Private Trips




Family + Friends

Educational Travel for School

Explore regional, national, and international destinations with your students, custom-planned for your school. Let Explore Up Close help you find the perfect match for your grade level, course-specific, or cross-curricular travel experience. To find out more about our trips for K-12 student groups, click here.

Custom Travel for Universities

For university groups, take your students off the beaten tourist track! From North America to around the globe, we specialize in arranging authentic local dining, top-knotch student lodging, and getting around like the locals, including partnering with local experts for in-depth exploration of your fields of study. This is student travel made easy: Explore Up Close handles every aspect of organizing and leading the trip, while you engage with your students in meaningful ways outside of the classroom. To find out more about trips for college and university groups, click here.

Custom Travel for Organizations

Lifelong Learning organizations, alumni and special interest groups, churches, and more . . . Explore Up Close specializes in building custom itineraries designed to fit the unique needs and interests of your organization. Contact us directly to begin the conversation, and learn how we can design a one-of-a-kind travel experience for your members.

Custom Travel for Friend & Family Groups

We love planning and guiding special trips for private groups of friends and families. If you have 4 people or more, you’ve got your group! Here are sample itinerary ideas for the Southeast, other regions of the US and Canada, and abroad – and this is just a launching point. Contact us directly to begin the conversation, and let us craft the perfect trip for you.

NC’s Sandhills & Mystery Lakes
From the Winter Colony Gems of Pinehurst and Southern Pines to the Bladen Lakes, this itinerary features classic inns and backroads appeal.

Edenton & the Albemarle Sound
Is Edenton the most idyllic town in the Southeast? Ponder that question in North Carolina’s historic Northeast. where water is a part of daily life.

North Carolina’s Southern Banks
Discover Beaufort. Ocracoke, and the villages of the Pamlico Sound.

Bluff Mountain & the New River (NC)
Combine hiking. rare plants, and low-stress kayaking in beautiful Ashe County, NC.

North Carolina’s Fantastic Far West
Explore the Snowbird Mountains. the Cherohala Skyway, and some of the Southeast’s prettiest lakes, rivers, and forests – and a truly delightful inn.

Finding the High Life in North Carolina’s Northwest
Wines, historic valleys, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the fresco churches

Exploring South Carolina’s Historic Pee Dee Region
From the hub of one of our favorite inns, track down some of South Carolina’s best stories.

Aiken & Edgefield (SC)
Quite possibly South Carolina’s two most fascinating ‘important places’ – and the award-winning Willcox Hotel.

The Mansfield Inn & the Five Rivers (SC)
Accommodations along the Black River, Lowcountry fare, and Old Georgetown – one of South Carolina’s oldest settlements.

Virginia’s Historic Southside
Explore one of the sleepiest. prettiest parts of the Old Dominion – including a favorite country estate-hotel and Revolutionary heroes!

The Virginia Presidential Tour
Elegant presidential homes and rural charm: from the James River plantations to quaint Orange County.

Cycling & Hiking in Southwest Virginia
Enjoy the charms of the Virginia Creeper and the New River Trails, and the stories and sweeping landscapes that connect them.

Rambling in Middle Tennessee
South of Nashville and along the Natchez Trace discover some of the prettiest “hill countries” in the Southeast.

Tennessee’s Mysterious Cumberland Plateau
Bucolic plateaus, remarkable “utopian” communities from yesteryear, and the beautifully renovated Sewanee Inn – one of our favorite Southern escapes.

Chattanooga’s Remarkable Geography
Chattanooga is a surprise of a city – brimming with fresh energy and nestled into a truly incredible natural setting. The Great Outdoors awaits as we follow the rivers to their headwaters.

The Kentucky Bluegrass
Welcome to Shakertown – one of our favorite places in the Southeast: home to the rich history, and culinary experiences, and lodging.

Exploring Madison & Georgia’s Backroads
Discover lovely and historic Madison with poignant stories along the winding backroads.

Beyond Santa Fe
A classic Southwest itinerary: from the Turquoise Trail to the mountains of Bandelier and Los Alamos to trendy Taos.

Yellowstone in Winter
America’s most unique geography and wildlife spectacle, under an icing of snow.

Inn-Hopping in Maine
Maine is America’s Vacationland. It’s about fresh foods, outdoors, the water and the woods – and the lobstah., for heaven’s sake.

The Canyonlands & Western Colorado
A combination of America’s most stunning rock formations – Canyonlands and the Arches – and classic western discovery drives in the high mountain forests.

Exploring Southern Utah
A favorite driving and hiking circuit, taking in off-the-charts natural magnificence: Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (or Capitol Reef).

Exploring Oregon
Choose from the state’s stunning coast, Willamette valley wines and history, the high Cascades, and the arid East and Columbia Gorge.

The San Juan Islands
Island-hopping. by ferry: sea breezes, quaint towns, the majesty of the Pacific.

Finding the Real New Mexico
Start in Albuquerque and drive in a southern loop. Take in the haunts of Billy the Kid, the Sacramento Mountains, the White Sands, and ancient Native American pueblos.

Overland to the Ozarks
It’s a great American Road Trip: Through Tennessee and North Mississippi. across the Father of Waters, and into the green oasis of the Ozark Mountains. As Mark Twain put it. “The Mississippi Valley is as reposeful as a dreamland.”

Quebec’s Stunning Lower St. Lawrence

Ireland’s Wild West Country

The Scottish Highlands

The English Lake District

Cornwall: England’s Magical Southwest

Great Walks in Northern England

In the Land of the Celts: Enchanting Wales

Northern Spain & the Basque Country

France’s Wine Country: Bordeaux & Périgord

Chile’s Wine Country: Valparaiso to the Colchagua Valley

Rainforest Adventure in Costa Rica

Christmas Markets of Alsace & the Black Forest

What People Are Saying

“For over six years our travel club has enjoyed the adventure of traveling and exploring the backroads with Chumley. Traveling with him is special, and I’m always ready to pack my bag for a small group trip to see and hear about unique places.”

– Julie Yale, Sun City on the Go Travel Club

“We love partnering with Explore Up Close to program travel for our OLLI at Furman members. Chumley has an easy-going style, and has been very adaptable to the kinds of travel requests that stem from a 2,000-member community of learners. Explore Up Close has been a great fit for us.”

– Heidi Wright, OLLI at Furman University

“Chumley has created some great trips to lesser-known places over the last three years for our members. They’ve enjoyed his stories and the sense of discovery on his trips.”

– Nancy Hanley, Anderson University Lifelong Learning Institute

“The level of professionalism, our guides’ extensive knowledge of French history, their ability to tailor outings to our individual interests — I could go on and on. Explore Up Close provided us with a top-shelf trip of a lifetime. Thank you, Caroline and Chumley!”

– Client Name

“If you want to travel, but need an expert to plan the perfect trip for you, I highly recommend this father-daughter team! Not only did we enjoy some beautiful cities and landscapes, we learned so much history. They are memory makers!”

– Client Name