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Travel Guide

Deep South

A lifestyle full of contradictions, refined and messy at the same time

Away from the noise and the frantic life in the big cities of the United States, the american South moves to slower, more relaxed rhythms, profoundly connected to its past but always looking into the future. You can recognize in the local residents a lifestyle full of contradictions, refined and chaotic at the same time. It is a small universe in its own with a shared history between several states; a typical drawl in the way they speak, the melting pot between different cultures, its own literature, the unprecedented music history and infinite spaces. All these things make the American South truly “great.” 

Which states does it include?

Texas
Florida
Mississippi
Georgia
North Carolina
South Carolina
Tennessee
Alabama
Louisiana
Arkansas

When to go?

Best times to visit the South of the United States are in the spring and fall when the heat and summer storms give way to milder temperatures. Winter is perfect to visit Florida, hot and sunny.

The South of the United States has a moderate climate that allows you to experience it to the fullest throughout the year, whether we are talking about vast Texas lands or scenic mountain trails from Tennessee to South Carolina and sunny beaches of Florida. The diversity and the beauty of the landscapes, the mixture of different traditions and the thriving art are nurturing the strong pride and sense of belonging of the people living in this region. From the Louisiana and Georgia plantations to the steamboats on the Mississippi, from the battles for civil rights in Alabama to the Nascar races, the southernmost states in the USA all bear an irresistible charm. And those interested in excellent cuisine will definitely be impressed with the Southern food, from Cajun cuisine to barbecue and fresh fish.

Texas

A very famous state that deserves to be explored carefully and with an open minded

Texas has certainly plenty of character. People look you straight in the eye and are very straightforward, and unless you are a cattle thief you will only encounter sincere curiosity towards tourists venturing into discovering a little known state covering an area larger than the whole of France. That being said, get ready to see every single stereotype confirmed and debunked all in the same day: Texas is a land of grouchy stockmen walking around in cowboy hats and with guns, do the honky-tonk and rev the engines of their pickup trucks…but those are the same people that live in a city like Austin, which has always been one of the most liberal and the most free cities in the United States, where there are more pedicabs than taxis and live music never stops. Therefore, get ready to discover a state that you can grow to like much more than you have expected! The cities are definitely diverse: Dallas represents the wealthy Texas just like in the 1980’s TV shows; Austin has a more hipster and relaxed vibe with dozens of live music bars; San Antonio is a mix of Mexico, Wild West and United States – make sure to take a walk along the river! Houston is the best place to gram a juicy steak surrounded by Texan oil magnates in cowboy hats. Texas is more than just guns and barbecue (although it’s the most delicious you’ll find in the United States) – the state has 24 national parks, including the gigantic Big Bend National Park, some towns with absurd names (Tarzan, Milano, Paris…) and surreal landscapes such as Marfa, as well as beaches with more or less sparkling waters in the part of the Gulf of Mexico. A place worth a visit is definitely Bandera, the cowboy capital of the world that still preserves its genuine charm and has a nice geographic position, green and wooded with amazing ranches. Up until a few years ago it was almost obligatory to sneak into Mexico for some tequila, but now this is only advised during the day, and only after checking the situation with the border control. 

See the suggested tours in this area:
12 days / 11 nights
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2.813
8 days / 7 nights
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2.448
11 days / 10 nights
Bus tour
5.375
8 days / 7 nights
Car tour
1.556

Florida

A travel to Florida: sea, beaches, alligators...and Disneyworld!

Sun, beaches, crystal clear ocean, amusement parks, nature and just a little bit of craziness – in one word, Florida! The Sunshine State has one word for you, and the word is “fun.” Whether we are talking about man-made fun or the natural beauties of the peninsula, you won’t be disappointed and you will definitely be coming for more. The cosmopolitan Miami is a perfect mix of a tropical paradise and a city of arts, exquisite cuisine and frantic night life. After you take a swim in the green and blue waters of South Beach, you can admire the art decò buildings on the Ocean Drive, visit the tabaqueros of Cuban cigars in Little Havana and enjoy a breath-taking sunset at Key Biscayne. The Overseas Highway will take you in a shiny convertible towards the Florida Keys, from the laid-back Key Largo with its Christ of the Abyss, all the way to the more southern and bizarre Key West, where you can go snorkelling around coral reefs and try the famous Key Lime Pie. The Everglades, of course, are something absolutely unique you need to see. It is more than just a swamp, but an immense submerged grassland with tropical vegetation and many almost extinct species of birds you can discover in a canoe, kayak, boat or on foot. If you see two yellow eyes shining from the water, it means you have found one of the absolute guardians of the area, the alligators. When Walt Disney said that Florida takes you from reality and throws you into the imagination, he was absolutely right, and the perfect embodiment of this thought is certainly Orlando, the world capital of amusement parks. From the Seaworld to the fantastic Disneyworld or the futuristic Epcot, through MGM and Universal Studios and the latest one, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the fun is guaranteed. The eastern coast of Florida is all about gorgeous beaches one next to the other and famous ocean cities such as Daytona Beach, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Thanks to the NASA headquarters and Kennedy Space Center, this area is also called “Space Coast.” 

See the suggested tours in this area:
8 days / 7 nights
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1.408
3 days / 2 nights
Car tour
540
3 days / 2 nights
Motorcycle tour
974
8 days / 7 nights
Motorcycle tour
1.948

Mississippi

Big cotton fields, the long country roads, steamboats and the Blues!

The name of the State of Mississippi comes from the Native Indian word meaning “big river,” referring, of course, to the Mississippi River that runs across the region before it spills into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Even though it is one of the most neglected states, Mississippi is also one of the states with the biggest legendary status: large cotton fields, long countryside roads, steamboats and the blues are all leitmotivs that will accompany you on your journey through the Magnolia States. Mississippi bears the signs of the Civil War more than any other state, so much so that even today the state flag features the symbol of the Confederation. In Vicksburg, you can visit the enormous battlefield of the National Military Park with infinite white tombstones of the Confederate soldiers. If you fancy a trip down the history to the time before the Civil War, you can take the Natchez Trace Highway leading, well, to Natchez, a distinct little town with lots of colonial-style mansions which in the spring and fall open their doors to the public in what very much looks like a pilgrimage. A true gem of this state is Mammy’s Cupboard, a strange restaurant shaped like a gigantic Mammy, the stereotypical Southern nanny. The region that is the most representative of the American culture and especially of the blues is certainly the Mississippi Delta, and especially Clarksdale, where throughout the year you can catch various blues music festivals. Another place where music is the most important thing in the world is Tupelo, the birthplace of the King of Rock’n’Roll, Elvis Presley. The house where he spent his childhood is today a museum with the Elvis picnic basket as its best-selling item. The Gulf Coast area offers a classic summerhome vibe, with long white beaches in Biloxi and the shore filled with casinos that gather all the gamblers in the South. 

See the suggested tours in this area:
8 days / 7 nights
Car tour
1.556
12 days / 11 nights
Car tour
2.813
8 days / 7 nights
Motorcycle tour
2.077
11 days / 10 nights
Bus tour
5.375

Georgia

A combination of the best you can find in the great South of the United States!

If, when you imagine the American South, you think of white cotton fields, colonial mansions in “Gone with the Wind” style and the sweet and melancholic sound of black spirituals, then you must be thinking of Georgia. A synonym for plantations, Civil War and Coca-Cola, the Peach State is the essence of all the best things the South has to offer. The discovery of Georgia can only start from one point – the state capital, Atlanta, a city in constant movement, with one of the busiest airports in the world. Don’t miss the new Coca-Cola museum, the Georgia Aquarium, which is the biggest aquarium in the world, the headquarters of the CNN and the Centennial Olympic Park which was opened in occasion of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Atlanta is particularly proud of being the birthplace of Martin Luther King, to whom it has dedicated several points of interest, including his grave. For a great view of the city from afar, we suggest you go to the top of Stone Mountain, a mighty granite mountain with the faces of some of the Confederate heroes carved in it. As you cross the fields of rustic central Georgia, you reach Savannah, the city with a strong historic identity that also hides a mischievous, sinful side. To understand better the spirit of Savannah, just look at the residents as they walk around the Forsyth Park or go to one of the wild student parties. If you liked the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, then visiting the home of the real Mercer Williams is a must. Georgia is, in fact, a terrific destination for movie enthusiasts, since so many great films were shot there, from the classics such as “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Driving Miss Daisy,” to more modern ones like “Forrest Gump” and “Hunger Games.” If you want to toast  your “on the road” trip, remember not to do it on Sunday, since, due to the “blue laws,” this is one day of the week when no one is allowed to sell any alcohol. 

See the suggested tours in this area:
4 days / 3 nights
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1.922
14 days / 13 nights
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4.263
8 days / 7 nights
Motorcycle tour
2.077
11 days / 10 nights
Bus tour
5.375

North Carolina

Beaches, mountains and American culture

Did you think that notorious pirate Blackbeard was just a made-up character like everyone else? Well, you were wrong. Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, raided the seas outside of American colonies and often (and gladly) took refuge along the coast of North Carolina. The scenic roads that today run along the coast and those that wind around the Appalachian mountains will take you to this, at the same time progressive and backward, state. If you decide to cross the state on Blue Ridge Parkway, you will be greatly rewarded by some incredible and unforgettable views. The pristine islands of the Outer Banks, a thin, 100 miles long strip of sand, offer entertainment and peace, sunny beaches and fresh oysters and shrimps. For those of you who are into diving, the bottom of the ocean around these islands hides the remains of almost 2000 sunken ships, which is precisely why this region is called “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” It was right here, at Kitty Hawk, that the Wright Brothers flew the first motor airplane in 1903. Moving down south, the coast is full of lighthouses, inlets and distinct villages and you can even spot herds of wild ponies! If you turn and move inland, you will find the main urban centers of the state: the capital Raleigh, the “City of Medicine” or Durham and the university city of Chapel Hill, which together form the so-called “Triangle.” A piece of trivia: the basketball legend Michael Jordan started his carrier right here at the University of Carolina in Chapel Hill! Continuing towards North-West, you will arrive to the “High Country,” dominated by the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains, at the foot of the which lies Asheville, a hippy student town, home of the Biltmore Estate, the largest house in the United States, which used to belong to the Vanderbilt family. For a “paranormal” experience, go to the Mystery Hill in Blowing Rock, where the normal laws of physics don’t seem to apply: if you drop a ball down an incline, it will roll back up

See the suggested tours in this area:
9 days / 8 nights
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2.508
11 days / 10 nights
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5.375
4 days / 3 nights
Bus tour
1.922
13 days / 12 nights
Motorcycle tour
3.999

South Carolina

This state will open the Eastern gates of the Deep South of the United States

South Carolina is the state that marks the Eastern gateway to the Deep South of the United States. A perfect example of how the southern American regions represent a melting pot of cultures, Palmetto State is famous for the Gullah communities. Plantation workers who have managed to keep alive the traditions of their native lands from the slavery era have left to the modern African Americans a cultural heritage with their own Creole dialect, artistic expression and their own culinary traditions. The vibe is totally different in Charleston, a romantic city with historic mansions that you can admire from an actual carriage. Also known as “The Holy City,” due to many places of worship, Charleston reveals its past through an old slave market and Fort Sunter, where the first shot in the Civil War was fired. From Mt. Pleasant, just outside Charleston, you can explore the Lowcountry lands in a kayak or visit the nearby plantations. After you leave the cities and the surrounding swamps, the view from your window will turn into mostly coastal landscapes. Myrtle Beach will offer you a chance to see exactly how the Americans do their vacation, and you definitely won’t get bored. Moving further down south, almost to the border with Georgia, you will encounter the many islands of the South Carolina barrier. The biggest and the most verdant is Hilton Head Island, a true paradise for golfers, where you can pick between large green expanses and compact white beaches that are even suitable for riding a bike. In the Upcountry, Cherokee Scenic Byway will take you to the heart of the state, with forests, waterfalls, lakes and wild mountains. The residents of South Carolina are very passionate about barbecue, almost a religion for them, so you can rest assured that the best barbecue of your life will be right here in the American South. 

See the suggested tours in this area:
9 days / 8 nights
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2.508
4 days / 3 nights
Bus tour
1.922
11 days / 10 nights
Bus tour
5.375
13 days / 12 nights
Motorcycle tour
3.999

Tennessee

Elvis and Johnny Cash's music is the background to landscapes and cities to be discovered...in Tennessee!

Where to start when it comes to such a multifaceted state as Tennessee? During the day it will surprise you with the unexpected beauty of its landscape, and at night it becomes alive to the sound of soul, blues and country, the genres that in this state have had representatives such as Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton and B.B. King. The Great Smoky Mountains serve as a framework for one of the few national parks with free entrance in the nation – this was actually a condition sine qua non of the Rockefellers offering to finance the park with 5 million dollars! North of Chattanooga, made famous by Glen Miller and “Chattanooga Choo-Choo”, lies the Lost Sea, the biggest underground lake in the United States. The state capital, Nashville, is the absolute live music heaven. Here, the country music fans can find their own Mecca in the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, where, among other memorabilia, they keep the golden Cadillac of Elvis Presley. If, however, you prefer classic arts, Nashville has an actual-size reproduction of the Parthenon of Athens! No trip in Tennessee would be complete without a stop in Memphis, and you can’t visit Memphis without visiting Graceland, of course, the estate where Elvis lived and died. While you’re there, make sure to do a tour of the legendary Sun Studio, where such names as Johnny Cash, Elvis and U2 have recorded some of their best albums. Memphis also has its own Walk of Fame, but unlike the one in Los Angeles, the sidewalk contains musical notes with names of famous musicians. Tennessee is also the home of Jack Daniel’s whisky, with a factory in Lynchburg, in one of the “dry counties,” where it is not allowed to sell hard liquor. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t buy a bottle of the famous bourbon at the factory. Like any self-respecting American state, Tennessee also has its own peculiarities: Dollywood, an amusement park inspired by the local diva Dolly Parton and the ban on shooting animals from a moving vehicle, with the exception of…whales!

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2.508
14 days / 13 nights
Car tour
4.263
8 days / 7 nights
Motorcycle tour
2.077
8 days / 7 nights
Car tour
1.556

Alabama

The real heart of the United States

Alabama is the “Heart of Dixie State”, the true heart of the Southern states and the historic epicenter of the civil rights movement of the African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s. Everyone knows the story of Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus and thus started a civil disobedie which spurred several protests. In Montgomery, there is a museum that exhibits a video reconstruction of this event, as well as a 1:1 diorama of the bus. The state capital also insists on its literary orientation with the Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, located inside the home of the two famous authors, and has a highly renowned Shakespeare festival that takes place every summer in Blount Cultural Park. A city that is even more permeated by history than Montgomery is Birmingham, where the most important, as well as the most violent events of the racial movement took place, as the Civil Rights District shows us. Looking up in Vulcan Park, you will find the second largest statue in the United States, representing, of course, the Vulcan. The statue holds another record – it is the largest cast iron statue in the world, weighing as much as 50 tons. Alabama also has its own air and space attraction – the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, affiliate of the Smithsonian in Washington, which has the biggest collection of space missiles in America. The towns become less frequent as you approach the coast, where the only urban center is Mobile, lying halfway between Mississippi and Florida. Mobile is famous for the oldest Mardi Gras party which is almost as good as the more exuberant one in New Orleans. If you are a golf fan, the city has a world-famous course with 468 holes. Go to the shore to see some dolphins, go hiking or simply lay pack and relax on the silvery beaches of the Gulf Coast, listening to the sounds of “Sweet Home Alabama”.

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Car tour
2.813
11 days / 10 nights
Bus tour
5.375
4 days / 3 nights
Bus tour
1.922
14 days / 13 nights
Car tour
4.263

Louisiana

Among the plantations of Louisiana, the state of jazz and swamps, Mardi Gras and Voodoo, Louis Armstrong and Truman Capote...

Welcome to the state of jazz and the swamps, the state of Mardi Gras and of voodoo, of Louis Armstrong and Truman Capote, of zydeco and Creole culture: welcome to Louisiana! Laissez les bons temps rouler – let the good times roll, surrendering yourself to the bohemian New Orleans and its French Quarter, where the streets are still illuminated by the old lampposts and the carriages are still pulled by horses. Whether you are looking for history, theatre and intrigue, voodoo and black magic stories, legendary jazz or good Cajun cuisine, New Orleans will offer a vibe that you will not find in any other city in the United States. As you leave the city, you find yourself in a fascinating setting of swamps, where you can take a boat trip to see some alligators and herons. River Road will take you along the Mississippi to the quiet state capital of Baton Rouge and to some of the most beautiful remaining plantations, such as the Oak Alley and Laura Plantation. Continuing down south you will arrive to the Cajun Country, which extends from Houma all the way to the Texas border, passing through scenic bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin. From Lafayette and beyond, in small and laid-back communities of French descendants you will even get a chance to show off your best French pronunciation! If you like oysters, the town of Abbeyville makes them best ones in the entire state. The carefree and vital spirit that is typical of the coastal region of the Bayou State are quite far from the mostly conservative and decidedly Southern mindset of the Northern part of the state, with a strong religious zeal, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the “Bible Belt.” Here the cotton fields and decadent colonial houses are mixed with ranches and country music with a strong Texan flavor, and although the residents are somewhat less festive, they will still know just how to make your stay very pleasant. From north to south, from east to west, Louisiana’s joie de vivre will bewitch you!

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Car tour
4.263
21 days / 20 nights
Car tour
6.422
8 days / 7 nights
Motorcycle tour
2.077
4 days / 3 nights
Bus tour
1.922

Arkansas

Perfect getaway for a relaxed holiday and outdoor life!

Tucked in between the Midwest and the South, Arkansas is the perfect destination for a relaxed vacation in the open air. With its many state parks, hidden lakes in the Ozarks and Ouachita Mountains and slopes sprinkled with pasturing horses, it makes perfect sense that Arkansas was nicknamed “The Natural State.” You can go rafting along the rivers here that will give you a whole new outlook of the surrounding landscapes, or you can simply relax with some trout fishing. This particular fish is the mainstay of the menus in restaurants throughout the region. If you are more of a meat person, don’t worry, some of the best barbecues in the South come precisely from here, including the former president of the USA and the State's favourite son, Bill Clinton's best BBQ. The state capital, Little Rock, has even dedicated an entire museum to him, with an annex that represents the reconstruction of the legendary Oval Office with all the gifts the president received during his term. Have you ever wondered how this city got its name? Little Rock allows you to discover it by yourself: hidden in the Riverfront Park, on the banks of the Arkansas River, there is an actual “little rock” that gave the city its name. Another small gem of this state is the Eureka Springs, a Victorian village at the foot of the Ozark Mountains. It may seem that when it comes to attractions this place only has to offer the 21m tall statue of the Christ of the Ozarks (yes, just like the Christ the Redeemer in Rio!), but in fact Eureka Springs will impress you with its country and blues music and the warm hospitality of its residents. Do not miss the fascinating Glass Church, where spirituality and the nature blend and become one. For “hotter” experiences, you can explore Hot Springs with its 27 natural springs: thermal spas and civic fountains release each day as much as 3.790.000 liters of water at 62°C! Although often associated with the hillbilly culture

See the suggested tours in this area:
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2.448
14 days / 13 nights
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4.263
9 days / 8 nights
Car tour
2.508
12 days / 11 nights
Car tour
2.813