When I think about discovering new places and experiencing new cultures I tend to automatically picture traveling outside of the United States. I think of long haul flights to far off destinations. Yet recently, I came to the realization that those experiences and places exist in my own country. As a result, I made a goal of exploring more of my own country. When it came to deciding where to go, I couldn’t think of anything better than a Southern USA road trip. Talk about new experiences and cultures! The South is known for its mouth-watering cuisine, its exciting live music, and its charming people. My trip through the South quickly taught me that you don’t always have to take a long flight to discover new places and to experience new things.
Start: Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville to Memphis: 3hr. 14min
Memphis to Natchez, Mississippi: 4hr. 37min
Natchez to New Orleans, Louisiana: 3hr. 5min
To start our Southern road trip we flew into Nashville, Tennessee (aka Music City) for three nights. Where attending shows at The Grand Ole Opry House, Honky Tonkin’ to country music on Broadway Street, and mouth-watering fried chicken is a way of life!
Top things to Do & See in Nashville:
- Explore the award-winning Johnny Cash Museum.
- Take a stroll along the Cumberland River.
- Visit the Goo Goo Shop – home to the first combination candy bar ever!
- Take a backstage tour of the famous Grand Ole Opry.
- Honky Tonk your heart out on Broadway Street in Downtown Nashville at famous bars like Honky Tonk Central or Tootsie’s
Where to eat:
- Try Hattie B’s famous Hot Chicken. The restaurant allows you to pick a level of heat that best fits your taste buds.
- Indulge in a Southern breakfast on your way from Nashville to Memphis at The Loveless Café. Where they live by the motto: “Home is where the biscuits are.”
For our next stop on our road trip, we headed to the largest city on the Mississippi River, Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis is home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Top things to Do & See in Memphis:
- Visit the Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.
- Take a self-guided journey through Elvis Presley’s famous residence, Graceland.
- Take a tour of Sun Studio Records, considered by many to be the most famous recording studio in the world.
- Stroll along Beale Street in downtown Memphis.
Where to Stay:
- Stay in the heart of downtown Memphis at The Peabody Memphis. Make sure to catch the famous Peabody ducks marching from the roof of the hotel to the lobby fountain for their daily visit.
Pit Stop : “Ol’ Man River”
Don’t forget to stop and admire the mighty Mississippi River on your road trip!
While on our way to New Orleans, we made a quick stop for the day in Natchez, Mississippi, the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River. Its history and charm make it a great place to stop, stretch your legs, explore and get a bite to eat.
Top things to Do & See in Natchez:
- Walk or bike the Natchez Trails to explore the city. Check out the visitor’s center for more information.
- Check out Stanton Hall and explore an antebellum home.
Where to eat:
- For one of the best views of the mighty Mississippi river try a Po’ Boy Sandwich or Burger at Magnolia Grill.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Our Southern road trip concluded in New Orleans, Louisiana. Everyday in New Orleans is an excuse to celebrate life making the city a top destination in the USA to visit. With its live music from just about every genre, its charming architecture, and some of the most outrageous food, let’s just say our road trip ended with a huge bang!
Top things to Do & See in New Orleans:
- Wander the streets of the French Quarter, the oldest neighborhood in the city.
- On the weekends, check out art from local artisans at Frenchman Art Market.
- Party like a local on Frenchman Street and enjoy many styles of bars and various genres of music.
- Try a famous Hurricane drink on Bourbon Street.
- Explore the beauty of the Garden District with its antebellum mansions, lush gardens, and Southern charm.
- Spot alligators on a Swamp Tour.
- Enjoy traditional Jazz music at Preservation Hall.
Top 4 places to eat and drink in New Orleans:
Best Coffee: Morning Call. Try a famous café au lait, you will not be disappointed!
Best Beignet: Café Du Monde. Tip: If you don’t want to wait in an enormous line go later on in the day. Café du Monde is open 24 hours a day in the French Market.
Best Brunch: Commanders Palace. Brunching’ in New Orleans is a three course meal, so make sure to go hungry! Tip: Make sure to make reservations in advance.
Favorite Gumbo Spot: Court of two sisters in the French Quarter. Go for a seat on their outside patio to enjoy the charming atmosphere and mouth-watering gumbo!
This post has been featured on: Dame Traveler
Have you ever been on a Southern USA road trip? If so, let me know in the comments below some of your favorite stops!
carissa … love your blog. Great to visit while we were in Vail.
Hope to see you again in September when we return with our daughter and son in law.
Remember … Move Arkansas up on your bucket list.
Hi Jim!! Thanks for the lovely comment. It was very nice to meet you and your wife! It was so nice talking to you both and I have moved Arkansas up to the top of my USA list!
Please reach out if you come back to Vail.