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memphis to nashville to new orleans

qld australia
Level Contributor
382 posts
2 reviews
memphis to nashville to new orleans

Hi,

We're a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) coming from Australia and will be driving from Dallas to Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, San Antonio, back to Dallas from the 29th November to 8th December, 1st night prior and last night in Dallas.

Not sure what forum's to post in so have posted in road trips and also here. As we will have flown in from New York to Dallas and having seen all the xmas stuff and Taylor Swift in concert in New York, not sure what to see and do and how long to stay in Nashville. We are not really country music fans but love Taylor Swift.

We will have already spent 2 nights in Memphis staying in Downtown and intend to visit Graceland and look around downtown (really only one day and night due to the long drive) and then onto Nashville for 1 or 2 nights. Had thought the Country Music Hall of Fame might be worth a look, not sure about Opryland however our visit will be a Thursday and a Friday if we stay the 2nd day so perhaps it won't be so busy.

I say 1 or 2 nights for Nashville as I had originally planned to stay 2 nights but after having read all the threads about what to see and do am not so sure now as it seems that Tennesee has a lot to offer outside of the cities. Thought maybe Lynchburg for the other night (so 1 night nashville) and 1 night Lynchburg. Reason for this is, I like the sound of the Jack Daniels Distillery and the quaintness of Lynchburg, but maybe it's only a drive through stop, not sure.

Or if there is somewhere else that is worth an overnight stay that is closer to New Orleans.

Any help and advice would be appreciated.

thanks

Lakeland, TN
Destination Expert
for Tennessee, Memphis
Level Contributor
3,103 posts
123 reviews
1. Re: memphis to nashville to new orleans

You might spend that 2 day, 2 night layover as originally planned in Memphis, only because Graceland, fully visited, could be up to a 4 hour stop by itself, and you should go for the Sun Studio tour on the way (that's by far the best way to do it since the Sun shuttle will pick you up Downtown and take you to Graceland after the Sun tour and back Downtown afterwards free of transportation charge. Some pay $25+ for that ride.) The whole round trip will probably take at least half a day. Back Downtown the family will love the daily march of the Peabody Hotel ducks, Mud Island with its 1/2 mile flowing scale model of the Mississippi River and overhead Swiss Tram over to the Island, the Smithsonian Rock n Soul Museum, and maybe the unique Ornamental Metal Museum with artisans operating metalworks foundry & fantastic MS River views. Of course Beale St. is a memorable visit, best done with the kids in the afternoon or early evening.

Nashville has a Science Museum and a Gibson Guitar Factory, as does Memphis, and lots of hours to spend touring The Hermitage, Belle Meade, and other beautiful old homes to go along with the broad array of Country Music history and performance in places like Lower Broadway, Opryland, and a cool venue called the Bluebird Cafe where up and coming artists play in a close up venue. Nashville also has a wagon load of good restaurants to boot.

It's your trip, but I think slowing to two full days in one of these places would be beneficial for your memories.

qld australia
Level Contributor
382 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: memphis to nashville to new orleans

hi,

thanks so sounds like 2 nights each in memphis and nashville and then skip the jim beam distillery as we have a long drive to New Orleans, that will then give us a full day and night min in each and if we're lucky an extra half a day in one or the other depending on travel and traffic.

So should we stay in the vanderbilt west end area so that we're in between downtown and opryland in nashville and if so where would you suggest.

thanks

vcv
Tennessee
Level Contributor
1,988 posts
189 reviews
3. Re: memphis to nashville to new orleans

The airport area would be more convenient to Opreyland and the Opreyland hotel; there are many nice hotels at reasonable rates just off Donaldson but far away from the airport that noise isn't a problem.

I didn't notice your kids' ages but wanted to mention that the Frist Museum downtown has a wonderful hands-on area for kids (and some grown-ups like it too). There is a free museum showing early TN mountainl life (cabins etc.) on the lower floor of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC).

Nashville is so spread out that the Vanderbilt area isn't particularly convenient to the 2nd Ave. area, which is near the river. So except for tourists who focus almost totally on the bar/music scene around 2nd Ave., a Nashville visit usually involves a fair amount of driving from one area to another.

qld australia
Level Contributor
382 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: memphis to nashville to new orleans

hi,

thanks for that. Kids are 12 and 15.

Have picked the Radisson opryland and the hampton inn downtown as both are surprisingly affordable. Not sure if downtown is the area for families to check out, is it mainly just bars and nightclubs? Reason being as we will have 2 nights we thought it would be best to get the most out of the nights by being accessible to what is on offer and guessing this may be the downtown stuff?

Any help or advice would be appreciated.

thanks

Nashville, TN
Destination Expert
for Nashville
Level Contributor
2,738 posts
7 reviews
5. Re: memphis to nashville to new orleans

Downtown is fine for families. There is the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Frist Museum, the Ryman and more. Just walking on lower Broad is fun, they'll hear plenty of music from the sidewalk. Teh Wildhorse will let them in to eat and hear music early.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for Sacramento, Puerto Vallarta
Level Contributor
17,837 posts
205 reviews
6. Re: memphis to nashville to new orleans

This makes my head spin. We just returned from a 12-day trip to Tennessee (8 nights in Nashville and 3 in Memphis ---- driving back and forth over Highway 40 from Nashville to Memphis and return plus ALL over Nashville on every freeway and pike). Put 1,000 miles on the rental car, driving everywhere.

We had a reasonable list of things to do in West and Middle Tennessee and only were able to do half of them. Lots of driving to get places in Nashville.

You're packing double or triple the miles we did into only 8 days. Make sure to put on your track shoes.

With that little time, do NOT drive to Lynchburg to the Jack Daniel's Distillery (I think you already decided not to). We did that drive on March 31st and it's not closeby. We clocked 175 miles on our rental car that day (some of it back roads --- highway 231 and 82) so it takes time. The tour is awesome (we really enjoyed it!) but to see the distillery and do the drive and see the little town (plus taking time to eat) is about 6 hours. Also, we didn't see any places to stay overnight. It's a very small town in the middle of beautiful farms and horse country and on the way through small Southern towns.

Having a very short period of time in Nashville, Nashpam's advise (post #5) is good but you said you weren't a country music fan and the CMHOF takes 5 hours or so to get through. With little time, I'd skip it. Do tour the Ryman and walk on Lower Broadway though. See the Hatch Print store and the Wildhorse Saloon and some of the honky tonks. It's fine for families during the daytime. You will see plenty of singers/performers on corners and in the little honkytonks, "singing for their supper" so to speak.

Have fun. We ran out of time with 3 nights in Memphis and 8 nights in Nashville so --- best of luck in enjoying both places.

Also, with such an incredibly long road trip, be prepared for weather. We were there from March 21 to April 1st. Should have been Spring. It rained about half the days we were there. Also very cold (down into the 30's some days) so driving in that weather wasn't always fun despite it being a really good trip.

Have a great time.

PS: We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Memphis (I assume that's what you're talking about) and also stayed near the Radisson Opryland (in a condo) so figured out how to negotiate everything, around town and across town and through town. Let me know if you need help in doing so. We found Highway 40 to be confusing in town but got to know 24 and 65 and 31 and 155 pretty well.

Edited: 14 April 2011, 15:00
vcv
Tennessee
Level Contributor
1,988 posts
189 reviews
7. Re: memphis to nashville to new orleans

My kids really enjoyed the Frist museum's hands-on section at the ages of yours but it depends on their interests.

Agree that downtown is fine for families--it's just that Nashville isn't really a walkable city (like, for example, NYC) because places like TPAC, the Frist, 2nd Ave., etc., are all very spread out. Except at rush hour, it's usually a quick drive from the airport area.

If you like outdoor parks, Radnor Lake has lovely walking trails (no biking, skateboards, etc.) to you might get very close to deer. It's not far from downtown and can provide a relaxing hour or two away from hectic touring.

Also, look for the free paper "The Nashville Scene," which will alert you to special events when you're there.

There's a lot more to Nashville these days than the country music scene, though it's the country music scene that gets the most attention.

Edited: 14 April 2011, 23:19
Mississippi
Level Contributor
12,999 posts
7 reviews
8. Re: memphis to nashville to new orleans

Australia.........You are crowding too many cities in a 10 day trip. Dallas to Memphis to New Orleans to San Antonio to Dallas is an easy trip. Nashville is a great city but come back at a later date. You will spend 1 night in Dallas and then 2 in Memphis. You can drive from Memphis to NOLA in one day but a night in Natchez, MS would be more fun. Spend 3 nights in NOLA and 2 in SA then the last night in Dallas.

If you include Nashville you will have to drive 4 hours from Memphis/Nashville on I 40 and then S to NOLA. I don't know your route there but going back to Memphis might be the best way which would give you 8 hours on I 40 on the same stretch of Interstate. Too boring. Skip Nashville this time but come back. Good luck.

Edited: 15 April 2011, 04:26
San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for Sacramento, Puerto Vallarta
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9. Re: memphis to nashville to new orleans

axle --- I've been thinking the same thing, after all the driving we did last month in Tennessee (which is "nothing" compared to what the OP is planning).

Mapquest says the trip is 2,100 miles and 35 hours (just on the freeway), as the OP described it, and that's just on main roads to get from place to place if the traffic is perfect at 70mph and nobody has to stop to eat and go to the bathroom. The itinerary gives little time to see anything except eating and sleeping (and, of course, constant driving --- in the late Fall, when the weather is unpredictable?).

All of the places the OP mentioned are worth spending between 3 to 5 days in. As I mentioned, we were just in Nashville for 8 nights (and put 1,000 miles on the rental car just running around-and-between Memphis and Nashville and just barely scratched the surface.

I like Taylor Swift also but since Nashville is the Eastern Most place on the 5-city itinerary, I also agree with your (axle) suggestion to skip it --- it makes no sense to drive there, just because the kids like Taylor Swift. There is no time for relaxation or seeing anything or picking up the vibe of the town just driving in and eating a couple of meals and leaving to get on the road again.

Teenagers in a car for around 3,000 miles in just a few days doesn't sound fun, but that's me.

Fortunately there are so many other places on the itinerary that are special. I'd been to Nashville before but neither of us had been to Memphis and we loved it. Memphis is worth spending an extra day and saving some miles.

Much easier to drive from Memphis to New Orleans (and enjoy both places) than to drive from Memphis to Nashville and then back to NO, in so few days, with no time to enjoy.

I hope Familytravel000 will find a good itinerary that doesn't stress out the family by being in the car all-day, everyday. Agree with axle. Skip Nashville --- it's a great place but outside the trajectory of your itinerary.

Edited: 15 April 2011, 05:44
Mississippi
Level Contributor
12,999 posts
7 reviews
10. Re: memphis to nashville to new orleans

Good post SF..........Where did you stay in Memphis. You should have spent an extra night or two there. I grew up going to Memphis a lot and live close now. It's a nice town but so is Nashville. The OP does not know how much fun he's going to have in NOLA. That will make up for missing Nashville. NOLA has some outstanding music too.

Have you been to Napa lately. CA is a great state. I could go there every other month. I think I have the coast covered but I have never been to E CA. Good luck to you.