14-days/13 nights Self-drive tour
Trace America’s musical heritage from the fabulous city of Chicago, down the Mississippi to Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans, then on to Birmingham, Chattanooga and Nashville before returning to Chicago via Louisville. Explore the music clubs and bars of Beale Street and enjoy a visit to Graceland, see where many famous records were made in the Stax and Sun Studios. Country music lovers will enjoy a night at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and a stroll along Nashville’s Walk Of Fame. The jazz clubs of New Orleans, the House of Blues in Chicago, the clubs and bars of Memphis and Nashville offer a wonderful opportunity to experience America’s musical traditions up close and personal. Tour operated by Americantours International (ATI).
Day 1. Arrive Chicago. Day 2. Chicago. Day 3. Chicago, St. Louis (approx. 290 miles). Day 4. St. Louis, Memphis (approx. 280 miles). Day 5. Memphis Day 6. Memphis, Vicksburg (approx. 146 miles). Day 7. Vicksburg, New Orleans (approx. 294 miles). Day 8. New Orleans. Day 9. New Orleans, Birmingham (approx. 340 miles). Day 10. Birmingham, Chattanooga (approx. 148 miles). Day 11. Chattanooga, Nashville (approx. 133 miles). Day 12. Nashville, Louisville (approx. 175 miles). Day 13. Louisville, Chicago (approx. 300 miles). Day 14. Depart Chicago
√ Gaze at Chicago’s Willis Tower, one of the tallest buildings in North America*
√ Explore numerous scene-stealing film locations located throughout the Windy City.
√ Visit the House of Blues*
√ Get a bird’s eye view of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis*
√ Travel back in time during the Odyssey Theater’s “Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West”.
√ Embark on the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll experience at Elvis’s Graceland*
√ Walk down Beale Street for a taste of the music Memphis makes today.
√ Visit the Delta Blues Museum and explore the history and heritage of the blues*
√ Let the good times roll at one of Mississippi’s 24-hour casinos.
√ Enjoy great music & film sites in New Orleans.
√ Get your jazz in the French Quarter, New Orleans original neighbourhood.
√ Immerse yourself in Alabama’s rich jazz heritage at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame*
√ Search out the original WhistleStop Cafe, the setting for the novel “Fried Green Tomatoes”
√ Taste the south’s favourite snack, the MoonPie, which originated in Chattanooga.
√ Walk Nashville’s Music City Walk of Fame honoring country performers of nation reputation.
√ Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum located on Nashville’s Music Row*
√ Admire the grounds of “My Old Kentucky Home”, Kentucky’s state song
* Admission fees not included.
Day 1. Arrive Chicago. Arrive in Chicago. Pick up your rental car at the airport and proceed to your hotel. Enjoy your evening at leisure.
Day 2. Chicago. While exploring this vibrant city located on the shores of Lake Michigan, you will notice many famous landmarks and buildings from films such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, While You Were Sleeping, and The Road to Perdition, not to mention The Blues Brothers. Try and locate the Blues Brothers Soul Food restaurant on Maxwell Street, and don’t forget to pay a visit to the House of Blues jazz club.
Day 3. Chicago – St. Louis (approx. 290 miles). “Meet Me in St. Louis” is a summary of today’s journey. Upon arrival, take a tram ride (optional) to the top of the famous St. Louis Arch and get a city view from 630 feet. Then take time to view Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West, a movie produced by the National Geographic Society and viewed on a giant four-story screen at the Gateway Arch.
Day 4. St. Louis – Memphis (approx. 280 miles). Memphis offers a multitude of musical and movie moments, and there are two nights to explore your favorites. Start with a visit to Graceland, home of the late Elvis Presley, then choose between the Rock & Soul Museum, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Gibson Guitar Factory, or Sun Studio where musicians such as B.B. King, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded rock’n’roll hits.
Day 5. Memphis. During your stay, check for any outdoor concerts at the Mud Island outdoor amphitheater. Located right on the Mississippi River, Mud Island River Park is a historic and scenic outdoor area. Or, dine in B.B. King’s restaurant on famous Beale Street.
Day 6 Memphis – Vicksburg (approx. 146 miles). Travel from Memphis to Clarksdale, heart of the Delta Blues. Stop to tour the Delta Blues Museum filled with memorabilia from B.B. King and Muddy Waters. Follow the banks of the Mississippi River along Hwy 1, and take the opportunity to roll the dice in one of the many Mississippi casinos; they never close!
Day 7. Vicksburg – New Orleans (approx. 294 miles). On to the Big Easy! New Orleans is a jazz lover’s paradise, and the familiar backdrop in a string of successful movies. The jazz & blues clubs are too numerous to mention, but there are two days in New Orleans to check them out!
Day 8 New Orleans. Continue to explore this city of riverboats, jazz, and Creole cuisine. Take time to visit the beautiful botanical garden or journey out to the levees to see how they protect the city from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This evening why not board a paddle steamer for a dinner cruise on the mighty Mississippi River (optional).
Day 9. New Orleans – Birmingham (approx. 340 miles). Sweet Home Alabama! Today, we head to Birmingham, Alabama. For music fans, the highlight would be a visit to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Entrance to this exhibition is free and inside you’ll find a wonderful tribute to jazz greats with ties to Alabama. For movie lovers, try and locate the original Whistle Stop Café, the setting for the novel, and later film, Fried Green Tomatoes. Although scenes in the movie were actually filmed in Atlanta, the original café is located in North Irondale, just outside of Birmingham.
Day 10. Birmingham – Chattanooga (approx. 148 miles). Returning to Tennessee today, set forth to Chattanooga. Summer travelers should check the dates of the annual Chattanooga Riverbend Festival. While in Tennessee, don’t miss the opportunity to try a “moon pie”, a favorite Southern snack since the early 1900s.
Day 11. Chattanooga – Nashville (approx. 133 miles). Nashville, “Music City USA”, is the destination today. Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, a multimedia music shrine including movie theatres, costumes, instruments and other artifacts detailing country music’s colorful history. Don’t miss a visit to the Ryman Auditorium and a night at the Grand Ole Opry.
Day 12. Nashville – Louisville (approx. 175 miles). From Blue Grass to Brass Bands, Kentucky has popular music for every listener. Today’s destination is Louisville, Kentucky, home of the famous Kentucky Derby which takes place at Churchill Downs the first Saturday each May. Recently featured in the movie Sea Biscuit, Churchill Downs is the mecca of American horse racing and home of the Kentucky Derby Museum. Take a short side trip to Bards Town and visit My Old Kentucky Home State Park, the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s anthem of the same name which is sung by the crowds every year at the Kentucky Derby. No visit to Kentucky would be complete without a visit to a bourbon distillery, but remember that many Kentucky counties are “dry,” so often there are no tastings. Baseball fans should ensure they fit in a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum, an interactive museum honoring many of baseball’s greats.
Day 13. Louisville – Chicago (approx. 300 miles). Today, your tour returns you to the Windy City, Chicago, having visited seven different states, experienced many popular movie set locations, and heard music ranging from blues to jazz to soul to gospel to country to bluegrass and rock’n’roll.
Day 14. Depart Chicago. A final day in Chicago before you return your car at the airport before your departure flight.
Prices per adult
sharing room a double room
Prices in £’s
01 Apr-31 Oct
Prices on request Superior hotels Prices on request
* 13 nights accommodation including local taxes.
* Maps & guides (provided at the first hotel).
Not included: Flights, car rental, travel insurance, meals (unless indicated), petrol and personal expenses.
Children under 12 years of age free when sharing a double room with min.2 adults and using existing bedding.
Prices for single, triple and quad room occupation available on request.
Location No. nights Standard (Tour code MM0-14) Superior (Tour code MM0-14U) Chicago 2 The South Loop Hotel The Whitehall, Chicago St. Louis 1 Red Roof Inn St. Louis The Hotel Majestic St. Louis Memphis 2 Comfort Inn Downtown Holiday Inn Memphis – Downtown Vicksburg 1 Quality Inn Quality Inn New Orleans 2 Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown Superdome Hotel Monteleone Birmingham 1 Comfort Inn Comfort Inn Chattanooga 1 Chattanooga Choo Choo Chattanooga Choo Choo Nashville 1 GuestHouse Inn & Suites The Inn at Opryland Louisville 1 Red Roof Inn Louisville Fair & Expo Red Roof Inn Louisville Fair & Expo Chicago 1 Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Chicago Downtown The Whitehall, Chicago
The hotels named may be substituted for alternatives of a similar standard and location.
The hotels will be confirmed at the time of booking the holiday.
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
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.