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3.5 weeks in the Deep South

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Hi all! Hoping to get some tips and advice for our honeymoon later this year (wedding is earlier in the year so we have time to financially recover between that and honeymoon!). We are planning on flying to and from Atlanta, renting a comfortable car and spending 3.5 weeks road-tripping around the southern states, seeing as much as we can but without over-stretching ourselves and also making some time for relaxation. I have made a google map of our rough itinerary which I will link to at the bottom. I'm just hoping that people think this is do-able in our time frame. We plan on going in late September and returning home to Dublin, Ireland in mid to late October. We haven't booked our flights yet but will be doing this soon and I will know our exact dates then, for now it's still all just plans and ideas! Very excited though!

We're both huge into music (most kinds really but for this trip we're interested in anything country, blues or soul), husband-to-be is a professional musician, and ALL things food-related, while not a pro I write about food a lot and love trying new things. Husband-to-be is also quite interested in Civil War and Civil Rights history, in fact, both of us find American history fascinating, he's just more of a buff than I am. Our itinerary might be considered quite ambitious, and we really want to get a solid few days of chilling on the beach towards the end (have allowed stop in Pensacola or nearby for that), there are some places that are obviously unmissable (Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans mainly), but we would really like to take in some of the detours listed, eg: Asheville to see Biltmore, Gatlinburg to visit Dollywood/Smoky Mountains etc and Natchez to see the antebellum homes.

I'd love if anyone could let us know what's not to be missed along our route, what you think we could skip out on and places you'd recommend eating, sleeping and entertaining ourselves. Also, is this a good time of year to be travelling? We can't really go at any other time so hopefully your answers to that one will be positive!! Will we need to book accommodation in advance? We are hoping to save money by staying in motels along the way, we also want the freedom of moving on or staying in places as and when we choose so hope that opting for not booking in advance might give us that freedom. We may look into booking and staying somewhere nice in NO and Pensacola area as these are the places we'll probably unwind and spend the most time in, but apart from that we're happy with casual motel stops as long we're not in total hellholes! Any advice and tips will be much appreciated! Looking forward to hearing from some of you. :-)

PS: Here's the link, sorry it's so long, not very tech-savvy so don't know if I could have shortened it or not!!

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Atlanta,+GA,+United+States&daddr=Chattanooga,+TN,+United+States+to:Asheville,+NC,+United+States+to:Gatlinburg,+TN,+United+States+to:Nashville,+TN,+United+States+to:Memphis,+TN,+United+States+to:Vicksburg,+MS,+United+States+to:Natchez,+MS,+United+States+to:New+Orleans,+LA,+United+States+to:Mobile,+AL,+United+States+to:Pensacola,+FL,+United+States+to:Montgomery,+AL,+United+States+to:Atlanta,+GA,+United+States&geocode=FQP4AgIdclf4-imNCZNpXQT1iDELYwuZL97-Zg;Ff7AFgIdEEfq-imF54OKQGBgiDGqKIeJHyZxJA;FTE6HwIdYVMU-ykJbw88qYxZiDFdOjQGwTHvlA;FdP0IAIdbLwF-ymJpQjL6lNZiDGoebd-rtexSg;FQvcJwIdm8rT-ik9kOsTMuxkiDGg2umh0Lk_fQ;Fd5WGAIdLPah-ilFl0PqHn7VhzH-thpgFfOT0Q;FYap7QEdRlCV-im5EbH2J-AohjHAe08HaSpCdw;FfyS4QEdXUyN-imr_6OYF_clhjHaJK558GmTVA;FVoEyQEdFJ6h-illghGyVKQghjG00yJe6FsG2w;FdVb1AEd0pHA-imp-EzxHU6aiDEanol3VA7oTA;FT0x0AEd7SzN-im7qsusRb-QiDF8ZXkxbprGpw;FdXg7QEdvyrb-in5gdSwlIGOiDH_hUI1HVEbjg;&abauth=50a58c18tWPUQj5GrNwLKDk0A93wSp4Pdhw&aq=0&oq=At&vps=3&jsv=441b&sll=33.063924,-86.967773&sspn=9.238272,19.753418&vpsrc=0&hl=en&mra=ls&num=10

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