The Ultimate Music Road Trip in Deep South USA. Part 1: Get ready!
Deep South USA is the birthplace of practically all popular music. Blues, soul, country, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll were born here, just like Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Sam Cooke and Justin Timberlake. No better place to embark on the Ultimate Music Road Trip – the one you’ve been dreaming about for ages! In this ongoing series, we’ll show you where to go.
Making choices can be overwhelming: New Orleans for jazz, Louisiana for Cajun music, Mississippi for the blues, Memphis for soul, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, and Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky for country music and a heady mix of most of the above.
But why choose? Once you’ve made it there, it’s possible to see and hear it all in one fell swoop. Depending on your preferences and stamina, 2 to 3 weeks should do the trick.
This ultimate, catch-all Music Road Trip below will cover somewhere around 2,000 miles, starting and ending in Atlanta to avoid rental car drop-off fees. Along the way you’ll visit these cities and towns that all have made their mark on music history:
Chattanooga | Pigeon Forge | Bristol | Lexington | Louisville | Rosine | Owensboro | Nashville | Muscle Shoals | Tupelo | Memphis | Nesbit | Clarksdale | Cleveland | Indianola | Greenwood | Natchez | Lafayette | New Orleans | Mobile | Montgomery | Birmingham
We’ve mapped the complete route out here on Google Maps. Tell your local travel agent we said hi!
Before you go
It’s good to know a couple of things beforehand. The Deep South is a perfect region to explore without clear-cut plans and reservations, just let the road – and the locals – take you. That being said, locking in accommodations in larger cities like Memphis, Nashville, Louisville and New Orleans beforehand is always a wise decision, especially if you want to be close to live music venues.
A great place to start planning is making sure you arrive in Clarksdale on a Friday or Saturday – which are prime live music nights. Build your itinerary around that and the rest of the way should fall into place like magic. As for picking a season to travel: check out when local festivals are happening, they will give your dream trip an extra sheen of awesome.
Let that simmer for a while. In the coming weeks we’ll give you the in-depth lowdown on all stops, so all you have to do is pack your best dancing shoes!
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