Itinerary – Musical Roots of the South
Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina

Musical Journeys Dallas | Austin | New Orleans | Houston | Birmingham
Gatlinburg | Pigeon Forge | Chattanooga | Charleston | Atlanta

About this itinerary

Driving distance: 2,106 Miles
Recommended travelling time: 20 Days
Recommended travel season: Year round
Discover an array of genres as you explore the deepest corners of the Southern states. Soak in the vivacious 'Lone Star' State, Texas, before the Cajun culture of Louisiana, and the rich musical history of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia, and finally revel in the Southern Charm of Charleston, South Carolina before heading home.

Dallas, Texas to Austin, Texas


Start your journey in the metropolitan city of Dallas, specifically Deep Ellum, an entertainment district with over 30 venues. Here, see popular music acts in the Bomb Factory, request a song at a duelling piano bar, or enjoy local art and dining. Next is Austin, where its population of 2000 musicians, and its massive venues like the Paramount Theatre emphasise why the city is nicknamed the 'Live Music Capital of the World'. The TV show 'Austin City Limits' continues to bring attention to fantastic acts the city has produced, and the South by Southwest music festival attracts those from elsewhere.
Length of leg: 195 miles| Total distance travelled: 195 miles


Austin, Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana, via Houston, Texas

Stop at San Antonio, known for metal and Tejano music before continuing to Houston, the original home of bands like Destiny's Child. The historic Fitzgerald's showcases aspiring and established talents whilst new venue, White Oak Music Hall, offers fantastic views of downtown from both indoor and outdoor stages. Stop at the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur, then Lafayette, the 'capital of Cajun Country', before arriving in New Orleans, a hub of music, cocktails and unique cuisines. Preservation Hall offers traditional New Orleans Jazz, whilst The Spotted Cat Music Club can feature three Jazz bands nightly.
Length of leg: 513 miles | Total distance travelled: 708 miles

New Orleans, Louisiana to Birmingham, Alabama,
via Indianola, Mississippi

Head to Baton Rouge, Louisiana's state capital, where the delectable food, distinct architecture and unique culture gives a taste of its 300 year-long history. The trail continues through Natchez, Vicksburg and Indianola, along the Mississippi Delta. In Indianola, learn about the history of Blues music at the B.B. King Museum and discover how the genre was created in cotton fields and juke joints. Continue to Dockery Farms, the workplace of Blues pioneer Charlie Patton, then Tupelo, birthplace of "the King of Rock 'n' Roll", Elvis. Next, visit Birmingham, where Jazz is still very much alive in downtown nightclubs like Ona's Music Room.
Length of leg: 602 miles | Total distance travelled: 1,310 miles


Birmingham, Alabama to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge,
Tennessee, via Chattanooga, Tennessee

Before leaving Birmingham, stop by the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and see where many of the greats performed. Cross through Georgia on the drive to Tennessee, arriving in Chattanooga, hometown of Usher. Stop at the Songbirds Guitar Museum to see guitars from the 1920s through the 1970s. Gatlinburg boasts a great musical reputation. Every summer, artists and music fans converge here for the Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival, where top songwriters vie for awards. Gatlinburg's distilleries allow you to listen to live music while sipping local drinks, too! Finish with the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge.
Length of leg: 301 miles | Total distance travelled: 1,611 miles

Gatlingburg or Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to Charleston,
South Carolina, via Atlanta, Georgia

Swap the music trail for the Great Smoky Mountains and hit the hiking trails showcasing forests, waterfalls and spectacular viewpoints. Head to Georgia for the college town vibe of Athens, linked to bands like the B-52s and R.E.M. Continue to Atlanta, a destination famous for contemporary Hip-Hop and R&B. Variety Playhouse is a great venue to catch such music events! At your final destination, ensure you see Charleston's waterfront and the city's signature antebellum mansions, with their colourful paintwork and beautiful gardens. For a low-key evening, step inside historic downtown bars to see a host of talented musicians.
Length of leg: 495 miles | Total distance travelled: 2,106 miles

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Some map icons by Scott de Jonge, used under CC 3.0 BY  Train vector by Freepik

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