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 Movement with a visit to the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rosa Parks Library and Museum in Montgomery. Stroll around beautiful antebellum homes that the Deep South is renowned for. With time to indulge in the musical cities of Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans, your southern sojourn is complete.
• 13 nights’ accommodation
• Car hire (intermediate car, fully inclusive package)
• A personalised Roadbook containing essential travel information, hotel vouchers and customised day-by-day route maps.
Day 1 - Atlanta
Arrive into Atlanta International Airport and transfer independently to your hotel. This evening, why not visit Underground Atlanta? Located in the heart of downtown, this six block area was once the city centre. During the 1920s, construction of concrete "viaducts" elevated the street system one level thus giving birth to what is now Underground Atlanta. Today it is bustling with activity. Take a guided history tour or enjoy a variety of clubs and restaurants. Overnight in Atlanta.
Day 2 - Atlanta
Spend the day exploring Atlanta from its historic place in the Civil Rights Movement to the iconic attractions of today. Drive to the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Sweet Auburn district to see the restored King birth home, the Ebenezer Baptist Church where three generations of the King family preached, and Dr. King's burial site. A visit to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum, next to The Carter Centre, includes a replica of the Oval Office and Jimmy Carter's Nobel Peace Prize as well as travelling exhibits.
This afternoon, choose to take the Inside CNN Studio Tour and watch behind-the-scenes action of the newsroom, or head to the World of Coca-Cola where the famous soft drinks story is told through fascinating exhibits, a 4D theatre, classic ads and a fully-functioning station with more than 70 Coca-Cola products from around the world. In the evening visit the Virginia-Highland district, Atlanta’s most popular neighbourhood for shopping, dining and nightlife. Overnight in Atlanta.
Day 3 - Atlanta to Blue Ridge (150 km)
Travel northwest to the Gateway of the Blue Ridge Mountains, once an elite health resort because of its pure mineral waters. Today people visit for its upscale antique and specialty shops, galleries, restaurants and small town atmosphere. This afternoon ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. The railroad connects the towns of Blue Ridge and McCaysville and offers a journey along the beautiful Toccoa River. Cross the blue line in McCaysville and stand in two states at one time, Tennessee and Georgia. Overnight in Blue Ridge.
Day 4 - Blue Ridge to Nashville (345 km)
En route to Nashville, stop in Chattanooga. The Downtown Riverfront District runs along the Tennessee River and offers visitors a selection of museums and river cruises. Walk across the nation’s longest pedestrian bridge, the Walnut Street Bridge, and enjoy lunch at one of the Riverfront’s many restaurants. Upon arrival in Nashville visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Rhinestone costumes, seasoned instruments and tear-stained lyric sheets are only the beginning. Here one can also take a tour of Historic RCA Studio B where Elvis and other legends recorded over 35,000 songs. This evening, enjoy the area between Broadway and 2nd Avenue, filled with entertainment venues, night clubs and an assortment of restaurants. Overnight in Nashville.
Day 5 - Nashville
This morning, tour the Grand Ole Opry House. Guides provide a rare glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of the world's most famous country music show. In the afternoon, visit Ryman Auditorium, built in 1892 and designated a National Historic Landmark. Take a self guided museum tour or guided backstage tour, or record a CD in the new Ryman Recording Studio. In the evening you can return for a show or concert at this premier performance hall. Overnight in Nashville.
Day 6 - Nashville to Memphis (341km)
En route to Memphis, visit Belle Meade Plantation. Once a 5,400-acre world-renowned thoroughbred horse farm, today it is a 30-acre historical site. Period costumed guides escort visitors through the 1853 Greek Revival mansion. Also on site are historic outbuildings, including The Winery at Belle Meade Plantation. Arrive into Memphis where the roots of blues, country and gospel music formed in the 1930s. Begin your visit at The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and learn about the explosion of Sun Studio, and Memphis’ musical heyday in the 70s to its global musical influence. Stroll at your own pace through the seven galleries featuring audio visual programs, instruments, costumes and other musical treasures. Overnight in Memphis.
Day 7 - Memphis
No visit to Memphis is complete without a tour of Graceland. Walk in the footsteps of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and learn of Elvis’ humble beginnings through to his rise to superstardom. See how a rock ‘n’ roll legend lived and relaxed with family and friends. The Graceland experience includes Graceland mansion, Elvis' Automobile Museum and Elvis' custom jets. This afternoon and evening spend time on Beale Street, the melting pot of delta blues, jazz, rock-n-roll, R&B and gospel. Enjoy the rich, spicy food of the south, a cold brew and hot music. Overnight in Memphis.
Day 8 - Memphis to Natchez (480 km)
The original capital of the Mississippi Territory, Natchez, was at the heart of the slave trade and is the birthplace of the Mississippi Riverboat. Take a self-guided tour through the streets of Natchez’s historic district with over 50 antebellum homes and historic churches. Worthy of a visit is the ‘Under the Hill’ area made famous by Mark Twain. Overnight in Natchez.
Day 9 - Natchez
Enjoy a leisurely day to explore and tour different plantation houses along the Mississippi. Overnight in Natchez.
Day 10 - Natchez to New Orleans (333 km)
Steeped in a history of influences from Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and beyond, New Orleans is one of America's most culturally and historically rich destinations. This afternoon, tour various neighbourhoods including The Garden District where homes are still known by the names of the families that built them over a century ago, the Arts District which features the national World War II Museum, and the Contemporary Arts Centre. Of course, the French Quarter is the most famous New Orleans neighbourhood; filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars, it is a unique place to spend the evening. Overnight in New Orleans.
Day 11 - New Orleans
There are twenty historic districts on the National Register in New Orleans, more than any other city in the United States. Inside these districts, an array of architectural styles from different time periods and cultures are reflected in individual homes and buildings. Visit homes such as the 1850 House, the Beauregard-Keyes Home and Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, a grand Southern mansion. Overnight in New Orleans.
Day 12 - New Orleans to Mobile (233km)
Before departing New Orleans, make time to enjoy a traditional Louisiana Creole Brunch at Brennan’s. Located in the French Quarter, breakfast at Brennan’s is a tradition among New Orleans natives. Depart for Mobile and cross into the state of Alabama. Nestled along the beautiful Gulf of Mexico coastline, this historic city was founded in 1702 as the original capital of the Louisiana Territory and also lays claim to being the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the US. Sightsee around Mobile Bay, Point Clear and Fairhope – an art haven. Overnight in Mobile.
Day 13 - Mobile to Montgomery (271km)
Depart Mobile for Montgomery, the capital of Alabama and a centre of activity during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ‘60s. This afternoon, visit the Rosa Parks Library and Museum. Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old seamstress, sparked the modern civil rights movement by taking a stand and keeping her seat on a city bus. Watch a re-enactment of the events and listen to actual participants of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. Also visit the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and see the actual pulpit where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. first preached his message of hope and brotherhood. Overnight in Montgomery.
Day 14 - Montgomery to Atlanta (257km) – end of tour
This morning visit “Old Alabama Town”. This village features authentic 19th and early 20th century homes and buildings that have been saved from demolition, carefully restored and reopened to the public as a history museum. Here one will learn how early Americans of all backgrounds lived and worked in Central Alabama. Return to Atlanta where you tour will end.Want to alter anything?
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