AGREE!!!! Following packaged tour can kills joy, but I think there are those city tours that you may want to consider taking up. Like 1 day city tour kind of thing.
I also know some established tour agencies actually have more flexi package, like half free & easy, half tour kind of package. I am for one, those that can't wake up at 5am and asseble at lobby at 7am.
My first trip to USA, was a killer! What fame of walk in beverly hills, Grand Canyon etc, I literally slept through the journey! It was so terrible that I lost 5 kg when I returned from the trip. It took me 3 months to recall where I actually visited.. *faintz* for the first 3 mths after returned, I only remembered I was dog tired! It's strange they made you travel in a coach for 7 hours, then woke you up to just stop by at Grand Canyon and fame of walk (or any other places) for 10-15mins. I was so in trance (heee.. I got stone time after waking up from sleep), I chose to sleep in the coach!!!!!!!
My 2nd trip to USA was a great one! I enjoyed the half-day city tour around San Fransisco, relaxing, non-rushing, and goody goody!