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Florence, Muscle Shoals & Huntsville

  • Florence, Muscle Shoals & Huntsville

    Rich in Native American and pioneer tradition, Florence with its harbour marina has a wonderful historic downtown with delightful boutiques and restaurants. The high-tech city of Huntsville, which sprawls at the foot of a mountain in North Alabama, is equally at home in the 19th century or the 21st.

    • Helen Keller House

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    • Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

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    • Downtown Florence, Alabama

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    • Belle Mont Mansion

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    • Florence, Alabama

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    • Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

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    • Monte Sano State Park

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    • Downtown Huntsville

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    • Big Spring International Park

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    • US Space and Rocket Center

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    • Museum of Art

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    • Huntsville Dining and Live Music

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    • Huntsville Botanical Garden

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    The wonderful thing about this corner of the state of Alabama is the variety. Like outdoor activities? The walking trails, legendary fishing, world-class golf, and water sports of all types will appeal to you! Interested in history? The area is rich in Native American and pioneer tradition, and the historic downtown's are vibrant and welcoming. Shop at award-winning fashion designers’ retail stores; enjoy some of the best food you’ve ever put in your mouth. Visit the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in the state of Alabama, and tour the music studios that made a musical legend of Muscle Shoals. Museums, theater, concerts, art shows and festivals mean that there’s always something going on.

    Florence

    In historic Florence, explore the trails that will take you on a journey from the birth of the Singing River to the rhythms that fuel the soul of Alabama. Travel also the same ancient paths where the early Native American settlers carved out a thriving community imbued with their mystical culture. The Singing River influence their way of life just as it compelled William Christopher Handy to reproduce the sounds of unique Southern Soul. Stories of overcoming adversity abound throughout Florence, from enduring the battles of the Civil War era to the inspirational accomplishments of Helen Keller.

    Muscle Shoals

    Have you ever heard of Aretha Franklin? The Rolling Stones? Paul Simon? The Osmond Brothers? Percy Sledge? This short list doesn’t even begin to encompass all of the talented musicians who found a place in history by recording in Muscle Shoals. FAME Studios, Muscle Shoals Sound, and a host of other recording studios made Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the Hit Recording Capital of the World in the 1960's and beyond. And it didn’t stop there – today, there are recording studios all over the Muscle Shoals region, still making hits and propelling artists to fame.

    This area came by its musical heritage honestly. W.C. Handy, the Father of the Blues, was born in Florence, and so were the Fathers of Rock and Roll, Sam Phillips and Buddy Killen. The area is still home to some pretty well-known musicians, including John Paul White of The Civil Wars, David Hood of the Swampers, Donnie Fritts, Spooner Oldham, Gary Nichols, Will McFarlane, Donna Jean Godcheax, and others. There are many venues around the area that feature good live music, and you never know when someone famous is going to sit in on a session. Or, who knows? The musician playing at 116 Mobile might be the next big thing on the music scene – with roots in Muscle Shoals.

    Huntsville

    Huntsville was established in 1805 by pioneer John Hunt, who settled at the area now known as the Big Spring. Delegates from the Alabama Territory met in Huntsville to write the constitution enabling Alabama to become the 22nd state of the Union. Huntsville grew into an important center for cotton trading, as well as a major transportation hub. The surprise capture of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad’s Huntsville Depot during the Civil War resulted in private homes being spared. Huntsville boasts the South’s largest concentration of antebellum homes.

    Ignite your passion for exploration at the Earth’s largest space museum, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, home to U. S. Space Camp and Aviation Challenge. Here, you can explore over 1,500 artifacts from America’s achievements in space exploration and get a sneak peek into what’s next for human space travel. If you’re in the mood for a different kind of exploring—say, into Huntsville’s past—venture to the city’s oldest museum, Burritt on the Mountain for breathtaking views of the Tennessee Valley. Journey back down to the valley and explore the Weeden House Museum, the former home to 19th century poet and artist Maria Howard Weeden. Get to know America’s military past and the servicemen and women of the U.S. Armed Forces at the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum, which displays over 30 historical military vehicles from WWI to the present. Alabama Constitution Village is another must-see stop on your journey. This award winning reconstruction of Huntsville as it existed in 1819 was the spot where delegates wrote Alabama’s first state constitution. Right across the street, you’ll find the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum—be sure to have the kids listen to the story from the famous talking tree! Exploring Huntsville is never complete without a stop at the Huntsville Museum of Art, home to the largest collection of art created by American women in the U.S., or a visit to the Huntsville Botanical Garden, home to the nation’s largest open-air butterfly house where something beautiful is always growing on!

     

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    • Top Tip 1

      If you enjoy golf then the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is a must in Alabama with 468 holes at 11 different locations. In total, it's 100 miles of golfing bliss!

    • Top Tip 2

      For the best BBQ ribs you'll ever taste, look out for one of the eight Dreamland Bar-B-Que Ribs restaurants throughout the states of Alabama.

    • Top Tip 3

      Mobile is not only recognized as celebrating the first known American Mardi Gras celebration in 1703 (yes, even before New Orleans), but also as home to "America's Family Mardi Gras".

    • Top Tip 4

      There are over 347 species of birds on Dauphin Island. See if you can spot them all!

    • Top Tip 5

      The Antebellum home is one of the iconic images of the Deep South. There are over 100 historic Antebellum homes throughout Alabama.

    • Top Tip 6

      Birmingham's Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is home to one of the largest collections of vintage motorcycles and vehicles in the world.

  • Simply Southern Music & Golf

    Begins in New Orleans, Louisiana and ends in Memphis, Tennessee

    15 Days / 14 Nights

    Departures: year round

    Add this Fly Drive to planner

    Your fly drive includes

    • Round trip scheduled flights
    • Intermediate 4 door car hire, including insurances and satellite navigation
    • Accommodations as stated
    • Personalised Road Book
    • Alabama Golf Trail

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    • Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville

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    • Live Music Venues Across The Deep South

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    Day
    01

    Arrive New Orleans

    Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to New Orleans. Upon arrival, collect your rental car and proceed to your hotel.

    Hotel: Le Meridien New Orleans

    Day
    02

    New Orleans

    Welcome to the ‘Big Easy’. Today, you have a full day to explore the city. Visit the French Quarter, stroll along the narrow streets, visit the jazz clubs and experience Creole and Cajun cooking at its best. Ride the famed ‘Streetcar named Desire’, walk through the historic garden district or take a paddlewheeler on the Mississippi River.

    Hotel: Le Meridien New Orleans

    166Mi/267Km

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    Point Clear

    This morning’s short drive along the coastline brings you into Alabama and the impressive Grand Hotel Marriott Resort Golf Club & Spa. Spend two nights enjoying the resort's two fabulous golf courses, relaxing in the European-style spa and swimming in one of the resort's two outdoor pools. If you can pull yourself away from the resort there are many attractions close by.

    Hotel: Grand Hotel Marriott Resort Golf Club & Spa

    112Mi/180Km

    Day
    05

    Destin

    Your journey today takes you along historic Route 10, into the western Florida Panhandle. Skirting along the coast, you may choose to stop in Pensacola before arriving at your beach resort in Destin. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach or explore more of Florida’s breathtaking coastline and small towns.

    Hotel: Hilton Sandestin Beach & Golf Resort

    186Mi/299Km

    Day
    06

    Montgomery

    Journeying northwest, today you venture back into Alabama. We suggest a stop at Monroeville, home of Harper Lee, author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, before arriving in Montgomery. Whilst in the state capital, perhaps visit the Rosa Parks Museum and learn more about the Civil Rights Movement and tour the King Memorial Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached his message of hope and brotherhood.

    Hotel: Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa

    84Mi/135Km

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    07
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    Hoover & Birmingham

    Just a short journey today through the central region of Alabama to the rolling hills and beautiful scenery of Birmingham’s countryside. Sitting in the quaint town of Hoover, Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort boasts the third longest golf course in the world. This Robert Trent Jones Course is surrounded by sweeping hills and offers challenging holes. Away from the courses, stimulate your senses at the spa or relax by the signature pool. A visit to the state's largest city, Birmingham, offers attractions including The Civil Rights Institute, Barber Vintage Motorsport’s Museum and Kelly Ingram Park.

    Hotel: Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

    126Mi/202Km

    Day
    09
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    10

    Florence

    Today it’s on to the northern tip of Alabama and the last of its superb resorts. Set in the Tennessee River Valley, Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa has retained the area's beauty in the design of the resort. Just minutes from the hotel are two Robert Trent Jones Trail courses which attract players of all levels and skill. Take a trip to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, WC Handy’s Birthplace and Museum and the Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House.

    Hotel: Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa

    122Mi/196Km

    Day
    11
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    Nashville

    Cross the border into Tennessee, and head toward the home of Country Music. During your stay in Nashville visit the Grand Ole Opry, the Wildhorse Saloon and the Ryman Auditorium. A paddlewheeler cruise down the Cumberland River offers the sights of the waterway's historic heritage and is great fun. If you have time for shopping drop by Opry Mills, combining outlet and boutique shopping opportunities.

    Hotel: Gaylord Opryland Resort

    215Mi/346Km

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    Memphis

    Switching from country music to the home of the blues, today brings you to Memphis. Visit Mud Island, a unique 52 acre park showcasing America’s greatest river, the Mississippi. No one should ever visit Memphis without going to Graceland where the Lisa Marie airplane can also be viewed, or Sun Studios, where Elvis recorded some of his earliest music.

    Hotel: The Peabody

    Day
    15

    Journey Home

    Time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing before making your way to Memphis Airport, to return your rental car and check-in for your flight back to the UK.

    Prices

    From £2775 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request. 

    A one way drop off fee of $150 on the car hire is not included and is payable locally.

    The Land Of Music And The Delta Blues

    Begins in and ends in Memphis, Tennessee

    12 Days / 11 Nights

    Departures: year round

    Add this Fly Drive to planner

    Your fly drive includes

    • Roundtrip scheduled flights
    • Intermediate 4 door car hire, including insurances and satellite navigation
    • Accommodations as stated
    • Personalised Road Book
    • Beale Street, Memphis

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    • Graceland, Memphis

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    • Music City

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    • Tupelo Automobile Museum, Tupelo

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    • Sun Studios, Memphis

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    • General Jackson, Nashville

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    • Dunleith Plantation, Natchez

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    • Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville

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    • Illinois Monument, Vicksburg

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    Day
    01

    Arrive Memphis

    Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to Memphis. Upon arrival, collect your rental car and proceed to your hotel.

    Hotel: The Peabody

    130Mi/210Km

    Day
    02

    Greenwood

    Today you commence your journey through this amazing region by heading south on historic Highway 61, also known as the Blues Highway. Your first place of interest is Clarksdale in the heart of the Delta, which has a rich musical heritage. Whilst in town make sure to visit Blues Alley, home to the Delta Blues Museum. Next you’ll continue your journey to Indianola for a stop at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Centre.

    Hotel: The Alluvian

    101Mi/163Km

    Day
    03
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    Vicksburg

    This morning we suggest a stop by The Greenwood Blues Heritage Museum and Gallery, home to a vast array of Blues memorabilia. Culinary enthusiasts may also choose to visit the Viking Cookery School to learn how to prepare traditional Southern dishes and delicacies. Next take the scenic drive to Vicksburg, where you will enjoy the next two nights at one of Vicksburg’s antebellum homes. Next morning, why not take a carriage ride, to discover Vicksburg’s many beautiful homes?

    Hotel: Anchuca Historic Mansion

    231Mi/372Km

    Day
    05

    Tupelo

    We’ve allowed a full day for you to experience Tupelo, undoubtedly best known as Elvis’ birthplace. Visit the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum, where you can tour the home, museum memorial chapel, fountain of life and see the story wall. Make sure to stop by the Tupelo Hardware Store; this timeless gem is where Gladys Presley bought Elvis his first guitar (Elvis wanted a gun, they compromised on guitar and music has never been the same since!).

    Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Tupelo

    88Mi/144Km

    Day
    06
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    Florence

    Your exciting journey continues, and today it’s to the Northern tip of Alabama. Set in the stunning Tennessee River Valley, Marriott Shoals has a beautiful setting which has been reflected in the resort's design. Just minutes from the hotel are two Robert Trent Jones Trail golf courses, which attract players of all levels from across the globe. Whilst in Florence, take a trip to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, WC Handy’s Birthplace and Museum.

    Hotel: Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa

    122Mi/197Km

    Day
    08
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    09

    Nashville

    Crossing the border back into Tennessee, today you're heading to the home of country music! There is so much to keep you entertained in this city, but you shouldn’t miss Grand Ole Opry, the Wildhorse Saloon and the Ryman Auditorium. A paddlewheeler cruise down the Cumberland River provides an insight into the historic heritage of the waterways and is also great fun! If you have time, drop into Opry Mills Mall, which combines both outlet shopping and boutique options.

    Hotel: Renaissance Nashville

    213Mi/343Km

    Day
    10
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    11

    Memphis

    Switching from country music to the rhythm and blues, you end your journey in Memphis. This is yet another exciting city with lots to do, whatever your interests. Visit Mud Island, a unique 52 acre park showcasing America’s greatest river, The Mississippi. No visit to Memphis is complete without touring Graceland. See the house, tour the Lisa Marie Airplane and see the artifacts in the museum including many of Elvis’ flamboyant outfits. We also suggest a trip to Sun Studios where Elvis recorded some of his earliest music, and one evening perhaps enjoy a cool drink and some vibrant tunes on Beale Street.

    Hotel: The Peabody

    Day
    12

    Journey home

    Time for some last minute shopping before you return your rental car and check-in for your flight back to the UK.

    Prices

    From £2587 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

    Music Celebrations

    Begins and ends Atlanta, Georgia

    15 Days / 14 Nights

    Year round

    Add this Fly Drive to planner

    Your fly drive includes

    • Round trip scheduled flights
    • Intermediate 4 door car hire, including insurances and satellite navigation
    • Accommodations as stated
    • Personalised Road Book
    • Mardi Gras Parade in Mobile

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    • Ruby Falls, Chattanooga

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    • Nashville Skyline

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    • Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville

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    • Graceland, Memphis

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    • Stax Museum of American Soul

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    • US Space And Rocket Center, Huntsville

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    • Birmingham Skyline

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    Day
    01

    Arrive Atlanta

    Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to Atlanta, Georgia. Upon arrival, collect your rental car and drive to your hotel in the Buckhead region of the city.

    Hotel: Grand Hyatt Atlanta Buckhead

    113Mi/181Km

    Day
    02

    Chattanooga

    Today you will travel north into the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee, where your first stop is Chattanooga. Don't miss Glen Miller’s Chattanooga Choo Choo! Stop at the actual ‘Choo Choo’, before visiting Ruby Falls and Lookout Mountain for spectacular views.

    Hotel: The Chattanoogan Hotel

    134Mi/215Km

    Day
    03
    Day
    04

    Nashville

    This morning, make the short drive to Nashville, which is the home of Country Music and the infamous Grand Ole Opry. Your stay for two nights allows you to include a visit to the museum of music giants, the Country Music Hall of Fame, followed by some live music in one of many bars and lounges in the District, Nashville’s downtown entertainment area. You may choose to enjoy a cabaret dinner cruise aboard the General Jackson showboat, which provides another great opportunity to relax and experience the music - all whilst sailing down the Cumberland River.

    Hotel: Renaissance Nashville Hotel

    212Mi/341Km

    Day
    05
    Day
    06

    Memphis

    Traverse along the Music Highway to Memphis, renowned as the birthplace of Rock’n’Roll and home of the Blues. During your two night stay, Elvis’ mansion Graceland is a ‘must see’, along with a tour of Sun Studio's and a visit to historic Beale Street where you can party through the night. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Smithsonian’s Rock’n’Soul Museum and the Gibson Guitar are also well worth a visit.

    Hotel: The Peabody

    157Mi/252Km

    Day
    07
    Day
    08

    Florence (Muscle Shoals)

    Now its on to the northwest corner of Alabama where a cluster of cities – Tuscumbia, Florence, Sheffield and Muscle Shoals line the banks of the Tennessee River. During your two night stay in The Shoals region, see some of the most influential recording centres in America. Renowned for their huge contribution to rock, country and R&B music throughout the 60’s and 70’s, Muscle Shoals Sounds Studio and FAME Recording Studio were used frequently by superstars like Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon and Otis Reading who all made classic recordings here. The Fame Studio is still active and open for tours. Take in some great live music at venues throughout Florence, Sheffield and Muscle Shoals.

    Hotel: Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa

    69Mi/111Km

    Day
    09

    Huntsville

    Today you will move on to Huntsville which is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and also hosts one of the state’s largest music events, the Big Spring Jam every September. Washington Square in the city’s downtown area has a mini entertainment district with live music. Check out a selection of venues as some showcase great Blues, others Jazz, Folk and Rock. Our favourites are Crossroads Cafe and the Jazz Factory.

    Hotel: The Westin Huntsville

    101Mi/162Km

    Day
    10

    Birmingham

    Your next stop is Birmingham, home of the Civil Rights Institute which conveys the history of the Civil Rights Movement. It also adds its own stamp to the music world with its famous City Stages Festival every June. No matter when you visit, Jazz echoes from downtown nightclubs in places like Ona’s Music Room and the Blue Monkey, throughout the year. The Five Points entertainment district has music of all types and some great dining too. Jazz enthusiasts must not miss the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame which pays tribute to great artists with ties to Alabama like Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton.

    Hotel: Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook

    255Mi/410Km

    Day
    11
    Day
    12

    Mobile & Orange Beach

    Moving south, your next stop is the historic port city of Mobile, one of the oldest cities in America. It’s home to the original Mardi Gras which started in 1703 and is still celebrated every year two weeks before Lent. Mobile features delicious seafood and an array of bars, restaurants and live music venues - which is what you would expect from Jimmy Buffet’s hometown. During your two night stay, take a trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach which provide 32 miles of pristine white sandy beaches stretched along the Gulf of Mexico. Live bands perform at beachfront bars like the Florabama, Pink Pony Pub and The Hangout. LuLu’s at Homeport Marina known as Jimmy Buffett’s Sister’s Place is also great for local bands. The Wharf Ampitheatre, located at the Wharf shopping and dining complex in Orange Beach, has various acts Wednesday through Sunday.

    Hotel: The Battle House Renaissance

    168Mi/270Km

    Day
    13
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    14

    Montgomery

    The final two days of your itinerary are spent in Montgomery, Alabama’s State Capital and the birthplace of both the Civil War and Civil Rights movement. This is where Hank Williams lived from 1937 to 1948. The Hank Williams Museum documents the life of this Country Music pioneer famous for such classics as “Hey Good Lookin” and “Cold Cold Heart”. Follow the Hank Williams Trail south to Mount Olive where he was born and to Georgiana his boyhood home.The Jubilee Cityfest held here in May is a great fun filled treat for all music lovers but the music is enjoyed year round too at venues like 1048 Jazz and Blues, Montgomery Brew Pub and The Olive Room.

    Hotel: Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa

    154Mi/247Km

    Day
    15

    Journey home

    Make the short drive back to Atlanta International Airport, where you return your rental car and check in for your flight back to the UK.

    Prices

    From £2919 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

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  • Muscle Shoals Sound Studio tour, Alabama

    Muscle Shoals, Alabama

    Add this Experience/Explore to planner
    • Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

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    • Muscle Shoals Sound Studio tour

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    • Muscle Shoals Sound Studio tour - Jackson Highway

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    When in the Shoals area, visiting the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio is a must! This option is only available on a guided tour. Touring of the legendary music studio not only shows you where music icons such as Keith Richards and Paul Simon recorded their hits, but also lets you play the actual instruments used by some of rock ‘n’ roll's greats.

    Duration: 90 minutes

    Prices

    From £13 per person