There’s more to Memphis than Elvis and Beale Street, and there’s more to the area than Memphis, too. Head south out from Tennessee and the world is your oyster.
Tupelo, MS: Graceland may get most of the attention, but Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi gives you an insight into his roots and values. As well as the little shotgun house in which he was born, there’s a museum, a park (which Elvis actually bought and donated to the city) and a gift shop with enough memorabilia to rival the stock in Memphis.
Oxford, MS: Home to Ole Miss, the posh university town sits completely out of place in the middle of the Delta landscape. Drive round the campus and check out the fraternity and sorority houses, then pop into one of the bookshops in the main square and and stock up on this semester’s reading material. And don’t forget to make a stop at the monument to James Meredith, the first black student at the university.
Tunica, MS: Want to add a hint of Vegas to your Memphis trip? Then head south to Tunica, the gambling city of Mississippi. There’s a whole mini Strip lined with casinos, and crazy stuff to rival what you’ll find in Sin City – for starters, what seems like half the movie memorabilia in existence, in the Hollywood casino.
Clarksdale, MS: The home of the blues, funky little Clarksdale is the place to go at weekends – try either Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero club or Reds, down the road. It’s historic, too – Tennessee Williams grew up here and the town is stuffed full of old buildings to look at.
Helena, AR: It may not be as obvious a choice as the Mississippi towns, but Helena in Arkansas also has a huge musical heritage – it’s home to King Biscuit Time, the longest-running American radio broadcast in history. The historic center of town is straight out of central casting, and there’s a beautiful river walk, too – in fact, it’s one of the best places to view the Mississippi.