Sightseeing:In New Orleans and Nashville; orientation tours in Atlanta and Baton Rouge, Memphis, St. Augustine; Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, Mardi Gras parade, Savannah Trolley Tour, pre-Civil War home, Graceland, Studio B, Country Music Hall of Fame, and reserved premier seating at the Grand Ole Opry. Inside visits as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Scenic Highlights:French Quarter, Mississippi River, Cajun Country, and Chattahoochee National Forest.
Local Guides for city sightseeing in New Orleans, Nashville, and Savannah; services of a professional Tour Director.
NOTE:This special departure include all activities on our regular departure, plus a themed Mardi Gras dinner. Itinerary and prices are subject to change for the February 26, 2017 departure.
Day 1New Orleans
Enjoy time at leisure to relax or to do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
Day 2New Orleans
The morning is dedicated to the sights and sounds of this Old World city. First, visit the French Quarter, including St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square. Next, learn about the city’s unique burial customs at an above ground cemetery, followed by a leisurely drive down historic St. Charles Avenue to enjoy its stately mansions and clanging streetcars. Sightseeing ends with a must do visit to BLAINE KERN’s MARDI GRAS WORLD. Your guided sightseeing tour shows you where Mardi Gras magic is made. Walk among towering figures of fantasy. Marvel at the skill and technology that animate mega-floats. Acquire an insider’s appreciation of the history and traditions of Carnival. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 3New Orleans
Today, experience the colorful parades, floats and costumes of "Fat Tuesday"! Try to catch colorful doubloons as they are thrown from the floats - but watch out, the competition is fierce! Try the famous King Cake with coffee, and don the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, gold and purple in preparation for New Orleans' most renowned and exciting day of celebration. Tonight the celebrations continue with a delicious MARDI GRAS themed dinner at the Court of Two Sisters with its picturesque old-world courtyard with original gas lights and flowing fountains adding to the unique history of this French Quarter building. (D)
Day 4New Orleans–Baton Rouge–Natchez
Drive through the heart of Cajun Country to Baton Rouge for an orientation tour that features the Governor’s Mansion and the State Capitol. Next, on to elegant Natchez, a thriving port in the golden years of the cotton trade. Visit a gracious PRE-CIVIL WAR HOME featuring fine collections of period furniture and paintings. In the evening, relax and perhaps sip a refreshing mint julep as the sun goes down.
Drive a portion of the Natchez Trace Parkway to Jackson, then north through rural Mississippi to Memphis. On arrival, acquaint yourself with the town during an included orientation tour. For your first night in the “Home of the Blues,” why not visit one of the famous music clubs on Beale Street, immortalized in WC Handy’s famous songs? (B)
Day 6Memphis–Graceland Visit–Nashville
A trip to Memphis would not be complete without visiting GRACELAND, the palatial home of “The King,” Elvis Presley. Our guided platinum audio tour focuses on the splendid garden and the opulent 15,000-square-foot mansion. Afterward, the “Capital of Country Music,” Nashville.
Its association with country music has made the name “Nashville” world famous, but it’s not just music fans who will find this charming Southern city a delight. Start your day with a visit to STUDIO B, Nashville’s oldest surviving recording studio and one of the country’s most important. Afterward, enjoy a sightseeing tour of the famous landmarks, including the Parthenon, the State Capitol, Bicentennial State Park, and the recording studios of Music Row. Then, visit the COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME with its glittering costumes, rare instruments, and Elvis Presley’s “solid-gold” Cadillac. This evening you have reserved premier seating for an unforgettable show at the world famous GRAND OLE OPRY, a mecca for country musicians since 1925.
First stop today is Chattanooga, home of the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Then, enter the “Peach State” of Georgia and continue through Chattahoochee National Forest to the fast growing metropolis of Atlanta, former home and burial place of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Visit the grave and eternal flame dedicated to preserving his legacy. After a brief orientation tour, the rest of the day is yours to explore further or relax.
Head south through rich, rolling farmland to the historic seaport of Savannah for a 2-night stay. On this afternoon’s TROLLEY TOUR, your tour highlights attractions such as the City Market, Forsyth Park, Mercer House, Madison Square (where General Sherman concluded his “March to the Sea”), Colonial Park Cemetery, and the world-famous River Street. This evening is free to explore this charming city on your own.
A day at leisure. Shop on cobblestoned River Street or stroll among the many squares surrounded by elegant homes and gardens. Don’t miss the impressive Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum to learn about Savannah’s important role in maritime history. (CB)
Day 11Savannah–St. Augustine–Orlando
Travel into the “Sunshine State” of Florida, stopping first at St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States. You will see the Oldest Government House and the Spanish fortress, Castillo de San Marcos, on your orientation tour. Then, drive to the magical city of Orlando. (CB)
A full day to relax and explore the many sights in the Orlando area. Your Tour Director will suggest a varied and exciting selection of optional outings, such as Disney’s huge entertainment parks, including the Magic Kingdom®, Animal Kingdom®, Epcot®, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios® (formally MGM Studios). Also on the list is exciting Universal Studios®.
The trip ends today with guests departing on individual schedules. Transfers to Orlando International Airport are included. You can extend your vacation with extra nights and explore the “Sunshine State” further with a variety of exciting optional activities.
Transportation:Private, deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach while touring.
1 breakfast, 2 continental breakfasts, 1 dinner