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Jazzy Jambalaya Adventure – Suggested Self Drive

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Jazzy Jambalaya Adventure

Starting and ending in one of the most exotic cities, you’ll experience music, cuisine and culture of all sorts in New Orleans.  Drive to the heart of the old South, Baton Rouge, and visit the USA’s largest state capitol building before exploring one of the historic plantation homes in the area and The Rural Life Museum, which gives a complete history of Louisiana.  More learning awaits as you head through Natchez, the oldest settlement in Mississippi.  Vicksburg is a popular spot to learn about the battles of this city in the American Civil War.  Taste a regional delicacy and enjoy a piece of Natchitoches meat pie, but leave room for some classic Cajun cuisine too as you enter into the heart of Cajun Country.  A short drive from Lafayette takes you to New Iberia and Avery Island, the birthplace of Tabasco sauce. Continue to Morgan City, the "Shrimp Capital of the World," and Houma, where you may want to take some time for a boat tour into the deep swamp and bayou to see alligators and other wildlife. 

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: New Orleans arrival

Arrive in New Orleans, one of the most exotic cities in the world, famous for riverboats, jazz, Creole cuisine and a seemingly endless parade of festivals. On arrival, pick up your car and proceed to your hotel. The remainder of your evening is at leisure. Take this opportunity to enjoy dinner at one of New Orleans' many famous Cajun or Creole restaurants. As one of the world's most fascinating cities and the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans is alive with tradition and home to a truly unique melting pot of culture, food and music.

Day 2: New Orleans
Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore New Orleans on your own. Take a walking tour of the Vieux Carre, popularly known as the French Quarter, a place of narrow streets, wonderful old buildings and beautiful courtyards. Visit Jackson Square, Royal Street, Bourbon Street and the many museums. Take a full day bayou and swamp tour or enjoy a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi. If you’re looking to explore a neighborhood with bohemian style and vibrant homes, stroll through the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods near the French Quarter. The area is filled with hip shops, restaurants and bars, and Crescent Park has stunning views of the Mississippi River and downtown New Orleans.

Day 3: New Orleans - Baton Rouge 
 Today, enjoy a drive through unique geography, sandwiched between Lake Pontchartrain and the mighty Mississippi River to the heart of the old South, Baton Rouge, where you’ll find eight majestic, historic plantations and is also known as the South’s brightest hot spots! Visit one of the most beloved, largest plantation homes in the South, Nottoway Plantation and relive the fascinating history. Take a lunch break at downtown Main Street Market and do a little shopping while you’re there. After lunch, take a free guided tour of the “New” State Capitol, which is the largest state capitol building in the United States. You can also choose to visit the newly renovated outdoor museum, Rural Life Museum, and get a feel for living and working the plantation life. This evening, get a feel for the lively city that offers several free outdoor concerts in the Park such as Rock ‘n’ Rowe, Summer Beat Concert and Live After Five.

Day 4: Baton Rouge - St Francisville - Natchez
Continue your unforgettable journey by taking the Trace Parkway which evolved from an Indian trail into a post road and pioneer highway to Natchez, the oldest settlement in Mississippi. On your way to Natchez you can take a break in historic town St. Francisville and stop at one of the unique shops, historical homes, beautiful churches, or breathtaking parks. Getting closer to Natchez you may want to visit a plantation (Burn, Dunleith, Melrose, Monmouth or Longwood). Longwood is reputedly the largest octagonal house in the country.

Day 5: Natchez - Vicksburg
Founded in 1716, makes Natchez the oldest city on the Mississippi. It is a charming river town which has been first inhabited by the Natchez Indians and French explorers who shared the land. Every year thousands of people come to Natchez for the pilgrimages that offer visits of the many Antebellum homes in the area. The gracious citizens open their homes, which have been lovingly restored, so that visitors can get a glimpse of the southern prosperous life. You can also visit Vicksburg National Military Park which commemorates the campaign, siege, and defence of Vicksburg in 1863. There are over 1,300 monuments, markers and plaques, a 16mile tour road and a national cemetery, the nation’s largest burial site of Civil War Union soldiers and sailors with graves totalling over 17,000.

Day 6: Vicksburg - Natchitoches
Vicksburg perfectly blends Southern culture and heritage with exciting modern-day attractions. Described as the “Key to the South” by Abraham Lincoln, this Southern town carries a history unlike any other Civil War city. Founded in 1811, Vicksburg grew as a vital river port city. Today, Vicksburg is a popular spot for tourists to learn about the battles of the city, taste the cuisine, visit the many museums, and pick out the perfect souvenir.

Day 7: Natchitoches - Alexandria - Lafayette
Today explore picturesque small town Natchitoches, which has been part of French Louisiana in the early 18th century. Do not miss the opportunity to taste a regional delicacy and enjoy a piece of Natchitoches meat pie. Drive back south through Alexandria, Ville Platte and Opelousas to Lafayette, the heart of Cajun Country where the Acadians, or Cajuns, started arriving in 1765. Today these French-American’s are famous for their joie de vivre which is reflected in their lively dancing, music and spicy food. Upon arrival, you can enjoy a walking tour of downtown to discover landmark buildings, or take a short drive to Acadian Village overlooking the bayou and filled with authentically restored Cajun homes and churches.

Day 8: Lafayette - Cajun Country - New Orleans
A short drive from Lafayette takes you to New Iberia and Avery Island, the birthplace of Tabasco sauce. Other attractions include Jungle Garden, lush with tropical plants, and Bird City, a sanctuary filled with flurries of snow-white egrets. Continue to Morgan City, the “Shrimp Capital of the World,” and Houma, where you may want to take some time for an optional boat tour into the deep swamp and bayou to see alligators and other wildlife. Following the scenic route, and perhaps stopping at Terre Bonne or Southdown Plantation, you will arrive in New Orleans.

Day 9: New Orleans departure
Return your car at the airport before your departure flight.

Customise this itinerary to travel at your own pace.

Highlights worth seeing along the way
New Orleans - Enjoy great food and music in New Orleans, the birth place of Jazz.
Vicksburg - Visit one of Vicksburg many columned antebellum homes. 
Vicksburg National Military - Discover Civil War forts, batteries and miles of fortifications at Vicksburg National Military.
Natchez - Experience true southern hospitality in Natchez, a perfectly preserved example of the Old South.
Lafayette - Immerse yourself in all things Cajun and Creole in Laafayette.
Avery Island - Get a feel for Southern Louisiana marshes and bayous at Avery Island, home to Tabasco Sauce.
Houma - Enjoy the ultimate bowl of gumbo, étouffée or po-boy in Houma.

Our favourite places to stay:
• Holiday Inn New Orleans - Downtown Superdome, New Orleans
• Richmond Inn & Suites, Trademark Collection by Wyndham, Baton Rouge
• Hampton Inn & Suites, Natchez
• Quality Inn, Vicksburg
• Best Western Natchitoches Inn, Natchitoches
• DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Lafayette, Lafayette

Choosing your Rental Car
Take into consideration the size of the vehicle you require. We recommend a minimum of a medium sized SUV for two adults. This will give you space and freedom when you're travelling, and room for those extra purchases that you may make along the way. Book your car with House of Travel before leaving home as this will save money and ensure you get the car of your choice. 

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