New Orleans to Nashville Road Trip

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  • New Orleans to Meridian
  • Meridian to Florence
  • Florence to Nashville
  • Tips
  • Roadside assistance
  • Cheap insurance
  • FAQs
This 8-9 hour route is rich with historic sites, musical landmarks, and natural beauty. The New Orleans to Nashville road trip is best enjoyed over two full days—and make sure you have roadside assistance in case your adventure takes an unexpected turn.
Our route takes you through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. It’s not the fastest route but what it sacrifices in efficiency it makes up for in interesting stopovers. Military history and antebellum architecture? Check. Recording studios and stunning natural waterfalls? You got it.
Now make sure your proof of car insurance is in the glove box (or in your mobile app via Jerry) and let’s hit the road!

New Orleans, LA to Meridian, MS

Why you should go: This route offers natural attractions, historic sites, and a public art trail. Meridian is three hours from NOLA, making it the perfect stopover. Plus, you’ll pass through Hattiesburg which was an epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement, and is highly significant to American transportation history as well.
What you should do: Just before Hattiesburg, take a small detour to the Paul B. Johnson State Park. There are 800 acres to explore here, and you can walk and swim to your heart’s content. It’s pet-friendly and there are food and bathrooms onsite. Back in town, check out the African American Military History Museum.
The most unique attraction in Meridian is the Dentzel Antique Carousel at Highland Park. It was manufactured in 1896, and yes, you can ride it for a mere 50 cents! Another fascinating destination in town is the Grave of the Gypsy Queen, a real Romany clan leader.
Looking for a bit of greenery? Southeast of town is Bonita Lakes Park with more than 3,000 acres of flat trails to explore.
Key Takeaway Make sure you have 50 cents handy to ride the vintage carousel in Meridian!
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Meridian, MS to Florence, AL

Why you should go: Whether you’re an expert or a newbie when it comes to the musical history of the South, you are guaranteed to be awed by the sights and sounds in Florence.
This slightly westerly detour means you get to pass through more lovely territory—we think it’s a good use of your time, but you can always take the 20 to the 65 if you want a more straightforward route.
What you should do: 3614 N Jackson Highway is a bit east of town but it’s an historic music site: Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. Bob Dylan recorded here and so did The Rolling Stones. Just down the road (literally) is Fame Studios, which has hosted Etta James and Aretha Franklin among many others.
You can detour over to Tupelo on your way to Florence if you want to see Elvis Presley’s birthplace.
The Pope's Tavern of Florence, Alabama sits beneath a tree with leaves turned orange by the fall.
Florence, Alabama

Florence to Nashville

Why you should go: Nashville is most famous as the national home of country music, and you can definitely find it here in spades from live concerts to the Country Music Hall of Fame. But Tennessee has so much more to offer! Natural waterfalls abound, there’s great food, and even better people.
What you should do: Midway between Florence and Nashville is Stillhouse Hollow Falls State Natural Area in Summertown, where you can immerse yourself in the great outdoors. It does get muggy but the waterfalls are refreshing and accessible from the main trail.
30 minutes outside of Nashville is Carnton Plantation in Franklin. This area offers a selection of guided tours that explore the history of slavery, agriculture, and the Civil War in the South. It’s well worth your time to pay the fee and learn more about America’s painful past.
Once you arrive at your final destination, it’s time to get comfortable!
For a real dive bar experience, head to Dino’s Bar. For BBQ, head to Peg Leg Porker BBQ. Of course, you must visit the Grand Ole Opry. If you prefer to explore town without having to deal with parking, try the Nashville Hop On Hop Off Trolley Tour. Spend an evening at the Nashville Parthenon to revel in the memories.
Vibrant shop signs of all colors illuminate a the nighttime downtown Nashville scene.
Nashville, Tennessee
Key Takeaway You’ll find country music events galore in Nashville, but don’t be afraid to delve into other parts of Tennessee history, too.
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Tips for road-tripping

Don’t leave home without road trip essentials!
You need a plan to keep yourself fed and entertained—even grown-ups deserve cute snacks and interesting road trip games!
It’s also worth getting roadside assistance membership so you don’t have to worry about flat tires, running out of gas, or locking yourself out. With Jerry it’s only $6.99. How’s that for affordable peace of mind?
We also recommend looking into uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage before you embark on your road trip. Mississippi has the highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the country. This policy can protect you if you get into an accident with someone who doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your repairs or medical expenses.

Why you need roadside assistance

If you can change a flat tire, do you really need roadside assistance?
YES! And here’s why. Roadside assistance is for the things you can’t control. It doesn’t say anything about how safely you drive or how well-prepared you are. Anybody can lock their keys in the car or need help getting towed off of an unexpectedly muddy side road.
It’s easy to get a membership and if you use it just once it will easily pay for itself.

Finding cheap car insurance

If you want to save money on car insurance, the Jerry app is a good place to start. A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding the cheapest quotes from the top name-brand insurance companies and buying new car insurance. Jerry will even cancel your old policy for you.
And to ensure you always have the lowest rate, Jerry will send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal, so you’re always getting the coverage you want at the best price. This level of service is why Jerry earned a 4.6/5 rating on the App Store and made it the top insurance app in the country.
“I was afraid I’d have to spend hundreds, because I’m a first-time insurer and I’m young. But I got something so affordable and way less than expected!” - Jerry User
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How far apart are gas stations on this route?

Gas stations are plentiful on the route between New Orleans and Nashville. Experts recommend keeping your tank no less than half full on a road trip.

Are there rest areas on the New Orleans to Nashville road trip?

Yes. On major roads in every state, you can find rest areas with free public bathrooms and parking. Some also offer maps, free coffee, and vending machines.
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