Day 1: London – New Orleans
Arrive into New Orleans International Airport, pick up your Alamo rental car and proceed to your hotel. Stay 2 nights at The Westin New Orleans Canal Place (or similar).
Day 2: New Orleans
Spend the day exploring New Orleans with an abundance of shops, sightseeing and restaurants. Attractions include the authentic steamboat that cruises along the Mississippi River, The National WWII Museum - a top tourist attraction, and City Park where you can rent a boat or a bike to enjoy the outdoors. For the full city experience, head to Bourbon Street where the locals meet to enjoy live music, bars, restaurants, night clubs and art galleries.
Day 3: New Orleans – Lafayette (approx. 135 miles)
Today, take the I-10, as you head west, where part of your journey follows the Mississippi River. You will pass Baton Rouge and head towards ‘Louisiana’s Cajun & Creole Country’, Lafayette. Perhaps visit the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist or Acadiana Center for the Arts where art and education is combined. Stay 1 night at Homewood Suites by Hilton Lafayette (or similar).
Day 4: Lafayette – Natchez (approx. 140 miles)
Today, leave Lafayette and continue your journey to Natchez, located along the Mississippi River, with historic antebellum homes including Stanton Hall mansion. If you seek more cultural history, visit the Natchez National Historical Park with the Fort Rosalie, William Johnson House, and Melrose Plantation. If you’re lucky enough while visiting Natchez you might experience a culinary revolution at the yearly hosted Natchez Food and Wine Festival that takes place in the summer. Stay 1 night at Hampton Inn Suites Natchez (or similar).
Day 5: Natchez – Vicksburg (approx. 178 miles)
Your next stop is Vicksburg, also located along the Mississippi River. Perhaps visit Vicksburg National Military Park to learn about American Civil War Battle and see Vicksburg Riverfront Murals painted by Robert Dafford on the Mississippi River flood walls. Stay 1 night at Hotel Indigo Asheville Downtown (or similar).
Day 6: Vicksburg – Memphis (approx. 230 miles)
Depart Vicksburg today to head to the home of the blues, Memphis. This city combines the charm of the Old South with the exciting pace of a modern metropolis. If you're an Elvis Presley fan, don’t miss the chance to visit Graceland - his former home and now a museum. Stay 2 nights at Madison Hotel (or similar).
Day 7: Memphis
Next up is another city along the Mississippi River - Memphis, the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, soul and blues, and where the biggest names such as W. C. Handy known as the "Father of the Blues" and Elvis Presley "the King of Rock and Roll" made a massive impact on the music scene. Perhaps visit the legendary Sun Studios where famous songs of Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, B.B. King and Johnny Cash were recorded. While in Memphis, be sure to stop by Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley where he spent most of his life. You’ll have a chance to see Elvis' Automobile Museum as well as the Meditation Garden, where Elvis and his family have been laid to rest.
Day 8: Memphis – Nashville (Approx. 210 miles)
This morning, leave Memphis to head for Nashville. On the way you can stop by the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge, where you might have a chance to spot a Whitetail deer or Eastern Box Turtle. When you arrive to Nashville, take time to explore the big city lights and its plenty of attractions, history, country vibe and southern dining. Visit the famous country-music stage the Grand Ole Opry or The Johnny Cash Museum to learn about the story behind a well-known singer. Stay 2 nights at Hotel Indigo Nashville (or similar).
Day 9: Nashville – Great Smoky Mountains (Approx. 280 miles)
Today drive south-east through Chattanooga and on to the Great Smoky Mountains, one of the most popular and visited national parks in the country. Stay 2 nights at Hampton Inn Cherokee (or similar).
Day 10: Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains span across North Carolina and Tennessee and is well-known for its variety of fauna and flora and the natural fog that hovers over the mountain peaks. Consider a scenic hike to one of the park’s waterfalls or get “off the beaten path” to explore nature without the crowds. Many historic cemeteries are spread out throughout the national park which are the last remaining artefacts that link to the past.
Day 11: Great Smoky Mountains – Charlotte (Approx. 180 miles)
Today you will be driving to Charlotte, the last stop on your 12 day trip. On the way, perhaps stop by the Mineral & Lapidary Museum in Hendersonville to see the collection of raw minerals, rocks, fossils and polished gemstones. When in Charlotte, visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame located in Uptown Charlotte, to explore the collections of memorabilia, watch the interactive displays or check the exhibits at the Carolinas Aviation Museum located at Charlotte International Airport. Stay 1 night at Hampton Inn Charlotte Uptown (or similar).
Day 12: Charlotte – London
Today, check out of your hotel and return your rental car before boarding your overnight flight back to London.