8 things to do on an Atlanta to New Orleans road trip

written by Intrepid Travel January 20, 2022

It takes around seven hours to drive straight from Atlanta to New Orleans, but you would be crazy to miss out on the many incredible sights along the way.

When you do an Atlanta to New Orleans road trip in the United States, you get to party along Bourbon Street, visit the mansion at Graceland, find the most delicious Southern eats in Savannah, record a song in Nashville, and tour the Atlanta History Center in one incredible trip. Here are 8 amazing things to do on a New Orleans to Atlanta road trip.

1. Feel the music in Memphis

Hands of a man playing guitar

If you want to learn more about the birth of rock and soul music, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum should be your first stop. Drop into the historic Sun Studios where artists such as Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Howlin’ Wolf, and Johnny Cash recorded some of their biggest hits. In the evening, get into the groove of Memphis and head to Beale Street’s traditional blues clubs, made famous by legends such as WC Handy, Howlin’ Wolf and BB King.

2. Join a Black History walking tour in Charleston

Join a Black History walking tour with an expert local guide. Charleston was once at the centre of North America’s former slave trade capital. When you walk past the city’s historic buildings, it’s easy to see little more than bricks and mortar but many of them hide tales of bravery, struggle, and survival. Discover the ‘lost stories’ of Charleston’s rich history as you stroll around town and immerse yourself in its complex past.

3. See the sights in Savannah

Savannah Historic Waterfront district

In 1946, Lady Astor referred to Savannah as ‘a beautiful lady with a dirty face’, in reference to the crumbling, faded majesty of the city’s 18th- and 19th-century mansions. Due to plenty of restoration work, Savannah’s face may no longer be dirty, but she’s still a city of contradictions. Take a three-hour walking tour which blends the city’s history with some of its best and most delicious eats, learn more about the town’s slave and cotton trade, immerse yourself in its underrepresented history or jump on a Hop-On Hop-Off trolley tour around town.

4. Tap your toes in Nashville

Earn your place in the Country Music Hall of Fame as you take part in a recording session with a professional sound engineer at the iconic Studio B in Nashville. If you aren’t much of a singer, you might like to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, explore the Tennessee State Museum, or drop into a distillery for a tasting or two. Allow time for a final finger lickin’ good dinner on a barbecue, beer and bourbon foodie adventure with an expert guide. Think house-smoked meats, southern-inspired spirits, traditional southern sides, and frosty beers.


5. Visit Graceland

Graceland Mansion

Perhaps surprisingly, you don’t need to be an Elvis Presley fan to appreciate Graceland’s kitschy glamour and over-the-top Southern charm. Along with touring the mansion, you’ll see more shiny jumpsuits than you can point a camera at. Try one on to see how it looks (come on, you know you want to) with the “Elvis Yourself” virtual dress up experience. You can also tour Elvis’ private planes, including the 1958 Convair 880 named after his daughter which has a glamorous bedroom, suede chairs, leather covered tables, 24-karat gold-flecked sinks and gold-plated seat belts to keep everyone safe during the flight. For lunch, it’s hard to go past the famous grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich.

6. Raise your glass along Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street in New Orleans

Bourbon Street, one of the world’s most famous party streets, comes alive after dark when the streets are filled with music and the sound of people having fun. With its raucous atmosphere and drink-as-you-stroll “go cups”, get set for a night to remember (or perhaps forget) along this famous nightlife strip. Want a drink that doubles as a souvenir?  Head to one of the bars which offer “go cups” in novelty shapes like a glowing skull or a neon sippy cup braded with the name of a famous Bourbon Street drinking spot.


7. Atlanta history tour

Atlanta is known as the heart of the civil rights movement and has a rich social history. Immerse yourself in 33 acres of historic houses, gardens, and award-winning exhibitions with a specialist guide at the Atlanta History Center where you’ll explore the past like never before. The center is part of a global network of historic sites and museums that connect past struggles to today’s movements for human rights. Next, head to the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site where you’ll learn more about where Martin Luther King was born and his legacy as a leader.

8. Cultural adventures in the French Quarter

Travellers walking past a blue building

Many visitors come to New Orleans’ French Quarter to party the night away but there are plenty of cultural pursuits to enjoy here as well. Stroll the streets and admire the iron lace work and gracious balconies of the historic buildings which draw their inspiration from French and Spanish architectural styles. New Orleans also has a thriving artistic community, with many local craftspeople exhibiting and selling their works near Jackson Square. You’ll also find talented musicians and performers busking throughout the French Quarter. The New Orleans Museum of Art is a must for lovers of photography.

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