This fascinating three-night outing (390 miles) through Tennessee and Mississippi — the cradle of country, rock and blues — won’t break the bank. You could fly into Nashville and out of Memphis, renting a car in between, or save a bundle if you can drive to Nashville in your own vehicle. If you have the time and budget, I’d suggest adding a few extra days to explore either city (or both). And, if your schedule’s flexible, consider traveling on weekdays for lower lodging rates.
Day 1: Nashville, Tenn., to Tupelo, Miss. (198 miles)
Tune into past and present hit-makers at Nashville’s excellent Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum ($25.95 for general admission), before tooling down tranquil, two-lane Natchez Trace Parkway to Tupelo. Fuel up for the trip on ham and biscuits at Nashville’s legendary Loveless Cafe, near an on-ramp to the Natchez Trace Parkway. Trucks are prohibited on this stretch, so it’s a peaceful drive from here. Keep your eyes peeled for wild turkeys and historical markers.
Where to stay in Tupelo (2 nights): Multiple chain lodgings offer rates under $70. The pricier Hilton Garden Inn is within walking distance of many attractions.
Day 2: Tupelo
Visit the tiny house where Elvis Presley was born ($8 for adults), and stop at the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau for a map of the idol’s hangouts. Sample the flourishing food scene here with house-butchered meats and the award-winning $10 sirloin/rib eye/bacon “smash burger” at Neon Pig or farm-to-table fare at Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen. Tuck into a quarter of fried chicken for $5 at King Chicken Fillin’ Station, located in a vintage and still-operating gas station. Groove to live music at Blue Canoe, where more than 35 beers are on tap.