The southern states of the USA are famed for their warm hospitality, legendary music and beautiful national parks. This 14-day tour gives you plenty of time to experience their unique cultures, as you set out from vibrant New Orleans, exploring historic towns such as Natchez and Vicksburg, major cities including Nashville, Memphis and Atlanta, and the lush Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Arrive In New Orleans, LA
Your holiday begins as you arrive at New Orleans International Airport and proceed to your hotel. Once you’ve checked in, you can being exploring “The Crescent City”, known for its multicultural and multilingual heritage, cuisine, architecture, music and festivals, including the annual Mardi Gras. You may like to browse the French Market, and be sure to sample a beignet, the state doughnut of Louisiana. You could also head to Jackson Square, where you’ll find musicians, artists, mimes and tarot-card readers, or explore the jazz clubs and bars of Bourbon Street.
New Orleans, LA
You have a full day to continue exploring today. You may like to take a ride on the legendary St Charles Street Car Line to take in the city’s architecture, and perhaps enjoy a riverboat excursion on the Mississippi, a swamp tour through the bayou, or a carriage ride through the French Quarter. Other must-sees include the Presbytere Museum, to learn more about Mardi Gras, and the Preservation Hall, to experience traditional New Orleans jazz.
New Orleans – Lafayette, LA
You’ll leave New Orleans early this morning and head west to Lafayette, a cosmopolitan city with a unique heritage and culture. You can learn more about the history and culture of the Acadian and Creole people at the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve, Acadian Cultural Center and the Vermillion Heritage and Folklife Park. This evening, head to one of the city’s dancehall restaurants to enjoy delicious Cajun and Creole foods, along with Cajun and Zydeco music and dancing.
Lafayette – St. Francisville, LA
This morning you may like to explore the Atchafalaya, North America’s largest river swamp, where you can expect to encounter beaver, nutria, otters, mink, deer, squirrels, alligators and up to 38 species of birds, some of them endangered. Your next destination is St Francisville, where you’ll take a walking tour of the Historic District, including the West Feliciana Historic District Museum and some plantation homes.
St Francisville – Natchez, MS
This morning you’ll drive to the city of Natchez, the oldest permanent settlement on the Mississippi River, known for its well-preserved antebellum homes. Here you may like to take a walking tour of the downtown area, and perhaps visit Longwood Plantation, Monmouth Plantation or Stanton Hall, a palatial residence built in 1857. As the sun sets, you may like to try your luck at the riverboat casino.
Natchez – Vicksburg, MS
Today’s destination is Vicksburg, where you’ll have the chance to visit the 19th-century churches, government buildings and grand homes, built by wealthy local families who made their fortunes in cotton and lumber. You can visit the Old Court House Museum and the Vicksburg National Military Park, as well as the Vicksburg Battlefield Museum, while in downtown Vicksburg you’ll find restaurants, shops and art galleries, as well as the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum, where Coca-Cola was first bottled in 1894.
Vicksburg – Greenwood, MS
This morning you’ll head north to Greenwood, where you can tour the historic buildings of the downtown area and visit the Greenwood Blues Heritage Museum. This evening, enjoy happy hour at the legendary Alluvian Hotel, with dinner at one of the city’s historic restaurants.
Greenwood – Memphis, TN
This morning you’ll drive to Memphis, home of the blues, with your first stop at Graceland, Elvis Presley’s 14-acre estate, where you can see Elvis’ two custom airplanes, as well as his famous pink Cadillac. You can also visit “The Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Sun Studios, where your tour includes the room where Johnny Cash and Elvis recorded their first tracks.
Memphis – Nashville, TN
Today’s destination is Nashville, better known as Music City, USA, the home of country music. Here you can visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as RCA Studio B, “The Home of 1,000 Hits”, where over 35,000 songs were recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton. You may also like to visit Nashville’s Parthenon, the world’s only full-scale reproduction of the famous Greek temple, while this evening you could enjoy a dinner cruise on a paddlewheel riverboat or a dinner theatre experience.
Nashville – Gatlinburg, TN
Known as the north gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the small resort town of Gatlinburg offers spectacular scenery, great shopping and fine dining. Today you may like to ride the sky lift to the top of Crockett Mountain to take in the unforgettable views.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park, TN
You have a full day today to explore some of Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s 800 miles of maintained trails, and perhaps enjoy fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring. Along the way, you can expect to see bears, deer, and elk, as well as a huge range of smaller creatures and incredibly diverse plant life – the Smokies have the most biological diversity of any area in the world’s temperate zone.
Gatlinburg – Atlanta, GA
This morning you’ll drive toward Atlanta, Georgia, a large city which offers the same warm southern hospitality you’d expect in a small town. Here you can visit neighborhoods such as the quaint Midtown and luxurious Buckhead, both known for their interesting shops and restaurants.
Today you may like to visit the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site and Sweet Auburn District to learn more about the history of the civil rights movement, as well as touring the antebellum homes of the Roswell district, and perhaps taking a trip to the World of Coca-Cola.
Atlanta – Atlanta International Airport, GA
The final day of your tour gives you one last chance to explore Atlanta before you head to the airport for your flight home.