Trace America’s musical roots on this wonderful 12 day/11 night Independent rail tour that takes you from vibrant, bustling cosmopolitan Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan, south to the Land of Blues and the mecca of America’s music scene – Memphis, before following the mighty Mississippi to the ‘Big Easy’ – New Orleans. All three cities are linked by train – city centre to city centre – so there’s no need to rent a car and the selected hotels are carefully chosen to provide excellent bases for your enjoyment of each city. The tour operates daily between early May to the end of October (prices for other departure dates available on request).
Day 1. Arrive Chicago Days 2 & 3. Explore Chicago. Day 4. Board the train for Memphis Day 5. Arrive Memphis. Days 6 & 7. Day 8. Heading for the Big Easy! Days 9, 10 & 11. Day 12. Depart New Orleans.
Day 1. Arrive Chicago. Arrive at Chicago’s impressive O’Hare International Airport and make your way to your city centre hotel. Commence your exploration of Chicago this evening, or relax and enjoy your hotel. Overnight: Chicago Essex Inn (Standard) or Silversmith Hotel (Superior).
Days 2 & 3. Explore Chicago. Two full days to get to know this wonderful city. The architecture is breathtaking and this is a very walk-able city, so strolling the wide boulevards of downtown is a great way to get to know the city. The shopping of The Magnificent Mile of North Michigan Avenue is legendary. The vibrant and diverse music scene is yours to discover – don’t miss the House of Blues, Buddy Guy’s Legends and many others. The city hosts several music festivals throughout the year and they are well worth incorporating in your stay if you can. Spend a day at the beach – yes, that’s right, the beaches of Lake Michigan are just a short walk from downtown Chicago. There are numerous boat tours, segway, bus and walking tours of the city with a variety of themes ranging from Chicago’s gangster past to the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Enjoy the views from some of America’s tallest buildings such as the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center before taking in a sports game at one of Chicago’s many top-rated teams. Overnight: Chicago Eseex Inn (Standard) or Silversmith Hotel (Superior).
Day 4. Board the train for Memphis. Most of today is free for you to continue to discover Chicago before boarding your Amtrak ‘City of New Orleans’ overnight journey to Memphis. The cost of roomette accommodation is included. Relax and enjoy the rhythm of the rails as your train transports you south to the ‘Land of Blues’ on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River! Overnight: Amtrak train (roomette).
Day 5. Arrive Memphis. An early morning arrival in Memphis today allows you to start exploring the city right away – perhaps after a breakfast at one of the cities famous restaurants such as the Arcade where Elvis used to frequent (last booth on the left, with his back to the restaurant). Must do’s for any music fan include the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Sun Studios, the Memphis Rock’ n’ Soul museum, the clubs and bars of Beale Street – and of course the home of the king – Graceland! Overnight: Comfort Inn Downtown (Standard) or Peabody Hotel (Superior).
Day 8. Heading for the Big Easy! Reboard the “City of New Orleans” this morning for the journey to New Orleans. This is a daytime service, so sit back, relax and enjoy the view as the train carries you through the states of Mississippi and Louisiana, past cotton fields and the Mississippi Delta to New Orleans where you arrive in the mid-afternoon. After checking in to your hotel in the heart of the city’s downtown/French Quarter discover the amazing nightlife of this fabulous city. Overnight: Hampton Inn Downtown/French Quarter (Standard) or Monteleone Hotel French Quarter (Superior).
Days 9, 10 & 11. Birthplace of American music. Three full days to enjoy the Southern hospitality and rich culture of New Orleans, it’s music scene, amazing nightlife, riverboat cruises, tours to the bayous and many festivals. Discover the fine restaurants, vibrant music clubs and bars of the French Quarter by night, while by day ride a streetcar or cruise the Mississippi on a vintage stern-wheeler paddle steamer before taking in a game at the magnificent Superdome. This is going to be a very busy and fun-filled three days! Overnight: Hampton Inn Downtown/French Quarter (Standard) or Monteleone Hotel French Quarter (Superior).
Day 12. Depart New Orleans. Head for the airport today for the return flight to the UK.
Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Prices per adult
Sharing room type
Prices in £’s
Single Double Triple Quad Prices per adult
Sharing room type
Prices in £’s
Single Double Triple Quad Prices from On request On request On request On request Prices from On request On request On request On request
Business Class service available on the train – prices available on request.
* 11 nights hotel/train accommodation.
* Amtrak rail service as indicated.
Not included: Airfares, airport taxes, transfers, optional sightseeing excursions, meals (unless indicated), personal expenses.
Children under 12 yrs pay £145.00 when sharing a room with their parents and using existing bedding at hotels.
Location No. nights Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Chicago 3 Chicago Essex Inn Silversmith Hotel 1 Amtrak train (roomette) Amtrak train (roomette) Memphis 3 Comfort Inn Downtown (bkfst) Peabody Hotel New Orleans 4 Hampton Inn Downtown French Quarter (bkfst) Monteleone Hotel French Quarter
Just America provides a full tailor-made holiday service so if you would like a quote for a package including flights, car rental, optional excursions etc., please let us know at the time of booking. We can also adapt the itinerary to add or reduce nights in each location, offer alternate hotels and arrange onward travel to other North American destinations.
Tour prices:The prices shown in the price panels are for the accommodation elements only, they do not include flights or car rental (unless indicated). This enables you to choose the airline and car of your choice and add them to the accommodation package to create your holiday. Our reservations staff will be pleased to help you with flight availability, to suggest which is the best airline for your itinerary and to advise you of any special offers the airlines may have introduced.
Hotels:Hotels featured in our self-drive and independent tours are chosen for their location, value for money and facilities. Whenever possible we offer a choice of Standard or Superior hotels. There is no recognised 'star' system throughout North America for classifying hotels, motels and resorts. The hotel ratings for our tours are subjective and are provided to give you an understanding as to the level of facility. They are either the hotel's official categorisation as per the Official Hotel & Resort Guide, or Just America's. Standards vary from location to location, therefore ratings in the remote areas can differ from those in the cities. Standard hotels would be those classified as Moderate, and Superior hotels would be First Class, in the Official Hotel and Resort Guide. National Park accommodations are more rustic and are chosen almost entirely because of their location. It should not be assumed that because an hotel is listed as Superior that it has certain amenities. Often a hotel is classified as Superior due to its position, views or room standard, it does not always follow that a superior hotel will have a swimming pool, hair-dryers, golf course, room service etc. We will try to provide information on individual hotels on request although the internet is usually the quickest and most accurate source of information. Hotel rooms in North America usually have one or two double beds. Triple and Quad rooms have two double beds. Very few hotels in North America have three or four beds. It is sometimes possible to have a rollaway bed which can be requested, but cannot be guaranteed. Occasionally hotels are chosen purely for their location - i.e. half-way between two points of interest - and may be included as a one night stop to break up an otherwise long journey. Such hotels may not have the full facilities normally associated with a Standard or Superior hotel, but sometimes we don't have any other choice. Where possible hotels providing free car parking have been included, however in some locations, such as city centres, the hotels may make a charge.
Note:Hotels are not usually ready to accept guests until after 3 or 4 pm, so please try not to check in before mid-afternoon. Check out time is usually before 11 am or 12 noon. It is sometimes possible to arrange late check out, or the storage of luggage, but this is at the discretion of the hotel.
Tour notes and itineraries:On several of our tours the tour notes and itineraries are provided at the first hotel. On other tours this information is forwarded with the travel documents approximately 14 days prior to departure. We will endeavour to provide the best information we can to help you, but it is not our policy to provide mile by mile detailed route guides, the frequent changes to local road conditions, layouts etc., makes this impossible. We do provide maps, guides to the major attractions en route, and directions to hotels whenever possible. These are independent self-drive holidays and you will be required to read a map and locate attractions and hotels. Sat.Nav. is available from the car rental companies - at a charge - and you may find this useful, however all technology is prone to failure so we always recommend that you keep the maps handy.
Tailor-made holidays:We will be pleased to discuss your own ideas and itineraries and help you plan your holiday. If you would like to email, fax or mail an outline of your tour with dates, number of people, ages of children etc., to us we will be happy to advise you. We request that you include your daytime telephone number on all correspondence. Where you have chosen the route and we have designed a tailor-made holiday for you, it may not be possible to provide you with a detailed tour itinerary. We suggest that you read up about the area you are planning to visit well in advance, preferably before you book the holiday. Insight Guides cover almost every region of North America and are about the best on the market. Just America can also provide a some tourist information subject to availability, but we do not have detailed route information to cover every area of the Continent. You might find the internet to be the best source of free, up-to-date information.
National Park Passes:Both the US and Canada charge entrance fees for their national parks, and if you are visiting a number of parks, this cost can add up to a significant amount. We recommend that you purchase a Parks Pass at the first national park you visit. For the US the pass currently costs $80 for up to four adults (children under 16 are free). In Canada a family pass currently costs $136.40. Both passes provide unlimited visits to that country's parks for 12 months. The passes can only be used in the country of purchase. Full details available at www.nps.gov (for USA) and www.pc.gc.ca/index_e.asp