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dolly2017 Feb 24th, 2017 12:22 AM

New Orleans to Memphis and back
Hello. We are visiting from Scotland and have a 14 day window. We arrive on Saturday 26 August in New Orleans and fly back 2 weeks later again from New Orleans. We are meeting family in Dollywood on Friday 1st September and staying in the area until Monday 4th September. We would like to include Nashville and Memphis in our trip and wonder which order would be best to visit these destinations or if it is too ambitious time wise? Any suggestions gratefully accepted. We are a couple in our mid fifties and will be meeting our daughter, her partner and friends in Dollywood.

Ackislander Feb 24th, 2017 04:57 AM

Well, you Scots are an ambitious lot! I hope you are hardy as well!

These places are not well-arranged for visiting, but they are what they are.

August 26-28. New Orleans
August 29-31 Memphis
September 1-4 Dollywood
September 5-6 Nashville
September 7-8 Nashville to Memphis to New Orleans via Mississippi Delta
September 9 departure

I have you bypassing Nashville on the way to Dollywood because you will learn things there that will help set priorities on your visit and because it is too far to drive back to NO from Gatlinburg in one day. After all, from Gatlinburg to Memphis is farther than from Edinburgh to London.

You can expect the temperatures in Memphis and New Orleans to be 31-33 C with very high humidity. Nashville and Gatlinburg will be more moderate. This is going to be hard on you.

tomfuller Feb 24th, 2017 06:52 AM

To save a of of driving between New Orleans and Memphis, consider taking the Amtrak "City of New Orleans" train from NOL to MEM. The train leaves New Orleans at 1:45PM every day.
It arrives in downtown Memphis about 10PM.
Find a hotel near the train station in Memphis. Spend the next 2 days in Memphis before renting the car to drive to Dollywood. Visit Nashville on the way back from eastern Tennessee. Return the car in Memphis and take the train back to New Orleans. The southbound train leaves early in the morning. The Memphis station is across the street from a restaurant that Elvis once used as a hangout.
The New Orleans station is next to the Superdome.

tomfuller Feb 24th, 2017 10:18 AM

The restaurant across Main Street from the Memphis station is the Arcade.
There is a trolley that runs along Main Street.
Be aware that Monday September 4 is our Labor Day holiday.

Dukey1 Feb 24th, 2017 11:16 AM

If you simply go to a site such as Google Maps you'll see that geographically, Memphis would be considerably out of the way for the (fast route) drive from New Orleans to Pigeon Forge and as has been recommended, it makes more sense to go from Dollywood to Nashville on the way (back)to Memphis.

As an alternative you might even use the Natchez Trace Parkway for the northbound trip but a lot of that depends on the time you wish to spend and the other things, besides those mentioned, you want to experience.

The drive down I-55 assuming that is the route you use from Memphis back to New Orleans is about as boring as it gets. I know because I've driven it and more than once.

However you could, if you had time divert to somewhere such as Natchez to view the various antebellum homes. You might even consider returning to New Orleans using a route closer to the Mississippi River after Natchez.

Dukey1 Feb 24th, 2017 11:17 AM

Sorry, I meant to say that Nashville is out of the way between New Orleans and Pigeon Forge.

BigRuss Feb 24th, 2017 12:36 PM

DO NOT TAKE AMTRAK. Forget Tomfuller's Amtrak obsession. Your time is limited and Amtrak does not even rival British trains for timeliness or speed (we'll skip how they're barely on the same planet as Japanese trains). The average Amtrak speed outside of the Northeast is 45 mph on a good day (including stops, etc.) and the food sucks. Plus, Amtrak trains must cede right of way to freight trains, which could mean serious delays.

Consider a one-way flight from New Orleans to Nashville (or vice versa) during your trip.

E.g. 26-29 Aug. - New Orleans
29 Aug. - 1 Sept. - Nashville (via direct flight, hire car at Nashville)
1-4 Sept. - Dollywood
4-7 Sept. - Memphis
7-9 Sept. New Orleans

You'd have to investigate if there's a drop-off charge for the car under that scenario. Or you can drive as Ackislander indicated above.

dolly2017 Feb 25th, 2017 03:43 AM

Thank you all so much for your helpful responses.

Our daughter had her baby unexpectedly early so I will read over them in detail when I have more time.

Thanks again

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