Day 1 Hometown - Houston
Today guests will be picked up at IAH (George Bush Intercontinental Airport) or HOU (William P. Hobby Airport) airport. The professional tour guide will meet guests at the baggage claim area for the domestic flight, or at the Passenger Waiting Area for the international flight. After 3:00pm, we will be able to check into hotel.
Day 2 Houston In-Depth Tour
We will start our day by making our first stop to Battleship Texas, which is only remaining dreadnought battleship in WWI. Not too far from the Battleship Texas, we will visit our second sightseeing attraction - San Jacinto Monument. After that, we will head to NASA Space Center. You will not only visit the museum but also have a chance to take the little train into Johnson Space Center, where all the Space Station mission operations located and learn more about the new mission and space plan. Before the end of the day, we will visit the last sightseeing location and take the Dolphin Cruise in the Gulf of Mexico.
Day 3 Houston - Baton Rouge - New Orleans (330 miles)
Our first stop of the day will be the Bayou Rum Distillery, the largest privately-owned rum distillery in the United States, where we will learn all about the distillation process from fermentation to bottling. After that, we will tour Baton Rouge, visiting the Louisiana State Capitol, the tallest capitol building in the country, to ascend to the observation deck on the 27th floor. Next, we will head to our hotel for the night in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where guests can choose to rest for the remainder of the day or go out exploring. There are many live jazz bars around Bourbon Street, and the Café du Monde is a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee. Be sure to sample the local cuisine at a restaurant and see Jackson Square.
Day 4 New Orleans
Today we will also take the Mardi Gras World tour, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at how this famous event is built from the ground up. Besides we will tour Garden District on the bus, passing by Tulane University and Loyola University New Orlean. Then we will visit Oak Alley Plantation, a U.S. National Historic Landmark located west of New Orleans, and go on a swamp tour boat ride that showcases the unique ecosystem of the Louisiana bayou.
Day 5 New Orleans - Birmingham (312 miles)
Today, we will get to explore New Orleans. Our stops will include the French Quarter, Jackson Square, Royal Street, and the many antique stores and jazz bars on Bourbon Street. We will head to Birmingham, AL for the evening, where we will get to see Kelly Ingram Park.
Day 6 Chattanooga - Great Smoky Mountains - Gatlinburg - Pigeon Forge - Knoxville (149 miles)
In the morning, we will explore Chattanooga, TN, heading up the slopes of Lookout Mountain and Rock City. Then, we'll drive through the Great Smoky Mountains, home to a variety of animals. Eventually, we will reach Gatlinburg, a charming mountain town with a variety of unique shops, restaurants, and hotels. Afterwards, we will continue to Pigeon Forge, TN to see the Dixie Stampede show, created by the famous country singer Dolly Parton.
Day 7 Knoxville - Berea - Lexington - Louisville (351 miles)
Today, we will stop by the Kentucky Artisan Center, which celebrates the state's charming local folk art. Later, we will arrive in Lexington to visit the Kentucky Horse Park. At noon we will head towards the Ark Encounter theme park. After that we will visit the historic Findley Market to enjoy local food for dinner.
Day 8 Louisville - Indianapolis - West Lafayette - Chicago (274 miles)
After seeing Indiana State Capitol in Indianapolis from outside and Indy 500, we will travel to Lafayette to visit IPurdue University. We will reach Chicago later afternoon of the day.
Day 9 Chicago
On this tour, guests will get to see the best of Chicago in one day. Today, we will take a walk in Millennium Park, where we will see a combination of stunning architecture, sculpture, and landscape design in the heart of downtown. There, we will see the famous Cloud Gate before taking a break at the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain. After that, we will stroll around the Navy Pier. Then, we will get an exclusive tour of the Chicago Theater, an exquisite French Baroque style building. Walking along Michigan Avenue, we will be strolling down the brilliant Magnificent Mile, where we will see the Art Institute of Chicago, Grant Park, and the historical Chicago Water Tower. For the best view of the city, we will go to the top of 360 CHICAGO. Afterward, we will take a Architectural cruise to further admire the city's architecture (the cruise will be closed in winter).