My wife and I are flying into Atlanta and renting a car for a week with a goal of exploring the south. We have both spent most of our lives on the west coast or in the Rocky Mountain region and have a real romantic fascination with this part of the country -- neither of us have ever visited anywhere in the south outside of Atlanta.
We would generally like to make a big loop, first heading west through Alabama and Mississippi to New Orleans. We would like to spend a few days in New Orleans and then possibly attempt to make it to Savannah on a southern line before heading back to Atlanta.
We would like to stay off any freeway as much as possible. We were thinking of taking US-80 across Alabama and Mississippi -allowing us to pass through Mobile, Vicksburgh and Natchez - before turning south to New Oreans. From New Orleans to Savannah we would likely take the quickest route available to be able to spend a day or two on the coast before zipping back to Atlanta. We are certainly trying to balance taking it slow and enjoying a nice, relaxing road trip with seeing as much of this region as possible in a week.
Any suggestions would be very much appreciated, including highways to use/avoid; towns to visit/avoid; attractions; etc.
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