Day 1: Arrive in Atlanta
Arrive in Atlanta for the start of your Old Southern Heritage self drive, collect your car and enjoy an overnight stay in Atlanta, Georgia before you hit the road tomorrow. While it is the State’s capital, Atlanta still welcomes visitors with the same southern hospitality of a small town. Quaint Midtown and luxurious Buckhead neighbourhoods are filled with interesting shops and lively restaurants.
Hotels: (Standard) Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott or similar (2 nights)
(Budget) Red Roof Plus Atlanta Airport or similar (2 nights)
Day 2: Asheville (196 miles)
As you drive toward North Carolina this morning, you will be surrounded by the natural beauty of the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville is an inviting destination complete with architectural gems from several eras and a lively cultural scene. Here you will find Biltmore Estate, the 250 room French Renaissance style chateau built by George Washington Vanderbilt. In the evening, why not enjoy a twilight railway excursion through the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Hotels: (Standard & Budget) Crowne Plaza Tennis & Golf or similar (2 nights)
Day 3: Cherokee (Tour)
Today you will visit the Cherokee Reservation to learn about this ancient culture that is the root of the Old South. There are many things to do in Cherokee; attend the breathtaking outdoor Mountainside Theatre, visit the Cherokee Museum and experience a working village with demonstrations, mask carvings and plenty more. Beyond the cultural attractions, there are many outdoor activities on offer and you will be blown away by the warmth of the Cherokee people.
Day 4: Myrtle Beach (284 miles)
Today you travel to the South Carolina Coast. Located halfway between Myrtle Beach and Georgetown and often described as ‘arrogantly shabby’, this relaxed beach community has only 200 year-round residents, but thousands of part-time residents and visitors make it their homes during the summer months. Eight elegantly rustic antebellum summer retreats border the Atlantic at the eastern end of Pawleys Island. Pawleys is known for its shoeless, carefree, laid-back lifestyle, here you’ll find a delightful stretch of wide beach.
Hotels: (Standard & Budget) Hampton Inn Myrtle Beach-Northwood or similar
Day 5: Charleston (98 miles)
Continue exploring the traditions of the Old South as you drive toward Charleston. See the Old South in the architecture and gardens of the many historic homes and buildings in the city, visit the shopping district of King Street in Downtown, or travel slightly outside the city where the Magnolia Plantation provides an opportunity to learn about life on a plantation and wander the beautiful gardens.
Hotels: (Standard) Marriott Charleston or similar (1 night)
(Budget) Days Inn Patriot’s Point or similar (1 night)
Day 6: Savannah (108 miles)
Drive south to Savannah this morning. Along the way look out for Beaufort, a little town that claims nearly a hundred antebellum and pre-Revolutionary houses, after a stop, continue on to Savannah for an overnight stay. Southern hospitality is alive and well in charming Savannah; the Historic District has twenty-two squares and cobblestone streets that will take you back in time. Later, for some delicious southern cooking, visit the restored Waterfront area which is lined with shops and restaurants.
Hotels: (Standard) Best Western Savannah Historic District or similar (1 night)
(Budget) Country Inn & Suites Midtown or similar (1 night)
OPTIONAL EXPERIENCE – Ghosts and Gravestones Tour
Climb aboard the ‘Trolley of the Doomed’ as we journey back in time and explore the mystery and intrigue that surround the many well-known sights and historical places in Savannah. We’ll take a fascinating look at some of the city’s most haunted sights, exposing the stories that centre upon our most famous and infamous residents. Our Gravedigger Guides will thrill and delight you with their spooky and humorous accounts of the supernatural – and perhaps you’ll experience an encounter with one of Savannah’s lost…
Day 7: Amelia Island (130 miles)
Leave Savannah behind and continue south into Amelia Island, Florida. Resting just off the coast of northeast Florida, Amelia Island welcomes you to experience its rich, colourful history and breath-taking natural beauty. With 13-miles of beautiful beaches, abundant native wildlife, and pristine waters, this barrier island has long been a beloved destination.
The island’s upscale resorts, world-class spas, championship golf, and exclusive dining blend effortlessly with a captivating collection of historic sites, and entertaining local festivals and events. Amelia Island is also home to Fernandina Beach, once a vibrant Victorian seaport village, and now a charming downtown district of eclectic shops, attractions and eateries.
Florida’s great outdoors is never greater than when enjoying kayaking and sunset sails, horseback riding on the beach, or hiking, biking and fishing on Amelia Island. For history buffs, the island’s intriguing past is ever-present, whether visiting Florida’s only spoken history museum, or roaming the walls of the 1,000-acre historic Fort Clinch.
Hotels: (Standard) Seaside Amelia Inn or similar (1 night)
(Budget) Red Roof Plus Neptune Beach or similar (1 night)
Day 8: Tallahassee (200 miles)
As the capital city of the State of Florida, Tallahassee offers visitors the chance to experience “The Other Florida.” Home to several universities, as well as a centre of aeronautics and engineering, Tallahassee is proud of its scientific contributions and shows off with a 5-story IMAX theatre and planetarium.
From fast food to five-star, Tallahassee serves up an excellent selection of tantalising restaurants to tickle the taste buds. Look out for specialities ranging from homemade country sausage and melt-in-your-mouth steaks to wild game and succulent seafood fresh from the Gulf.
Hotels: (Standard) Wyndham Garden Tallahassee Capitol or similar (1 night)
(Budget) Red Roof Inn Tallahassee or similar (1 night)
Day 9: Florida Panhandle (170 miles)
Continue on your journey to the famous sugar-white sands and emerald waters of Fort Walton Beach. Endless strings of recreational fishing fleets, water activities, and gorgeous beachside parks await you at this jewel on the Florida Emerald Coast. Undeniably fresh seafood is served in waterfront restaurants and seaside cafes. Spend a day lounging beside a sparkling pool, play a quiet round of golf and watch the sunset into gorgeous Gulf waters.
Hotels: (Standard) Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach or similar (1 night)
(SUP) Comfort Inn Pensacola or similar (1 night)
Day 10: New Orleans (241 miles)
Leave the beach behind and head for bustling New Orleans, a modern city with a historic soul. The oldest neighbourhood in the “Crescent City” is the French Quarter; established by the French in 1718, the architecture reflects Spanish, French, Creole and American influences, around every corner you will find eclectic shops and fine dining. Make sure to sample a beignet, the state doughnut of Louisiana.
At night a stroll down famous Bourbon Street will land you in the very heart of New Orleans where jazz lives. You will likely hear this music in the streets and pouring out of the many bars and clubs.
Hotels: (Standard) Maison Dupuy or similar (2 nights)
(Budget) Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome or similar (2 nights)
Day 11: New Orleans
Today, venture out of the city’s centre to the Garden District. This elegant neighbourhood is home to lovely southern homes and lined with parks and cafes. If you are feeling more adventurous, consider an escapade in the swamp. In these mysterious waterways that surround the city, you will get up close with alligators and other exotic creatures; you never know what you’ll see!
OPTIONAL EXPERIENCE – Mardi Gras World Tour
There are plenty of tours in New Orleans, but only one offers a real, behind-the-scenes look at New Orleans Mardi Gras, and that’s the Mardi Gras World tour. Mardi Gras World gives you an authentic Mardi Gras experience all year round, whether you visit while sightseeing in New Orleans, enjoying a New Orleans family vacation or taking a break from your business trip for a group visit. The hour-long tour is fun for all ages, go to learn about what makes New Orleans famous… Mardi Gras!
Day 12: Natchez (172 miles)
En route to Natchez today, look out for Baton Rouge. Situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, Baton Rouge is Louisiana’s capital, here you can Learn about the colourful history filled with controversial politics at the Capitol Building and the Old Governor’s Mansion, sample more of the fine Cajun-Creole cuisine at one of the local eateries. Later, continue on into the town of Natchez, the oldest permanent settlement on the Mississippi River.
Hotels: (Standard & Budget) Monmouth Historic Inn or similar (1 night)
OPTIONAL EXPERIENCE – The Atchafalaya Experience
Enjoy this expedition on North America’s longest river swamp on board a state-of-the-art aluminium vessel. Photographers, birders, and nature lovers will appreciate The Atchafalaya which ranks among the top 10 wilderness areas in the U.S. Guided by Louisiana ecosystems’ fauna and flora experts, this tour takes you on an encounter with 38 different species of birds and mammals such as beaver, nutria, otters, mink, squirrels, and deer; depending on the season, alligators are also seen.
Day 13: Vicksburg (72 miles)
For over five decades of the 1800s, Vicksburg was the centre for the aristocracy whose wealth was based on cotton and lumber. A glimpse of its former glory is evidenced by the preservation of many historic churches (two containing Tiffany stained glass windows), government buildings and grand homes, dating to the 19th Century. When you arrive in Vicksburg you can take a tour of the magnificent historic homes and gardens. Historic Downtown Vicksburg offers a variety of restaurants, shops and art galleries; you’ll also find The Corner Drug Store with an engaging collection of Civil War artefacts, the Biedenharn Coca-Cola® Museum where Coca-Cola® was first bottled in 1894 and the Antique Doll and Toy Museum.
Hotels: (Standard) Cedar Grove Mansion Inn or similar (1 night)
(Budget) Hampton Inn & Suites Vicksburg (1 night)
Day 14: Memphis (251 miles)
Onwards today to the home of blues music, Memphis. Here you will find Elvis Presley’s 14-acre estate, Graceland and the ‘Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, Sun Studios. You have the option to take a fascinating tour of the studio itself, the exact same room where the likes of Johnny Cash and Elvis recorded their first tracks. Later, stroll down historic Beale Street where blues has been playing for more than half a century. This historic entertainment capital has something for everyone, whether you want to listen to music or simply sample some great southern barbecue.
Hotels: (Standard) Crowne Plaza Memphis or similar (1 night)
(Budget) Comfort Inn Downtown Memphis or similar (1 night)
OPTIONAL EXPERIENCE – Graceland Mansion Tour
Over the 20 years Elvis lived here, Graceland created countless memories for the many friends and relatives who were a part of Elvis’ life. Because Graceland was so close to Elvis’ heart, it also holds deep meaning to his legions of fans from around the world. For many, the Elvis Presley mansion embodies the American Dream – a poor small-town boy who reached superstardom and changed pop culture and the world forever. Other than his daughter and his music, Graceland was probably Elvis’ greatest pride and joy. For fans of Elvis Presley, Graceland is the ultimate pilgrimage. Graceland tours offer a very personal look inside the home of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Day 15: Memphis to Nashville (213 miles)
The next stop is Nashville, better known as Music City, USA. Nashville is the heart and soul of country music. Here you can visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum; it presents a vast collection to illustrate the story of country music told through two centuries. Enjoy historic country video clips and recorded music, dynamic exhibits and state-of-the-art design. Also, visit Historic RCA Studio B, ‘The Home of 1,000 Hits’ for an up-close look at what was once the second home of music legends Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Dolly Parton and more. This evening consider a dinner cruise on a paddlewheel riverboat or a dinner theatre experience, both offering exceptional entertainment and cuisine.
Hotels: (Standard) Hyatt Place Opryland or similar (1 night)
(Budget) Guesthouse Inn Music Valleys or similar (1 night)
Day 16: Atlanta (250 miles)
Depart Nashville this morning and head back to Atlanta. Today is yours to explore all this great southern city has to offer. Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and Sweet Auburn District, here you will find The King Center and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church; exhibits tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement. The Roswell Historic district has several antebellum homes that can be toured. Just east of the city lies Stone Mountain, the world’s largest exposed granite monolith with a relief carving of Confederate heroes.
Hotels: Hotels: (Standard) Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott or similar (2 nights)
(Budget) Red Roof Plus Atlanta Airport or similar (2 nights)
Day 17: Depart Atlanta
Enjoy this final day of taking in the charm and hospitality of the Deep South before you depart at leisure for the Atlanta airport for your scheduled flight to the UK.
17 day Self Drive - from £1618
With flights from £2019
Our Budget option includes all the benefits of our standard but offers a lower category of accommodation for the more budget conscious.
- Budget accommodation – from £1,242
- Add a Ghosts and Gravestones Savannah Tour – from £28
- Add a Mardi Gras World Tour – from £20
- Add the Atchafalaya Experience – from £49
- Add a Graceland Mansion Tour – from £89