More than any anywhere else in the United States, The Deep South comes with a unique identity all of its own. Not just a geographical collection of states, it’s a way of life. As a descriptive term, the "Deep South" did not come into general parlance until long after the Civil War ended, but today it is an evocative term that collectively refers to the states of Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama where a shared and individual southern culture exists in its most profound form.
Out of a troubled and turbulent history comes a resolute and indomitable determination to survive and reinvent itself. Nowhere is this more observable than the cosmopolitan, ever-expanding Atlanta, which literally has risen out of the ashes left behind from General Sherman and now carries the mantel as unofficial capital of the new South. In contrast, the time-preserved city of New Orleans has maintained its classic colonial architecture and emanates southern charisma. Whichever part you visit, you’ll find that The Deep South embraces its history; it does not shy away from the plantation society of the Old South and it celebrates the rich African-American heritage essential in shaping the culture of the region.
If culture and the arts were the main staple of a thriving economy, you could be assured that The Deep South would be one of the wealthiest hot spots in the entire United States. It’s a region richly portrayed and characterised by its very own brand of literature, having unleashed a profusion of literary greats from Twain to Faulkner, Williams to Lee. When it comes to American music, you’ll find all roads lead to the South. The Mississippi Delta gave birth to the blues and to jazz - a legacy that is celebrated throughout the region, particularly in Memphis, Nashville and New Orleans. The beat and sounds of Cajun music capture the very essence of Louisiana from the heat and spice to the mystery of its bayous, and its infectious French rhythms can still be heard honky tonkin’ to the spirit of today’s country music. Shrines to Southern-born musicians can be found throughout the south and adoring pilgrims flock to a land that gave us the legends of Louis Armstrong, W.C. Handy, BB King and Elvis.
Whether you want to wander amongst the live oaks laden with Spanish moss, cruise through wildlife-stocked backwaters or explore the many historical sites, make sure you have your party shoes to hand. No matter when you come, the south finds excuses for festivals and celebrations at the drop of a hat - invariably accompanied by great food and music and, of course, lashings of obligatory Southern hospitality.
Things to do
Browse our amazing range of holidays in The Deep South
Popular The Deep South holiday ideas
The elegant Bienville House Hotel is a delightful boutique hotel, set in the heart of the stylish French Quarter in ...see more
Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel
A fun hotel converted from the historic Terminal Station, the Chattanooga Choo Choo offers excellent amenities and a good location from which to explore...see more
Gaylord Opryland Resort
A vast resort stretching over nine acres, The Gaylord Opryland offers much more than just rooms, with a wide range of dining, shopping and recreational...see more
The grand and ornate exterior of the Hotel Monteleone is just a whisper of things to come, with the elegant and intricate detail continuing throughout...see more
Located in the Midtown of Nashville, the Loews Vanderbilt hotel is in the middle of it all, from historical attractions to concerts to sightseeing. Just...see more
Millennium Maxwell House Hotel
The Millennium Maxwell House is a good hotel on the outskirts of the city, with excellent shuttle facilities to and from both the airport and downtown...see more
Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel
Located in a quiet warehouse district in downtown New Orleans, The Renaissance Arts Hotel offers a luxurious retreat from the busy city, while still within...see more
Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel
The stylish Renaissance Pere Marquette enjoys a great location on the edge of the French Quarter, within easy reach of many of the city’s top attractions....see more
River Inn of Harbor Town
Located just across the harbour from central downtown Memphis, the River Inn is a welcoming hotel with excellent amenities including a fantastic roof top...see more
The legendary Peabody Hotel enjoys excellent onsite facilities and a great location in the heart of downtown Memphis, within walking distance of many of...see more
A Southern Sojourn
The Southern States today are a blend of lively, colourful and fun cities that have evolved from a deep and troubled history. Explore the Civil Rights...see more
Blues & Booze: Chicago to New Orleans
Commencing in the ‘Windy City’ of Chicago, America's third-largest city, head south and experience the tastes and sounds of this exciting part of the USA....see more
Deep South & Delta Blues
Travelling with Grand American Adventures who specialise in Small Group Adventures, this tour visits the slower paced Southern States; a part of the US...see more
American Queen- Memphis to New Orleans
Combining the old with the new, this American Victorian paddlewheel steamboat is the largest ever built. Completely refurbished with today’s modern amenities,...see more
Top tips for visiting The Deep South
1. Antebellum architecture
• If a journey to the South is synonymous with a visit to one of the historic antebellum homes, consider a visit during the Natchez Pilgrimage which takes place twice a year, in the spring and in the fall – three weeks in October and four weeks during the months of April and May. Whilst many of the homes are open year round in Natchez, Mississippi, many more only open their doors during the time of the Pilgrimage.
2. Cajun bayou tours
• The bayous and swamps of Louisiana are still predominantly owned, fished and worked on by the Cajuns, whose families settled in Louisiana some 300 years ago. A swamp tour with a native Louisiana Cajun will give you an idea of local wildlife and how these hearty people lived and made a living from these beautiful swamps.
• Tours are available in Lafayette, Lake Charles or New Orleans.
• Insect repellent, hats and sun block are essential travelling companions.
3. Vermilionville museum
• Lafayette lies in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country, where descendents of the French Canadian immigrants still preserve their language and culture. Vermilionville is a living history museum and folk life park that promotes and propagates the cultural resources of not only the Acadian culture but the Native American and Creole cultures from 1765 to 1890. The park sits on a 23-acre site on the banks of the Bayou Vermilion with 19 attractions, including seven restored original homes with more than 13 local artisans that provide demonstrations on a variety of essential crafts performed by the early settlers.
• The Deep South’s climate is generally warm and moist, particularly once you hit the subtropics of Mississippi and Louisiana, but there are distinctive seasons.
• A visit during the long, gentle springtime (mid March-June) will treat you to spectacular bouquets of dogwood, azaleas and magnolia blossoms.
• The summers are hot and sticky - generally 27-32°C, although it can reach 40°C - and rainfall and humidity tend to increase towards the end of summer.
• Autumns are pleasant with changing colours in the Appalachians and the beaches along the Gulf Coast still warm enough to swim up until November.
• Southern winters tend to be short with a mix of warm and cold days but it is not completely unheard of to encounter truly wintery conditions including heavy snowfalls.
5. Johnny Cash museum
• The Johnny Cash Museum in downtown Nashville is a celebration of The Man in Black; a really intimate and authentic museum with personal belongings including handwritten letters, costumes, instruments and fantastic video footage through the decades.
6. Elvis' birth town
• Tupelo, Mississippi is the city where Elvis Presley was born and lived until he was 13 when he moved to Memphis with his parents. The Tupelo Convention and Visitor’s Centre is the best place to start your tour. From here fans can visit his small “shotgun” childhood home, which has now been restored to look like it did when the Presley’s lived there. A self-guided tour takes you around many of the most significant locations in Elvis’ life including the hardware store where he bought his first guitar.
• At less than 2 hours southeast of Memphis, a visit to Tupelo sets an emotional scene for a visit to Graceland and you’ll get to see first-hand how the city shaped this young boy from Mississippi into the international rock & roll music legend he is today.
7. Civil War history
• The Civil War - with a few exceptions, most notably Gettysburg - was fought on Southern soil. Winston Churchill referred to the War as the first of the modern wars and, as the deadliest war in U.S. history resulting in more than 620,000 deaths, it is a certainly an emotive period of history which resonates worldwide.
• The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Centre, located at 340 Concord Street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, offers interpretive and visual exhibits on the events leading up to the start of the Civil War. It is also the embarkation point for ferries over to Fort Sumter itself, a sea fort involved in two historic battles.
• Dozens of Civil War battlefields in the South are managed and protected by the National Park Service, serving as important historic resources as well as places for solemn reflections. The most comprehensive parks to see are Vicksburg in Mississippi, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in Tennessee (part of park lies in Georgia). You should allow at least a half-day for Vicksburg.
8. Trail apps
• Whether you’re planning a trip, travelling the Mississippi Blues Trail or you just want to learn more about the Blues, dive deep into Blues history with the new iPhone app. The Mississippi Blues Trail iPhone app includes a complete and vetted history of the Mississippi Blues along with an interactive timeline, a location aware map of all Blues Trail sites, an itinerary builder which plots routes to chosen markers, plus official videos, photos and links to other Blues sources.
• Mississippi is also home to the new Country Music Trail and the Freedom Trail which compiles historic sites from the Civil Rights movement. Apps will soon be available. Keep checking www.visitmississippi.org.
9. Movie history
• Movie fans will remember the 1991 Oscar nominated 'Fried Green Tomatoes' starring Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy. Well, the Whistle Stop Café really does exist. So if you fancy a taste of the southern delicacy and bit of movie memorabilia, just head an hour and a quarter southwest from Atlanta to the town of Juliette in Georgia on the way to Macon.
10. The Sundial, Atlanta
The Sundial revolving restaurant and bar at the top of the Westin Hotel in downtown Atlanta will give you amazing views of the skyline, especially at night. http://www.sundialrestaurant.com/