Music and magic collide on this incredible 11-day tour of the American south, which stops at some of the world’s most legendary musical - and historical – landmarks. Our American Rhythms self drive will appeal to music lovers and history buffs alike.
Your journey starts and ends in captivating New Orleans. Explore the historic French Quarter, saunter down Bourbon Street and soak in the intoxicating atmosphere that the city is known for before heading to the ‘seafood capital of the world’. Nearby Biloxi is the perfect stop off for foodies, before you travel to the port city of Mobile on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
From there, drive to the historic town of Montgomery, the site of many significant events in Alabama’s history, where you can see a glimpse of the region’s Civil War past. In toe tapping Tennessee, you’ll get to soak up the sounds and atmosphere of two of the world’s most musical cities: Nashville and Memphis. Catch a live band, tour the Country Music Hall of Fame or pay homage to the king himself, Elvis Presley, at his iconic Graceland home.
In historic Vicksburg, you can discover the important role the town has played not only in Alabama’s history, but in the history of the entire United States, and see the war graves of thousands of Civil War soldiers at the National Military Park. You will also have the chance to see some of the country’s most impressive natural landscapes during your drive. Drive along legendary roads like the Natchez Highway, which is surrounded by the bubbling swamps and marshes of the bayou, and head deep into Cajun Country, to vibrant Lafayette.
The journey concludes where it began, in wonderful New Orleans, bringing your American Rhythms road trip to a fitting end in an exuberant city full of joy, life and music.
- Explore the famous French Quarter and Bourbon Street in New Orleans
- Immerse yourself in Cajun and Creole culture in Lafayette
- Watch live music in Memphis, home of the blues, and Nashville, country capital of the world
- Discover Alabama’s military past, at Vicksburg National Military Park
Start your Journey
New Orleans – Arrival
An enthralling fusion of music, culture and cuisine, what better place to kick off your American Rhythm adventure than in wonderful New Orleans? Once you’ve collected your car and checked in to the hotel, spend the rest of your time soaking up the atmosphere of this unique city. Be sure to sample the local cuisine at one of the city’s famed Cajun or Creole restaurants and swing by a bar to catch a live band playing distinctive New Orleans jazz.
With so much to see in New Orleans, take another day to explore the city in your own time. In the beautiful French Quarter, also known as Vieux Carre, the narrow streets are lined with stunning historic homes in a rainbow of colours, each exuding French colonial style and made even more beautiful by the colourful flowers which cascade over the ornate balconies. The French Quarter is also home to Jackson Square – a large park and National Historic Landmark which marks the spot where Louisiana was made United States territory centuries ago.
After enjoying all that the French Quarter has to offer, head to legendary Bourbon Street – home of New Orleans jazz – and watch some live music in one of the street’s many bars.
From here, you’re perfectly located to enjoy a leisurely riverboat cruise along the Mississippi River, or even a bayou swamp tour.
New Orleans – Biloxi – Mobile – Montgomery
Experience life on the Mississippi coast as you make your way from New Orleans to Montgomery. The first stop is the city of Biloxi on the Mississippi Sound, which has an impressive lighthouse and is home to the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum.
Next, drive to the gem of the Alabama coast, the beautiful town of Mobile. With an idyllic location on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, Mobile boasts fine examples of modern architecture, great museums and a thriving dining scene centred around seafood.
Once you’ve enjoyed all Mobile has to offer, it’s time to head to historic Montgomery. Montgomery has been a focal point for much of Alabama’s history, from the Civil War to the civil rights movement, and there is plenty to see in this historic town.
Montgomery – Birmingham – Nashville
From the state capital it’s on to Alabama’s second city, Birmingham.
While in Birmingham, take time to see the incredible Vulcan statue, the largest cast iron statue in the world. Depicting the Roman god, Vulcan, this impressive sculpture is 56 feet tall and was designed by Italian born sculptor, Giuseppe Moretti. The Vulcan was cast from local iron in the early 1900s and has stood over the city of Birmingham since it was finished in the 1930s.
From Birmingham, drive across the border into Tennessee and to the legendary city of Nashville. The birthplace of country and western music, and with a vibrant nightlife and social scene, Nashville exudes warmth, character and Southern charm.
Nashville is the country music capital of the world and the city revolves around music. Take a day to explore Nashville’s rich musical history and see world famous sights like the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry and Printer’s Alley.
Nashville – Memphis
From one legendary musical city to another, today we’ll head to the home of the blues and of Elvis Presley - Memphis, Tennessee.
The city of Memphis is steeped in musical history and its rich heritage can be felt throughout the city. Take a walk beneath the neon signs of famous Beale Street or visit the mecca for Elvis fans, his famous home, Graceland.
Memphis – Vicksburg
The National Military Park commemorates the campaign, siege and defence of Vicksburg, a historic city on the east bank of the Mississippi River. More than 17,000 Civil War Union soldiers are buried at the site and there are more than 1,300 monuments and plaques throughout the huge park. Vicksburg is a site of great historical importance and a must see while in the area.
Vicksburg – Natchez
Heading south from Vicksburg to Natchez we’ll take you on the Natchez Trail Parkway; an old Indian trail which became a post road and a pioneer highway. As the oldest settlement in Mississippi, Natchez is bursting with history. There are many plantations nearby where you can take a tour to glimpse into Mississippi’s tragic colonial past as you admire the antebellum mansions. Visit Longwood plantation to see the largest octagonal house in the United States.
Natchez – Lafayette
Having travelled south from Alabama across the border into Louisiana, it’s time to visit the heart and soul of Cajun country, Lafayette.
The Acadian, or Cajun, people first settled in Lafayette in 1765, making it one of the oldest towns in Louisiana. Today, Lafayette is a lively town with an intoxicating spirit which captures the vitality of the people who first settled here and is seen in the local music, dancing and spicy food.
A walking tour of the city is a great way to see the old buildings and explore downtown Lafayette. The Acadian Village is a short drive away on the bayou and is full of carefully restored Cajun buildings which you can enjoy as you wander around the village.
Lafayette – Cajun Country – New Orleans
Things are about to get spicy. Take the short drive from Lafayette to New Iberia and on to Avery Island - the birthplace of Tabasco sauce. Avery Island is also home to Jungle Garden, a 170 acre semitropical garden which stretches along the bayou Petite Anse and is bursting with brightly coloured tropical plants, birds and buddha statues.
Seafood lovers should take time out to stop at Morgan City, which is known as the ‘shrimp capital of the world’. In Houma, which is famous for its swamps and charter boat fishing, you can take a boat tour of the bayou to see alligators and other wildlife in the water and along the banks.
As you head back to New Orleans and begin to wrap up your southern adventure, make a final stop at Southdown Plantation. This 19th century sugar plantation manor house in Louisiana’s Terrebonne Parish is home to interesting history and architecture.
Back in New Orleans, your unforgettable American Rhythms journey comes to an end.
- International flights and airfare taxes
- Cost of accommodation (double room based on two people sharing) for a total of 10 nights (alternative but similar accommodation may be used at certain times of the year)
- Board basis: Room Only
- Car hire and insurance
- Visa arrangements and fees
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses, such as beverages, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees, spa and business facilities in the hotel
- Attractions and excursions
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