Explore the best of the Deep South on this nine-day self-drive, kicking things off with three days in lively New Orleans – the birthplace of jazz and home of Mardi Gras. You'll then head west along the Great River Road to Natchez and Cajun Country where you'll discover grand plantation houses, delicious Southern food, a wealth of blues and jazz-inspired musical tradition and, of course, the mighty Mississippi River.
Days 1-3: UK/New Orleans
Depart the UK, land in New Orleans and head into the city for a three-night stay. Over three days you'll discover the faded grandeur of the old colonial French Quarter and the legendary jazz clubs of Bourbon Street. And, with a dining scene that's one of the most celebrated in the US, there's plenty of opportunity to tuck into authentic jambalaya to shrimps, grits and broiled oysters.
Stay: Bienville House (Standard) or Hotel Monteleone (Superior)
Day 4: Plantation Country
Leaving New Orleans behind, you'll collect your hire car and travel through Louisiana's rural idyll, visiting opulent plantation homes, learning about the changing fortunes of their owners and watching the mighty Mississippi roll by from the banks of the Levee. Tonight's accommodation is at the Nottoway Plantation, the largest existing antebellum mansion in the South. Here, sprawling oak-framed grounds look out to the river while traditional recipes celebrate the very best in Louisiana cookery showcased in such dishes as Chicken & Andouille Gumbo and Brandon's Sugar Cane Chicken.
Stay: Nottoway Plantation (Superior) or same hotel in a Carriage House Room (Superior)
Days 5-6: Natchez
Louisiana's state capital, Baton Rouge, and the haunted Myrtles Plantation are well worth a stop en route to Natchez, where Stanton Hall, Dunleith and Longwood are two of the finest antebellum mansions in the region. The following day is free to explore more of the area's beautiful plantation homes, take a ride on a Mississippi paddlewheeler, learn more about the Civil War at the visitors centre or perhaps drive north to the battlefield site of Vicksburg.
Stay: Hotel Vue (Standard) or Monmouth Historic Inn (Superior)
Days 7-8: Lafayette, Cajun Country
Cajun Country was first settled by the Acadians following their expulsion from Nova Scotia and the region bares witness to their struggles. Today, visitors will find some of the region's best soul food restaurants as well as a lively music scene. The next day, consider travelling to the wetlands of the Atchafalaya Basin – the largest swamp in the USA – or perhaps visit the home of Tabasco on Avery Island for a tour of its Jungle Garden and the chance to feast on yet more delicious Cajun cooking.
Stay: Doubletree by Hilton (Standard)
Days 9-10: New Orleans/UK
Drive back east to New Orleans and return your hire car. Then, say goodbye to the Deep South as you check in at the airport for your overnight flight back to the UK, arriving on day 10.
High season: Jul-Aug
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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