Trip idea / USA

Drive The

Deep South

From foodie discoveries, historical architecture and soul-stirring music, you’ll find all this and more on a road trip through America’s Deep South

The lowdown

  • When To Go

    The Deep South gets uncomfortably humid over summer months, so we suggest February to May for cooler temperatures

  • How to Get There

    Fly direct from London Heathrow to New Orleans.

  • Good to Know

    For a spectacular party atmosphere, visit in March for the Mardi Gras carnival in New Orleans

This 12-day self-drive trip lets you experience the freedom of the open road whilst making stops in the key cities of America’s Deep South through the southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Expect bucket-loads of charm, a delicious and diverse cuisine and music history aplenty.

 

Highlights

  • Enjoy an organised road trip to your specification with you in charge making the stops where you want to
  • Discover vibrant New Orleans and its jazz bars, street cars and Creole cuisine
  • Stay riverside on the Mississippi in Natchez, admiring the charming colonial mansions
  • Explore the home of American soul music in Memphis; plus visit the Civil Rights Museum
  • Find out all about country music in Nashville with visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame, plus enjoy live renditions in honky tonk bars

 

    Day 1-3 New Orleans

    Known as the Big Easy, New Orleans is world-renowned for its music, Creole cuisine, distinctive dialect and its annual festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. You’ll explore the historic heart of the city – the French Quarter, known for its French and Spanish Creole architecture and vibrant nightlife. Live music is abundant on Bourbon Street– from jazz street performers to bars showcasing blues, reggae and rock.

    For the next two days you will continue your exploration of New Orleans, perhaps riding a streetcar along St Charles’ Avenue, taking a swamp boat tour or a paddle-wheeler steamer down the Mississippi or visiting the eerie Voodoo Museum that taps into the city’s historic connection to voodoo. Don’t forget to make time for meals too – its Creole Cajun cuisine is not to be missed with specialities such as gumbo and jambalaya and be sure to taste the coffee and beignets from Café du Monde, a New Orleans institution which is open 24 hours a day.

     

    Day 4-5 Natchez

    In just three hours, you’ll drive from New Orleans in Louisiana to Natchez in Mississippi, although of course the journey might take longer if you choose to stop for some southern nourishment such as hush puppies, buttermilk biscuits or shrimp and grits in a roadside restaurant.

    Located along the Mississippi, Natchez is an elegant town where you can explore its storied past via its collection of graceful homes including Linden, Longwood, Melrose, Mammoth and Stanton, some which date to the late 1700s. Established by French colonialist in 1716, the town is dotted with historic buildings. The river is also a draw for activities, you can hire canoes or kayaks and paddle the mighty Mississippi, spotting aquatic birdlife as you drift along. In the evenings, spend time in its variety of restaurants or head to the Natchez Brewing Company for a tour and tastings of its home brewed ales, lagers and pilsners.

    Day 6-9 Memphis

    Today you’ll head to Memphis, home of the blues and the birthplace of rock and roll, a journey that may take up to five hours. We recommend a stop in Vicksburg, especially if you’re interested in the Civil War as a key battle took place here.

    For the next few days, you’ll explore Memphis, learning all about the musical history that gives this river-town such heart and soul. Visit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, where a tiny record store became famous for housing and recording some of the greatest musicians of all time, from Otis Redding to Isaac Hayes and fans of Elvis must head to his impressive Graceland mansion. Another interesting sight in Memphis is the Civil Rights Museum, housed at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. Not to be missed is Memphis’ distinct cuisine – enjoy smokey barbecue food from shrimps to pulled pork to lobster.

     

    Day 10-12 Nashville

    For the final stop on your Deep South explorer, you will drive to Nashville, which takes around three hours. Famed the world over for its connection to country music, Nashville is the place to come to find out all about artists such as Johnny Cash, Elvis and Dolly Parton. The best place to do this is at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash Museum, Ryman Auditorium and the famous Grand Ole Opry.

    Within Nashville’s rich musical heritage, you’ll discover an architecturally attractive city, with old Classical and Neoclassical buildings plus a burgeoning scene which includes artisan coffee shops and micro-breweries, but we’d also recommend spending an evening in a classic honky tonk bars to soak up the unique atmosphere and southern hospitality of this elegant city. Sadly, your road trip of America’s Deep South now comes to a close; for your final drive you will head to Nashville International Airport for your flight home.

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