The southern United States—especially the states along the Mississippi River—contain a unique blend of history, elegance and fine dining unmatched by the rest of the country. You’ll find historic homes, hidden gems along the Mississippi Delta and a historic resort town as you explore Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Sound inviting? Join us for this trip through the luxury of America’s South.
Resist the impulse to head straight to New Orleans to explore and instead spend some time in Louisiana’s famed river parishes, home to historic antebellum homes. There’s great shopping and dining to be had nearby, too, and we’ll even take a tour of some scenic gardens.
Morning: Arrive at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, Kenner, Louisiana
Drive to Tanger Outlets, Gonzales, Louisiana
Save room in your luggage (or buy a whole new suitcase) for the finds you’ll encounter at this shopping center in Louisiana’s beautiful plantation country. Here you can find famous brands like Coach, Nike, Ralph Lauren and more. Plus, international visitors do not have to pay sales tax in Louisiana, and there is a sales tax refund center on site.
Afternoon: Lunch at Don’s Seafood, Gonzales, Louisiana
Delight in Cajun classics like oysters and crawfish at this local chain restaurant located just across the road from Tanger Outlets. If shopping has made you thirsty, be sure to ask one of the bartenders for a signature cocktail.
Tour Houmas House, Darrow, Louisiana
Explore 16 rooms filled with period antiques and Louisiana artwork, or take your time to stroll through the manicured gardens.
Evening: Dinner at The Carriage House at Houmas House
Enjoy delicious Southern cuisine in the high-ceilinged dining room with expansive views of Houmas House’s gardens. Stop by the Turtle Bar for a nightcap, or, if you don’t feel like driving, book a stay at the Inn at Houmas House.
On the second day of our trip, we’ll spend some time exploring New Orleans, one of the most unique cities in the United States. We’ll discover the sights and sounds of the French Market, sample delicious food and drinks in the French Quarter and end our day with live music.
Morning: Drive to New Orleans, Louisiana
Explore the French Market
The French Market is an open-air market that has been selling goods along the Mississippi River since 1791. You’ll find delicious food and produce—including Aunt Sally’s Pralines and the world-famous beignets at Café du Monde—as well as clothing, jewelry and other souvenirs.
Afternoon: Explore the French Quarter
Lunch at Mother’s Restaurant
Ready for some real New Orleans cuisine? Stop by Mother’s Restaurant, which has been serving home-cooked food to visitors for more than 75 years. Try a po’ boy, seafood gumbo, jambalaya or “the world’s best baked ham,” a longtime specialty of the restaurant.
Drinks at the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone
It wouldn’t be a trip to New Orleans—the city that invented the cocktail—without a stop at one of its most famous bars. The Carousel Bar, located in the lobby of the Hotel Monteleone, has welcomed luminaries like author Ernest Hemingway during its long and storied history. The bar actually rotates, too—get there early so you can get a seat. Be sure to try some of New Orleans’ famous drinks, like the Pimm’s Cup, Sazerac or Hurricane.
Visit the Spa at Windsor Court
Often voted as one of the best spas in New Orleans, the Spa at Windsor Court is located in the luxurious Windsor Court Hotel, which sits between the French Quarter and the Warehouse District. This full-service spa offers massage services, body and facial treatments, hair services and more.
Evening: Dinner at Antoine’s Restaurant
Try world-renowned French-Creole cuisine at the oldest fine dining restaurant in New Orleans. Opened in 1840, Antoine’s has been serving delicious food with impeccable service in a unique atmosphere for more than 175 years.
Other options: New Orleans is also known for its live music, so stop by Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans or visit Frenchmen Street, home to several popular music spots.
We’ll start the day at one last famous New Orleans stop before heading down the Gulf Coast to Mississippi, where we’ll find outlet shopping, lovely beaches, hotel-casinos and much more.
Morning: Jazz Brunch at The Court of Two Sisters, New Orleans, Louisiana
Step into the courtyard at this historic restaurant in New Orleans’ French Quarter for delicious food and live jazz music every day. Enjoy turtle soup, eggs benedict and other famous dishes as you listen to the soothing sounds of jazz played by local musicians.
Travel to Biloxi, Mississippi
Afternoon: Shopping at Gulfport Premium Outlets, Gulfport, Mississippi
Find savings of 25% to 65% every day at 70 stores, including Banana Republic, Gap, Michael Kors, Coach, Polo Ralph Lauren and more.
Explore Beau Rivage Hotel & Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi
This upscale waterfront resort and casino sits on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and offers first-class dining, gaming and shopping, as well as a deluxe full-service day spa open to hotel guests and visitors.
Evening: Dinner at BR Prime at Beau Rivage Hotel & Casino
This quintessential American steakhouse is one of two fine-dining establishments that can be found in the Beau Rivage, and combines impeccable service with mouth-watering food. On the menu, you’ll find delicious options like Gulf oysters, wet-aged or dry-aged prime beef, Kobe ribeye and much more.
Other options: Just down the road from the Beau Rivage, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi offers a great combination of gaming, live music, dining and lodging. If you’re in the mood for a museum, visit the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum, which features a collection of local pottery, Southern artwork and much more in a campus designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.
Today, we’ll be driving through central Mississippi and the state’s Delta region, where we’ll find outstanding shopping, classic Southern food and much more.
Morning: Travel to Jackson, Mississippi
Explore the Outlets of Mississippi, Pearl, Mississippi
If you haven’t had your fill of shopping yet, take some time to visit this shopping center outside Mississippi’s capital of Jackson. You’ll find big savings at more than 75 stores, including J. Crew, Banana Republic, Levi’s, Nike and more.
Visit the Mississippi Crafts Center, Ridgeland, Mississippi
This facility, located just off the famous Natchez Trace outside of Jackson, tells the story of Mississippi artisans through demonstrations, performances, classes, exhibits and more. Take a look inside the blacksmith’s shop outside to see a work in progress.
Afternoon: Lunch at Cock of the Walk, Ridgeland, Mississippi
Take in scenic views of the Ross Barnett Reservoir as you enjoy the classic Southern food at Cock of the Walk. Save room for large portions of chicken or fish, and don’t forget to include their classic cornbread or hush puppies.
Travel to Greenwood, Mississippi
Evening: Dinner at Giardina’s Restaurant, Greenwood, Mississippi
Giardina’s, one of the Mississippi Delta’s most historic restaurants, was founded in 1936 by Joseph Giardina and is now part of the sleek Alluvian Hotel. A unique blend of sophistication and warmth, Giardina’s is the perfect setting for any event.
Other options: While in Greenwood, pick up local treats or gift items at the Mississippi Gift Company or take an instructor-led cooking class at Viking Cooking School—Greenwood is home to the world-renowned Viking Range Corporation.
We’ll depart Mississippi today and head north to Memphis, Tennessee, home to savory barbecue, lively music and fascinating history. From there, we’ll head across the Mississippi River and into the heart of Arkansas to visit Little Rock, the state capital.
Morning: Travel to Memphis, Tennessee
Watch the march of the ducks at the Peabody Hotel
Twice a day—at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.—visitors and guests at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis are treated to a show unlike any other. The world-famous “Peabody Ducks” spend their days in the hotel’s indoor fountain, and a “duckmaster” leads the trained waterfowl to and from the fountain every day.
Afternoon: Lunch at the Beauty Shop Restaurant
“Look Good. Eat Good.” are the words emblazoned on the front windows at the Beauty Shop. This hip and trendy restaurant in the Cooper-Young district of midtown Memphis does both, as it conjures up images of a ‘50s-style beauty shop, formerly Priscilla Presley’s curl-and-dye spot.
Travel to Little Rock, Arkansas
Evening: Dinner at Brave New Restaurant, Little Rock, Arkansas
The winner of numerous local and regional awards, this restaurant provides creative American fare and tasty desserts—try the chocolate crème brulee—in a welcoming establishment on the banks of the Arkansas River in central Little Rock.
Other options: If you’re into music history, Memphis has something to offer for every interest. Learn about the King of Rock ’n Roll at Graceland, see the famed space where Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and others recorded at Sun Studio, or visit the Stax Museum of American Soul. Sample some of Memphis’ delicious barbecue at Central BBQ or the world-famous Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous.
On our last full day of this luxurious trip through the American South, we’ll take a day trip to a charming resort town (and national park) that was once a hotspot for athletes, gangsters and movie stars. Then, we’ll return to Little Rock for dinner at an iconic downtown restaurant.
Morning: Travel to Hot Springs, Arkansas
Bathhouse experience at Quapaw Baths
Quapaw Baths & Spa is the perfect place to immerse in Hot Springs’ acclaimed thermal waters and indulge in luxurious spa services. Located on famous Bathhouse Row, Quapaw Baths offers top-notch services in a beautiful, historic bathhouse, rich with the most modern spa amenities and comforts.
Explore historic downtown Hot Springs/Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Hot Springs National Park owe their existence to an array of springs that still supply naturally heated water for thermal baths. Hot Springs National Park is the smallest and oldest of the parks in the National Park System. Hot Springs, which is the boyhood home of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, is home to live thoroughbred racing and gaming at Oaklawn, the 210-acre (85 hectare) Garvan Woodland Gardens and much more.
Afternoon: Lunch at Superior Bathhouse Brewery
Located on Historic Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park, the Superior Bathhouse Brewery is the first brewery to operate in a U.S. National Park and the world’s first brewery to use thermal spring water as the main ingredient to their beer.
Spa treatment at Arlington Hotel
If you need a little more relaxation, visit the iconic Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, the largest hotel in Arkansas. Visit the top-rated Hot Springs Spa and Salon and Thermal Bathhouse, where visitors can bathe in the famous mineral waters of the hot springs.
Return to Little Rock, Arkansas
Evening: Dinner at Capital Bar & Grill, Little Rock, Arkansas
The award-winning Capital Bar & Grill is the gathering spot of choice for Little Rock’s business and political leaders. The restaurant features provincial comfort food with a particular emphasis on the bounty of Arkansas. Signature dishes range from now-legendary fried chicken and red beans & rice to hand-crafted charcuterie—and don’t miss out on the bar’s famous cocktails, including its Moscow mule.
Other options: Take in the sights at Hot Springs Mountain Tower, which sits atop Hot Springs Mountain and delivers a 140-mile (225km) view of the surrounding countryside, including Hot Springs National Park and the Ouachita Mountains. If you’re looking for history, visit Hot Springs’ Ohio Club bar and restaurant, which is purportedly the oldest bar west of the Mississippi River.
Depart from Bill and Hillary Clinton Airport in Little Rock, pampered and refreshed for your trip home.