The southern United States is roughly the size of some countries in terms of geography and as diverse within its bounds as countries as well. The signature dishes from Cajun country of Louisiana are vastly different from what you’ll find in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The landscapes are just as varied, including wetlands, mountains, plains, and everything in between. The process of planning your own trip through the region can certainly be overwhelming, especially when it comes to how you’ll get in between destinations. It’s entirely possible, but some travelers may prefer to opt for a group tour instead. We’ve broken down some of your options for taking a group tour of the South. Note that there are affiliate links within this post, but clicking on them supports the upkeep of This Is My South and won’t cost you anything extra.
Where Do I Want to Go?
First, consider where you want to go. This will decide which tour company is right for you and if a tour company is right at all. Second, look at a map to see if it’s even feasible. Jumping from New Orleans to Miami is difficult unless you’re prepared to splurge on a flight.
How Long Do I Want to Travel?
Do you just want to get a taste of the region with the highlights or to really immerse yourself? It wouldn’t be too difficult to hit the main places in the matter of a week and a half, but if you plan on seeing as many places as possible, two weeks is better. You also have to consider how much travel time is between locations. For example, it’s a full day’s drive between Atlanta and Miami, but only a few between Nashville and Memphis.
How Much Do I Want to Spend?
In terms of the rest of the country, it’s relatively inexpensive to travel in the South. Food and drink costs are comparable in larger cities and hotel rooms aren’t too costly for mid-range or budget options. You can easily do it cheaply if you need to. The benefit of a group tour is that the majority of the costs are upfront, allowing you to save and splurge as needed when you arrive.
A number of group tour companies have expanded into the South in recent years, including multi-day and one-day options. We’ve included a few to consider and what sets them apart from the others.
The leader in the worldwide 18-35 market has extensive tours in the United States, including some in the South. Most of their tours are known for being large bus tours with an emphasis on nightlife. Guides tend to be younger and the pace is fast. Tours include transportation, accommodation, and some meals. While we didn’t outline it below, the Epic Adventure tour lasts 55 days and passes through a large number of states, including the South.
Eastern Discovery runs from New York City to New Orleans, stopping through parts of the South. It includes stops in Washington DC, Raleigh, Savannah, Charleston, St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, the Kennedy Space Center, Miami, Orlando, Panama City Beach , Tallahassee, Mobile, and New Orleans. This tour is best for travelers who want to sit it all in a matter of two weeks. Tours start from $1,900 USD. There’s also a version that starts in New Orleans and goes the opposite route.
Grand Southern runs in each direction between New York City and Los Angeles, offering travelers an easy way to go bicoastal. The stops are the same as the Eastern Discovery, including Charleston, Miami, and New Orleans, but also adds in Memphis, Jackson, Dallas, Little Rock, and Texarkana before continuing through the West. It lasts 26 days and starts at around $3,000 USD.
Boot Scoot N Blues focuses entirely on the South and is perhaps the company’s best tour for those interested solely in the region. It starts in Dallas and ends in Orlando, winding between Austin, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, Jackson, Nashville, Atlanta, and Lynchburg. The 12-day tour starts at around $2,000 USD.
This tour company is a leader in responsible travel, eliminating activities that are harmful to animals from their itineraries. Intrepid Travel has a humble presence in the United States, including their Urban Adventures brand of day tours. Intrepid’s tours are generally smaller and include accommodation and transportation as well as some meals. Tours are appropriate for all age levels, but skew between 18 and 45.
Southern Comfort USA runs between the airline hubs of New Orleans and Atlanta over the course of 12 days. On the way, you’ll see Clarksdale, Memphis, Nashville, Asheville, Charleston, and Savannah. The itinerary is diverse, showcasing the region’s best music, history, and scenery. The comfort-level tour includes some meals, some activities, all transportation, and all accommodation, starting at $3,300 USD.
Best of America does just as the name implies, criscrossing between New York and San Francisco. Along the way, you’ll visit New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, the Appalachian Mountains, and Washington DC. Maximum group size is 13 people and mostly includes transportation and camping costs. Meals are not included. Tours start around $3,500 USD and the tour lasts 22 days.
Big Apple to Big Easy covers just the Eastern part of the Best of America trip from New Orleans to New York. The group size is the same and it also only covers accommodation and transportation. Tours for this portion last 7 days and start at around $1,200 USD, making this an easy introduction to the region. They offer another tour in the opposite direction and include this route in a few of the larger tours.
Key West and Dry Tortugas Sailing Adventure is a unique small group experience to one of the country’s most remote national parks. Most of the trip takes place on a sailboat between Key West, the Marquesas Islands, and Dry Tortugas. Accommodation, meals, and transportation are included. The tour lasts 7 days and starts at around $1,300 USD.
New York to Miami hits the highlights between the two cities, passing through Washington DC, the Appalachian Mountains, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Panama City Beach, Orlando, Key West, and Miami. The 14 day tour starts at $2,300 USD and includes transportation and accommodation, but meals and attractions are on your own. You can also take a similar version from Chicago.
Florida Adventure highlights the state, but starts in New Orleans, passing through the Louisiana and Alabama coastline before crossing into Florida. Stops include Panama City Beach, Orlando, Key West, and Miami. The seven-day tour starts at $1,100 USD and includes transportation and accommodation, but not meals.
This company mainly targets young British travelers and has made their mark on the Southern region recently. The tours are mostly small groups, less than 20, and can range from staying at hostels and budget hotels to camping. The Atlantic BLT adds onto the Deep South trip as does Best of the East.
Deep South BLT visits the music-heavy region over the course of eight days, round-trip to and from New Orleans. Stops include Birmingham, the Great Smoky Mountains, Nashville, Memphis, and Natchez. Accommodation is included, but most meals and activities are at your expense. Tours start at $1,250 USD.
Southern Dixieland is a 15 day adventure through the region. It’s a small group tour, but mostly involves camping in Miami and the Everglades, Orlando, Panama City Beach, New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, Stone Mountain, St. Augustine, Fort Lauderdale, and Key West before returning to its origin point. Meals, transportation, and accommodation are included. It starts at $2,000 USD.
Atlantic Dream includes many of the places featured in the other tours. Starting from New York and ending in Miami, the adventurous tour includes stops in Washington DC, Shenandoah National Park, the Ocoee River, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Destin , and Orlando. Meals, transportation, and accommodation are included for the mostly camping tour, which lasts 2 weeks and starts at $1,700 USD.
While originally known for their itineraries abroad, G Adventures has made its mark in North America. They have multiple types of tours, ranging from basic and backpacker-friendly to more inclusive. Group sizes also vary by tour. Best of the US Express and Coast to Coast Road Trip include stops in the South that are similar to the itineraries we’ve featured below.
Iconic Mardi Gras New Orleans brings you to the Big Easy in its most notorious time of year: Mardi Gras. The six day experience includes accommodation and unique experiences, including parades, some meals, and guides to help you navigate the revelry. Tours start at $1,500 USD and are appropriate for ages 12 and over.
Southern Cross Country goes in two directions between San Francisco and New York, stopping through New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, and the rest of the Music tour stops before reaching the northeast. Most of the tour includes camping. The 23 day adventure starts at $2,700 USD.
Highlights of the Deep South is a small group tour that starts in Charleston before showcasing Savannah, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans over the course of nine days. The easy pace is ideal for a first time traveler to the region. Hotels and transportation are included, along with some meals and activities. Tours start from $1,500 USD.
Music, Mountains, and Monuments runs eastbound and westbound between New York and New Orleans. The bare bones tour includes stops in Washington DC, Shenandoah National Park, the Appalachian Mountains, Nashville, and Memphis. Accommodation, some meals, transportation, and some activities, including national park entrance, are included. This camping tour lasts 8 days and starts at $900 USD.
Another youth oriented tour operator is Topdeck, whose tours tend to be much larger than the other operators, putting a cap at 50 people. If you’re looking to meet other travelers, this is your best bet. A number of tours, including The Big Easy, are larger tours that follow many of the same routes.
Southern Charm runs from Miami to New York, stopping through Orlando, Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, and Washington DC. You can travel in either direction. Accommodation and transportation are included, along with some meals and activities. The 10-day tour starts at $1,800 USD.
School of Rock is a music-focused tour that runs through New Orleans, Jackson, Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Washington DC en route to New York. It can run in either direction. Accommodation and transportation are included, along with some meals and activities. The 12 day tour starts at $2,000 USD.
Sunshine States goes between New Orleans and New York, stopping through the Southern States along the way. Panama City Beach, the Florida Gulf Coast, Miami, Orlando, Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, and Washington DC are all highlighted. Some tours and meals are included, along with accommodations and transportation. The tour lasts 13 days and costs around $2,000 USD, running in both directions.
On the opposite end of the spectrum lies Insight Vacations, which is a luxury operator geared towards adult travelers. America the Beautiful and the Sumptuous Soul of America visit much of the United States, including the South, following the itineraries listed in the shorter tours below.
Southern Glamour is a full luxury experience, spanning 8 days. Starting in Atlanta, the tour visits Jekyll Island, St. Simon’s Island, Savannah, Beaufort, Charleston, and Asheville. All hotels, most experiences, and most meals are included. The tour starts at $3,400 USD.
Southern Grace is another luxury tour, visiting the music cities of Nashville and Memphis, along with Natchez, Frogmore, and New Orleans. Unique experiences include visits to Nashville’s studios, Louisiana’s plantations, and a local cooking class. Accommodations, transportation, most meals, and most experiences are included. The nine day tour starts at $3,600 USD.
Splendour in the American Heartland visits a lesser-seen part of the region between Chicago and Nashville. Stops include Louisville and Bowling Green, where guests stay in the iconic Brown Hotel, visit Churchill Downs, and tour the Country Music Hall of Fame. Accommodations, transportation, most meals, and most experiences are included. The 8 day tour starts at $2,900.
This mid-range tour operator offers detailed tour itineraries for all ages. The comfortable coaches and transportation set them apart, along with premium accommodation.
Elvis & the Southern Sounds runs between Nashville and Memphis, highlighting the important music cities over 8 days. Highlights include visits to Graceland, Music Row, and Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo. Transportation and accommodation are included, along with most attractions. Tours start at $1,600 USD.
Dixieland & Rhythms is an eleven day tour that follows the Blues Highway from Chicago to New Orleans. The trip includes stops in Nashville and Memphis and a train trip. This tour starts around $1,900 USD and includes transportation, accommodation, and activities.
The Old South & Florida hugs the coastline between New Orleans and Orlando, visiting Baton Rouge, Natchez, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Savannah, and St. Augustine. Transportation, accommodation, some meals and experiences are included. The 13 day tour starts at $2,000 USD.
Book tours and experiences in your destination of choice through Viator, the leading tour booking company. They offer everything from bus tours of Washington DC to sailing excursions in Miami. The company also has airport transfers and transportation services and CityPasses. This means you can have some things planned out in advance, but also have the flexibility to change plans.
Hop on hop off day tours aren’t for everyone, but they are a quick and easy way to get to know your destination. Big Bus is the leader in the industry, showcasing destinations around the world for travelers who want to see it all. They currently operate in Washington DC.
Operating under the Intrepid Travel umbrella, Urban Adventures offers day tours that travelers can easily join if they’re on a longer tour or if they’re visiting on their own. They currently operate tours in Miami and Washington DC.
This post contains affiliate links for companies that operate within the region. Using these links will not cost you an additional fee for booking.