The 12 best American holidays

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The Independent Travel

Drive the 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles on the approximate trail of the legendary Route 66, with North American Highways. While much of the original road is no longer open, some of the old sections still exist. The trip crosses eight states and three time zones. The price of £978 includes 25 nights' accommodation, 11 breakfasts and a book on Route 66, but excludes car hire and flights. A shorter 19-night itinerary is available for £821.

1 Route 66

Drive the 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles on the approximate trail of the legendary Route 66, with North American Highways (tel: 01902 851138; www.northamericanhighways.co.uk). While much of the original road is no longer open, some of the old sections still exist. The trip crosses eight states and three time zones. The price of £978 includes 25 nights' accommodation, 11 breakfasts and a book on Route 66, but excludes car hire and flights. A shorter 19-night itinerary is available for £821.

2 Horseriding

Follow the hoofprints of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch and the Black Jack Ketchum Gang with Outlaw Trails (tel: 01892 515 6120; www.outlawtrails.com). The Alma ride through New Mexico is real wild-west riding and features visits to many of the famed outlaw hideouts plus real campfire cook-outs. The cost is about £950 but excludes flights and car hire (which costs about £229 from El Paso). Departures at various times throughout May, June and July.

3 Mountain biking

American Round Up (tel: 01404 881 777, net: www.american-roundup.co.uk) offers a seven-night mountain-biking trip to the Colorado Rockies entitled "Hut to Hut Biker". Accommodation is in log cabins, which are linked by 300 miles of trails, from abandoned railway tracks to mining roads and forest trails. The price of £1,499 is for single or double occupancy and includes return flights, all accommodation, most meals, transfers from Denver Airport to Vail, and bicycle hire.

4 River rafting

The Taku Tlingit River journey is a two-week rafting adventure through remote sections of the Alaskan wilderness, from Discovery Initiatives (tel: 01285 643333; www.discoveryinitiatives.com). The tour is a camping holiday and is conducted by the River League, a programme aimed at conserving natural environments. The price is £2,195, including return flights, transfers, all meals, equipment, the services of a guide, drinks and a contribution to the charity Earthwild International. Departures in June, July and August.

5 Native Americans

Explore Worldwide's (tel: 01252 760 1000) Indian Lands is a 16-day tour visiting the places inhabited by the Navajo people. The trip begins in Las Vegas and travels through Red Rock Country and the old mining town of Jerome and also includes a visit to the Navajo Reservation and the Mese Verde National Park. The price costs from £1,295, including return flights, all transportation, 10 nights' camping, four nights' hotel accommodation, most meals, and the services of a tour leader.

6 Learn to dance

Learn to salsa in Miami with Dance Holidays (tel: 01206 577000; www.danceholidays.com). Explore the salsa bars and dance clubs of Little Cuba and learn to master Miami's own famous salsa move, the Miami Wheel. A 10-day holiday starts from £1,050 and includes return flights, transfers, accommodation on a b&b basis and two hours of dance classes per day.

7 Cold-War Cooking

Learn to cook in a former nuclear bunker built to accommodate the entire US Congress during the Cold War. North America Travel Services (tel: 020-7938 3737) arranges tailor-made stays at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. Set in 6,500 acres in the Allegheny mountains, the resort houses a cookery school. Seven nights costs from £1,995, including return flights, transfers, seven nights' full-board accommodation, but excludes cookery lessons, which cost about £80 per day.

8 Historic tour

Revisit the sites of Gen William Sherman's historic march to the sea, in the state of Georgia, which lead to the defeat of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Holts Tours (tel: 01304 612248; www.battletours.co.uk) offers a 13-day tour, escorted by ex-military men, which departs on 17 May. The trip coincides with a re-enactment of the Battle of Resaca and a visit to the site where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. The price is £2,298, including return flights, hotel accommodation on a b&b basis, four dinners and all museum and re-enactment fees.

9 Holy Mountain

Visit Holy Mountain with the East Coast Sacred Circle Dance Camp (tel: 001 518 766 9226; www.sacredcircles.com). Held in the mountain-top retreat of the Sufi community in New York State, this week-long Celebration of the Dance explores the dance traditions of communities such as the Shakers, with demonstrations and classes. The camp takes place from 27 July to 3 August and costs about £250, including food and accommodation. Return international flights cost extra.

10 Wine tour

The lunar landscape of the Yakima Valley is just one of the areas included in Arblaster & Clarke's (tel: 01730 893344; www.arblasterandclarke.com) Pacific Northwest wine tour. This 10-day trip visits the vineyards of Washington and Oregon states, tipped to be the next big thing in wine. The tour also combines the breathtaking Cascade Mountains and the Columbia River Gorge. The price for the tour, which departs on 14 August, is £2,699 and includes return flights, 10 nights' accommodation, 10 meals with wines, transport, visits and tastings.

11 Teepee retreat

Spend a week in a tepee ­ albeit a very luxurious one ­ in the Rockies at Dunton Hot Springs (tel: 001 970 882 4800; www.duntonhotsprings.com). This mountain hideaway accommodates only 24 people. Soak in the nearby thermal springs, kayak or horse-ride. Prices start from £245 per night, and an additional £70 charge per day is also recommended to cover drinks. Return flights cost extra.

12 Motorbiking

Cruise the open road in West Virginia on a Harley Davidson with Hemmingways (tel: 01737 842735; www.hemmingways.co.uk). This five-day itinerary covers about 175 miles per day, travelling along the Highland Scenic Highway and exploring the Eastern Panhandle. Prices start from £1,500 in standard accommodation based on single occupancy. The price includes return flights, accommodation, the service of a guide and support vehicle. There is an additional charge of £115 for a passenger for the five-day tour.

Prices are per person based on two sharing, unless otherwise stated.

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