Day 1: Arrive in New Orleans
Arrive into New Orleans, collect your hire car and make your way into the city to your hotel. Enjoy your overnight stay in ‘The Crescent City’. New Orleans is known worldwide for its multicultural heritage, cuisine, architecture, music (particularly jazz), and its annual Mardi Gras.
Hotels: (Standard) Maison Dupuy or similar (2 nights)
(Budget) Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome or similar (2 nights)
Day 2: New Orleans
Today is yours to explore this historical city. Ride on the legendary St. Charles Street Car Line for an amazing view of the city’s architectural wonders; enjoy a riverboat excursion on the Mississippi, a swamp tour through the famous bayou, or a carriage ride tour of the French Quarter, the choice is yours. In the evening, listen out for some traditional New Orleans Jazz, shouldn’t be hard to find.
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 so come learn about what makes New Orleans famous… Mardi Gras!
Day 3: Lafayette (136 miles)
Depart New Orleans early and travel west to Lafayette, a city dubbed “the heartbeat of Acadiana”, here you can truly feel the pulse of Cajun Country. This cultural oasis on the bayou blends contemporary sophistication of a cosmopolitan city with a unique heritage and culture hard to find anywhere this side of Europe.
Hotels: (Standard) DoubleTree by Hilton Lafayette or similar (1 night)
(Budget) Mounton Plantation Lafayette or similar (1 night)
Day 4: St. Francisville (86 miles)
Consider participating in the Atchafalaya Swamp Experience before departing to St. Francisville, on any given day one can expect to encounter beaver, nutria, otters, mink, deer, squirrels, and other mammals, as well as up to 38 species of birds, including some which are endangered. And of course, alligators! St. Francisville is home to six historic plantation homes, all of which are open for tours, check out; Oakley House, Butler Greenwood Plantation, Cottage Plantation, Greenwood Plantation, Rosedown Plantation and the Myrtles Plantation where an overnight stay has been arranged for you.
Hotels: (Standard & Budget) Myrtles Plantation (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 5: Natchez (62 miles)
Continue exploring the traditions of the Old South as you drive toward Natchez, the oldest permanent settlement on the Mississippi River. This historic city is known for the preservation of many antebellum homes; when you arrive consider taking a tour of the Longwood Plantation, Monmouth Plantation, or Stanton Hall, all are great examples of the antebellum era.
Hotels: (Standard) Guest House Natchez or similar (1 night)
(Budget) Days Inn Natchez (1 night)
Day 6: Vicksburg (72 miles)
Leave Natchez behind and travel to Vicksburg. Vicksburg was once the centre for the aristocracy whose wealth was based around cotton and lumber. A glimpse of its former glory is evident with the preservation of many historic churches, government buildings and grand homes. For the history buff, there’s also Vicksburg National Military Park, the Vicksburg Battlefield Museum and Historic Downtown Vicksburg which offers a variety of restaurants speciality shops and art galleries.
Hotels: (Standard) Cedar Grove Mansion or similar (1 night)
(Budget) Hampton Inn & Suites Vicksburg or similar (1 night)
Day 7: Greenwood (100 miles)
Head North to Greenwood, where most of the buildings found in the downtown area are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For something fun this evening, visit the legendary Alluvian Hotel on Howard Street to take part in the famous Happy Hour at the Lobby Lounge followed by dinner at one of the city’s historic restaurants such as Giardina’s, Lusco’s, or Crystal Grill.
Hotels: (Standard & Budget) Alluvian Hotel or similar (1 night)
Day 8: Memphis (131 miles)
Onwards today to the home of the blues, Memphis. On route, we recommend you make a stop at Graceland to explore, Elvis Presley’s famous 14-acre estate. As you head in to town, it’s also worth visiting Sun Studios, known as the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll”, here you can listen to audio presentations of some of the earliest recordings made there and even visit the original studio itself, the exact same room where the likes of Johnny Cash and Elvis recorded their first tracks.
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 9: Nashville (211 miles)
Known as Music City, the next stop on this spectacular self drive is Nashville. With a stop at the Historic RCA Studio B, “The Home of 1,000 Hits” you will get 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 food and entertainment.
Hotels:(Standard) Hyatt Place Opryland or similar (1 night)
(Budget) Guesthouse Inn Music Valley or similar (1 night)
Day 10: Gatlinburg (217 miles)
Amid the splendour of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg embodies the simple goodness of small-town life, stand in awe of nature’s glory as you fill your spirits, seek inspiration, and continue on your journey. This mountain resort town is one of the premier tourist destinations in the USA; it is best known as the northern gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Hotels: (Standard) Wild Bear Inn or similar (2 nights)
(Budget) Westgate River Terrace Resort or similar (2 nights)
Day 11: Great Smoky Mountain National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker’s paradise with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short leg-stretchers to strenuous treks that may require backcountry camping. Spend a day here exploring this natural wonder.
Day 12: Atlanta (225 miles)
Leave Gatlinburg’s natural beauty behind and drive toward Atlanta, Georgia, “The Peach State.” While this city is the State’s capital, Atlanta still welcomes visitors with the same southern hospitality of a small town. It is a bustling big city with the past and present colliding. Visit Atlanta neighbourhoods like the quaint Midtown and luxurious Buckhead; both filled with interesting shops and restaurants.
Hotels: (Standard) Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott or similar (2 nights)
(Budget) Red Roof Plus Atlanta Airport or similar (2 nights)
Day 13: Atlanta
Today is yours to explore all this great southern city has to offer. Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Centre in the Sweet Auburn District, taste the past and present of Coca-Cola products at the NEW World of Coca-Cola, take a tour of the CNN Centre, or pay a visit to Stone Mountain Park, one of Georgia’s most popular attractions.
Day 14: Depart Atlanta
Enjoy this final day of taking in the charm and hospitality of the Deep South. Depart at leisure to Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport.
14 day Self Drive - from £1227
With flights from £1651
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 £1019
- Add a Mardi Gras World Tour – from £20
- Add the Atchafalaya Experience – from £49
- Add a Graceland Mansion Tour – from £89