Americana Music Circle Tour
15-Day Tour of Nashville, Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery, Alabama’s coast, and New Orleans
Note: For travelers using Atlanta as the gateway airport, they can start this circle tour in either Birmingham or Montgomery, both of which are only at 2.5 hour drive from the Atlanta airport.
From the music industry in Nashville to the unlikely rural studios that recorded world hits, the contrast between Nashville and Muscle Shoals, the beginning of this adventure, gives you a fascinating look into American music.
Click map to download PDF of the itinerary.
DAY 1 & 2 Arrive in Nashville. It’s where the Grand Ole Opry put country music on the map. Visit the downtown Broadway Street district for live music. See the Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium.
DAY 3 & 4 Nashville is known for its contribution to America’s music. But today you are headed south to discover a magical place form by four small adjacent Alabama cities. Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, and Sheffield make up the area known as the “Hit Recording Capital of the World” and is the place that The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, and others came to record their hit records. It’s also where the Father of the Blues, W.C. Handy was born and where native America’s said the river sang. Tour the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, see W.C. Handy’s log cabin birthplace, visit the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, see Helen Keller’s home, visit an Indian mound, and tour the only Frank Llyod Wright home open to the public in the Southeastern USA. Those attractions and more are included in this area’s All-In-One attraction ticket package.
DAY 5 & 6 Today, we head to Birmingham, (2 hours, 120 miles / 193 km) known as the “Dinner Table of the South.” From America’s best barbecue to southern-influenced global dished from James Beard Award-winning chefs, Birmingham’s dining scene is one to relish. Enjoy all that Birmingham has to offer when you include this area’s All-In-One attraction ticket. More than ten attractions included including the world’s largest motorcycle collection, an airplane museum, a railroad museum, the Birmingham Zoo, Alabama’s largest state park, and five downtown Birmingham attractions including U.S. Civil Rights sites, a science center, and the largest cast iron statue in the world, Vulcan.
DAY 7 & 8 Travel south to Montgomery, (1.5 hours, 93 miles / 150 km) a historic city on the banks of the Alabama river has a very walkable downtown. Voted as the best historical city in the United Stated because of the events that happen related to the American Civil War and Civil Rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lived and preached in Montgomery. Hank Williams played guitar on the streets, Rosa Parks walked, and Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederates States of America. Explore the Montgomery region with the All-In-One attraction ticket package for this area that includes more than 10 museums and attractions for one price. Four of the attractions are within walking distance of any downtown Montgomery hotel, Civil Rights Memorial Center, Freedom Rides Museum, Hank Williams Museum, and the Rosa Parks Museum.
DAY 9 & 10 As you continue south to Mobile (2.5 hours, 168 miles/270 km) look for the “Lost Highway” signs along I-65. These signs honor Hank and his song of that title. Just off this highway at exit 114 in Georgiana is the Hank Williams Boyhood Home & Museum. In Mobile, discover the New Orleans style town that was the birthplace of Mardi Gras in America. Nearby are the coastal resort towns of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach with their beach bars, music halls and music festivals. You may want to extend your days in this area if you are a beach lover. Alabama’s Gulf Coast offers four different All-in-One Attraction Tickets to choose from. Choose which best fits your plans.
DAY 11 & 12 Travel west to New Orleans (2.5 hours, 150 miles / 241 km), where jazz was officially born. This city operates non-stop. Walk the French Quarter and enjoy live music along Bourbon Street.
DAY 13 Travel north to Natchez (3 hours, 170 miles / 273 km) to visit the oldest continuous settlement on the Mississippi River. Here you can discover the Under the Hill Saloon, an out-of-way spot that draws visitors from around the globe as well as plantations.
DAY 14 & 15 Travel north to Clarksdale (4 hours, 216 miles / 350 km). Along the way, take a short detour to Indianola to see the B.B. King Museum. When you arrive in Clarksdale, you will be at the unofficial capital of the blues. Here it is said Robert Johnston traded his soul for his talents. Hear live music at Ground Zero and see music history at the Delta Blues and Rock and Blues museums.
DAY 16 & 17 Travel north to Memphis for Elvis (1.5 hours, 76 miles / 122 km). Visit Graceland Mansion, Elvis Presley’s home. Later see Beale Street in downtown Memphis and visit both Sun and Stax Records museums. The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel the site of Martin Luther King’s assassination.
DAY 18 Travel back to Nashville to complete the tour (3 hours, 212 miles / 341 km) for you trip back home.
18 DAY / 17 NIGHT ITINERARY
Nashville: 2 nights
Muscle Shoals/Florence: 2 nights
Birmingham: 2 nights
Montgomery: 2 nights
Mobile: 2 nights
Gulf Shores: 2 nights
New Orleans: 2 nights
Natchez: 1 night
Clarksdale: 2 nights
Memphis: 2 nights
Nashville: Fly Home