Great Family Adventures: Wilderness Travel's 'Treasures of the Mississippi and the Gulf Coast'

Yes, we know: The family vacation is a much-parodied event, and perhaps rightfully so. But fumbles, foibles, and hassles aside, families keep taking them for the same good reason: They’re priceless sources of memories.

    Photo: Courtesy of Wilderness Travel

HIGHLIGHTS: Over 13 days, you can get a good sense of what the South is—and has been—about by cruising down the mighty Mississippi aboard the Yorktown. The 69-cabin vessel makes port calls not only at urban hubs like New Orleans, Memphis, and Natchez (the oldest city on the Mississippi River), but also gets into the region’s ecological treasures, including the Gulf Coast Seashore’s lagoons, where more than 280 bird species live. History is a major theme of this journey: you’ll visit military landmarks like Fort Conde (built in 1711), the ramparts of Vicksburg, and more than 150 restored aircraft at Pensacola’s Naval Aviation Museum. In St. Francisville, you’ll see more than 100 18th- and 19th-century structures, and at plantations like Oak Alley and Laura, you’ll hear stories that stick with you—including the origins of the Br’er Rabbit legend.

OUTFITTER: Wilderness Travel offers more than 175 excursions in 75 countries. Its trip leaders—accomplished mountaineers, teachers, ecologists, and authors among them—are chosen for their broad range of experience.

ITINERARY: New Orleans to Mobile, Pensacola, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Laura Plantation, Oak Alley Plantation, Baton Rouge, St. Francisville, Natchez, Vicksburg, Helena, and Memphis.

DATES: Departs March 30.

PRICE: From $4,995 per person, including lodging, all meals with wine and beer, educational lectures, onboard jazz concerts, port taxes, guidance, and gratuities.

INFO: wildernesstravel.com, (800) 368-2794.

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