The sweet sound of music guides us through some of the South’s most prominent cities - Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and Houston - on this rail vacation featuring travel aboard Amtrak’s City of New Orleans.
About the Tour
From destinations of rich culture to those that have been instrumental in music history, some of the great cities of the South are brought to life on this exciting rail tour. Begin in Atlanta with sightseeing at the Martin Luther King Center and the Margaret Mitchell House before moving onto Chattanooga, where we enjoy the lush mountainous scenery of the region from the summit of Lookout Mountain. An authentic taste of the South awaits at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, and then we are off to Nashville, the home of country music. A live performance at the Grand Ole Opry is the perfect way to kick off our time here. Guided sightseeing and time to explore Nashville at leisure offer glimpses at the best sites of the city. Moving on, we travel to Memphis and explore Elvis’s home and an iconic recording studio ahead of boarding Amtrak’s City of New Orleans, which takes us to the one and only Big Easy. The vibrancy of the city is undeniable, and we get an introduction to it with a guided tour that includes beignets, of course. Continuing on Amtrak’s Sunset Limited, we travel to Houston, TX, another city renowned for its culture and offerings. The soundtrack of the South sets the tone for this one-of-a-kind experience.
● Rail travel on Amtrak
● Scenic rail excursion aboard the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
● Hotel accommodations for 12 nights
● 3 meals
● Atlanta sightseeing tour, including the Martin Luther King Center and Church
● Jack Daniel’s Distillery visit
● Grand Ole Opry tour
● Nashville city tour
● Tennessee Delta Heritage Center excursion
● Memphis sightseeing, including Graceland and Sun Studio
● Oak Alley Plantation visit
● French Quarter tour
● Paddle steamer jazz cruise on the Mississippi River
● Houston city tour, including NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
● Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
● Services of a professional Tour Manager
Day 1 - Atlanta
Arrive in Atlanta, and transfer to our hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott Atlanta Airport South, and settle in for an evening of relaxation. Overnight Atlanta.
Day 2 - Atlanta, Chattanooga & the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
Day 3 - Jack Daniel’s Distillery/Grand Ole’ Opry
The journey continues today as our coach takes us through Tennessee to Lynchburg, the capital of Moore County. Moore County has been “dry” since the days of prohibition, which makes its main attraction all the more extraordinary: Jack Daniel's Distillery. After a tour and tasting at the distillery, we continue to Nashville and check-in at our hotel, the Clarion Downtown. This evening, we visit the legendary Grand Ole Opry. Founded as a radio station in 1925, this famous music venue still hosts the same regular broadcast today, now with a popular extended format, in addition to regular stage shows. We enjoy live music performed on “country's most famous stage” as a wonderful introduction to Nashville's music heritage. Overnight Nashville.
Day 4 - Nashville Sightseeing
Since the 1940s, Nashville has been synonymous with country music, thanks to its collection of recording studios on Music Row and the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry for three decades. A guided tour this morning introduces us to these sites and more, and later, we visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, the world's largest music museum. During your time at the museum, peruse the vast collections of photographs and musical instruments, and listen to interviews that weave the web of country music. Overnight Nashville.
Day 5 - At Leisure in Nashville
Take the day to explore Music City at your own pace. For another taste of country music history, visit the Johnny Cash Museum and Cafe, which boasts an impressive collection of artifacts from the Man in Black’s career. You may wish to visit Centennial Park to see the full-scale model of the Parthenon or to wander the trails around Radnor Lake. Andrew Jackson’s home, the Hermitage, is a beautiful example of Greek Revival architecture, as is the Belle Meade Plantation. While you explore, make a stop at one of the local restaurants for a famous Nashville hot chicken sandwich and a glass of sweet tea. Staying out until the sun goes down brings to life all the offerings of Broadway. Overnight Nashville.
Day 6 - En Route to Memphis/Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
We continue our journey through Tennessee as we set out for Memphis by coach. En route, we pause in Jackson, where you have free time for lunch on your own and sightseeing downtown. The next stop on the day’s trip is in Brownsville, specifically the Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, a series of museums dedicated to the history of the south. We complete our voyage as we arrive in Memphis later this afternoon. The rest of the day is yours at leisure to get acquainted with the city. Overnight Memphis.
Day 7 - Graceland and Sun Studio
Day 8 - Amtrak’s City of New Orleans and the Oak Alley Plantation
We transfer to Memphis Central Station this morning to board our train, Amtrak's City of New Orleans. The train takes us from Tennessee, through Mississippi and into Louisiana. Legend says that the blues spread along this route by rail. The pretty, floral towns of Brookhaven and McComb lead into the exotic Cajun swamps of the Louisiana Bayou, and we take the train as far as Hammond. From Hammond, we transfer by coach to the Oak Alley Plantation for a guided tour. This restored house stands as a testament to both the grand lives of Louisiana landowners and the suffering of those enslaved here. Peel back the layers of history of the house, sometimes referred to as the “Grande Dame of the Great River Road, as you explore its lavish interiors and its grounds. Later, we continue by coach to New Orleans and check-in at our hotel, the Sheraton Hotel, New Orleans. Overnight New Orleans.
Day 9 - The French Quarter and Paddle Steamer Cruise
One of the most beloved areas in New Orleans lies ahead this morning as we explore the renowned French Quarter. During our tour, we stop at Café Du Monde for beignets, a delicious deep-fried choux pastry, and coffee. After, take some free time to meander through the French Quarter on your own. Perhaps visit Jackson Square, wander through the French Market or grab a drink at the oldest building operating as a bar in America, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. Later this afternoon, we board a traditional paddle steamer for a delightful sightseeing cruise along the Mississippi River. During our time onboard, enjoy a live performance from the ship's jazz band - a fabulous background to our historic cruise. After disembarking, your evening is at leisure. You may wish to head to Bourbon Street to enjoy more live jazz music and the vibrant atmosphere of the city. Overnight New Orleans.
Day 10 - New Orleans at Leisure
Your entire day is free to soak up the splendor of New Orleans. Roaring with life, the Big Easy is known as the South's party city, thanks to Mardi Gras, yet year-round there is a sense of spirited adventure and playfulness here. Wander through the colorful streets to soak in the eclectic atmosphere and the stunning architecture that stretches back centuries. Discover the role of voodoo in the city’s history at the New Orleans’ Historic Voodoo Museum or explore the tombs of Lafayette Cemetery. Overnight New Orleans.
Day 11 - En Route to Houston
Leaving New Orleans behind this morning, we travel to Houston on Amtrak’s Sunset Limited. Enjoy the changing scenes as we cross Louisiana and enter the great state of Texas. On arrival, we make our way to our hotel and settle in for the evening. Overnight Houston.
Day 12 - Houston Sightseeing
Enjoy an introduction to Houston today with a guided tour of the city's main landmarks. Highlights of our excursion include Allen's Landing and NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Following the tour, the rest of the day is yours to continue your explorations independently. There are many other interesting museums, such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The city is also home to fantastic parks, including Hermann Park, Memorial Park and Buffalo Bayou Park. Houston also boasts a thriving music scene, and there are plenty of places to catch a show. Overnight Houston.
Day 13 - Tour Conclusion
Your tour of the South concludes this morning as we transfer to Austin’s international airport.
Amtrak trains provide the passenger rail services in the USA, and relaxing on board one of its comfortable long distance trains is simply the best way to discover this vast country, its great cities and ever-changing landscape.
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