If any area of the country deserves a sightseeing trip, it’s the Deep South. Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi are the five official states that make up the Deep South. Each state is rich in history and bursting with interesting flavors. Think country music, the blues and the king of rock ‘n’ roll; Cajun spices and BBQ; Mardi Gras and bourbon, and you’ll begin to get a feel for where this trip will take you. Some might say it’s the real America. Plan the perfect trip across the region—one that will give you a proper taste of all the ingredients that make up this eclectic special place.
Where to Begin
If you’re planning to fly South and then hire a car, your best bet is to start in Louisiana or Georgia. If you start in Louisiana, you’ll end your trip in Georgia, or vice versa. We recommend looking closely at your travel dates and factoring in any major events that you don’t want to miss, like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, for example, or the CMA Fest in Nashville. You should also factor in some downtime to rest and recuperate from long drives, perhaps indulging in a little play at Canadian online casinos. Once you’ve locked down those dates in your itinerary, you’ll have a better idea of where to begin and end your trip.
New Orleans to Nashville
Let’s say you’ve decided to start in Louisiana. No worthwhile Deep South road trip would be complete without a visit to New Orleans. We recommend flying into New Orleans and earmarking a few days to explore this vibrant and eclectic city. Soak up the atmosphere of the French Quarter, indulge in authentic Creole cuisine, and if you’ve got time, take a swamp tour or river cruise.
From Louisiana, head North into Mississippi and keep on driving until you hit the capital: Jackson. In Jackson, you’ll find the Civil Rights Museum, as well as many historic Civil War sites. After a day of cultural sightseeing, head to one of the many excellent live music venues where you’ll find some of the best blues musicians in the world.
From Jackson, keeping heading North until you get to Memphis, Tennessee. The distance between Jackson and Memphis is approximately 210 miles, so you might want to stop along the way. We recommend a pit stop in Oxford, Mississippi (home of William Faulkner and Ole Miss). Once you get to Memphis, get ready to rediscover rock ‘n’ roll. Visit Sun Studio, check out the ducks at the Peabody Hotel and take some time to wander around the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Eat as much BBQ as you can during your stay and, of course, pay your respects to The King at Graceland.
Say farewell to Memphis, heading east to Nashville (approximately 200 miles). Nashville is the home of country music. Some of the greatest names started their careers playing at open mic nights in this spirited city, so be sure to check out an open mic night during your visit. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must, as is a trip to the Jack Daniels Distillery. And make sure you pay a visit to Hattie B’s Chicken to sample the iconic spicey flavor of Nashville hot chicken. Nashville is a great city to explore on foot, so park the car and go out and discover some of the Tennessee capital’s incredible murals and scenic spots.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Atlanta
If you can tear yourself away from Nashville, we recommend taking some time away from the hustle and bustle of the Deep South’s larger cities. The Great Smoky Mountains is a majestic range that sits on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. You can book a cabin in the heart of the national park and spend a couple of days surrounded by nature. Depending on the length of your trip, you have two good options. One is to venture through the Carolinas, stopping at Charlotte in North Carolina and then Charleston in South Carolina; ending your trip in Savannah, Georgia. Or you can head straight to Atlanta. Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, and we highly recommend ending your road trip with a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park.
No matter which route you decide to take on your Deep South road trip, leave time for unexpected detours and experiences along the way.