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Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of America's Historic South

The American South begs to be discovered in depth and in person, on a journey to uncover its tumultuous, storied history, romanticized cities, delicious BBQ, boutique bourbon distilleries, bayou mysteries, Mardi Gras excess, and cultural curiosities. Southern states are perfect for families, couple getaways, and group trips for men or women, and when the time is right to travel through the South again, Nine Muses Travel can craft an epic itinerary with hotels full of character and exclusive activities to bring alive the arts, culture, history and cuisine of this distinctive region. While many hotels have reopened and outdoor activities are available, not all indoor sights and museums mentioned below are open - currently. Enjoy this list of unique Deep South experiences to inspire your future travel plans!


The Cajun flair of New Orleans and its variety of arts and culture, food, and history make this an enticing destination year-round. I recommend staying at these beautiful hotels for their location, hospitality and excellent dining: Windsor Court Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, W New Orleans - French Quarter, The Roosevelt New Orleans - a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, or Hotel Monteleone. Don't miss the exceptional National WWII Museum in New Orleans; it opened a few years ago and is quite big so be sure to set aside three to six hours here to take it all in.

Top Experiences

  • New Orleans live musicology and nightlife tour

  • New Orleans foodie walking tour

  • Big Easy cocktails mixology experience

  • Dinner reception at an historic mansion

  • New Orleans Museum of Art curator-led tour

  • Bayou wildlife and culture tour via airboat

  • Local New Orleans voodoo workshop

  • Private visit to Tabasco factory

  • National WWII Museum tour 

  • Gulf fishing charter via seaplane

  • Streetcar cocktail crawl

  • Roll on a Krewe float during Mardi Gras

Alabama and Mississippi 

This weekend all eyes were on Alabama as civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis' body was ceremoniously carried across Selma's historic Edmund Pettus Bridge for a final time. These states pair perfectly for a scenic backdrop to a memorable trip full of civil rights insights. Stay in Natchez, Mississippi at Monmouth Historic Inn, check into The Alluvian Hotel further north in Mississippi, or ask for my top recommendations in the cities of Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama.

Top Experiences

  • Civil Rights 101: Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery with historian guides

  • Meet and Greet with a civil rights era activist

  • VIP visit at the new Legacy Museum and National Museum of Peace and Justice

  • Mobile, Alabama Mardi Gras Museum & Float Barn private tour

  • Antebellum home tour of Natchez

  • Mississippi River scenic cruise

  • Sunset bayou kayak in Alabama


With the passing of 104-year-old Olivia Olivia de Havilland on Sunday, we lost the longest living cast member from the classic film Gone with the Wind. You can frankly give a damn on a tour of iconic Gone with the Wind film sites in Georgia, a state that offers great beaches, a wealth of history, and the cosmopolitan pleasures of Atlanta. I recommend staying at Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead or  Stonehurst Place Bed & Breakfast in Atlanta, Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah, and The Cloister at Sea Island by the coastal border with Florida.

Top Experiences

  • Civil War to civil rights history tour

  • Meet a non-violent freedom fighter

  • Martin Luther King Jr. birth home tour

  • Savannah art walk with curator from Savannah College of Art and Design

  • Southern food and culture of Savannah

  • Immersive tour of Georgia Aquarium

  • Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind tour

  • Behind the scenes CNN studio tour

  • Delta Flight Museum

  • World of Coca-Cola Museum visit

  • High Museum of Art curator-led tour

  • Masters golf packages / playing in August

South Carolina

A true classic Southern itinerary pairs Savannah with South Carolina's lowcountry and charming Charleston. A wealth of activities for all ages await in South Carolina - especially its wonderful beaches! Favorite hotels in Charleston include The Dewberry Charleston, Belmond Charleston Place, Wentworth Mansion, and Zero George Street Hotel, or travel an hour south from Charleston for beach time at the stunning Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort - the only hotel on the island! Closer to Hilton Head and Savannah, you'll marvel at Montage Palmetto Bluff and The Inn & Club at Harbour Town at The Sea Pines Resort.

Top Experiences:

  • Charleston history, architecture and garden tour

  • Private lowcountry cooking class

  • Ghosts and graveyards nighttime tour of Charleston

  • Culinary tour of the low country

  • Private Charleston carriage tour

  • Barrier Island beachside boil

  • Vintage luxury motorboat cruise

  • Shrimp boat expedition

  • Wetlands hiking and biking adventures along the coast


If you're looking for a music, foodie, or history themed vacation, terrific Tennessee has it all! In Nashville, I'm a big fan of the Kimpton Aertson Hotel and its restaurant (which I personally enjoyed as a guest during a conference last June), and you'll also love The Hermitage Hotel and Thompson Nashville. In musical Memphis I recommend staying at The Guest House at Graceland or The Peabody Memphis. 

Top Experiences:

  • Blues Trail with a music historian

  • Tennessee Civil War history tour

  • Johnny Cash experience & Country Music Hall of Fame

  • Private music studio recording experience

  • Exclusive Graceland tour

  • Ryan Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry behind the scenes tours and live shows

  • Nashville live music tour

  • Nashville or Memphis BBQ tasting tour

  • Private Southern cooking class

  • Nighttime Ruby Falls lantern tour


Like a great whiskey chaser, Kentucky pairs perfectly with a trip through Tennessee. Kentucky's rolling hills and pastures set the scene for a trip filled with horses, bourbon, and Civil War history. Louisville's Brown Hotel is a lovely, landmark property to set the tone for your unique, tasteful tours.

Top Experiences:

  • Private bourbon tasting at regional distilleries

  • Kentucky Civil War history tour

  • Bluegrass state horse farm visit

  • Kentucky Derby exclusive party and event access

Suggested Itineraries

  • Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of the Deep South: Louisville, Nashville, Memphis, Natchez, New Orleans

  • Spirits of the South: Kentucky and Tennessee immersion (food, bourbon, and whiskey)

  • Georgia on my Mind: Atlanta, Savannah, Sea Island

  • Lowcountry for Families: Savannah, Charleston, Kiawah Island

  • The Civil Rights Trail: Atlanta, Montgomery, Selma, Birmingham, Memphis

Nine Muses Travel works with an exceptional North American tour operator who can customize private travel for you and your companions with these benefits for all my clients.

  • Expert guides: naturalists, adventure guides, and unique locals

  • Exclusive experiences

  • Comfortable, safe, and luxurious vehicles

  • Custom-designed routings

  • 24/7 real-time support

  • Competitive rates at four and five star properties

  • Deep destination knowledge

Contact Nine Muses Travel to deepen your understanding of everything the Deep South offers and to learn more about me and what I can do for you!

I creatively customize luxury travel highlighting the best local arts and culture, history, and cuisine for intellectually curious clients longing to feel deeply inspired by exciting destinations, culinary delights, and unique cultural experiences on a life-changing, joyful journey of discovery.

-Danielle Dybiec

President of Nine Muses Travel


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