The American South: New Orleans to Nashville

8 days
Experience the diverse landscapes, welcoming people, and robust flavors of the deep South. You’ll start in colorful New Orleans, which bursts with life around the clock. Explore antebellum architecture at its finest in Natchez and uncover Civil War history in Vicksburg. Then, discover the musical Meccas of Memphis and Nashville, which offer up bluesy roots, country rhythms, and unique cultures.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Tour group size: 18 - 35 travelers

Tour pace: This tour involves a moderate level of walking, sometimes on uneven terrain or uphill.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 7 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Expert Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of the United States South

New Orleans, Louisiana 2 nights Hotel info

Day 1: Arrival in New Orleans

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Louisiana! Arrive in New Orleans and transfer to your hotel. Then, meet your fellow travelers at an included welcome dinner.

Day 2: Sightseeing tour of New Orleans

  Included meals: Breakfast

Experience the unique history and vibrant Creole culture of New Orleans on a guided tour.

• Pass historic mansions and stately homes in the Garden District and stop at Saint Louis Cemetery

• Stop at Jackson Square in the heart of the city to view St. Louis Cathedral 

• Pass the Presbytère and 1850 House, two of the Louisiana State Museums

• Walk through the French Quarter

• End your tour at Café du Monde, where you can sample a famous beignet

Enjoy a free evening in New Orleans or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Louisiana Bayou Tour $65pp* Details

Louisiana Bayou

Depart from bustling New Orleans and make your way to one of the state’s most storied areas: the Louisiana Bayou. This marshy region is the epicenter of Louisiana’s Cajun culture, is home to a variety of animal life, and is dotted with moss-covered cypress trees, giving it an allure all its own. Step aboard an airboat and zip across the iconic swamp, keeping your eyes open for alligators, snakes, herons, and more as you go. Please note: Airboats are high-speed, open boats without a top. For safety reasons, pregnant women, children under 5 years old, and individuals with neck or back problems are not permitted to ride on airboats.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Natchez, Mississippi 1 night Hotel info

Day 3: Natchez via Baton Rouge

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel north past Lake Pontchartrain to Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital city.

• Enter the LSU Rural Life Museum, where a guide introduces you to life as it was in the lower Mississippi River Valley during the 18th and 19th centuries

• Pass the Old State Capitol, the Louisiana State Capitol building and the Old Governor’s Mansion on the way out of town

Then, cross into Mississippi and arrive in Natchez, where your Tour Director introduces you to the city.

• Explore the beautifully preserved antebellum buildings  

• Enter Melrose, a historic mansion

Memphis, Tennessee 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Memphis via Vicksburg

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Continue along the Mississippi River to Memphis, stopping  for a guided tour of Vicksburg en route.

• Pass by the Old Court House Museum and U.S.S. Cairo

• Visit the Vicksburg National Military Park, site of the Battle of Vicksburg, a turning point during the Civil War

• See the Shirley House and the Vicksburg National Monument

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Memphis

  Included meals: Breakfast

This morning, get to know Memphis, a city known for its rich cultural and musical heritage, from the blues to rock ‘n’ roll. 

• Drive past the Mississippi River

• Pass Sun Studio, the Orpheum Theatre, and Elmwood Cemetery

• Stop at the Peabody Hotel and Beale Street

Enjoy a free afternoon in Memphis or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Graceland & Sun Studio $75pp* Details

Explore the home and recording studio of the American musical legend Elvis Presley. Enter the Graceland Mansion, where you’ll get a look at the King of Rock and Roll’s home life and hear stories via an iPad during an interactive tour. You can also visit the Automobile Museum to see some of his favorite cars and motorcycles and stroll through a photography exhibit. Then, tour the nearby Sun Studio, a U.S. National Historic Landmark, where Elvis recorded hits including “That’s All Right.” Please note: There is a moderate amount of walking on paved, level surfaces during this excursion.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Nashville, Tennessee 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Travel to Nashville

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis before journeying on to lively Nashville, the legendary home of country music. 

Later, say goodbye to your group at a farewell dinner this evening.

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Nashville

  Included meals: Breakfast

Set out on a guided tour of “Music City” today.

• Pass the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Johnny Cash Museum 

• Stop at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park to see the Tennessee State Capitol building 

• Enter President Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage mansion

Spend a free afternoon in Nashville or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Country Music Hall of Fame & RCA Studio B $55pp* Details

Nashville Studio B

Learn why Nashville has earned a title as one of the world’s most important recording centers as you immerse yourself in the city’s impressive musical heritage. First, join a local guide for a tour of the iconic RCA Studio B, the historic home of the “Nashville Sound.” This studio rose to prominence between the 1950s and 1970s and is where legends such as Elvis Presely, Dolly Parton, and Willie Nelson recorded some of their greatest hits. Then, step inside the Country Music Hall of Fame for a self-guided tour. Here, you’ll learn more about the illustrious careers and fascinating lives of the Hall of Fame’s inductees, including Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and more.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Optional Excursion - The Grand Ole Opry $75pp* Details

The Grand Ole Opry first began as a radio broadcast 90 years ago and continues to showcase the best of country music today. Experience Nashville’s musical roots this evening as you attend a performance at the world-famous Grand Ole Opry House. Please note: This excursion may not be available during all departures as it is dependent on the venue’s performance schedule.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Day 8: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or continue to Louisville on the tour extension.

Add Louisville Starting from $499 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Horse racing enthusiasts flock to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby each spring, but the state's largest city offers something for every traveler. Explore the Victorian homes in the Old Louisville neighborhood, stroll through its green parks and sample the world-famous bourbon.

Louisville, Kentucky 2 nights

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Louisville

  Included meals: Breakfast

Cross the Kentucky state line and arrive in charming Louisville, where you’ll take a guided tour.

• Take a walking tour of the Old Louisville neighborhood, passing the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum 

• Visit the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

• Take a guided walking tour of Churchill Downs, the famed Thoroughbred racetrack

• Enter the Kentucky Derby Museum to see specialty exhibits and meet a resident Thoroughbred horse

Day 9: Free day in Louisville

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Louisville or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - The Bourbon Trail: Distillery Visit & Tastings $79pp* Details

Set off on the Urban Bourbon Trail to discover more about one of Kentucky’s most well-known traditions. Start at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in downtown Louisville’s “Whiskey Row.” Here, you’ll learn about the art of crafting this barrel-aged spirit during a distillery tour, then sample it for yourself. Continue on with a local guide to two more nearby bars for tastings of premium Bourbon whiskey.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 10: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
  • Natchez, Mississippi, United States
  • Memphis, Tennessee, United States
  • Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & visa requirements

  • Valid government-issued identification is required for air travel within the United States.  * If you are not a U.S. citizen, please be sure to have any additional required identification with you as well.

Tour pace

* This tour involves a moderate level of walking, sometimes on uneven terrain or uphill. * If you have any mobility and/or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Relations Team at 800.597.0350 so that we can review all necessary information with you.

Transportation & arrival information

* Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in New Orleans, Louisiana and depart from Nashville, Tennessee (or Louisville, Kentucky on extension). * When you first arrive, a Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and escort you via private motor coach to your hotel. * Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. * If you did not book your flights through Go Ahead, airport transfers are available upon request and at an additional cost. Please call our Customer Relations Team for more information. * All included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.

Baggage allowance

* Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Most domestic airlines impose charges if you choose to check any baggage, and you are responsible for any such costs. Please contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight. * Go Ahead travelers are allowed only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).  * Please note there may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage.  * Please label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Clothing & packing tips

* We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered.  * For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight jacket or rainwear.  * If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire.  * Please be respectful and avoid showing bare legs or shoulders when visiting churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis). 

Health

* There are no major health risks associated with traveling to this region. During the summer months, take care for sun exposure and heat.  * Be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and personal travel requirements. * Travelers should be in reasonable health to take our included walks, and we will make every effort to accommodate those who choose to stay behind.  * Bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, motion sickness medication, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications. * If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered. * If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to departure by logging in to My Account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Relations Team.

Cuisine

* The United States contains some of the most varied food in the world. Most of the cuisine on this tour is well-known to Americans.  * While on tour, you may want to try delicious local delicacies, such as true Southern fried chicken, okra and collard greens, as well as refreshing sweet tea. * New Orleans in particular is known for its eclectic food scene—try gumbo, a well-known Cajun dish, spicy shrimp creole for your main meals. You can’t go wrong with beignets or pralines for dessert.

Electricity & air conditioning

* All regions operate on the U.S. standard 110 volts. * The majority of the hotels on this tour have air conditioning. * The hotels on this tour will provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances.

Connectivity

* Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.  * There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.  * Please contact your cell phone provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

* New Orleans, Natchez, Memphis and Nashville operate on Central Standard Time (CST), which is one hour behind Eastern Standard Time (EST). Louisville  (on extension) operates on EST.  * When it’s noon in New York City, it’s 11am on tour (and noon on your tour extension).

Currency

* U.S. dollars will be the currency on your tour.

Tipping

* At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in your tour country’s currency. * We recommend a tip of $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director.  * We recommend a tip of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver. * If applicable, we also recommend a tip of $2USD/CAD per local guide.  * Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

Purchasing excursions on tour

* If you have not yet purchased your optional excursions, you may be able to do so while on your tour. Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions. * Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.  * Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See the “Optional Excursions” sheet for more information.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 11/11/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: PA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

American South

Great trip, loved the diverse music scenes in the cities we visited. The group liked most of what we experienced in NOLA but feel another day would have allowed us to enjoy the city in a less rushed manner. Initial meal was a disappointment as the food was cold when served. Could have used more time to visit the WW ll museum and other sights. Some of the other highlights included, plantation dinner, Melrose House tour, dinner at the Majestic Grille in Memphis, Graceland/Sun Studio tour, Civil Rights Museum and RCA Studio B tour. A disappointment was that we only had 45 minutes at the Civil Rights Museum which led us all to believe that the trip was a bit rushed. The initial itinerary included the Grand Ole Opry which was replaced with a tour of Studio B and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Though the replacement tours were nice, many in the group expressed disappointment in expecting to go to the Grand Ole Opry and finding the tour cancelled. This was one of the major selling points of the tour. We feel the office should have known about this beforehand! If this is going to happen every year at this time we feel the excursion should not be advertised. All in all it was a very good trip and we would recommend GO AHEAD Tours to anyone.

 

Dear Edward, Thank you so much for your detailed review. We’re thrilled that you enjoyed exploring the American south! There’s certainly a lot to experience and learn in this region of the United States. We appreciate your feedback about desiring more time at some of the sites visited, and we regret that your first meal did not meet your expectations. We will be sure to communicate these points to our Operations and Product Development teams for review. It’s great to know that there were many highlights throughout the trip, including the plantation dinner and the visit to the Civil Rights Museum. Regarding the Grand Ole Opry optional, we, too, regret that it had to be cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. We understand your frustration about this, and we have communicated it to our Operations team for further discussion. We certainly do not want you to come away from your tour feeling disappointed about any aspect of it, so please know that we take your feedback extremely seriously. Again, we're pleased that you had a wonderful time overall, and we thank you for recommending Go Ahead! We hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | December 30, 2016