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Holidays in The Deep South

The USA’s southern states, or the ‘Deep South’, are known collectively for their rich histories and cultures, and incredible musical legacy. Here you’ll discover the roots of jazz, blues, gospel, rock and country. In Tennessee, Memphis and state capital Nashville are two cities with rather different vibes. Where Memphis in the southwest gives you the colourful life one can expect from the largest city on the Misissipp River, Nashville gives you a city which is at the centre of the music industry. Further down south in Louisiana, is the sultry New Orleans (or ‘NOLA’). Here in the birthplace of jazz, voodoo meets faded colonial glamour, and you can eat your way through multiple cultures in one meal.

20 °C

Best time to visit The Deep South: Generally spring to autumn; but the summer heat definitely adds to the atmosphere.

13 hours

Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY/ KMSY is 11 miles west of downtown New Orleans); Nashville International Airport (BNA) is just 5 miles north-east of downtown Nashville; Memphis International Airport (MEM) is 7 miles east of downtown Memphis.

Book your Thomas Cook holiday to the USA’s Deep South, and immerse yourself in a world of authentic American music, food and culture.

Self Drive Holidays

Rhythms of the South

Atlanta | Nashville | Memphis | Vicksburg | New Orleans | Pensecola | Tallahassee | Savannah | Charleston | Atlanta

Hotel highlights
  • 14 days car hire included
  • Pick-up & drop-off in Atlanta
  • Flights included

What is included?

Dixie Dreamin'

Atlanta | Chattanooga | Nashville | Memphis | Vicksburg | Lafayette | New Orleans | Montgomery | Savannah | Charleston

Hotel highlights
  • 15 days car hire included
  • Pick-up & drop-off in Atlanta
  • Flights included

What is included?

Recommended Hotel Offers in the Deep South

Hyatt French Quarter

New Orleans

Hotel highlights
  • 3 nights New Orleans
  • Flights included
  • Located adjacent to famed Bourbon Street
  • Within walking distance of the city’s most popular attractions

What is included?

New Orleans sways to jazz in the day and parties by night. Stay in a hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter to really soak up the atmosphere. A typical local saying is ‘laissez les bons temps rouler’ - ‘let the good times roll’.

Memphis sits within touching distance of the Mississippi River, and between the states of Mississippi and Arkansas. As it’s the largest city in the state, a good hotel in Memphis will put you right by heritage sites like Graceland and Beale Street, where the iconic Sun Studio still stands.

State capital Nashville has good reason to call itself ‘Music City’. Among the many venues the iconic Grand Ole Opry concert hall stands out; downtown East Nashville has a more ‘underground’ artistic feel. Stay in hotels in Nashville’s stylish 12South and The Gulch districts – they’re perfect for shopping and lunching.

Known as the Peach State of the USA, Georgia is full of rich history and beautiful sights. Head to the hip old city of Savannah and stop at a restaurant for a bowl of peach cobbler. The tree-lined streets of Madison are home to old-fashioned antique stores, while Atlanta is a bustling city known for its thriving art scene. Take a stroll along the peaceful banks of Ogeechee River and watch the sunset.

From the soft white sands of Myrtle Beach on South Carolina’s south coast to the green mountain trails of Pendleton in the north-east, holidaymakers will love the natural views of South Carolina. Wander through the cobbled streets of Charleston and soak up 300 years of history. Fish in the clear water streams of Lake Murray enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains. Don’t miss the deliciously sticky barbecued meats the state is famous for. 

There are plenty of attractions in the Deep South for music buffs – it’s dotted with museums, venues and iconic open memorials like Graceland. If you come for the music, then stay for the food; taste home-cooked gumbo (a spicy soup with meat and shellfish) in New Orleans and sticky barbeque pork ribs in Memphis. Take some time to soak up the atmosphere in the bars and clubs – after all, this is where the rock’n’roll lifestyle was invented. For less wild times, you can take easy-going city tours, admiring the elegant old architecture.

The Johnny Cash Museum, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Country Music Hall of Fame are the top places to visit in Nashville. Perfect for a day trip from Nashville is the Jack Daniels distillery. If you do only one thing in Memphis, visit Elvis Presley’s flamboyant home and resting place Graceland, and keep an eye out for any strange happenings – it’s said to be haunted. In New Orleans, you can learn the history of voodoo, take leisurely trips out on riverboat or ferry cruises, and venture into the real southern wilds, like the Honey Island Swamp nature reserve.

The phrase ‘melting pot’ couldn’t be more appropriate: New Orleans is famous for its food, rich with African, French, Creole, and Cajun flavours.  Try a ‘po’ boy’ sandwich, made with local French-style bread; or gumbo, a spicy soup served with rice. Sip a half-coffee, half-milk café au lait over brunch, and nibble fresh Louisiana strawberries and satsumas. Memphis takes it barbeque seriously, with tender pulled pork and ribs served up ‘dry’ (with a spice rub) or ‘wet’ (with a finger-licking sauce).

There’s no question of what to do in the Deep South after dark - take Otis Redding’s advice and wait until the midnight hour. Watch home-grown acts in the many bars and clubs, such as Nashville ‘honky tonks’ like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, and the Whisky Jam. For blues, explore Memphis’ Beale Street and go bar-hopping – drinks are cheap, and entry is free. If you’re more of a jazz fan, then New Orleans invites you to its Faubourg Marigny neighbourhood in the French Quarter, where you’re spoiled for choice for venues and restaurants.

Brand USA

Deep South is best for…

Music fans
Listen out for the local soundtrack - blues in Memphis, country in Nashville, and jazz in New Orleans.

Food lovers
The South is famous for its hospitality; don’t leave without second helpings of jambalaya and sticky pork ribs.

Party people
Kick your heels up in local clubs and bars, and enjoy the Mardi-Gras carnival atmosphere.

Fast facts

Language: The language spoken in The Deep South is English.

Currency: The currency used in The Deep South is the American Dollar ($).

Local time: The Deep South area is 5 hours behind GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY/ KMSY is 11 miles west of downtown New Orleans); Nashville International Airport (BNA) is just 5 miles north-east of downtown Nashville; Memphis International Airport (MEM) is 7 miles east of downtown Memphis.

Flight time from UK: Up to 13 hours to New Orleans; up to 11 hours to Tennessee

Tourist Information: Further Tennessee tourist information can be found here; Louisiana tourist information can be found here.

Visa & Health: Before you travel, click here for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to The Deep South area.

Weather and climate

The Deep South region generally has a subtropical climate. This means hot, or very hot and humid summers, with cool winters. There’s a fair bit of rain between seasons (and throughout summer in New Orleans). Hurricanes and thunderstorms are a risk here in spring and autumn.

Temperature: Top 20°Cs in summer to less than 5°C in winter.

Best time to visit The Deep South: Generally spring to autumn; but the summer heat definitely adds to the atmosphere.

Getting around

By carriage: Take in the New Orleans landmarks by genteel mule-drawn carriage.

By bike: Cruise around New Orleans on rental bikes, available in the French Quarter and Marigny.

By bus/streetcar: The main areas in New Orleans are served by streetcars and express bus routes, which cost upwards of $1.25 for a single journey; a day pass is around $3. Have exact change ready. Nashville’s MTA-run buses go through throughout downtown, and just outside it, 9am-5pm. Fares start at $1.60, with an adult day pass around the $5 mark.

By car: Because of the limited bus schedules, a car is always your best bet in Nashville and Memphis, whether it’s hired or a taxi.


Mardi Gras: Plan your holiday to coincide with New Orlean’s incredible Mardi Gras celebrations that take place each year in the two weeks leading up to Shrove Tuesday. Experience a party atmosphere like no other as the streets come alive with vibrant colours, live music and dancing parades that you can’t help but join in with.

Party down: As well as Mardi Gras, check out the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, known locally as ‘Jazz Fest’ (late April-early May).

Awards season: Country music fans will enjoy being in town when Nashville hosts the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards (November). The 4-day CMA Music Festival (June) lets you meet other fans and some of the biggest country stars.

All you can eat: Memphis hosts the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis (May), so have your elasticated waistband at the ready!

Gourmet's delight: The Charleston Wine and Food Festival in March is a treat not to be missed for foodies and wine lovers. For more information, visit

Why choose Thomas Cook

With hotels available to suit every person and every budget look no further than Thomas Cook for your getaway this year!

  • Thousands of hotels to choose from
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  • Thousands of destinations worldwide

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