Best of the Deep South? Where to go next?

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Nashville
1. Posted by shaunb333 (Budding Member 2 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

I'm from Australia and planning a trip shortly throughout the US, heading to the big cities, LA, NYC, as well as making sure I find time to spend in Nashville, Charleston, New Orleans, Huston and Austin.

I'm weighting up adding in Louisville, Memphis or Savannah.. please help with which one would be the best to spend a bit of extra time in :) .. or if their is another amazing city to visit i haven't listed?

I'm traveling throughout the Deep South to get to know the best food (BBQ specifically), music, history and Americans ofcourse.

Any advice would be very much appreciated, thank all.

2. Posted by road to roam (Respected Member 142 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

It sounds like you may be covering quite a bit of ground, so it's best to know how long your visit will be. Is it safe to assume you'll be doing at least some driving once you arrive instead of flying or getting buses from one destination to the next? A bit more how and when from you would be great.

For now, I'll talk about Nashville and Memphis....

Quoting shaunb333

I'm weighting up adding in Louisville, Memphis or Savannah.. please help with which one would be the best to spend a bit of extra time in

If it comes down to time - and assuming you've already visited Nashville - skip Memphis, for the two are very similar - music history (multiple genres and sub-genres) and great BBQ food abound in both and are the draw cards. Keep on keeping on in this case.

[ Edit: Edited on 13-Mar-2019, at 04:49 by road to roam ]

3. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1050 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Great BBQ and great jazz in Kansas City, Missouri (not Kansas City, Kansas). Beautiful city, excellent art museum and very friendly people there too. It is not what anyone would call the "deep south" though. It is much more northern in character.

If you like history, you can learn about the Missouri Compromise. Besides, Houston and Austin would not be defined as deep south either. They are the American West although culturally more aligned with the south than the north.

Of the three cities you suggested, my choice would be Savannah. It is absolutely beautiful and historic.

4. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 951 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

I am not sure I would include Houston. And I personally like Memphis better than Nashville, but I am perhaps in the minority here as I don't care for country music.

Savannah and Charleston SC are quite close together and both are great cities to visit. Louisville is a little bit out of the loop to the north.

So one possibile route would be Austin, Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Asheville, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, New Orleans. And then you could go on to Houston if you had time.

5. Posted by shaunb333 (Budding Member 2 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Thanks all!

The travel plan so far is flying into LA, then to Vegas, driving through San Antonio, Austin, Houston, fly to New Orleans, then the only other cities which are locked in is Nashville and Charleston, then after onto NYC for a week to finish.

I have 2 weeks pretty much unplanned after New Orleans where the only place I have locked in is Nashville, so any other great cities in the Deep South which would be worth taking time to see would be great to know about..

I'm not so much into museums, more about hospitality, food, nightlife, meeting people.
I'm planning on being in the Deep South in just over a month.
Driving, flying, busing is all a possibility

Thanks all! I appreciate your help


6. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 951 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

If you drive to Austin you might just as well drive from Houston to New Iberia and Baton Rouge and then on to New Orleans (and then turn the car in there as parking is a problem in New Orleans.)

New Iberia and St Martinsville are in Cajan country and Avery Island is where they make Tabasco sauce. The people there are a little different than either New Orleans or Baton Rouge (which is the capitol)

7. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1050 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Given that information, but not knowing how long you have, I'll suggest that from New Orleans you
go east to Mobile, Alabama which is quintessential south. You have the Gulf Coast and old plantations. Lots of scenery and lots of history and a shame to miss it. Than turn north to Birmingham, Alabama which is a lovely southern city that would give you a good feel for a typical southern city. Personally, I'd skip Nashville because it is so far north, but if you really want to include it and have the time, head on up to Nashville, Tennessee and have your BBQ and country music visit. Next, don't miss Atlanta, Georgia on your way to Savannah, Georgia. Both Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina are beautiful cities and well worth the visit. You'll find excellent food, interesting history and great scenery in both. On your way to New York City, why not stop in Washington, D.C.? It is the capital of our nation and full of monuments and history . . . and good food and lots of entertainment. You could probably spend a week right there. From D.C. it's an easy drive up to New York City and you won't run out of things to do there!

Whatever you choose to do, have a great trip.

Washington, D.C.; New York City, New York

8. Posted by road to roam (Respected Member 142 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Perhaps Memphis would be a good choice then, considering your interest in food and nightlife. Also, the proximity to Nashville (3 hours by car or bus) makes Memphis sound like a good match for you.

Savannah has a a rather lively nightlife district along River Street which has slowly began to expand over the years. This is also a very evocative city, considering your interest in the Deep South.

Considering the time and the likely route you mention, Chattanooga, Tennessee could be an unexpected hit for you, with a nightlife scene along Market and Main Streets. Athens, Georgia may just tick all the boxes for you, considering your stated interests - food, nightlife and meeting people. This is a big university town.

Of course, you will find good food anywhere in the south, with a ton of local variations. A lot of places in this broad region serve battered deep-fried pickles, often served with a garlic mayonnaise for dipping - so simple and delicious!

9. Posted by 55vineyard (Budding Member 27 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

I would skip the drive from LA to San Antonion, did the drive in the opposite direction some years ago and that drive via I-10 has to be one of the most boring drives ever. Fly instead to SAT or Austin.
I enjoyed a couple nights stay in Natchez en route from New Orleans, nice homes to visit and garden tours depending on time of year.

10. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1143 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

You need to make the most of your limited time. Too many visitors to the United States underestimate how large the country is geographically. Instead of driving from Las Vegas you should consider flying to Houston, then driving to San Antonio and Austin before heading back to Houston to fly or drive to New Orleans. Note that if you don't return the vehicle in Houston you are likely to pay drop-off charges that will add to your rental costs.

From New Orleans, you should fly to Atlanta, then rent a car to drive to Savannah (about five hours away), proceed to Beaufort, South Carolina (including Hunting Island State Park), then to Charleston; and back to Atlanta via Asheville, N.C., and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From Atlanta, fly to Nashville. From Nashville, fly to New York. Note that NYC has three major airports, LGA, JFK and EWR.

Near Savannah you should visit:

After Charleston, on your way to Asheville, stop to see this:

In Asheville, see this:

Please note that most U.S. air carriers charge for checked bags, except for Southwest Airlines, which only sells tickets on its Web site. Southwest allows two free checked bags, as well as a carry-on and a "personal item." Also note that the largest carriers -- American, United and Delta -- offer "basic economy" fares with restrictions. The most restrictive is United, which doesn't allow basic economy passengers to use the overhead bins. American and Delta both do.

This Web site can be useful in your planning:

When driving, please note that in major metropolitan areas, such as Atlanta, traffic can be extremely congested during peak commuting hours. This applies not only to freeways but also to surface streets.