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The beautiful South comes alive on this wonderful vacation. Start in Chicago with leisure time to get acquainted with the city. See the famous landmarks on an included sightseeing tour before heading south to St. Louis, Missouri, the “Gateway to the West.” On your St. Louis tour, take a trip to the top of the towering Gateway Arch. Then, cross the Mississippi River to Nashville, Tennessee, home of country music! A sightseeing tour shows you Nashville’s most famous sites, including the recording studios on Music Row, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and legendary RCA Studio B, once the recording home of Elvis Presley. No vacation to Nashville is complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry, and you have reserved premier seating for a Grand Ole Opry show! Travel to Memphis, “Home of the Blues,” a city with a distinct Southern flair. Enjoy an orientation tour and visit Graceland, Elvis Presley’s grand estate. On to New Orleans for a guided tour that includes the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, and a visit to the unique above-ground cemetery. Hop on the AMTRAK City of New Orleans train, and pass cotton fields and catfish ponds on the way to Louisiana. Cruise through the waterways of Atchafalaya Basin, where you may spot alligators, before arriving in New Orleans for the conclusion of your Southern vacation.
Destinations & Sightseeing
Sightseeing: In Chicago, Nashville, and New Orleans; orientation tours in St. Louis and Memphis; Gateway Arch, RCA Studios Country Music Hall of Fame, reserved premier seating at the Grand Ole Opry, Graceland, and boat cruise through the Atchafalaya Basin. Inside visits as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.Guides:
Services of a professional Tour Director; Local Guide for sightseeing in New Orleans.
Scenic Highlights:Mississippi River, Cajun Country, and Louisiana Bayou Country.
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation:
Transportation:AMTRAK® City of New Orleans train from Memphis to Hammond; private, deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach while touring.
Meals & Itinerary
2 continental breakfasts
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Day 1 Chicago
Welcome to the “Windy City.” Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
Day 2 Chicago
Included sightseeing shows off the city’s landmarks, then an afternoon at leisure. Maybe ride the elevator to the top of Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, stroll in Grant Park, or cruise on the Chicago River. Tonight, how about dinner on Navy Pier with its delightful shops and restaurants?
Day 3 Chicago–St. Louis
Travel across the fertile Illinois farmlands to St. Louis, “Gateway to the West.” An orientation tour includes a trip to the top of the GATEWAY ARCH, which commemorates the city’s key role in westward expansion. Visit the museum under the Arch, celebrating Lewis & Clark’s famous expedition 200 years ago.
Day 4 St. Louis–Nashville
Recross the Mississippi River today and roll southeast to Paducah on the Ohio River. Late-afternoon arrival in Nashville.
Day 5 Nashville
Start the day with a sightseeing tour of Nashville’s famous landmarks and the Music Row recording studios. Tour historic RCA STUDIO B, cradle of the “Nashville Sound” in the 1960s and where stars such as Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Eddy Arnold, Willie Nelson, and the Everly Brothers recorded many of their biggest hits. Afterward, visit the COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME with its glittering costumes, rare instruments, and Elvis’ “solid-gold” Cadillac! Tonight, enjoy reserved premier seating for a show at the world-famous GRAND OLE OPRY, a mecca for country musicians.
Day 6 Nashville–Memphis
Cross Tennessee to Memphis, “Home of the Blues” and a city with a distinct Southern flavor. Enjoy an orientation tour on arrival. Join the optional excursion to Sun Studio, where rock ‘n’ roll was first recorded, followed by dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 7 Memphis. Visit to Graceland
A good portion of the day is devoted to GRACELAND, Elvis Presley’s beautiful estate. Your platinum audio tour focuses on the splendid garden, and the opulent 15,000-square-foot mansion. Return to Memphis mid-afternoon. Tonight you may want to visit a blues club on famous Beale Street.
Day 8 Memphis–Amtrak City of New Orleans Train–Hammond–Lafayette
Providing the locomotion for today’s journey through the state of Mississippi and into the Mississippi River Delta is the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, the famous train of story and song. Pass cotton fields and catfish ponds as the train enters Louisiana. In Hammond, leave the train and board a motorcoach for the short drive into the heart of Cajun Country to Lafayette, first settled by French-Acadian farmers expelled from Nova Scotia by the British in the 1700s.
Day 9 Lafayette–New Orleans
On to St. Martinville to see the famous oak tree from Longfellow’s poem, Evangeline, then CRUISE the swampy waterways of the Atchafalaya Basin. Watch for alligators basking on the banks. Cross Bayou Country to New Orleans.
Day 10 New Orleans
A full morning dedicated to the sights and sounds of New Orleans, with a guided tour that includes the French Quarter landmarks, St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, and a visit to a unique above-ground cemetery. The rest of the day is free.
Day 11 New Orleans
The trip ends today with guests departing on individual schedules. Transfers to the New Orleans International Airport are included.
With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
Escorting tours for more than 20 years
Years of Experience: 23
“I have been conducting tours for many years. I love sharing my part of the world with travelers and watching them have fun, knowing that I play a part in their enjoyment. I am from the Deep South, so I feel that I have much to share in that area. I also conduct tours in the Midwest, the East, Southeast, Northeast, and Eastern Canada. Some of my favorite hobbies are cooking, entertaining, playing the piano, daily walks, reading, and travel!”
CHICAGO Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza (F)ST. LOUIS Pear Tree Inn Union Station (TC)NASHVILLE The Inn at Opryland (MF)MEMPHIS Crowne Plaza Memphis Downtown (MF)LAFAYETTE Ramada Lafayette Conference Center (F)NEW ORLEANS Wyndham New Orleans French Quarter (MF)
The following list of optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These optional excursions might or might not be offered. Whether it's a special dinner, a local show or a special behind-the-scenes glimpse into an historical site, optional excursions are a wonderful way to enrich your vacation even further. Plus, they give you flexibility. We include the must-see sites and experiences, and we also understand that people take interest in different activities and may want to craft a more personal vacation by hand-picking optional excursions that appeal to them.
Wendella's Chicago River Architecture Tour
Chicago's architectural heritage is considered to be among the finest in the world, and the Chicago River provides the ultimate setting to view these magnificent structures. The Wrigley Building, one of Chicago's' most recognizable architectural treasures, is the perfect location to start the 75 minute journey. Traveling through the heart of the city, the docents will provide an in-depth perspective on why Chicago's architectural heritage is known and studied around the world.
Approximate value: $29 USD per person
Nashville Nightlife Dinner Show
Nashville Nightlife is Music City's premier entertainment theater. After a buffet dinner, you'll hear all the songs that have made Nashville famous worldwide. Enjoy the music of everyone from Hank Williams Sr. and Patsy Cline to the superstars of today like Sara Evans and Toby Keith! The show celebrates today's country and honors tradition. Show and dinner last approximately 2.5 hours.
Approximate value: $45 USD per person
Sun Studio, Beale Street & Dinner
Step back in time when you enter the famous Sun Studio, where Sam Phillips first recorded future stars such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, and 18-year-old Elvis Presley! Afterward, enjoy dinner at the King's Palace Cafe, which offers authentic Southern delicacies and Memphis BBQ. Evening includes dinner, a drink and admission to Rum Boogie Cafe. ( restaurant may change due to availability)
Approximate value: $55 USD per person
Dance Cajun and Dinner
Come and enjoy local Cajun cuisine and live Cajun/Zydeco music at a popular restaurant where the locals dance the night away. A great opportunity to sample the famous seafood from the Louisiana bayous and learn to dance to the Cajun music from an entertaining local couple!
Approximate value: $54 USD per person
Court Of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch
Experience a leisurely jazz brunch at The Court of Two Sisters Restaurant. This restaurant is not only known for its sumptuous food but also for its rich history. The location has long played a significant role in the history of the French Quarter and old New Orleans. You'll be entertained by the Jambalaya Jams trio, while enjoying a selection of over eighty items prepared fresh daily.
Approximate value: $38 USD per person
Ghosts & Spirits Walking Tour
With its colorful history and unique traditions, it is no wonder so many New Orleans homes and taverns have been investigated by paranormal investigators. You'll visit several haunted sites and hear about the stories featured on The History Channel and The Discovery Channel. Hear ghostly stories about our haunted hotels and the courthouse where our state supreme court is based. We even visit a former slave exchange. Each guide has researched these "other spirits" of the Vieux Carre, so no two tours are exactly alike. Take an exciting look at the relics of voodoo ceremonies, a vampire slaying kit, and age old tools of the trade used by mystical and mysterious inhabitants of our city. Bring your camera. You never know who will want to pose for a picture!
Approximate value: $26 USD per person
Jean Lafitte Airboat Swamp Tour with Transportation
Get ready for an exciting adventure! Take a thrilling ride through the swamps and bayous of Louisiana, accessible only by airboat. The captain, a native of the area, offers a colorful history of the Cajun way of life. You'll come face to face with alligators, snakes, and other native creatures while touring their neighborhood. Bring your camera to capture the thrills and chills of this unforgettable swampland journey! This airboat holds 21 passengers.
Approximate value: $85 USD per person
Jean Lafitte Small Airboat Swamp Tour with Transportation
Get ready for an exciting adventure! A small 10 passenger airboat is used for maximum speed and excitement on this tour. Take a thrilling ride through the swamps and bayous of Louisiana, accessible only by airboat. The captain, a native of the area, offers a colorful history of the Cajun way of life. You'll come face to face with alligators, snakes, and other native creatures while touring their neighborhood. Bring your camera to capture the thrills and chills of this unforgettable swampland journey!
Approximate value: $105 USD per person
Jean Lafitte Swamp Tour with R/T Transportation
Head down to the swamp on a real life adventure - view fascinating plant life, live alligators and many other wild creatures as you glide down haunting bayous lined with moss-draped cypress trees in a pontoon-style boat. Tour at 10:00am with hotel pick up at 9:00am. Tours last approximately one hour and 45 minutes. Includes return transportation to New Orleans.
Approximate value: $49 USD per person
Oak Alley Plantation Tour
Experience a bygone era in one of the South's most beautiful settings-Oak Alley Plantation, built in 1839. Marvel at the unbelievable quarter-mile long alley of 28 magnificent Oak trees, each over 250 years old. Perhaps the most photographed plantation ever, Oak Alley has been the setting for such motion pictures as "Interview with a Vampire," "Primary Colors," and the wedding of Bo and Hope from the daytime soap opera, "Days of Our Lives." Your guided tour will reveal the fascinating stories of the home and its history.
Approximate value: $62 USD per person
Plantation & Swamp Tour
Tour Destrehan Plantation, established in 1787, the oldest documented French Colonial style house in the lower Mississippi Valley. This majestic antebellum plantation home watches over the banks of the Mississippi River, only a few minutes upriver from New Orleans. Costumed docents will intrigue you with the history of the Destrehan family's sugar dynasty, historic events that occurred at this site, and the unique architectural features of the plantation. Daily trade demonstrations by costumed artisans give an insight to long-forgotten skills that were a vital part of everyday life centuries ago. Then it's a short ride to the Manchac Swamp where you will cruise through a privately-owned wildlife refuge, home to the legend of "Rougarou", the Cajun werewolf. You might not find the "Rougarou", but you'll get up close and personal with some alligators in an area where time seems to stand still.
Approximate value: $87 USD per person
Steamboat Natchez Jazz Cruise with Dinner
Savor the beauty and romance of the New Orleans skyline aboard the authentic Steamboat NATCHEZ-New Orleans' only authentic Steamboat! Enjoy casual buffet-style dining and live jazz by the world renowned "Dukes of Dixieland." The Steamboat NATCHEZ decks, engine room, and bars will be open for your enjoyment either before or after dinner.
Approximate value: $79 USD per person
Know Before You Go
These Know Before You Go travel tips are designed with you in mind, with helpful hints to help you prepare for and enjoy your escorted vacation. They are your guide to getting ready and contain general information on travel documentation, customs, and the country/countries you will be visiting, including budgeting, transportation, climate, languages, and much more. With Globus, you benefit from our experience.
* The "Starting at" or listed price is based on the lowest price available to book. Price is per passenger based on double occupancy and does not include airfare; additional fees/charges are not included. If a price is crossed out, the new price includes a limited time promotional offer(s) – please review current promotions or deals
for additional information. Some tours require intra-vacation flights (and in some cases intra-vacation segments must be purchased from Cosmos).