Deep South USA - So Many Things To Do!
The Deep South has been responsible for the birth of America's music, the invention of the cocktail, and has a world-renowned reputation for its amazing hospitality. 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 5 Things To Do' in the Deep South:
- Experience the flamboyance of Mardi Gras, New Orleans.
- Follow the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
- Drive the Civil Rights Tour.
- Visit Graceland, Memphis.
- Experience the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway.
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 Bluegrass in Kentucky to the jazz and Cajun clubs in Louisiana, from 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! New Orleans' Mardi Gras is renowned for its flamboyance and spectacle. For Blues lovers, there's the annual WC Handy Festival to take in - a celebration of the life of 'the father of the Blues'. Whilst Country music fans can enjoy the CMA Music Festival in Nashville which draws visitors from all over the globe.
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. Louisianans passion for great food is an intrinsic part of their heritage passed down through generations.The Deep South is a gourmets’ delight and restaurants come in all shapes, styles and sizes. There are five star establishments offering fine dining and beachfront shacks cooking the freshest seafood.
Fried green tomatoes, mint juleps, 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.
While best known for its signature drink offerings, such as bourbon, wine and the famous Kentucky Derby mint julep, Kentucky is also home to dishes such as Louisville's "hot brown", a hearty culinary heritage, and of course, Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken.
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.
From its Appalachian mountain heritage and original Bluegrass music to its historic Shaker and contemporary Amish communities, you'll find a rich and diverse cultural experience wherever you travel in Kentucky.
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.
From the educational attractions that give a vivid glimpse of important American history to acclaimed zoos & aquariums, to the long list of places that are just plain fun, the Deep South is a memorable treat for tourists of all ages.
Adventure seekers can get to know Kentucky by heading outdoors to truly experience it. Kayaking, climbing, hiking, fishing and caving are just a few of the opportunities that await.
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.
A Deep South golf holiday starts with a desire to play some of the most exciting layouts designed by golf's greats.
There are literally hundreds of golf courses from which to choose including the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama and the Audubon Golf Trail in Louisiana, testing the skill of every level of golfer.
The PGA Tour and the Champions Tour have made Mississippi a regular stop in their schedules and even competitive amateur golfers come to challenge one another in the annual International Golf and Blues Experience.
Tennessee's 150 championship courses offer golfers of all levels scenic layouts, well-maintained greens and high USGA ratings.
Kentucky courses offer scenic views of waterways, bluegrass beauty and breathtaking Appalachian Mountain backdrops.
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!