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Find exactly what you’re looking for via the links below…

 

Recommended tour operator partners: Specialist Operators

Get to know Deep South USA: Destination Highlights | When To Visit

Essential information: Flights | Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

Guides, training & key contacts: Route Planner & Guide | Learning & Training Requests | Key Contacts

YouTube: Alabama Video | Louisiana Video | Mississippi Video | Tennessee Video

Hikers on the Smith Mountain Trail - Alabama Tourism/Scott Baker
Canoeing on Lake Martin - Explore Louisiana/Paul Kieu
Red Bluff - Visit Mississippi
Historic Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee - Tennessee Tourism/Raphael Tenschert

Deep South USA States

The Deep South, spanning Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee, is known for its rich culture and history. Each state offers its own unique blend of Southern charm, from vibrant cities to serene landscapes. The region resonates with musical heritage, culinary delights, and warm hospitality, making it a quintessential destination for experiencing the essence of the South.

Cheaha State Park - Alabama Tourism/Chris Granger

Alabama

Alabama, known as the Heart of Dixie, captivates with its diverse attractions, from vibrant Birmingham to serene Gulf Coast. Its fusion of urban sophistication and Southern charm beckons visitors to explore historic landmarks like the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery and the antebellum homes of Mobile. Outdoor enthusiasts can immerse themselves in nature by hiking the Appalachian foothills or fishing in the state’s plentiful lakes and rivers, finding solace amidst Alabama’s picturesque landscapes and abundant recreational opportunities. For thrillseekers, a visit to the U.S. Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville is a must.

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Fontainebleau State Park - Explore Louisiana/Miles Partnership

Louisiana

Louisiana, renowned for its vibrant Creole and Cajun influences, serves as a cultural and culinary melting pot. New Orleans, its crown jewel, teems with music, art, and gastronomic delights. Visitors relish strolls through the historic French Quarter, indulging in spicy gumbo and jambalaya or losing themselves in the jazz rhythms on Bourbon Street. Beyond the city’s allure, Louisiana’s bayous and swamps unveil the state’s natural wonders, hosting diverse wildlife and exotic flora, offering a serene escape into the heart of the Deep South’s wilderness. Lafayette is the heart of Cajun culture and the home of Tabasco. Baton Rouge the state capital plays host to the LSU Tigers and Shreveport-Bossier in the north is where the renowned words ‘Elvis has left the building’ were first uttered.

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Cyprus Grove, Natchez, Mississippi

Mississippi

Mississippi, hailed as the Birthplace of Blues, boasts a rich musical legacy and warm Southern hospitality. The Delta region, nurturing legends like B.B. King and Robert Johnson, echoes with soulful rhythms. Charming towns along the Mississippi River further immerse visitors in the state’s melodic heritage. Historic houses offer glimpses into the past, while authentic Southern cuisine tantalises taste buds. For a quintessential Mississippi experience, embark on a riverboat cruise along the Mighty Mississippi, where the river’s majestic flow mirrors the timeless spirit of the South, inviting travellers to savour its cultural and natural splendours.

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Graceland exterior selfie - Memphis Tourism/David Meany

Tennessee

Tennessee, famed for iconic cities like Nashville and Memphis, epitomises the essence of country music and barbecue culture. Nashville, the heart of country music, pulses with neon lights, live music venues, and the revered Grand Ole Opry. Meanwhile, Memphis, birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, lures with its blues clubs, barbecue haunts, and the revered Graceland estate. Venturing beyond urban allure, Tennessee reveals its natural splendour in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where outdoor enthusiasts are treated to a playground of breathtaking vistas and exhilarating adventures, ensuring a harmonious blend of cultural immersion and scenic exploration.

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Destination Highlights

Discover the diverse allure of the Deep South, where Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee intersect to offer a captivating journey through the heart of Southern hospitality and cultural richness.

Mr. Baby Back Ribs, Brownsville - Tennessee Tourism

Cuisine

The cuisine of the Deep South USA is a delicious fusion born from diverse cultural influences, reflecting the region’s rich history. Drawing from a melting pot of African, Native American, Cajun, Creole, French, Spanish, and English culinary traditions, Deep South cuisine is renowned for its robust flavours and hearty fare. Iconic staples such as succulent fried chicken, golden cornbread, hearty collard greens, and comforting grits serve as culinary ambassadors, exemplifying the region’s deep-rooted affection for soulful comfort food. Seafood takes centre stage, with mouthwatering dishes like zesty gumbo, flavourful crawfish étouffée, and indulgent shrimp and grits tantalizing taste buds with their spicy and savoury allure. Indulgent desserts such as decadent pecan pie and luscious peach cobbler provide a sweet denouement, while quintessential beverages like refreshing sweet tea and locally-produced spirits round out the Southern dining experience. Beyond mere sustenance, Deep South cuisine represents a joyous celebration of culture, tradition, and communal bonds, inviting all to partake in its flavourful journey through history and heritage.

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New Orleans' Preservation Hall live music - Explore Louisiana/Zack Smith Photography

Music

Here’s the low-down on the music places not-to-miss on a trip to Deep South USA…​

  • Clarksdale – Renowned as the birthplace of the blues, you can experience live blues performances here every night of the week
  • Frenchmen Street – This iconic New Orleans street is renowned for its live music scene, offering a diverse array of jazz, blues, funk, and other genres in its numerous clubs, bars, and venues including The Spotted Cat Music Club
  • Blue Moon Saloon – Lafayette’s beloved cultural hub where locals and visitors alike gather to enjoy live music, Cajun cuisine, and a vibrant atmosphere
  • Grand Ole Opry – Nashville’s iconic Country music auditorium where all the Country greats have performed. Soak up some history or catch a performance
  • Muscle Shoals – The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Bob Dylan… they all recorded massive hits in The Shoals, Alabama. Music lovers from across the globe have this as a must-see destination
  • Beale Street – The spiritual playground of the Blues, Memphis’ Beale Street is one of the best places to hear live Blues. You’re spoilt for choice here – Beale Street is packed with music venues, including the famous B.B. King’s Blues Club

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Dothan mural "Girl With Flowers" - Alabama Tourism/Jeff Greenberg

Culture

The culture of the Deep South USA is a rich tapestry woven from a myriad of influences, reflecting a unique blend of traditions, music, cuisine, and hospitality. Renowned for its warm Southern charm and unhurried pace, the Deep South exudes a profound sense of community and reverence for its heritage. From the soul-stirring melodies of blues and jazz resonating through the streets of New Orleans to the exuberant festivities of Mardi Gras celebrated across the state of Louisiana with the Courir de Mardi Gras in Cajun Country or the home of the first Mardi Gras, Mobile Alabama and the amazing hallmark Southern hospitality, the region’s culture is a captivating tapestry of diversity and vibrancy. Embracing a deep-rooted affection for family, faith, and tradition, rituals such as Sunday church services and familial gatherings are cherished customs. Moreover, the arts flourish as expressions of creativity and resilience, with vibrant displays of art, rich literary traditions, and captivating storytelling capturing the essence of Southern life.

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Jackson Museum of Civil Rights History - Visit Mississipp/Randy K. Schmidt

Civil Rights

The civil rights history of the Deep South USA is a profound narrative of resilience and progress, reflecting the unwavering spirit of determination and social transformation. Iconic landmarks such as the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma stand as enduring symbols of the courage and fortitude of those who fought for equality. Museums like the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum vividly portray the triumphs and tribulations of the movement, offering visitors profound insights into the power of unity and justice. Louisiana was integral to the civil rights movement, notably marked by events like the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott of 1953 and the New Orleans school desegregation conflicts, highlighting the state’s pivotal role in advancing racial equality. From the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott to the monumental March on Washington, the Deep South played a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of civil rights in America. Today, these hallowed landmarks and museums serve as beacons of hope, evoking the enduring strength of collective action and reminding us of the ongoing quest for equality and inclusivity in society.

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When To Visit

Experience the Deep South USA in all its seasonal splendour. Spring, autumn, and summer invite you to embrace the laid-back charm of the Gulf Coast, where endless sandy beaches beckon and relaxed vibes prevail. Delve into the pristine beauty of the northern Deep South, where majestic mountains, tranquil lakes, and mysterious caves await outdoor enthusiasts year-round. With each season offering its own unique allure, there’s never a wrong time to immerse yourself in the captivating wonders of this iconic region.

Poppies - Visit Mississippi

Spring

Visiting the Deep South in spring offers a delightful experience amidst the region’s vibrant landscapes and cultural festivities. Spring and autumn bring pleasantly warm days and cool nights, creating perfect conditions for exploration. In Alabama, blooming azaleas adorn historic plantations, while Louisiana’s bayous come alive with the sounds of nature. Mississippi’s Delta region bursts with colour as flowers bloom, and Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains offer scenic hikes amidst blossoming flora. Springtime in the Deep South invites visitors to immerse themselves in outdoor adventures, from hiking and wildlife spotting to attending music festivals and savouring seasonal culinary delights, making it an ideal season to discover the charm and beauty of this enchanting region.

Gulf Shores - Orange Beach Tourism/Chris Granger

Summer

Summer in the Deep South brings its own unique charm and experiences amidst the region’s lush landscapes and vibrant culture. While temperatures rise to an average of 27-32°C (peaking to 38°C on really hot days), there’s still plenty to enjoy as summer unfolds. Days are long and filled with sunshine, perfect for exploring the diverse attractions of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. From lazy days on the Gulf Coast beaches to lively festivals celebrating music and cuisine, the Deep South offers a plethora of summer activities. Visitors can cool off with refreshing dips in lakes and rivers or seek shade in historic towns and museums. Despite the heat, summer in the Deep South promises unforgettable adventures and opportunities to immerse oneself in the region’s outdoor wonders.

Thomas Divide, Great Smoky Mountains - Tennessee Tourism/Adam Jones

Autumn

Autumn in the Deep South ushers in a season of enchanting beauty and mild weather, offering visitors a perfect blend of outdoor adventures and cultural experiences. As the temperatures gradually cool down, the region becomes a picturesque tapestry of colours, with foliage transforming into vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold. It’s an ideal time for exploring the natural wonders of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee, from hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains to scenic drives along the Natchez Trace Parkway. Additionally, autumn brings a bounty of harvest festivals, where visitors can savour seasonal flavours and immerse themselves in Southern traditions. Whether admiring the fall foliage or indulging in local festivities, autumn in the Deep South is a season to be cherished and celebrated.

Krewe of Hermes float, Mardi Gras, New Orleans - Explore Louisiana/Tim Mueller

Winter

Winter in the Deep South offers a charming escape with mild to cold temperatures averaging 1 to 4°C, and a festive atmosphere. While snowfall is rare, the region’s historic towns and cities come alive with holiday cheer and cultural celebrations. Alabama’s Birmingham dazzles with holiday lights, while Louisiana’s New Orleans hosts iconic Mardi Gras festivities. Mississippi’s coastal towns offer a tranquil retreat, and Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains provide a scenic backdrop for winter adventures. Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and birdwatching, followed by cosy evenings by the fireplace or indulging in Southern comfort food.

Flights

British Airways flight landing in Nashville, Tennessee - EDITORIAL ONLY

The fastest direct flight from London Heathrow to Nashville International Airport (BNA) takes 8 hours and 55 minutes. This is serviced by British Airways.

British Airways also fly direct from London Heathrow to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). This takes 9 hours and 45 minutes.

Virgin Atlantic fly direct from London Heathrow and Manchester to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) – with many onward connections with Delta Airlines. The LHR to ATL flight time is 9 hours and 20 minutes.

Delta Airlines fly direct from London Heathrow to ATL with many onward connections with the airline and United Airlines.

Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

Dauphin Island - Alabama Tourism/Chris Granger
What's The Best Time to Visit the Deep South?

The Deep South has a subtropical climate. With hot summers and mild winters. The spring and the autumn are the ideal time to visit, with warmer weather and lower humidity. Please refer to the ‘When To Visit‘ section of this guide for full details by season.

Which time zone applies to the Deep South?

The Deep South USA is divided by two time zones:

  • East Tennessee are within the Eastern Time Zone (GMT minus 5 hours)
  • Middle and West Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana are within the Central Time Zone (GMT minus 6 hours)
Are There Tourist Information Centres in the Deep South?

All four States of Deep South USA operate welcome centres on interstate and major state highways. The centres are fully staffed and some are open 24 hours a day with plenty of information on Deep South USA attractions and local points of interest.

What's It Like To Drive In The Deep South?

Deep South USA has an extensive system of roads and highways which are all well numbered and clearly marked with directional signs. Strictly enforced speed limits are signposted and vary from 15mph in school zones to 35mph in built up areas, and 55mph or 70mph on open roads. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a major offence.

A full valid UK or EU licence is all that is required to drive in the US. An international Driving Permit on its own is not acceptable.

What Accommodation Is Available In The Deep South?

There’s a wide range of accommodation in Deep South USA, in every price range. All the major hotel chains are represented and there are dozens of smaller hotels and motels throughout each state. Bed and breakfast is becoming a popular option, but this does not necessarily imply low cost as B&B is often in an historic home, usually of extremely high standard, and priced accordingly. Hotel accommodation varies from simple roadside motels to city-centre first class and deluxe properties, some with two-room suites or kitchenette facilities.

Do you need a Visa for the Deep South?

Most citizens of 36 eligible countries, including the United Kingdom, travelling on national passports with at least 90 days validity from the date of entry into the US, for business or tourism for 90 days or less, are eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program provided they meet certain conditions. A passport indicating that the bearer is a British Subject, British Dependent Territories Overseas Citizen, British National (Overseas) Citizen or a British Protected Person does not qualify for visa free travel. Bearers of such passports are not eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program and must obtain a visa before they travel to the US. A British passport must quote the holder’s nationality as British Citizen and nothing else in order to qualify for visa free travel.

International travellers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are subject to enhanced security requirements and are required to register in the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). ESTA applies only to those VWP travellers entering the United States by air or sea. Travellers entering by land either from Canada or Mexico are not required to register before travelling. If your ESTA registration is successful, it will be valid for multiple US entries for two years or until the date on which your passport expires, whichever comes first.

All travellers wishing to enter the US under the VWP now need to hold a passport with an integrated chip (an ePassport).

You won’t qualify for entry to the USA under the VWP and will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate, if:

  • You have a British passport that describes your nationality as something other than ‘British Citizen’
  • You’ve been arrested for certain crimes, even if it didn’t result in a criminal conviction
  • You’re a dual national of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria
  • You’ve travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Yemen since March 2011
  • Certain exemptions apply on a case-by-case basis to those who have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Yemen since March 2011

Suggested Itineraries, Training & Key Contacts

Route Planner & Guide

Deep South USA route planner

To help plan the ultimate road trip, take a look at this Road Guide. An online brochure is also available that features many destination highlights pin-pointed on location maps here.

Learning & Training Requests

Cathead, Clarksville - Visit Mississippi

Register and complete your journey to become a Deep South USA expert at a pace that suits you, and learn more about this amazing region. Visit the learning hub here.

In-person training can be requested as follows via our individual team members:

Alabama – Andy
Louisiana – Neil
Mississippi – Hannah
Tennessee – Jessica

Key Contacts

East Pinnacle Lookout in Kentucky

For further assistance in all things Deep South USA, please reach out to the following team members:

Alabama – Andy
Louisiana – Neil
Mississippi – Hannah
Tennessee – Jessica

Alabama’s Take It All In Music

Explore Louisiana’s Year of Music

Mississippi, Wanderers Welcome

Drifting Away In Tennessee