NASHVILLE, MEMPHIS, NATCHEZ & NEW ORLEANS
This is truly a tour for your senses! You’ll enjoy the toe-tapping sounds of Country, the soulful spirit of the Blues, and the rhythm of Jazz as you journey from Nashville to Memphis and into New Orleans. History buffs will cherish visits to the National Civil Rights Museum, the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, and the Frogmore Cotton Plantation. And your taste buds will delight in the flavors of the South throughout your journey!
For COVID-19 updates, please scroll down to our Before You Depart section.
Did you know that you can make this tour private? Find out about pricing and options for groups of 10 or more travelers.
- 2 nights in Nashville
- 2 nights in Memphis
- 1 night in Natchez
- 3 nights in New Orleans
- Optional 2-night extension in New Orleans
- Grand Ole Opry Show
- Country Music Hall of Fame and RCA Studio B
- Belle Meade Plantation
- Sun Studios tour
- National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel
- Slave Haven Underground Railroad museum
- Stax Museum of American Soul Music
- Frogmore Cotton Plantation
- Mardi Gras World Museum
- New Orleans School of Cooking
- Ground transportation in air-conditioned motor coach
- Accommodations at first-class hotels
- Porterage (1 bag per person)
- 12 meals: 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
- Comprehensive sightseeing tour including admission fees as indicated in the itinerary
- Professional Tour Director
- Accommodations at a first-class hotel in New Orleans
- Breakfast daily
- 2 days at leisure to explore New Orleans independently
Day 1: Arrive in Nashville
Welcome to Nashville, a city that sizzles with American music, Southern hospitality, unbelievable cuisine and a boundless spectrum of nightlife. Nashville is known as the capital of country music. The city earned its title with the very first airing of the WSM Barn Dance radio program, the forerunner of the Grand Ole Opry. Tonight you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner and a performance at the Grand Ole Opry with other smarTours travelers.
Clarion Hotel Nashville Downtown | Dinner
Day 2: Nashville
This morning you’ll discover Belle Meade Plantation and tour the mansion. Once one of the largest and grandest estates in Nashville and thoroughbred horse farm, Belle Meade was the epicenter of society and social events in the 1800’s. You will then immerse yourself in Music City and visit Country Hall of Fame where great artists have been honored for making Country Music what it is today. The museum will enlighten you more about great names and accomplishments, followed by a tour to the world famous RCA Studio B where artists like Elvis Presley, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, and Roy Orbison, recorded their records. Also included today is an admission to the Johnny Cash museum where you will find pictures and memorabilia galore from this music icon. Tonight enjoy on your own and take in the sounds of up and coming musicians playing along Broadway, passing by famous Honkie Tonks and Boots stores and soak in the essence of “Music City”.
| Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3: Nashville/Memphis
Start the day with a quick stop at the lively farmer’s market featuring a wide variety of local foods, produce, crafts, classes & chef demos. Then travel across the countryside and arrive in Memphis. As a large river port, the city was one of the most important links in the cotton trade before the Civil War. Memphis is also known as the “home of the blues.” Upon arrival we visit Elvis Presley’s palatial home, Graceland. This evening walk down Beale Street the heart of the blues music scene.
Crowne Plaza Memphis Downtown | Breakfast
Day 4: Memphis
This morning you’ll start with a tour of Sun Studios. Known worldwide as “The Birthplace of Rock’n’roll”, it is the discovery location of musical legends and genres of the 50’s from B.B. King and Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis; from Blues and Gospel to Country and Rock’n’roll. Today the goal of this iconic museum is to spread the story of Memphis’ history and culture through the music that put Memphis on the map. We then explore the civil rights history of Memphis and visit the National Civil Rights Museum, which is constructed around the Lorraine Motel. Here you will learn about key milestones in civil rights history, including Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus, Jim Crow segregation laws, the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till and marches in Selma, Alabama. The final exhibit is Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, recreated from 1968, when civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated there on April 4 on the balcony outside his room. Our day concludes with a visit to the Burkle Estate. Also known as the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, this Underground Railroad network helped slaves escape slavery. Exhibits include displays of slave auction advertisements, information about slave trade history and artifacts highlighting racial profiling of the time. The main feature is the dark cellar, where men and women hid for hours or days until riverboats were available to take them to safety and freedom in northern states.
Day 5: Memphis/Natchez
Today’s morning tour takes you to the Stax museum of American Soul Music. Stax Records, where the music was made, was similarly unique: a former theater transformed into a shoestring studio where workday people could be heard and, perhaps, reborn as something extraordinary. Next you will make your way to Natchez. En route, you will pass through Magnolia’s state capital before reaching the oldest European settlement on the Mississippi River.
Hotel Vue Natchez | Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6: Natchez/New Orleans
Your day starts with a tour of Frogmore Plantation where you will learn about historical cotton & plantation culture. An 1800-acre working cotton plantation, Frogmore has 19 restored antebellum structures that date from the early 1800’s. Along with the history of the early Natchez planters and their slaves, the tour includes a rare Smithsonian quality steam cotton gin and then contrasts the historical methods with modern day planting, harvesting, and computerized ginning of cotton. Next, you’ll travel to the capitol of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, for a brief city tour. Your final destination today is New Orleans, a city immersed in Creole culture. Today, the city is a unique blend of Spanish, French, Caribbean, African and Anglo-Saxon influences which you’ll find in the food, architecture and of course, the music.
Wyndham New Orleans French Quarter Hotel | Breakfast
Day 7: New Orleans
Today you’ll embark on a city tour with a step-on guide and experience the history and culture of one of America’s greatest and most beautiful cities. You’ll also enjoy a one hour walking tour through the French Quarter with its trademark wrought iron balconies overlooking the narrow cobblestone streets. Next, you’ll take a street car through the historic Garden District where you’ll see fabulous homes famous for their spectacular architecture. And you will also enjoy a visit to Mardi Gras World. When you begin your tour, you’ll get an overview of the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans before continuing through the float den, where artists work year-round to build spectacular floats and props. You never get this close to the floats while they’re rolling in Mardi Gras parades, and this is certainly the only place to see how these amazing pieces come to life each year! This evening, you’ll also have the option of visiting Preservation Hall on your own.
Day 8: New orleans
This morning, you’ll enjoy some fun, food & folklore at the New Orleans School of Cooking! Since 1980, countless visitors from around the world have been introduced to the wonderful food and rich culture of New Orleans and Louisiana as a whole. The entertaining cooking classes and General Store are located in a renovated molasses warehouse built in the early 1800s in the heart of the French Quarter, 524 St. Louis Street. You will be taught the basics of Louisiana Cooking in a way you’ll never forget. Fun is a primary ingredient in this kitchen! Participants will enjoy watching the skilled, entertaining chefs prepare a classic Cajun/Creole meal while learning about the vibrant history of New Orleans cuisine. Guests enjoy all the food items cooked, as well as Abita beer, water, iced tea, lemonade and coffee. The afternoon is yours to explore New Orleans at your leisure. In the evening, you will join the other travelers and enjoy a farewell meal to the sounds of zydeco music.
| Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Depart New Orleans
After breakfast, you’ll leave for the airport and bid a fond farewell to New Orleans as you head home.
We are working diligently to secure future tour dates and pricing for this itinerary. Please fill out the "Request a Future Date" form linked below and we will notify you once dates are available.
Optional Tours Customize your trip with these optional tours.
Enhance your trip with our recommended optional tours. Indicated optional tours are available to pre-book when you reserve your trip and can be added to your reservation up to final payment. This is the best option to guarantee your spot on your preferred optional tour! Optional tours require a minimum number of participants. Optional tours are non-refundable unless they do not operate.
Some optional tours can be purchased in-destination and may cost extra. The payment methods and currency information to purchase tours in-destination will be provided on final documentation.
Swamp & Bayou Tour
- From approx. $55 Per Person
After a short motorcoach ride across the Mississippi River, take a fascinating boat trip into the Louisiana Swamps & Bayous. Experience the timeless beauty of South Louisiana in a custom built, all weather swamp boat. Native guides will reveal the mysteries of the swamps and bayous and the Cajun “joie de vivre”. Hear how the Cajuns turned soup into gumbo, the washboard into a musical instrument, and the swamps of Louisiana into a paradise. Observe the nesting grounds of alligators, egrets, raccoons, nutria, and many species of snakes. Some wildlife are more numerous during the warmer months of the year. You will be treated to a Bayou Nature Wildlife Show by a local naturalist. Snakes, alligator snapping turtles, raccoons and nutria will be among the animal guests. Learn about the efforts made to preserve and restore Louisiana’s vanishing wetlands. Lunch is available for purchase on this tour. Bring your camera to capture the “bon temps” (good times) on the bayou! Snacks and refreshments are available on the boat. Tour includes narrated boat cruise and narrated transportation.
Jan–Feb and Nov-Dec: daily at 11:00am and 1:00pm.
March–Oct: daily at 9:00am, 11:00am and 1:00pm.
Tour duration is approximately 4 hours long.
Houmas House Tour
- From approx. $65 Per Person
Experience the peaceful serenity and striking beauty of this Historic Mansion and Gardens, unlike any other plantation home in the South. Travel back in time to the 1800’s as a local guide takes you on a journey through the Houmas Mansion, where you will view original artwork, rare antiques, and original pieces from the 1830s. Learn how a succession of owners, the sugarcane business and the Mississippi River grew this modest manor house into the grand estate it is today. Situated on River Road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, this treasure of time offers you glimpses into life on a plantation. Relax as you explore at your leisure 38 breathtaking acres of lush, manicured gardens mixed with various water features, walking paths, and sitting nooks throughout.
Duration: ~5 hrs with travel time. Daily at 10:30AM
Steamboat Natchez Evening Jazz Cruise with dinner
- From approx. $85 Per Person, dinner included
Savor the beauty and romance of New Orleans skyline aboard the dinner and Jazz Cruise on the authentic Steamboat NATCHEZ featuring live jazz by the world-renowned “Dukes of Dixieland”.. During the cruise you’ll see breathtaking views of the city while enjoying casual buffet-style dining.
Indoor and Outdoor seating. Museum quality Engine Room Reservations recommended. Boarding time is at 6:00pm and sailing time is from 7pm-9pm. Indicate preferred seating time upon reservation, 6.00pm- 7.15pm (arrive approximately 5.45pm) or 7.45pm – 9.00pm (arrive no later than 6.30pm) based on availability and is not guaranteed. If a choice is not made upon reservation Natchez will automatically choose the later seating time. Offered 7 days a week. Call to confirm schedule. Tour departs from the Toulouse Street Wharf behind Jax Brewery. Tour does not operate on Mardi Gras Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Certain Blackout dates apply. Closed: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mardi Gras, January through mid–February may be close for repairs and 4th of July.
Clarion Hotel Nashville Downtown
Our hotel is just across the scenic Cumberland River from downtown, giving you easy access to historic Lower Broadway and Nashville’s famed “Honky Tonk Highway,” where live music fills the streets all day, every day. Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans, and Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators, are minutes from our hotel’s front door.
211 N 1st St., Nashville, TN 37213Website
Crowne Plaza Memphis Downtown
The Crowne Plaza Memphis hotel is a contemporary, downtown hotel conveniently located with excellent amenities, including free WiFi.
300 N 2nd St., Memphis, TN 38105Website
Hotel Vue Natchez
Our boutique hotel is where modern travelers can experience the charming vibe of Southern culture. Hotel amenities include free WiFi.
130 John R Junkin Drive, Natchez, MS, 39120Website
Wyndham New Orleans French Quarter Hotel
Situated at the bustling crossroads of Royal and Canal Streets, our 100% non-smoking hotel offers a prime location in New Orleans’ renowned French Quarter. Serene, comfortably-appointed rooms and upscale amenities—including the Quarter’s only indoor heated hotel pool—offer travelers the perfect home base.
124 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130Website
Traveling with smarTours: For the safety of everyone in the group, smarTours has implemented COVID-19 travel requirements which apply to all tours regardless of destination. To learn more, click here.
TRANSPORTATION & ACCOMMODATIONS
Airfare is not included on this tour. Upon independent arrival in the destination, please make your own way to the hotel.
REAL ID ACT
Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States. Click here for more information.
Final instructions and additional travel tips will be sent to you 14-21 days before the scheduled start of your tour via email. If you have not received your final documents, please check your spam folder or contact smarTours.
Please make sure you arrive in Nashville by the afternoon in order to attend the orientation meeting and Welcome Dinner at approximately 7pm. The smarTours Tour Director will be available in the hotel lobby during the afternoon of Day 1 to assist with local sightseeing or answer any questions. Further details will be provided on the final travel documents.