Southern USA road trip help!

Oct 12th, 2019, 10:46 PM
  #1  
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Southern USA road trip help!

Hi All

I'm currently planning our first trip to the US for Sep/Oct next year and I'd love some feedback on the southern leg of our itinerary.
  • New Orleans (fly in from Washington DC) - 4 nights - explore the city (music, architecture + food), a few plantation tours and the bayou
  • Vicksburg - 2 nights - via Natchez, day trip to Clarksdale and a few of the blues sites (or we could just spend 1 night in Vicksburg and then 1 night in Clarksdale)
  • Montgomery - 4 nights - visit a few of the Civil Rights sites, Birmingham and Selma
  • Savannah - 3 nights - walk the town, see the architecture
  • Charleston - 1 night - walk around downtown, see the historic homes (we fly to New York from here)
We will be hiring a car and our interests include scenery, architecture, music and history. We don't mind driving as we enjoy seeing the different scenery and smaller towns.

Some of the things I'm not sure about are:
- The drive from Montgomery to Savanah is pretty long, so I'm not sure if I should break it up with an overnight stay along the way.
- I didn't originally have the stay in Vicksburg/Clarksdale and has going straight from New Orleans to Montgomery - adding these extra nights might be too ambitious.
- Should we stay 2 nights in Savannah and 2 nights in Charleston, rather than 3 and 1?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and any suggestions you have.

Thanks.
Rellie

rellie2 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2019, 04:46 AM
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Too long in Savannah and not nearly long enough in charleston. Might be able to pare a day off of Montgomery but while there do not miss the Maya Lin Civil Rights memoria at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In Birmingham have a spectacular meal at Frank Stitt's Highlands Grill.

IMO charleston may be even more interesting than NOLA but for many of the same reasons--historicity, cuisine, walkability, charm,--, just to pique your interest in spending more time there.
Gretchen is offline  
Oct 13th, 2019, 07:39 AM
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If you have a deal where you don't have to pay a drop fee on rental cars, consider taking The Amtrak Crescent train from Birmingham to Atlanta. Drop the New Orleans rental car in Birmingham then rent another car in Atlanta the morning after you arrive on the train. The train leaves Birmingham about 2:20PM Central Time and arrives in Atlanta about 7:30PM Eastern time (about 4:10 travel time).
Atlanta has things that you might want to see before driving to Savannah. The coach fare on the Crescent is in the $40-50 range per person from Birmingham to Atlanta (daily train).
If you didn't want to fly out of Charleston, you could return the car to Atlanta and ride the Crescent north overnight to Washington and New York.
The ride north from Atlanta to Washington in a Roomette might be cheaper than a good hotel room for a night in Charleston.
tomfuller is online now  
Oct 13th, 2019, 11:41 AM
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I would drop two nights from Montgomery and add them to Charleston.
I'd also stay in Natchez instead of Vicksburg (been to both) but that is just my opinion. Guess it depends on how interested you are in seeing Civil War sites.
jamie99 is online now  
Oct 13th, 2019, 02:06 PM
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Taking a train in the south in addition to being late just robs you of stopping at a local place for a piece of pie, plus paying for an UBER to take you from station to your hotel.
And for pete's sake, it is a 2 hour drive from Birmingham to Atlanta. See stuff if you've taken the train? Hire a driver? More money.
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Oct 13th, 2019, 05:12 PM
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Thanks for the tips Gretchen. I'll research NOLA, Savannah and Charleston more and perhaps change up the days in each. We tend to favour smaller towns and cities as I'm not a massive fan of crowds.
rellie2 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2019, 05:17 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by jamie99 View Post
I would drop two nights from Montgomery and add them to Charleston.
I'd also stay in Natchez instead of Vicksburg (been to both) but that is just my opinion. Guess it depends on how interested you are in seeing Civil War sites.
Thanks for the tip Jamie. While seeing the civil war sites will be interesting, we'd also like to enjoy the scenery of the area. Why would you pick Natchez over Vicksburg?
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Oct 13th, 2019, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tomfuller View Post
If you have a deal where you don't have to pay a drop fee on rental cars, consider taking The Amtrak Crescent train from Birmingham to Atlanta. Drop the New Orleans rental car in Birmingham then rent another car in Atlanta the morning after you arrive on the train. The train leaves Birmingham about 2:20PM Central Time and arrives in Atlanta about 7:30PM Eastern time (about 4:10 travel time).
Atlanta has things that you might want to see before driving to Savannah. The coach fare on the Crescent is in the $40-50 range per person from Birmingham to Atlanta (daily train).
If you didn't want to fly out of Charleston, you could return the car to Atlanta and ride the Crescent north overnight to Washington and New York.
The ride north from Atlanta to Washington in a Roomette might be cheaper than a good hotel room for a night in Charleston.
Thanks for the info Tom. I'm not sure we have time to head to Atlanta - but I'll have a look into train options.
rellie2 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2019, 05:34 PM
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>> but I'll have a look into train options<<

Don't
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Oct 14th, 2019, 04:22 AM
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What Janis said. I know it is nice to be nice but.....

You will really enjoy Charleston--it is NOT a big town and as I mentioned very walkable. You really can shave several days off of Montgomery but it is a charming old South city
That time of year will not be crowded and the weather will be beautiful on the southeast coast --- if there are no hurricanes. I don't want to be an alarmist but trip insurance would not be a bad idea for this trip..
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Oct 14th, 2019, 07:28 AM
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I have never been to Louisiana or Mississippi and not on my to-do list. Alabama was a big enough culture shock for me. I live in Fl which is only partially consider the south. Yes, we have big mud trucks spouting clouds of diesel smoke and pit bulls riding in the back. I would do more nights in Charletson, Savannah and visit Tybee Island.
Macross is online now  
Oct 14th, 2019, 10:00 AM
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
Too long in Savannah and not nearly long enough in charleston. Might be able to pare a day off of Montgomery but while there do not miss the Maya Lin Civil Rights memoria at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In Birmingham have a spectacular meal at Frank Stitt's Highlands Grill.

IMO charleston may be even more interesting than NOLA but for many of the same reasons--historicity, cuisine, walkability, charm,--, just to pique your interest in spending more time there.
On the other hand it might be just right. I would rather spend more time in Savannah than Charleston. This is an age old debate and most people have their favorite between the two. You will have to decide for yourself. New Orleans, Savannah and Charleston are loved by many with Charleston being my least favorite. Can't offer anything about Vicksburg or Montgomery as I have never been there or know anybody that mentioned visiting there.
gmoney is online now  
Oct 14th, 2019, 03:03 PM
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We visited Natchez in late Spring, when it is a great time to do home and garden tours. We also enjoyed driving down to Natchez Under Hill, which 200 years ago was one of the wildest spots along the Mississippi with pirates, gamblers, etc. Looked like there was a historic saloon that was open, but we could not find a place to park.
I have seen plenty of Civil War sites in visits to my late husband's home state, Virginia, so seeing one more did not appeal that much. YMMV.
jamie99 is online now  

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