhoods and sample a variety of cuisines. 

Miami – 2 Days

After exploring Orlando, head down to spend 2 days in Miami. Start your visit at the iconic attraction of Miami Beach. Get some Florida sun and swim in the water. Wander around the Arts Deco district and see the murals at Wynwood Mall. Shop and eat by the waterfront at Bayside Marketplace. For a unique attraction, stroll through the beautiful Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. End your visit in Little Havana where you can try Cuban cuisine and understand the Cuban culture. 

Key West – 2 Days

Then take Florida’s Overseas Highway to Key West. The drive is about 4 hours but there are many attractions along the way. Stop in communities like Islamorada and Key Largo. Eat fresh seafood and go snorkeling and scuba diving on the coral reefs. Then make way for Key West. Key West is the southernmost point in the Continental US. The city has a chilled Caribbean vibe. Tour Old Town Key West, visit Hemingway House Museum and take a picture at the southernmost point Buoy. Attend the sunset celebrations in Mallory Square and party on Duval Street. If you have more time, visit Dry Tortugas National Park

Everglades National Park – 1 Day

On your way back to Miami or Orlando, visit Everglades National Park. Homestead, which is located just an hour south of Miami, is the gateway to Everglades National Park. In Everglades, you will find a wetland of swamps, marshes, mangroves, and sawgrass prairies. The best way to experience Everglades National Park is on an airboat tour. During the tour, you can see manatees, alligators, deer, fox, bobcats, and birds like ospreys and cranes. 

Itinerary 6 – Chicago Mt. Rushmore Road Trip

While most of the trips above could be done without driving, a road trip is the only way to experience these Midwestern attractions. This trip is definitely one of the hidden gems in the US and not many visitors come here on a first visit. However, to experience the heart of the country – the Midwest bread bowl – go on this road trip in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We assure you, you will have the time of your life! 

Chicago – 2 Days

Start on this road trip in Chicago. Experience iconic attractions of the Windy City including the Bean at Millennium Park, the Museum Campus, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Navy Pier. See Chicago from top of the Willis Tower and experience Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture in Oak Park. Eat Chicago style hotdog and deep-dish pizza before hitting the open roads to South Dakota. 

Sioux Falls – 1 Day

First, stop at Sioux Falls. Visit the Falls Park where you can see the Big Sioux River cascade over limestone bluffs. The park also has a historic mill and an observation tower. See the murals in downtown Sioux Falls before visiting the Corn Palace in Mitchell. This stunning palace is made of corn murals and is created anew every year. Inside the corn palace, you can see photos of previous corn palaces and tributes to corn farmers. This unique roadside attraction is definitely worth a visit while in South Dakota. 

Badlands National Park – 2 Days

Next, visit the bizarre and dramatic landscape of Badlands National Park. Formed as a result of erosion, the national park is filled with unique rock formations consisting of buttes, spires, and canyons. To explore Badlands, drive along the scenic Badlands Loop Road and go hiking in the park. Badlands also has a lot of wildlife. On a visit to the park, you can view bison, coyotes, mountain goats, prairie dogs, deer, and more. You can also see fossils of animals that lived in the area long ago including mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and more. 

Custer State Park – 1 Day

Custer State Park is the largest state park in the country and one of our favorites. You can do hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing in the park. Custer has 4 mountain lakes which are perfect for lakeside strolls and activities on the water. Custer State Park is also famous for its scenic drives. The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway is located in the park and includes 3 smaller drives. On the Custer Wildlife Loop Road, you will find lots of bison, burros, and deer. Needles Highway has the stunning needle formations on both sides while Iron Mountain Road has three tunnels and an iconic view of Mt. Rushmore. 

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial – 1 Day

For the last part of your trip, visit Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. Here you can see the faces of 4 US presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln – carved in stone. The monument is lit at night and looks impressive. Hike the Presidential Trail to go closer to the sculptures and spot wildlife including mountain goat and deer. Visit the on-site museum to learn more about the sculptures and their sculptor Gutzon Borglum. 
Do not forget to see nearby Crazy Horse Memorial to know more about the Lakota warrior Crazy Horse while visiting the Black Hills. Read our post on Ultimate South Dakota road trip to plan this route.

We hope you liked our epic USA Itinerary Planner. Let us know if you have any questions.