If you have a little extra time on your vacation or simply enjoy the relaxed pace of a rail trip, consider taking the Amtrak to Memphis. The most direct route follows the Mississippi River down from Chicago in the north, or up from New Orleans in the south. The Amtrak map makes it look as if Memphis is equal distance between the two, but it’s actually a few hours closer to New Orleans on the route called The City of New Orleans.
Amtrak also offers an interpretive program in conjunction with the National Park Service called Trails and Rails. Guides and guest artists on board the train help give you a better appreciation for the natural surroundings along your trip.