On arrival in Atlanta, check into Loews Atlanta in the heart of downtown. We recommend visiting Underground Atlanta, a six-block area which was once the city centre. In the 1920s, a series of concrete viaducts were constructed elevating the entire street system up one level. Today, Underground Atlanta is a bustling scene of lively clubs, bars and restaurants and a great place to end your first day.
You have a full day to explore Atlanta. As the birthplace of Dr Martin Luther King, the city played a central part in the Civil Rights Movement. You can visit his home in the Sweet Auburn district, and the Ebenezer Baptist Church where his family preached. In the afternoon, book a studio tour of CNN’s headquarters or visit The World of Coca-Cola, an interactive museum about the popular soft drink.
Today, you’ll depart for Savannah on Georgia's Atlantic coast, and check into the elegant Mansion on Forsyth Park for two nights. The trolley tour of Savannah explores its many restored buildings, including the home of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts. In the evening, we recommend heading to River Street for a local seafood dinner, followed by the sweet praline treats the city is known for.
You have the morning free to explore some of Savannah's 21 elegant squares today. Or head to the city’s historic district and the Savannah History Museum, where you’ll learn about Savannah’s part in the American Revolution and the Civil War. For a taste of famous Southern cuisine, stop by Mrs. Wilkes, a quaint family-style diner off Monterey Square. Maybe pick up some quirky souvenirs at City Market and Bay Street.
Drive through scenic Low Country to Charleston, South Carolina. From its cobblestone streets and colourful colonial homes to the landmarks that pay homage to historic battles, this 17th-century city oozes southern charm and history. A walking or horse-drawn carriage tour is a great chance to learn more about its history. As for food, Charleston offers everything from fine dining to a traditional dockside oyster roast.
This morning, venture out to the plantations located just outside Charleston. Visit Boone Hall, a working plantation which has a grand stately home, the original slave cabins and beautiful gardens. At the pre-Revolutionary War Magnolia Plantation, you’ll find the oldest gardens in America which bloom year-round. Alternatively, you may want to stay in Charleston and explore some of the city's carefully preserved 18th and 19th-century homes.
Today, you’ll drive to Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Famous for its thriving arts community, outdoor adventures and vibrant downtown, it’s also home to Biltmore, the largest house in America. You can take a self-guided tour of this 250-room French chateau built by George Vanderbilt, and stroll around the landscaped gardens. After dark, sample Asheville’s Southern-style dining and live jazz bars in downtown.
Scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway never fail to delight. Today, conquer the area’s many hiking trails, book a canopy tour or a horse riding excursion. At Grandfather Mountain, test your courage on the Mile High Swinging Bridge. Or walk along the old trading paths used to reach Tennessee and Ohio River Valley. We also recommend a visit to Hot Springs for a little relaxation after your outdoor adventures.
Before leaving, take the morning to explore some of downtown Asheville's attractions. The Basilica of St. Lawrence has the largest freestanding elliptical dome in the country. You can also saunter around the city's art galleries, many of which offer custom jewellery, handmade quilts and gifts to take home. Depart Asheville late morning and enjoy a scenic drive south through rolling hills back to Atlanta for your return flight home.