Deep South USA - So Many Amazing Things To Do!
The Deep South is such an enticing culturally diverse region to experience; prepare yourself for sensory overload when you visit! It really is a holiday of a lifetime - no surprise at all that it's high on many people's Bucket List destinations.
The region's historically turbulent history makes it all the more fascinating. Civil War, slavery, the Civil Rights Movement...these all happened in the USA's Deep South states, so there is an abundance of fascinating historical sites and museums to schedule when you visit.
America's Deep South is also responsible for the birth of America's music, the invention of the cocktail, and with a world-renowned reputation for its impeccable hospitality - where else on planet Earth do you get all that?
And then there's the food! Although the food of the South was a relative secret until recently, the culinary world now knows it has all the hallmarks of what makes the region great: the variety and range of influences, a dedication to flavour, a love of partying and the celebration of home and Southerness.
Stuck for time? Here's our essential list of the 'Top 10 Things To Do' in the Deep South:
- Experience the iconic Mardi Gras, New Orleans.
- Explore New Orleans New Orleans French Quarter - So much to see and do!
- Follow the Kentucky Bourbon Trail - Go where the spirit leads you!
- Drive the Civil Rights Tour - explore this fascinating chunk of America's social history.
- Visit Graceland, Memphis - It's not just a must-see for Elvis fans!
- Experience the beautiful, scenic Natchez Trace Parkway.
- Take in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - America's most visited National Park for very good reasons.
- Much more than just sea and sand, take time out at the Gulf Coast - the perfect chillout destination.
- Take a trip on the Mississippi Blues Trail - soak in the music and the history that gave birth to it.
10. For something a bit different, visit Mammoth Cave National Park - the world's longest (known) cave system.
When it comes to American music, all roads lead to the Deep South. There’s no better way to understand the life of Deep South USA than to take a tour through its musical landscape.
There's soulful Blues, brassy Jazz, Country twang, Cajun accordions, riverboat calliopes and gospel choirs to name a few.
Live music venues abound in the Deep South from jazz and Cajun clubs in Louisiana to the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee, and the legendary studios of Alabama’s Muscle Shoals, to Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues bar in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
The Music Festivals are not-to-be-missed. And there are plenty to choose from!
Driving through the Deep South could not be a more hospitable experience with such a relaxed feel. Locals are only too pleased to help out whether it's giving directions or serving some of their sumptuous Southern specialties. The Deep South is a gourmets’ delight and restaurants come in all shapes, styles and sizes.
Fried green tomatoes, peach cobbler, gumbo, soul food, jambalaya, fried chicken, barbecue ribs, iced tea, grits, catfish and soft shell crabs - how many can you try during your stay?
Renowned eateries: Stone-ground baked grits at Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, oysters at Wintzell's on the Gulf Coast, or mouth-watering ribs from Dreamland are just a few 'Sweet Home Alabama' specialities.
History and Heritage
The complex history and heritage of the Deep South have created a distinctly American culture that, it is often said, is more a state of mind than a place.
The lower Mississippi valley was the homeland of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Cherokee before the French, Spanish and British arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries to fight over it.
The Americans finally took it in the 18th century and the defining historical event of the Deep South remains the Civil War, fought from 1861 to 1865.
Although the Deep South romanticises antebellum plantation life – built on slavery – it is also the birthplace of the modern Civil Rights movement. Today, there are more African- Americans elected to public office in the South than in any other part of the nation. Travelling through the Deep South is a history lesson in itself!
One of the best reasons to visit Deep South USA is to experience this distinctive culture which is so intimately linked with the history, the land and the Southern experience.
Mississippi is known for it's celebration of Southern literature. Authors like John Grisham and Willie Morris were inspired by Mississippi's unique people and places, but it's most celebrated resident is Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner whose home in Oxford, Rowan Oak, is open to the public.
In East Tennessee, settlers worked hard and created ballads from the heart. Today, visitors are welcome to tour restored homesteads and listen for the echoes of fiddles and dulcimers ringing through the valleys.
A land of history, culture and scenery, Alabama's antebellum mansions, Civil War and Civil Rights conflicts exist alongside oak trees draped in Spanish moss, sun-drenched beaches and the music of America.
Louisiana life is a melange of cultures, arrived and mixed through the lively port of New Orleans, and colouring the State to create their very own mosiac of Louisiana's food, music, language and crazy, fun traditions that cannot be experienced anywhere else.
Don't let the Deep South’s legendary reputation for nightlife overshadow the region's scores of remarkable family activities:
In New Orleans, you can enjoy the Audubon Aquarium, Zoo and Insectarium. Families can walk with alligators on the Creole Nature Trail, have fun at Sci-Port Discovery Center in Shreveport or stay in haunted plantations to be entertained and dazzled by talented street performers.
In Mississippi you can see creatures in the wild, take a kayak tour along the lower Pascagoula River near Gautier or board the shrimp boat in Biloxi to see shrimp, crab and squid being pulled from the Gulf of Mexico.
There's lot to see as a family in Tennessee, like the blur of cars at Bristol Motor Speedway or the dig-in process at Gray Fossil Site. Soar 21 stories on the Wild Eagle ride or the FireChaser Express at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, or challenge each other to the treetop obstacle course at Ruby Falls in Chattanooga.
Families love the 32 miles of sandy beaches in the resort towns along Alabama's Gulf Coast. Enjoy waterfalls in the mountain town of Fort Payne or white water raft on the Chattahoochee River.
Want to know more? Please do get in touch with our Deep South experts - we are always happy to help you plan your perfect holiday!