While you may be travelling far from home, when you're in the South, you're never far from home cooking

When it comes to snacking and sipping in the USA, you won't find anywhere more indulgent than the South. With biscuits and gravy, po'boys and pimiento cheese on the menu, these road trips will help you discover the soul in soul food. Whether you're nodding your head to the blues in Nashville, sipping Sazeracs in NOLA, or strolling around historic Atlanta, you'll never have to worry about what's for dinner. 

Trips & tours in the South

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Tailor-Made trips

Take four or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

Highlights of the South

A boisterous second line parade marches down Bourbon Street in New Orleans

Laissez les bon temps rouler in NOLA

It's true what they say about Louisiana locals: these folks know how to throw a party.  If you hear music, make sure to follow it through the city!  Jump into a joyful second-line parade, catch a show at the iconic Preservation Hall and end the night under the neon lights of Bourbon St.  If you're lucky enough to be in the city at the right time, you might even catch one of New Orleans' famous festivals, like Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest or the Voodoo Music & Arts Experience.  Do yourself a favour and get to know some of the Crescent City community who will undoubtedly seduce you with their southern hospitality and inspiring stories of resilience.

A traditional lowcountry seafood boil plate with crab, crawfish, and mussels

Enjoy Lowcountry cookin' in Charleston

Welcome to the Lowcountry, where history is preserved in food prepared by home cooks and mainstream chefs alike.  Hearty dishes, which often include locally grown heirloom produce and fresh seafood, are served both to nourish and educate about the roots of southern cooking that trace back to the Gullah Geechee people.  Enslaved descendants of West and Central Africa who arrived in the South brought with them many of the crops responsible for making southern cooking well...southern.  Think boiled peanuts, okra, and numerous varieties of heritage grains.  Try some gumbo or shrimp and grits and appreciate how the ingredients do the storytelling.

A woman poses with a giant guitar monument in Music City, USA

Scoot your boots in Music City

Nashville has some pretty epic nicknames, (the Country Music Capital, Music City and Nashvegas, to name a few), but they've all got one thing in common: toe-tapping, boot-stomping tunes.  From the Grand Ol' Opry to Tootsies, the Ryman Auditorium to the Bluebird Cafe, there's no shortage of acclaimed venues to catch some impressive live music.  While it can be tempting to stick to the stages you've seen on the big screen, don't miss out on some of the smaller clubs on Music Row that not only encourage up-and-coming songwriters but will often feature appearances from some world-renowned singers.

A group enjoys a cold beverage at a local spot in Asheville

Crack a cold one in Asheville

Asheville is known for being one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the Carolinas.  It has its fair share of local art and funky food, and recently this little town nestled in the mountains has blown up as a destination for craft beer. With over 40 craft breweries within the city limits, there's something for every palate; from classic lagers to hazy IPAs, sour ales, and even beers aged in bourbon barrels for more adventurous tastebuds. Whether you spend the day hiking the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, museum hopping through the arts district, or catching some live music, ending the day with an ice-cold beer is almost non-negotiable. 

A glimpse inside the eerily historic Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah

Get spooked in historic Savannah

Often referred to as "the most paranormal city in America", Savannah certainly looks the part with its live oaks dripping in ethereal Spanish moss and centuries-old buildings. Take a walking tour through Bonaventure Cemetery, one of the world's most beautiful gravesites. The cemetery is the former home of the iconic "Bird Girl" statue that was featured prominently on the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, one of the great American murder mysteries.  While the statue now resides in the Telfair Museum, you can grab a map and check out other famous gravesites tucked away amongst the weeping willows and crumbling monuments.  Keep your eyes peeled for any wandering spirits!

Steel letters spelling out ATL

Appreciate the past and present in Atlanta

Over the past decade, the so-called "capital of the south" has undergone a steady cultural transformation, welcoming an influx of high-end restaurants, movie studios, sound stages, and community urban spaces.  Today, Atlanta invites visitors not only to see the booming growth of the present but to witness and appreciate the city's past and the people who shaped history here.  A trip to Atlanta is incomplete without visiting the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights Movement hero.  Plan outings to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, the Atlanta History Centre, and the APEX Museum (African-American Panoramic Experience) to understand the African American experience from ancient civilizations to the present day.

Southern USA trip reviews

Southern USA FAQs

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Read more about Intrepid's COVID-19 policy

Depending on which state you're travelling to in the South, getting around is fairly easy, with each state harbouring at least one major airport.  Atlanta is a huge hub for international travel, and the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta Airport sees the most amount of passengers per year worldwide (we weren't joking when we said huge!)

Select trains and buses will travel between the major cities, and you can use a website like BusBud to help choose the best route for your itinerary.  If road-tripping is your mojo, Southern road trips can be a blast!  There are tons of interesting cities to drive between, a myriad of entertaining roadside stops, and plenty of delicious food to keep your metaphorical tank as full as the tank of your car.  All you need is a map and a good playlist and adventure awaits.

The South can get mighty steamy, especially in the summertime where you can expect high humidity for the majority of the day.  Since the Southern USA is made up of 16 of the 50 states the climate can vary, but keep in mind that all of the states in the South are subject to hurricanes and tropical storms from June 1-November 30.  If you plan on travelling during this period it's wise to pack a rain jacket and waterproof shoes and keep an eye on the forecast.

Read more about the weather in the South

Since the Southern states can have oppressively hot summers and cold, wet winters, the best time to visit is typically shoulder season: either April-May or September-October.  If you thrive in the heat and want to visit during the summer months, you can catch a cool breeze at one of the beaches outside of the coastal cities of Charleston or Savannah, or enjoy some cooler temps in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  In major cities, accommodations with air conditioning are almost ubiquitous.  If you pack the right clothing and hydrate properly, you might just come to love the sweet, sweltering heat of the South.

The heat and humidity in the summertime can be extreme, so we recommend loose layers and a light jacket for rain or cooler evenings.  If you're planning on spending time in the mountains, proper hiking gear, good footwear, and rainproof clothing are a must.  Folks in the South typically dress casually but are known to up their game at fancier events or restaurants, so make sure to check for a dress code before you head out to a certain spot.

Soul food is at the epicentre of the Southern experience, and a visit wouldn't be complete without sampling the local fare.  When you think of Southern cuisine, you might be expecting exclusively heavy, meat-focused dishes, but it's a common misconception that vegetarians and vegans won't be able to find nourishing foods.  Culturally, there are long-standing generalizations that historically Black foods are unhealthy when in reality most recipes are rooted in farm-to-table cooking with fresh produce and heritage grains.

Some of the larger cities like Atlanta, New Orleans, and Nashville, have burgeoning and diverse vegan/vegetarian scenes with dishes like jackfruit bbq ribs, collard greens, and alternative meat burgers.  You'll even be able to find vegan versions of some of the classics like shrimp and grits and po'boys. The folks down South are friendly and welcoming, so if you've got a dietary restriction, just let 'em know and chances are they'll happily find a way to feed you.

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. Accessibility depends on where in the South you're travelling but in general, the major cities in the South are relatively well equipped to deal with any disabilities in many areas such as mobility, transportation, and communication. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them toward the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

America is mostly a safe destination for travellers who identify as LGBTQIA+.  Same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states and there there are some anti-discrimination laws to protect sexual orientation and gender identity.

In more rural areas, overt displays of affection can attract negative responses in smaller towns, which tend to be more conservative. Parts of the Southern US belong to a region called the "Bible Belt" where very conservative Christianity plays a strong role in society, and many communities can remain stuck in their conservative ways.  Larger cities like Charleston, Nashville, New Orleans, and Atlanta have thriving gay communities and plenty of queer-owned businesses to support.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting Equaldex before you travel.

If you are travelling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at the time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travellers who do not wish to share a room.

Read more about LGBTQIA+ culture in the South

Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. In fact, we make a donation on behalf of every traveller. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. 

Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe.

Find out more or make a donation

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