Road Trips

Nashville to New Orleans Road Trip: Blues Highway 61

Tupelo Mississippi
Written by Town & Tourist

Nashville to New Orleans Road Trip – Taking a road trip between Nashville and New Orleans will take you through a variety of historic places, from the birthplace of the civil rights movement to the birthplace of the King, Elvis Presley!

The drive is also scenic as you head through Natchez Trace Parkway, which offers sweeping roads & breath taking views. There is also highway 61, which is the well know blues highway! Thus to experience a foodie, historic and musical road trip, dive into our itinerary below!

nashville new orleans road trp

nashville new orleans road trip: Source: getty imagesHow far is New Orleans from Nashville?

New Orleans is approximately 530-600 miles from Nashville depending on which route you take. I suggest spreading your trip over some days to really make the most of all the great places to see along the way. For example we did 12 days in total.

Nashville to New Orleans Road Trip Map:

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Nashville to New Orleans Road Trip Itinerary:

  1. Nashville, Tennessee – 2 days
  2. Tupelo, Mississippi – 1 day 
  3. Memphis, Tennessee – 2 days
  4. Highway 61 – Blues Museum
  5. Vicksburg, Mississippi – 1 day
  6. Natchez, Louisiana – 1 day
  7. Baton Rouge, Louisiana  – 1 day
  8. New Orleans, Louisiana – 4 days

1. Nashville, Tennessee

Day 1: Country Music Legends

Nashville, is the capital of Tennessee, lies on the Cumberland River. It was founded in 1779, is known as the capital of country music! With popular attractions such as Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Johnny Cash Museum. We visited the Country Museum in the Morning and the Johnny Cash Museum in the afternoon.

In the evening you should head to Grand Ole Opry to watch one of there famous evening shows!

nashville country music

Nashville country music

Day 2: Ancient Greece! 

On day 2, head to see the The Parthenon a full size replica of the greek monument in Athens. Located at the Centennial Park in Nashville.

How much does it cost to visit the Parthenon?

Adults (18-62): $6.00, Children (4-17): $4.00, Seniors (62+): $4.00, Babies and children under 4 years old are free

Fun Fact: The Parthenon was designed by Confederate veteran William Crawford Smith and built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.

Parthenon Nashville

Parthenon Nashville

Other highlights in Nashville include the Tennessee State Capitol and the Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library.

Where to eat?

  • Breakfast: Biscuit Love.
  • Casual Dinner: Pinewood Social.
  • Hot Spot: Folk – (Seasonal Small Plates & wood fired pizzas. )
  • Lunch: Chauhan Ale & Masala
  • Barbecue: Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint.
  • Southern & Soul Food Classics: Arnold’s Country Kitchen.
  • Neighborhood Hang: Lockel and Table Community Kitchen/Bar.
  • Patio: Butchertown Hall

2. Tupelo, Mississippi 

Although not on the direct route to New Orleans, Tupelo, Mississippi is a must visit place if your a fan of the King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley.  As the birth place of Elvis you will find many statues and you can visit his childhood home which still has the original 1930s furniture. Afterwards head to the Elvis Presley Museum which showcases his early family life and music.

Tupelo Mississippi

Tupelo Mississippi

Afterwards you can check out Buffalo Park and Zoo, which is home to bison, zebras and giraffes.

If your a History buff, head down to the Tupelo National Battlefield which was the site of a Civil War battle.

3. Memphis, Tennessee 

Following in the Kings footsteps take the 108 mile (1hr 42 min) drive to Memphis Tennessee. This is the ultimate place to learn about the history of Blues, Soul and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Check out the famous Sun Studio, where Elvis Presley, B.B King and Johnny Cash all recorded albums. Other popular attractions include Graceland Mansion, Elvis Home and final resting place. See Celebrity Graves Road Trip: U.S.A. 

Memphis, Tennessee

In addition, to Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Blues Hall of Fame and Stax Museum of American Soul Music. 

Where to Eat in Memphis?

Paulette’s Restaurant

Paulette’s Restaurant is an iconic and charming eatery which offers an  inventive menu of French & Hungarian dishes along with regional eats.

Address50 Harbor Town Square, Memphis, TN 38103, United States

Cozy Corner Restaurant

This place offers one of the best Barbecues in town, take a seat in one of the torn vinyl booths and enjoy some of the mouth watering ribs & wings. The Cornish game hen ($11.75)  is unreal aswell! 

Address735 North Pkwy, Memphis, TN 38105, United States

Where to Stay in Memphis?

If you plan on staying in downtown Memphis I recommended:

La Quinta Inn & Suites – A superb hotel in Downtown Memphis. There is an indoor swimming pool, free parking on site and free WiFi throughout the hotel.

SpringHill Suites – SpringHill Suites is another favourite with an outdoor swimming pool and a sun terrace. The rooms are studio style with a refrigerator and a microwave for preparing basic meals.

There are tea and coffee-making facilities in every room. They also allow guests to use their gym and business center.

If you are a Graceland Fan, then you should definitely stay at: The Guest House at Graceland – A fantastic hotel which is just a five-minute walk from the gates of the Graceland Mansion. There are two restaurants in-house and an outdoor swimming pool.

Insider Tip:
Each evening be sure to tuck into the complimentary peanut butter & jelly bar.

4. Highway 61 Blues Museum 

Between Memphis and Vicksburg, be sure to stop of at the Highway 61 blues Museum.

5. Vicksburg, Mississippi 

Vicksburg is a city which was known to have a key civil war battle! Its quieter these days but still great for history buffs. The Siege of Vicksburg is commemorated at the massive Vicksburg National Military Park which also contains the Vicksburg National Cemetery and the restored USS Cairo gunboat.

Head over to the iconic Old Court House, which has a Civil War battlefield museum.

Insider Tip:

entry costs $20 per car, to the Vicksburg National Military Park

Where to Eat?

Grab some delicious food from Lively, Rustys Riverfront Grill which offers a family-friendly seafood restaurant & bar in saloon-like setup with a cozy vibe & patio.
Insider Tip: 
Try the the incredible rib eye or the Southern-style seafood too, which includes crab cakes, blackened redfish
An alternative place is Beechwood Restaurant & Lounge which is an Old-fashioned steakhouse which was established in 1956, it provides Southern recipes, a martini menu & live entertainment.

6. Natchez, Louisiana  

The Natchez Trace Parkway, is a national scenic treasure. It was traveled by Native Americans over 8,000 years ago and spans 444 miles and from Natchez, MS, to Nashville, TN. This was included in our 25 Most Epic Driving Roads in the U.S.A:

Natchez town itself is the oldest in  Mississippi,and is famed for its historic Mansions of Longwood   and  Rosalie Mississippi State Dar .  These are part of the Natchez National Historical Park. 

Photo by Bryson Moore

Where to Eat?

Some cool places to eat in Natchez include, Magnolia Grill, a riverside venue with a wooden storefront grill and outdoor patio. You should try the pork tenderloin or a fried crawfish and spinach salad.

Another great place is Kings Tavern which offers Wood-fired steaks, pot pies & craft spirits all served in a 1789 antique building.

For a casual tavern which offers Southern eats & music head to Biscuits & Blues.

7. Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana, it’s well know for it’s bubbling food scene, historical landmarks and quirky attractions.

Head to Downtown Baton Rouge for nightlife, dining and even a few Casinos. You will find the Live After Five showcase, which is a series of FREE outdoor concerts.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

Baton Rouge, Louisiana , Source: landlopers.com

Things to do in Baton Rouge:

Who said tigers don’t go to college??  “Mike the tiger” is the ONLY live tiger living on a college Campus in the USA.  Mike acts as a college mascot in addition to helping with  research, conservation and educational programs.
Mike the Tiger Habitat! 

Mike the Tiger Habitat! Source: gardenandgun.com

An interesting insight into 18th century life.

A retired WWII destroyer which is now a museum.

 103 acres of forests & marshlands, where you can spot armadillos, otters, coyotes, and deer! There is also interactive exhibits which are great for families.

Where to Eat?

Red stick Farmers Market offers the freshest produce such as homemade honey, pickles, and jams. There is also a variety of meats and southern seafood!
Louisiana Lagniappe Restaurant is the ideal place who a night out with delicious local cuisine as a starter! Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant is a local seafood specialist set in a rustic space with porch seating.
The Chimes is a Lively campus-area hangout worldwide beer list & hearty bar foods.

8. New Orleans, Louisiana 

New Orleans is a city with soul, history and great locals who really go out of there way to make sure your have a fantastic time. Expect that famous “Southern Hospitality” to not disappoint!

With “Let the Good times Roll” as New Orleans Unofficial motto this is a true symbol of the vibes expected. From the Garden District and Jazz clubs to the bustling  Bourbon Street.

After the rebuild from Hurricane Katrina the city has been injected with a new lease of life with the people more optimistic and welcoming than ever.

One of me and my wives favourite things to do here was the Evening Jazz boat cruise with dinner. This was a perfect excuse to freshen up after that long road trip.

For something a little difference the Hurricane Katrina tour is a real eye opener to what went on in the great city.

Madi Gras:

If You a traveling here in late February (25th) you may get to experience the world renowned Mardi Gras Festival and Parade! For more info see: 12 Epic Parades in the U.S.A

Mardi Gras New Orleans

Mardi Gras New Orleans

Where to Eat in New Orleans?

Top foods you must try in New Orleans include:

Other foods to try here include: Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab and Raw Oysters.

Where to Stay in New Orleans?

I suggest staying in Louisiana for a minimum of three nights to really experience what the place has to offer! I recommended

Hotel Monteleone French Quarter

Family-owned and operated since 1886, the historic Hotel Monteleone is one of the most famous in New Orleans. Its luxury rooms were favoured by writers like Truman Capote. Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner. A highlight of the hotel is the Carousel Bar which offers classic cocktails and musical entertainment,

Royal Frenchmen HotelBywater (Trendy Neighbourhood!)

A renovated Creole townhouse which has everything you need, from cozy, well-appointed rooms with a vintage vibe to a great hotel bar serving craft cocktails. There is a tranquil courtyard and opulent lobby lounge for guests. You also located very close to the action on Frenchmen.

Insider Tip:

When you arrive ask if you can have a room with a balcony overlooking the street, to really take in the New Orleans Atmosphere.

About the author

Town & Tourist

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