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“Classic” USY on Wheels

Travel coast to coast with other Jewish teens on this six and half week adventure. Along the way, you’ll meet the famous mouse at Disneyland, watch the sunrise over the Grand Canyon, and discover a rainbow of natural phenomena, from the California Redwoods to Yellowstone National Park to the vivid pink and orange hues of the Painted Desert.

Highlights Include

Disneyland. The Grand Canyon. San Diego Zoo. Mt. Rushmore. Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. Jelly Belly Factory. Cadillac Ranch. Hershey’s Chocolate World.


What is USY on Wheels?

Since 1960, USY has taken hundreds of teens across North America aboard USY on Wheels. On this cross-continent tour, Jewish teens explore the United States and Canada, discovering new sights and making lasting friendships through their travels. An intense identity-building experience, USY on Wheels allows teens to travel and live with their peers, providing abundant opportunities for developing independence and personal growth.

The trip also builds Jewish identity, immersing teens in meaningful experiences and discussions that strengthen their understanding of and commitment to Judaism. Participants celebrate Shabbat, find new and fun ways to pray (through yoga, crafts, and more!) keep kosher, and build their own Jewish communities on the road, teaching them that they can find a sense of kehilla (community) no matter where life’s travels take them.

What are the age requirements for this program?

USY on Wheels programs are open to teens currently in grades 7-12. Current seventh and eighth grades students are ONLY eligible for Wheels East and West.

What is the typical group size?

“Classic”, East, and West groups typically range from 40-48 teens per bus with each bus grouped by participant age. There are typically 24-36 teens on Pacific Northwest trips.

How is the program staffed?

Wheels buses are supervised by five staff members who have made working with Jewish youth a priority in their lives. Each bus is in daily contact with the central USY office and program director, who is on call 24 hours a day.

How do teens travel on Wheels?

Teens travel on a fully equipped motor coach, driven by a professional who remains with each bus for the duration of the trip.

What food is provided?

Three full meals and numerous snacks are provided each day. All the food is kosher and supplied by kosher caterers throughout North America.

Where do teens stay while traveling?

Teens stay in major hotels fully equipped with swimming pools and recreational facilities. The number of teens per room varies from three to four depending on the facility.

Teens also have the opportunity to participate in a Home Hospitality program. For approximately ten nights over the course of the trip, teens stay at local USCJ congregants’ homes in a number of communities throughout North America. Teens also spend time with local USYers in each community, participating in activities and seeing what Jewish life is like from Buffalo to Baltimore, Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

Is there a community service component to your trips and what does it include?

Social action and community service projects are an important component of USY on Wheels. During the course of the summer, teens will participate in at least three hours of volunteer work. Past projects included:

  • Volunteering at The Ark, a soup kitchen and food distribution center in Chicago
  • Donating toiletries to the homeless through the Lava Mae organization in San Francisco
  • Singing songs at a the Jewish Home for the Elderly in New Orleans

What does the cost of this program include?

The cost includes travel, room and board, gratuities, and admission fees.

Are there scholarships available?

Scholarships are available through USY regions, local congregations and their affiliated groups. For further information contact your synagogue, regional USY directory, or visit our scholarship database and Ways to Save page.

Who do I contact with additional questions?

If you have any questions about this or other USY summer programs, email us at [email protected].

  • June 25 - Aug 8, 2018
  • $ 8,199
    • Registration is closed for 2018
    • 45 DAYS
    • Grades 9-11 (current grade as of 2017-2018 school year)


Sample Itinerary

**Based on 2016 itinerary. All schedules and activities are subject to change.

Day 1Somerset, NJGather together for orientation
Day 2Somerset, NJHit the road for the Nation’s Capital with a few pit stops, including Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
Day 3Washington, D.C.Get a taste of presidential history with visits to the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument
Day 4Washington, D.C.Wave to your local representative at Capitol Hill; Learn about the history of the Jewish people at the Holocaust Museum
Day 5Raleigh, NCRev up for the Nascar Hall of Fame
Day 6Charlotte, NCCelebrate Shabbat
Day 7Clemson, SC & Atlanta, GAExplore the South Carolina Botanical Gardens;
Tour the Ebenezer Baptist Church; See the light show at Stone Mountain
Day 8Atlanta, GATour the CNN Center; Try every flavor of soda at the World of Coca-Cola; Visit Centennial Olympic Park
Day 9Montgomery, ALExplore the Alabama State Archives; Celebrate dairy at the MOOseum
Day 10New Orleans, LAGive back by volunteering in New Orleans; Learn about NOLA culture at Mardi Gras World; Eat a beignet at Café Du Monde and spend a few hours exploring the French Quarter
Day 11Houston, TXTravel to infinity and beyond at the NASA Johnson Space Center
Day 12Dallas, TXGet your game on with a Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium Tour; Prepare for Shabbat
Day 13Dallas, TXCelebrate Shabbat
Day 14Amarillo, TXStop by a side-of-the-road attraction to spray-paint cars at Cadillac Ranch; Put on your cowboy hat for The Texas Show
Day 15Albuquerque, NMShop Old Town Albuquerque; Enjoy the Hinkle Family Fun Center
Day 16Arizona National ParksTake in the beauty of the Petrified and Painted Forest
Day 17Grand Canyon National Park, AZExperience an unforgettable Sunrise Shacharit at the Grand Canyon
Day 18Flagstaff & Sedona, AZCheck out the vastness of Slide Rock State Park Shop in Sedona
Day 19Phoenix, AZHave fun with the animals at Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch; Prepare for Shabbat
Day 20Phoenix, AZCelebrate Shabbat
Day 21Travel from Arizona to CaliforniaCelebrate the journey so far with dinner with USY on Wheels, Pacific Northwest
Day 22Los Angeles, CATour the Griffith Observatory; Star search on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; Enjoy dinner at Santa Monica Pier
Day 23Los Angeles, CASpend a full day at Disneyland, capped by dazzling evening fireworks
Day 24Los Angeles, CABecome a star at the Grammy Museum; Hike to the Hollywood Sign
Day 25Los Angeles, CAVisit the Walt Disney Family Museum to learn more about the man behind Mickey Mouse
Day 26San Francisco, CAExperience the fresh air of Golden Gate Park; Explore Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf; Eat your way through Ghirardelli Square; Prepare for Shabbat
Day 27San Francisco, CACelebrate Shabbat
Day 28San Francisco, CALearn how jelly beans are made at the Jelly Belly Factory; Give back by volunteering at the AIDS Walk San Francisco
Day 29Crater Lake National Park, ORVisit Crater Lake National Park; Walk through the beautiful International Rose Test Garden; Hit the green at Glowing Greens Mini Golf
Day 30Portland, ORBrowse the aisles at Powell’s Books; Taste the deliciousness of Voodoo Donuts
Day 31Boise, IDTake in Shoshone Falls; Visit the Idaho Potato Museum
Day 32Yellowstone National Park, WYStart with Shacharit at the canyon and witness the tremendous glory of the Old Faithful eruption
Day 33Travel from Yellowstone National Park to Sheridan, WYSpend the day traveling & prepare for a relaxing
Day 34Sheridan, WYCelebrate Shabbat
Day 35Black Hills, SDCome face to face with a few Presidents at Mount Rushmore; Drive through Bear Country USA; Return to your childhood with a visit to Storybrook Island
Day 36Rapid City, SDExperience the Fort Hayes Chuckwagon and Dinosaur Park; Visit the world-famous Wall Drug and one-of-a-kind Corn Palace
Day 37Sioux Falls, SD & Omaha, NEDaven Shacharit at Falls Park; Explore the Henry Doorly Zoo and Omaha’s Old Market
Day 38Des Moines, IOVisit the Iowa Science Center; Take in the wonder of the Des Moines Sculpture Garden
Day 39Madison, WI & Chicago, ILExperience the thrill of Mount Olympus Water Park, the world’s largest indoor and outdoor water and amusement park
Day 40Chicago, ILTour the Windy City with visits to Millennium Park and Navy Pier; Prepare for Shabbat
Day 41Chicago, ILCelebrate Shabbat
Day 42Cleveland, OHFeed your sweet tooth at Sweetie Candy Company; Get competitive with Whirlyball
Day 43Cleveland, OH & Harrisburg, PARock out at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; See the Free Stamp sculpture in Willard Park
Day 44Philadelphia, PATraverse the cobblestone streets at the Liberty Bell; Show your creative side at the Crayola Experience; Take part in the final banquet
Day 45Somerset, NJReturn home
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