The battlegrounds of the Civil War, the scenes of the Civil Rights movement epitomised by Martin Luther King, the luxuriant Smoky Mountains and the delicate, charming antebellum architecture of the oh so correct southern society are all yours to appreciate should you opt to tour this intoxicating region. And for the jazz and blues lovers amongst you, it's the opportunity to immerse yourself in musical history.
There's perhaps nowhere better to feel the rhythm of music than the state of Tennessee. In Memphis, absorb the sound as you explore neon-lit Beale Street, Elvis Presley's Graceland, Sun Studio, Stax Museum and Museum of Rock 'n' Soul. Memphis is also home to the National Civil Rights Museum, located in the Lorraine Motel where Dr Martin Luther King Jnr was assassinated in 1968. Nashville or 'Music City USA' is the undisputed capital of country and home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry; Chattanooga's railroad history inspired the popular song "Chattanooga Choo Choo' and today you can visit the restored train station; and Pigeon Forge is home to Dolly Parton's unique theme park Dollywood! Let's not forget the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a preserve of wildflowers, old-growth forest and rushing mountain streams.
In Louisiana, no city in the USA can compete with New Orleans when it comes to culture, food, historic architecture and joie de vivre. In the birthplace of jazz, music is everywhere, particularly around the historic French Quarter with its stunning architecture, intricate balconies and flower-filled courtyards. Also jostling for your attention are Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Plantation Country with their beautifully restored buildings and heritage sites
Alabama is awash with history, from the Civil War battlefields and beautiful antebellum mansions of a bygone era to the Civil Rights struggles of the 20th century. The two main cities of Birmingham and Montgomery became focal points in the Civil Rights era and you can find out more at the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery or the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
In Georgia walk down the cobblestone streets of Savannah, a city filled with southern charm and one of the largest historic districts in the USA. World- class restaurants, festive nightlife, professional sports teams and an abundance of attractions and events help make Atlanta the centre for entertainment in the South. History buffs will find more than 400 Civil War sites including battlefields, cemeteries, museums and mansions, while for nature lovers a hike along the Appalachian Trail is not to be missed.
With the mighty river forming its western border, Mississippi is rich in history and dotted with Civil War battlegrounds, particularly Vicksburg. Biloxi, on the Gulf Coast, is perfect for sun, sand and relaxation. Natchez, filled with its antebellum architecture, is a delight and a drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway, which stretches all the way to Nashville, is enchanting.
North Carolina is home to Charlotte, a sophisticated city dating back to Revolutionary War times; Asheville, a city with a thriving art scene and within easy reach of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Raleigh the state capital. There's also plenty to love about South Carolina, from Charleston's antebellum homes to the glorious white sand beaches of glitzy Myrtle Beach and the understated elegance of Hilton Head.
Kentucky, the 'Bluegrass State' is probably best known for Bourbon and horses, particularly the annual Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs near to Louisville. It's also the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali and where Colonel Sanders perfected his secret recipe for fried chicken!
GMT -6 hours.
Atlanta and Nashville are approximately 9 hours by non-stop flight from the UK. New Orleans about 10 hours non-stop while Memphis, Birmingham or Louisville are about 12 hours from the UK including one stop.
The Southern States generally have a subtropical climate, which brings very hot and humid summers and cool winters. Spring and autumn are seasons of pleasantly warm days and cool nights.
If you are eligible to enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme, you will need to obtain an electronic travel authorisation (ESTA) prior to travel. Please ask for detailsFind out more
Get the lowdown on musical greats such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Justin Timberlake, BB King and many more at these two fabulous venues. Both are filled with fascinating artefacts and tell the story of musical pioneers. Available from Memphis.
This memorable short evening ‘frightseeing’ tour explores the darker side of America’s most haunted city! Board the Trolley of the Doomed and hear stories of murder and mayhem, ghosts and ghouls from your gravedigger guide as you tour Savannah’s historic district. Stops are included at some of the most haunted sites - step inside if you dare! Available from Savannah.
Embark on a journey filled with humour, history and entertainment as this hop-on-hop-off tour lets you explore Savannah at your own pace. There are 15 stops and over 100 points of interest including Davenport House, River Street, City Market, Colonial Park Cemetery and the Cathedral of St John. Available from Savannah.
Highlights include a stop at a live music venue, a visit of the city’s illuminated skyline, and a visit to the 6th & Peabody Entertainment Complex. Available from Nashville.
Discover New Orleans’ fascinating history to the accompaniment of a live jazz band during a two hour cruise on the Steamboat Natchez along the Mississippi. There’s a choice of sailing times and also the option to include a lunch or dinner buffet (extra expense). Available from New Orleans.
After a short coach ride from the city, you’ll set off on a two hour boat ride through swamps and bayous in the company of a native guide. These wetlands are home to an abundance of wildlife including alligators, egrets, raccoons and birds. Available from New Orleans.
A night at the Grand Ole Opry is a Nashville must-do. The Opry’s performances feature eight or more artists per show, giving a sample of each artist’s musical style. Available from Nashville.
This half day culinary tour starts where it all began - the banks of the Mississippi River. As you visit various foodie hotspots you’ll get to sample a variety of food, including a beignet, gumbo and a sweet treat made from pecans. Available from New Orleans.
Delve into the future of Southern cuisine while exploring Atlanta’s deep past in the fun half day food tour. You’ll savour 12 modern and Southern fusion tastings from five locally-owned food stops, plus hear entertaining and informative stories along the way. Available from Atlanta.
Visit five famous attractions for one low price: the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and Zoo Atlanta, then there’s the choice of two from either the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, College Football Hall of Fame, or the National Centre for Civil and Human Rights. Tickets are valid for 9 consecutive days however, some attractions may not open daily. Available from Atlanta.
Visit the home of the ‘King’ for an audio tour of the Graceland Mansion. Also includes the Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex and you can climb aboard Elvis’ customised jets, one of which has gold-plated seat belts! Available from Memphis.
During this half day tour you’ll see major city landmarks including the Ryman Auditorium, Honky Tonk Row, the Country Music Hall of Fame and much more. Available from Nashville.