Stunning landscapes, incredible variety, endless culture. The USA is the ultimate year-round destination. If you’re looking for some travel inspiration then look no further than the soul of the south – Nashville, Tennessee, Memphis, Tennessee and New Orleans, Louisiana. A region with an incredible wealth of history, culture and nature, coupled with sensational cuisine and unbeatable music credentials, the Southern USA is the vacation of a lifetime.

In partnership with Visit the USA, we invite you discover the soul of the south and to travel with us on Southern Grace, a 9-day luxury journey from Nashville to New Orleans. To whet your appetite, we’ve picked out some of our favorite moments.

For travel inspiration: USA destination guide

Read more about our Southern Grace tour: High Notes: How Travel Concierge Ann Amplifies the Sounds of the South

Walk in the footsteps of legends in Nashville, Tennessee

visitors walking down a spiral staircase in the Country Music Hall of Fame

A welcoming and vibrant destination for visitors, Nashville has long been at the heart of country music in America. ‘Music City’ as it is affectionally known, is also the birthplace of bluegrass, with a thriving rock and pop scene. A city packed with sensational eateries and exceptional hotels, your stay at the sophisticated Grand Hyatt on our Southern Grace small group journey places you in the center of luxury and the downtown action.

Nashville grew from a foundation based on music and, as the 1800s unfolded it became a national center for music publishing. Join us and discover the music like a VIP. At Studio B – Nashville’s oldest remaining record studio, take part in a private recording session under the guidance of a professional sound engineer. Let your inner songbird free and record a take-home tune just as legends Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton have done before you.

Later, at the Country Music Hall of Fame, as guests of Luxury Gold you’ll enjoy a private, behind-the-scenes look at the songwriting process with a local songwriter and singer. On your visit you’ll also see memorabilia from stars such as Jim Reeves and Roy Orbison, before topping the night off with a performance at the Grand Ole Opry.

You may also enjoy reading: For Your Ears Only: Experience the Privilege of Private Live Music

Discover U.S. history in Memphis, Tennessee

View looking down a neon sign-lined street at dusk in America

Home of ‘The King’, the blues and the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis is another musical pilgrimage hotspot. But over and above the music, this city holds an essential place in U.S. history, and its civil rights legacy lives on in many ways.

Nowhere is this history brought to life quite like the National Civil Rights Museum, a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience on Southern Grace. Immerse yourself on a guided tour through the interactive exhibits and poignant storytelling, the museum shares the story of key moments throughout the American Civil Rights Movement, from the history of enslaved people all the way through to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and beyond.

Memphis, and indeed the whole of Southern USA, is also known for its delicious cuisine including cajun, creole and some of the finest BBQ. To experience traditional cooking at its most tasty, Luxury Gold guests get a backstage pass to Central BBQ – one of the city’s oldest and most iconic establishments. Sweep past the queues (which are usually around the block) for your VIP visit. Inside you will meet Clint Cantwell, a renowned grilling expert to learn how to make the most delicious pulled pork, brisket and ribs – a rare event usually only local insiders get to experience. Followed of course by a scrumptious meal.

Bookmark for later: How We’re Setting the Gold Standard for Sustainable Luxury Travel

Step back in time in Natchez, Mississippi

An antebellum house set against a blue sky and green lawn

Stepping away from the hustle and bustle, Natchez is a charming retreat. The oldest city on the Mississippi and one of Southern USA’s hidden gems, more than 1,000 structures in Natchez are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With properties dating to the late 1700s, the South’s unique architecture and history comes to life in Natchez’s antebellum homes.

Your stay in the Monmouth Historic Inn & Gardens, a National Historic Landmark built in 1818, gives you a timeless feel for the place. An early 19th-century antebellum mansion set in 26 acres of manicured gardens, world class service and historic surroundings combine for a decadent stay.

While in Natchez on Southern Grace, we invite you to personalize your day with a choice of two experiences. Either you can step back in time and take a private tour an 1850s Greek-Revival cottage, the beloved home of a local. Take your time to explore the interior and grounds and let your imagination run wild as you learn about its past. Alternatively you can choose to join a mixology class and learn all about famous Southern cocktails including the ‘Crown Julep’.

You may be interested to read: Our Favorite Classic Cocktails, and the Timeless Hotels To Try Them At

There’s nowhere quite like New Orleans, Louisiana

A view of New Orleans' French Quarter buildings with wrought iron balconies

To cap off your Southern Grace tour the ‘Big Easy’ beckons. A city so steeped in history and culture and rich traditions there’s a tantalizing story around every corner. The Ritz Carlton is your majestic home for three nights and is a destination in itself. The building was built originally in 1908 and it became a luxury hotel in 2000 showcasing the best of U.S. hospitality. Centrally located it means you are just a few steps from the area’s most popular attractions, including the famous Bourbon Street.

A city world renowned for its Mardi Gras celebrations, as part of your exploration of New Orleans we invite you to enjoy an all-access pass to the Mardi Gras World’s Blaine Kern Studios. This workshop has created sensational floats for Mardi Gras and other parades around the world since 1947. Learn how artists and architects build Mardi Gras floats from the ground up and view colorful costumes and props.

Read more about this extraordinary hotel: Why New Orleans’ Ritz Carlton Hotel is a cut above the rest

To enjoy the best of the USA with a luxurious visit to the sensational South, take a look at our Southern Gracesmall group journey.