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misty boardwalk state park one of the best things to do in mississippi

23 Things to Do in Mississippi: Best Attractions And Places

September 24, 2023 //  by  Southern Trippers

If you are looking for some fun things to do in Mississippi, then you have come to the right place!

I have compiled a list of the top Mississippi tourist attractions for all interests.

Mississippi is a coastal, Southern state full to the brim with beautiful nature, cute small towns, and bustling cities. No matter your interests, there are Mississippi attractions for you to enjoy.

You will have an amazing time exploring all of these best Mississippi activities. You can step back in time, learn about music origins, or discover some unique hidden gems.

Get ready to plan the perfect Mississippi vacation!

Aerial view of the capitol building in Jackson, Mississippi, at sunset.

Visit the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum

When people think of Elvis, they think of Memphis, TN, but did you know he was born in Mississippi?

The Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum is a must-do attraction in Mississippi. Whether you are a huge fan of the King or you just love music history or American culture, this is a great activity.

On January 8, 1935, Elvis Presley was born in his parents’ home in Tupelo, Mississippi. It is a simple, two-room house much different than the Graceland estate he would eventually live in.

Elvis only lived in this house for a few years until his parents could no longer afford it. Along with the house, you can see the church where he became interested in music and learned to play the guitar.

This museum is easily one of the top things in Mississippi!

Book Here: Elvis Presley’s U pbringing Tour

Outside of the small, white Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum, one of the best things to do in Mississippi.

Drive the Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is 444 miles and runs from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. This is one of the best road trips in Mississippi.

The parkway will take you through beautiful forests and along rivers and creeks. Make stops for hiking trails and to see archaeological sites.

If you like biking, the trail is also an amazing bike route. There are plenty of campsites along the way if you want to make this a multi-day journey.

This is what to do in Mississippi for nature lovers!

A boardwalk trail surrounded by greenery on the Natchez Trace Parkway, one of the best things to do in Mississippi.

Relax at Biloxi Beach

Mississippi does not have a long coastline, but you will find one of the best beaches in Mississippi in Biloxi. This cute beach town is an ideal place to relax and get some sun.

The white sand beach is super pretty and praised for its soft sand and warm water. This is a great place to swim or build sandcastles. Fishing charters or sunset cruises are available.

There are so many amazing restaurants in Biloxi that you should check out too!

Biloxi is also home to some of the best Resorts In Mississippi , including beachfront ones!

This is truly one of the closest beaches near New Orleans you shouldn’t miss.

Sunset at Biloxi Beach with a light green, wooden lounge chair.

Photograph the Biloxi Lighthouse

While you are in Biloxi, you need to check out the historic Biloxi Lighthouse as well. This photographic structure was built in 1848 and stands at sixty-five feet.

You can climb to the top of the lighthouse for great views of the town. After a beach day, visiting this landmark is one of the best things to do in Biloxi, Mississippi .

The towering white Biloxi Lighthouse.

Explore Gulfport Beach

Gulfport is twenty-five minutes from Biloxi and is another great place for a beach day in Mississippi. Even though Gulfport is the second-largest city in the state, you get strong small, beach town vibes here.

Gulfport Beach is known for its cleanliness, safety, and smaller crowds. This is a great place for soaking up some sun, casting a fishing line, or getting your heart pumping on a jet ski.

I love a good beach day, and this is one of the best places to chill on the ocean in Mississippi.

Gulfport also has a ton of seafood restaurants, live music venues, and loca l shops .

Sign for the Mississippi Gulf Coast with wooden, carved pelicans in Gulfport.

Have a Museum Day in Jackson

Jackson is the capital of Mississippi and is certainly one of the best places to visit! If you love museums, this is a great city to visit! History, art, and science are all covered.

The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is the largest museum in the state and is a great place to learn about the world of the past and present. You will see fossils, a greenhouse, and a 100,000-gallon aquarium.

Next, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum gives a new perspective on the history of Civil Rights in America with special attention to people from Mississippi who played a role. The amazing “This Little Light of Mine” sculpture is a must-see thing here as well. This twelve-meter sculpture is lit up and changes color.

The Mississippi Museum of Art holds work from all over the world and different time periods. No matter what kind of art you like, you will find something new to inspire you.

One more museum in Jackson is the Old Capitol Museum. This Greek Revival building was the capital from 1839 to 1903. You can take guided tours of the inside.

Exterior of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson.

Learn History at the Vicksburg National Military Park

The Battle of Vicksburg took place in 1863 and was a turning point in the Civil War. Anyone interested in American history will think this is one of the best things to do in Mississippi.

The Vicksburg National Military Park is just under two thousand acres and features over a thousand cannons and historical monuments. You can also visit the U.S.S. Cairo gunboat.

There are also sixteen miles of paved trails to walk or bicycle. Dogs are allowed on the trails and throughout the rest of the park as long as they are leashed and follow the rules.

This is one of the best national parks in the South !

Old cannons at Vicksburg National Military Park.

Take a Southern Cooking Class

If you love cooking and eating Southern food classics, then consider taking a Southern cooking class. This is a great way to learn about the culture of the South in a hands-on and memorable way.

This is a great activity for a group of friends or a couple looking for romantic activities in Mississippi. After learning how to cook from an expert, you can take your skills home and impress your friends and family.

One cooking class to consider is the Southern Biscuit Class in Natchez. You will be taught by chef Regina Charboneau, the Queen of Biscuits. These biscuits are flaky and pair well with many meals.

Book Here: Southern Biscuit Class

Yummy looking biscuits on a dark blue hand towel..

Explore the Mississippi Blues Trail

If you are interested in music history, then the Mississippi Blues Trail should top your Mississippi itinerary. Mississippi is known as the Birthplace of America’s Music and visiting places along the trail will help you see why.

The Blues Trail is dotted throughout the state in the form of museums, birthplaces, and other significant locations. You can visit a few of the locations or devote a road trip to seeing as many as possible.

You will learn about how these musicians influenced American music and culture. Some places on the trail include the B.B. King Museum, Delta Blues Museum, Jimmie Rodgers Museum, and GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

This is one of the best activities in Mississippi for anyone interested in music.

Entrance to the Delta Blues Museum with a historic place marker.

Attend a Craft Beer Festival

If you are looking for fun things to do in Hattiesburg, then plan on attending the annual Craft Beer Festival. This is a great way to sample some of the brews in towns.

Hattiesburg has some of the most craft beer bars and breweries in the state so there is plenty to taste. Along with drinks, there are food vendors and live music shows.

Even if you are not in Hattiesburg during the summer festival, you can do a self-guided tour of some of the breweries. Some of the more popular places are Southern Prohibition Brewing, Keg & Barrel, and The Porter.

This festival is one of the best things to do in Mississippi for adults!

A flight of craft beers in different colors on a bar top.

Fall in Love With Rowan Oak

Rowan Oak in Oxford is one of the best things to do in Mississippi for history or literature lovers. This Greek Revival house was built in the 1840s.

It was originally named The Bailey Place until author William Faulkner bought it in 1930 and renamed it Rowan Oak.

Faulkner repaired the home and lived here until his death in 1962. He wrote proficiently while living here and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.

Today, Rowan Oak acts as a museum to the writer and is full of original furnishings. The home is found on 29 acres which include an English garden, stable, and wooded walking trails.

This estate is one of the best national historic landmarks in Mississippi.

The path to Rowan Oak lined with trees.

Eat at the King Cotton Crawfish Boil

Another of the best annual events in Mississippi is the King Cotton Crawfish Boil in Starkville. You can’t visit the deep South and not eat some delicious crawfish.

Local teams put their cooking to the test to see who will come out on top and win the Best of Boil. Attendees will enjoy a bucket of crawfish with all the fixins as well as beer and other drinks to wash it all down.

This event takes place in spring and should be high on the list of things to do in Mississippi for any foodies.

When visiting Mississippi, you have to try some crawfish!

A bowl of boiled crawfish with corn on the cob and potatoes.

Hike in Tishomingo State Park

If you want to see some beautiful nature in Mississippi, then head to Tishomingo State Park. This 1,530-acre park has landscapes you can find nowhere else in Mississippi.

From trails full of wildflowers to awesome rock formations to cool crevices, you will fall in love with the beauty here.

Tishomingo State Park is also a good location for history lovers. Archaeologists have found evidence of Paleo Indians from as far back as 7,000 B.C.

Along with hiking and camping, this is a great park for fishing and birdwatching. There is also a swimming pool.

This is one of the best state parks in Mississippi .

A pier stretching into a foggy lake at Tishomingo State Park.

Do a Historic Homes Tour in Natchez

One of the best things to do in Natchez, Mississippi, is admiring all the beautiful, historic homes. Whether you love history, architecture, or simply photographing pretty buildings, you will love these homes.

Longwood was built in 1859 and has a gorgeous facade with columns topped with a Byzantine dome. You can step back in time with a tour and learn why the inside was left unfinished because of the Civil War.

Stanton Hall is another regal mansion. Now acting as a museum, this Greek Revival building is opulent with its Corinthian columns, marble mantels, cast-iron railings, and French windows.

Other homes in Natchez worth checking out include Magnolia Hall, The Towers of Natchez, and Auburn.

Natchez is easily one of the best places to visit in Mississippi since there are so many activities here.

The white, columned Stanton Hall in Natchez looking regal surrounded by trees.

See the Birthplace of Kermit the Frog

Did you know Kermit the Frog hails from Mississippi? The city of Leland claims to be the birthplace of this famous Muppet. This is certainly one of the best hidden gems in Mississippi.

There is a small museum dedicated to Jim Henson, Kermit the Frog, and the other Muppets in the Leland Chamber of Commerce.

Puppeteer Jim Henson was born in Greenville, Mississippi, and playing in the swamps of Leland allegedly inspired Kermit.

The museum has a bunch of Muppets memorabilia, including an original Kermit the Frog.

The museum is one of the best free things to do in Mississippi. Donations are welcome.

Kermit the Frog sitting on a desk with a crate full of film reels.

Check Out the Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins are one of the most unique things to do in Mississippi. The ruins are a collection of columns and balustrades that were once part of a plantation.

The mansion was built from 1859 to 1861. During the Civil War, the building was used for a Union hospital and observation post.

Even though it still stood after the war, it was during an 1890 party that an unattended cigar burned the place down.

Today, you can visit the ruins to experience the eerieness of it. This is also a very photogenic place if you like abandoned places. This is also one of the best free attractions in Mississippi.

The Windsor Ruins look eerie standing alone in a field with trees in the background.

Disconnect on Ship Island

Taking the ferry to Ship Island is one of the best day trips in Mississippi. This undeveloped island is a great place to escape from the real world.

During the hour-long boat ride, you will be able to spot dolphins swimming by and seabirds circling overhead.

Once you arrive on the island, you can enjoy a beach day under the watchful eye of lifeguards. The beautiful sandy beaches here are ideal for swimming and combing for shells.

Fort Massachusetts is also a place to explore. This preserved fort dates back to the Civil War. You can take a tour to learn about its history.

This is one of the top spots to visit on the Mississippi portion of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Aerial view of round Fort Massachusetts on the sandy beach of Ship Island, one of the best things to do in Mississippi.

Immerse Yourself in Nature in the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

Nature lovers will want to venture to the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. This 48,000-acre park features forests, lakes, and wetlands.

This is an amazing place for wildlife viewing. There are a ton of bird species here, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. You might also spot deer, American alligators, beavers, otters, turtles, and more.

There are many scenic boardwalks and trails of varying lengths. The boardwalks have great lookouts perfect for wildlife photography. Hunting and fishing are also options here.

A great blue heron eating a fish in front of a waterfall.

Be Awed by Dunn’s Falls

Dunn’s Falls is south of Merdian on an offshoot of the Chunky River. This is one of the best waterfalls in Mississippi and is worth the few dollars it costs to get into the park.

The 65-foot waterfall sits next to an 1857 grist mill and is super photogenic. The whole park is great for hiking and wildlife viewing.

The river provides an area for swimming and canoeing. The water is very clear and full of catfish to catch.

If you love waterfalls as much as I do, then you need to add this spot to your Mississippi itinerary.

A pretty photo of the tiered Dunn's Falls.

Get Lost in Wall Doxey State Park

If you want more beautiful nature during your Mississippi vacation, then come to Wall Doxey State Park. If you want to stay a night or two, there are campsites and some of the best cabins in the South .

The main feature of the park is a 60-acre, spring-fed lake. This is a scenic place to go swimming, boating, or fishing. There is also a two-and-a-half-mile trail around the lake with gorgeous views.

Kids will have fun climbing on the playground or playing a round of disc golf. Make sure to pack a picnic as well!

A pier going into a blue lake on a sunny day.

Bring the Kids to the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

In Gulfport, the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is one of the best things to do in Mississippi with kids.

There is 15,000 square feet of interactive, hands-on exhibits allowing kids to play, learn, and use their imaginations.

Children will love the Super Colossal Climbing Structure, art studio, and science lab. They can play make-believe in different areas including a train depot, vet clinic, market, hotel, and more.

Outside kids can explore the Tree House Village, Bear Creek, Musical Garden, and other cool activities.

This is one of the most fun attractions in Mississippi for families.

Explore the Mississippi Petrified Forest

Found near the town of Flora, the Mississippi Petrified Forest is one of the cool places in Mississippi for nature lovers.

This National Natural Landmark formed approximately 36 million years ago. Walk the nature trail and admire the amazing trees and pieces of fossilized wood.

There is also a museum full of fossils, petrified wood, and more cool natural materials. At the gift shop, you can buy a piece of petrified wood to bring home.

Wooden sign for the Mississippi Petrified Forest surrounded by trees.

Drive the Great River Road

For amazing views of the Mississippi River, you need to drive the scenic Great River Road.

This road follows the entirety of the Mississippi River through ten states. The whole western border of the state of Mississippi is marked by this mighty river.

Drive US Route 61 and stop to take in nature sights and visit some museums.

Stops on the Mississippi portion of the route include the Tunica RiverPark Museum, the Lower Mississippi River Museum in Vicksburg, and the Natchez Trace Parkway.

A long drive along the river is one of the best things to do in Mississippi for couples looking to spend time together.

Overlooking the Mississippi River on a fall day.

There are so many amazing things to do in Mississippi this weekend! This Southern state is full of gorgeous natural scenery, rich history, and unique festivals.

There is truly something for everyone to enjoy whether you are traveling with children or are planning a romantic getaway in the South .

Make memories camping or snuggle up in a cute, beach house. You will have so much fun in Mississippi!

take a swamp tour in Louisiana

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  • Mississippi

Our Favorite Towns to Visit in Mississippi

places to visit in south mississippi

Mississippi doesn't get its personality from bustling metropolises, state-of-the-art stadiums, or pristinely pruned roadways. It gets it from old-fashioned town squares, crumbling antebellum homes, and highways marked with blues and barbecue. Civil War battlefields tell tales of a peppered past, while the Blues Highway sings a nostalgic song. The quirky coast makes you want to stay awhile, the northern reaches send you on a path to the Appalachian foothills, and the Delta commands the soul of the state. The melting pot of characters and history that makes up Mississippi is something even some of us Southerners don't understand, but we do know that the collection of charming small towns down on the coast, along the river, and up to the mountains gives us a privileged peek inside. These are the gems of Mississippi, and we've rounded up our best picks. Check out our favorite towns in Mississippi.

Ocean Springs

The Gulf Coast has come a long way since being hammered into devastation by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, with restoration and cleanup efforts slowly giving life back to this quaint coastal town. Locally owned shops, galleries, and restaurants infuse your trip with the quirkiness and laidback attitude of the small town, while the warm ocean breeze calls for a relaxed mindset. Pay a visit to the The Shed Barbecue and Blues Joint , a rustic rickshaw of a restaurant that started with a shed made from dumpster-diving finds and expanded as the locals' love for the hometown joint increased. (It's now a full family affair, with grandma manning the beer bar.) You'll find dinner and a show with mouthwatering barbecue and live blues. ocean-springs.ms ­

Named for the Native Americans that once settled the area, this river town is steeped in character that you can see, taste, and feel around every corner. Historic antebellum homes with column-lined porches and a regal demeanor are flanked by towering live oak trees draped heavily with Spanish moss, showing the inherent historic respect this small town has for Southern culture. Tour historic homes before stopping in King's Tavern, the oldest standing building in Natchez, for an unreal atmosphere and wood-fired meal (or Roux 61 for your fill on authentic Cajun seafood). Fun annual events, such as the Natchez Biscuit Festival in September and Great Mississippi River Balloon Race in October, keep Southerners going back year after year. visitnatchez.org

Bay St. Louis

This artsy beach town feels old-fashioned Southern, but with a twist, with its offbeat storefronts, creative community, and time-worn architecture. You can venture to the popular Old Town for shops, art galleries, and good eats like The Buttercup on Second Street restaurant. Just minutes away from Main Street, you'll find the Depot District with the local Bay St. Louis Little Theatre. And don't skip a stop at The Mockingbird Café , a coffee house by day and music venue at night. Bay St. Louis one of those nostalgic towns that you'll find yourself missing after you leave. baystlouisoldtown.com

We can't figure out the je ne sais quoi of the Mississippi Delta. It's the soul of the state, the birthplace of blues, and the product of both historic joy and strife. It's full of the most Southern small towns, incredible hidden spots including ruins and abandoned towns, and majorly good eats; and Cleveland is one of those special towns. You have to go to Delta Meat Market , a butcher shop and farm-to-table restaurant located downtown, for amazing upscale Southern cuisine. Venture to Dockery Farms, where a cotton gin and restored service station still stand; but also where, in the early 1900s, impoverished black tenant workers worked by day and played the blues by night. Charley Patton, an early Delta blues trailblazer, learned the blues while at this farm. visitclevelandms.com

This Southern college town is more than just a four-year destination for co-eds; it's one of our favorite places to head during a trip with the family, for a weekend girlfriend getaway, or on a Mississippi road trip. We like to stick close to the Square for the cute shops, delicious restaurants, and charming scenery. Book a room at The Graduate for its prime location and hip atmosphere (rooftop terrace bar included), and shop around at popular spots like Cicada and Square Books while you're out and about. You can grab a bite at City Grocery for your Southern food, Oxford Canteen for your greasy food, and Bottletree Bakery for your sweet treats. visitoxfordms.com

Other than being another must-stop in the Mississippi Delta, Greenville is home to some mighty fine eats. You have to pop into the popular Doe's Eat Place for fine Southern cooking and a cheerful welcome by Aunt Flo, the 91-year-old local icon who has been helping out at the restaurant for decades. But you can't leave the town until you've stopped at the easy-to-miss Scott's Hot Tamales . The red-and-white shack is barely the size of a snow cone stand, but it's been serving up famous tamales (beef brisket, corn meal, and a whole bunch of spices wrapped in corn husks) since the 1950s. You can attend the Delta Hot Tamale Festival every October for tamale cook-offs, countless tamale vendors, and a Hot Tamale eating contest. The small town has seen the likes of great Southern writers, famous blues musicians, and everything in between—all of which helped form that Mississippi soul. Popular Delta towns Clarksdale and Greenwood are just short drives away. visitgreenville.org

Corinth is the perfect destination for the history buff. You can head to the Veranda House, which served as headquarters for Confederates during the Civil War, and you definitely need to see the crossroads from which the bucolic town gets its namesake. It was originally named Cross City because of its notable cross-junction of railroads; but it was suggested by a local to change the name to Corinth in homage to the ancient Greek city that also served as a crossroads. You can pretty much hop, skip, and jump to countless historic sites from the Civil War and from earlier settlements. Your trip wouldn't be complete without a stop at one of the oldest running drugstore and soda fountains, Borroum's Drug Store and Soda Fountain , established in 1865. Old-fashioned staples such as vanilla, grape, and cherry sodas pair perfectly with cheesy melts and burgers. corinth.net

About a 30-minute drive northeast of Hattiesburg , this destination oozes Southern small town charm. It's now known for being the Waco, Texas, of Mississippi; as Erin and Ben Napier film the HGTV renovation show, Home Town , in Laurel, that promotes family-oriented and community values. You feel that sense of community while strolling down Main Street with its local shops and restaurants. Cafe la Fleur is a go-to spot for lunch or dinner with its New Orleans flair, while you can finish off the day at Sweet Somethings Bakery for cookies, candies, and truffles. The Napiers' downtown shop, Laurel Mercantile Co., is filled with heirloom wares and inspired goods to bring home. laurelms.com

Make sure to pencil in time to take in the gorgeous view of the sunset on the bay during a trip to this small coastal town. We love the traditional Southern exterior and sleek modern interior of the beachfront White House Hotel , and you can cook your own catch at local restaurants, such as Shaggy's or Morton's. Two Biloxi natives were featured in the 2016 lineup of legendary captains and crews (Hats off to you, Captain Jay and Captain Kenny), so if you're there during milder temperatures, make sure to charter a fishing trip. And, of course, you can visit one of the over-the-top casinos that the area is known for. biloxi.ms.us

Located only about a half hour from Jackson, Canton is filled to the brim with historic architecture and homes, most notably the Madison County Courthouse. The courthouse square is the local hub speckled with quaint shops and restaurants and the host of the Canton Flea Market. At Christmastime, this town is decorated with some 200,000 lights, everywhere from the historic courthouse square to the vintage carousel and carriage rides. The town even served as the backdrop for famous films such as A Time to Kill ; O Brother, Where Art Thou? ; and My Dog Skip , making it fun to visit for movie fans. cityofcantonms.com

This northern Mississippi town formed in the 19th century as the location of a gristmill and saw mill on the banks of the Tallahatchie River and was the birthplace of great Southern writer William Faulkner. You can meander your way (or bike, which is the popular choice) along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on the 44-mile-long Rails to Trails pathway that begins in historic downtown New Albany, and you check out the Ingomar Indian Mounds to get a taste of history. The historic downtown is full of parks, specialty shops, eateries, and antique stores. Stop in The Vintage Market for an authentic soda shop experience complete with a coke float or ice cream sundae. newalbany.ms

Port Gibson

Port Gibson made its name as the city dubbed "too beautiful to burn" by Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War, keeping it safe from the blazes of his war campaign. The town abounds with sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so you can make your way through the relics kept safe from the rampages of time. Don't miss the Windsor Ruins, which consist of freestanding Corinthian columns from the largest Greek Revival antebellum ever built in the area (but you wouldn't be able to tell; the columns are all that's left )—it's eerily historic and incredibly cool. Port Gibson was also home to The Rabbit's Foot Company , a prominent player in the blues movement in Mississippi started by Pat Chappelle. It's now marked as a stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail. portgibsonms.org

Vicksburg is another favorite for history buffs due to the Vicksburg National Military Park and battlefield as well as its Greek Revival, Italianate, and Victorian homes dating back to the late 1700s. Learn about the siege of Vicksburg at local museums; tour local mansions; or visit downtown boutiques, antique shops, and galleries. Eat in an old service station resurrected as the Historic Klondyke Trading Post , which serves up some of the city's best hamburgers and fried catfish as well as specials like pistolettes stuffed with crawfish etoufee. Then try your luck at the casinos docked on the Mississippi River. visitvicksburg.com

Tupelo in northern Mississippi is a must-see for fans of the King of Rock 'n Roll. Elvis Presley's birthplace puts it on the map in the Americana Music Triangle, along with Memphis and Nashville. Make sure to stop at the two-room home Elvis was raised in along with his childhood church—but take note that this town is also rich with Civil War and Natchez Trace historical sites. Get a bite to eat at one of Tupelo's many barbecue shacks or diners, including Johnnie's Drive-In, which the future King used to frequent as a boy. Then drop by the Blue Canoe , the town's original home for live music. tupelo.net


  • Last Minute

25 Best Places to Visit in Mississippi

Last Updated By VacationIdea Staff on June 15, 2023

25 Best Places to Visit in Mississippi

  • 1. Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson is the capital of Mississippi and this metropolitan area has much to offer its visitors. It is part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail, which memorializes locations and people that impacted the Civil Rights Movement, and there are markers throughout the city, including at the Mississippi State Capitol Building. As far as attractions are concerned, Jackson has a zoo, the Natural Science Museum, which features an aquarium, and a Civil Rights Museum. The city also boasts over 300 restaurants where visitors can relax and enjoy some delicious Southern comfort food.

  • 2. Biloxi, Mississippi

Biloxi, Mississippi

Biloxi is a coastal Mississippi city that attracts thousands of people each year to its numerous top-rated casinos. There are also many other fun and interesting attractions in this Gulf Coast city, including Biloxi Beach and the nearby Biloxi Lighthouse, the Beauvoir Estate, and the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum. Biloxi has been called the Seafood Capital of the World, so visitors to the area would be remiss if they didn't try some of the fresh shrimp, oysters, and other amazing seafood found at any of Biloxi's fantastic restaurants and eateries.

  • 3. Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport, Mississippi

The city of Gulfport is, as the name suggests, located on the Gulf of Mexico. It's a beautiful part of the state, with a long beach that stretches along the coast and offers easy access by boat to some of the nearby barrier islands. In the city of Gulfport, visitors can check out the Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum or spend a day playing at the Discovery Center. For a more natural experience, Jones Park has some beautiful access to the waterfront, a quick ride to Ship Island brings access to the historic Fort Massachusetts, and the waters surrounding the island are known to be home to dolphins and seals.


Like the city of Oxford in England, this Oxford in Mississippi is also home to a well-known educational institution. The University of Mississippi, more commonly known as "Ole Miss," makes its home in Oxford, a city which calls itself the Cultural Mecca of the South for its diverse, creative community. History lovers will enjoy strolling through the Confederate cemetery, hikers will love the trails in Bailey's Wood, and all visitors owe it to themselves to take a tour of the massive and historic campus of Ole Miss. Other attractions include a farmers market, live music at the Lyric Theater, and more of that delicious Southern cooking.


Located on the Mississippi River, right across from Vidalia, Louisiana, Natchez was the original capital of Mississippi due to its location. It was named for the Natchez Native American tribe, and today is well known for its gorgeous and well-preserved antebellum architecture, including the Longwood estate, with its ornate domed top, and the Dunleith mansion, with tall white pillars on the veranda that will make visitors feel like they are in a scene from Gone with the Wind. Visitors can also check out the Grand Village of the Natchez to learn how the local Native Americans lived in the 17th and 18th centuries.

  • 6. Arkabutla Lake, Mississippi

Arkabutla Lake, Mississippi

Arkabutla Lake, located in northern Mississippi, only about a 30-minute drive from Memphis, Tennessee, is a beautiful and remote location for a relaxing getaway into nature. This reservoir, part of the Coldwater River and created by a dam in 1943, has trails around its shores for hiking and biking, a beach for sunbathing, swimming, and picnics, and a fishing pier for those who want to try their luck catching catfish, largemouth bass, and crappie. There are also playgrounds for kids , and some beautiful campgrounds where guests can park their RVs or pitch a tent to stay overnight and wake up to the sounds of nature.

  • 7. Bay St Louis

Bay St Louis

The city of Bay St. Louis is located on the Mississippi coast of the Gulf of Mexico and bears the kind of coastal charm that is perfect for a vacation. Sandy beaches provide a welcoming environment for a day of sunbathing or playing in the sand, and the many piers in Bay St. Louis are great for those traveling by water to the city as well as for those who want to spend their days out on the water fishing, swimming, or water skiing. In the city itself, visitors will find a charming old town area with plenty of shops and businesses and some delicious restaurants.


Canton is a beautifully historic town located just a short drive from Jackson, the state capital. On Canton's Main Street, visitors will find a row of historical businesses with the classic tall facades, painted in a rainbow of bright and cheery pastel colors. Many of the buildings in Canton are on the National Registry of Historic Places, so wandering the streets of this small town is like stepping into history itself. It was a major hub in the Civil War, so there is a large Confederate cemetery and the historic Canton Courthouse. It is also a stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail, and there are several notable music venues in Canton's bars.

  • 9. Clarksdale


Clarksdale, in the Mississippi Delta, it a major stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail. From the 1920s through the 1950s, the culture of music and the blues blossomed in Clarksdale, with a radio station devoted to it and many great artists, including Charlie Patton, Bukka White, and Ike Turner, who called the city home. Today, visitors to Clarkson can check out the Delta Blues Museum for a look at this colorful history, and if they time their visit right, even stay for the Sunflower River Blues Festival. But no matter the time of year, there's sure to be some great live music in Clarksdale's blues bars, such as the Ground Zero Blues Club.

  • 10. Places to Visit in Mississippi: Cleveland

Places to Visit in Mississippi: Cleveland

Cleveland, Mississippi, was named for former US President Grover Cleveland. It is a stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail, with two markers in town: One on Christmas Street, and one for the noted blues musician W. C. Handy. Music lovers should also check out the GRAMMY Museum in Cleveland, which celebrates artists and musicians from the state of Mississippi. Cleveland is a charming small town with a history in the railroad industry, and today it boasts a friendly atmosphere, great traditional Southern cuisine, and brick-paved sidewalks lined with quaint shopping options and local businesses.

  • 11. Columbus, Mississippi

Columbus, Mississippi

The city of Columbus is located just northeast of the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway, where visitors can go boasting and fishing or walk the many trails alongside the river. The city itself is very historic, with many houses and buildings that exemplify the Southern architectural style. There are 23 buildings in Columbus on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Mississippi University for Women, which was the first state-funded school for women in America. Columbus was also the home of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tennessee Williams, and his home is on display for visitors to explore and learn about his life and works.

  • 12. Corinth


When the city of Corinth was founded in 1853 as a railroad town, it was called Cross City for the numerous tracks that met there. Its Civil War history is rich, as the site to which the Confederate army retreated and the Union army later laid siege after the Battle of Shiloh, and history buffs will find many historic homes and museums devoted to the era in Corinth. The beautifully quaint Historic District in the center of the city hosts antique shops and restaurants in original buildings, even including an old fashioned soda fountain and drugstore, and Fort William and the Veranda House both offer a unique opportunity to learn about Civil War history.

  • 13. Crystal Springs

Crystal Springs

Crystal Springs is a small city just outside the state capital of Jackson. This charming place has a small town feel, especially in its historic central district, where old, original buildings are home to shops, restaurants, cafes, and churches, surrounded by parks. Visitors can also check out the library or the Robert Johnson Blues Museum or take a stroll on the tree-lined sidewalks of the residential neighborhoods, which feature many beautifully old houses. Each year during June, Crystal Springs hosts an annual Tomato Festival, with a parade, contests, live music, and a craft and food fair.


The city of Flora is a small community located just north of Jackson. In Flora, a relaxed small town ambience will charm visitors as they browse its quaint shops and enjoy a burger at the Blue Rooster. Flora is best known as the home of a petrified forest, an ancient place that contains fossilized wood over 36 million years old. A long, shady paved trail will lead visitors through the forest to the Earth Science Museum. In the museum, guests can go fluming in the water to try and find some real gems amongst the "mine muck."

  • 15. Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore

The Gulf Islands National Seashore preserves the beautiful land at the Gulf Coast as well as the barrier islands just off the mainland. Beautiful seascape scenery, sandy beaches, and some stunning sunrises and sunsets are just a few of the draws to the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Visitors can take a boat to one of the barrier islands, where they will find historic forts and buildings, or just enjoy the beaches and landscapes of the park and the scenic trails where visitors can go hiking or biking. And then of course, there is the water, which presents a perfect opportunity for kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing, and more.

  • 16. Places to Visit Near Me: Hattiesburg

Places to Visit Near Me: Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg is the home of the University of Southern Mississippi, so it brings with it all the lively businesses and shops found in college towns as well as the upscale atmosphere and entertainment of a major city. The city has a large music and arts scene, with multiple festivals throughout the year devoted to live performances, crafts, and food. Live music is often found in the pubs of Hattiesburg as well as on the streets. The area began as a hub for railroads, so there is plenty of history to be found in Hattiesburg, including the Longleaf Trace - a 41-mile trail for hikers, bikers, and equestrians that was once a railroad track.

  • 17. Places to Visit in Mississippi: Holly Springs

Places to Visit in Mississippi: Holly Springs

In northern Mississippi, right across the state border from Tennessee, is Holly Springs. This small city began as cotton plantations and was eventually used as a supply store for the Confederate army during the Civil War. Today, the city is home to almost 200 historical homes and buildings of interest, many of which visitors can tour, and it is also home to the Ida B Wells Museum, named for and dedicated to the life and work of a famous activist who came from Holly Springs. The nearby Strawberry Plains Audubon Center offers a lovely respite from the town, with nature trails and educational programs.

  • 18. Livingston


Livingston's history began in the early 19th century, when it became a thriving commercial town, but after the Civil War, this small community was all but abandoned. The railroads came through Mississippi, but completely bypassed Livingston, so this made it an impractical place to live or do business. In 2006, a developer bought the town of Livingston, which had fallen into complete disrepair, with most of its original buildings destroyed or decayed beyond any use, and began to rebuild it to its former glory. Now, the community is growing again, with the help of its weekly farmers market, which draws visitors from all over the region.

  • 19. MS Places to Visit: New Albany

MS Places to Visit: New Albany

New Albany was a mill town built during the early 19th century until it was completely destroyed by fire during the Civil War. In the 1880s, the railroad brought this community back to life, and today it is a thriving small city that is notably the birthplace of famous American writer William Faulkner, who wrote The Sound and the Fury and won two Pulitzer Prizes for his works. New Albany today is home to the Tanglefoot Trail, a 44-mile-long paved path that was once a railroad track and now is a shady, scenic trail for hikers and cyclists.

  • 20. Ocean Springs

Ocean Springs

Ocean Springs is located on the Gulf Coast, only a few miles from the city of Biloxi. This community is named for the natural springs in the area, and historically was quite a destination for vacationers. It maintains this low-key resort vibe today, with an artsy downtown area that contains lots of galleries and unique shops. Nature lovers can explore the Fontainebleau Nature Trail before heading to Front Beach to enjoy the warm sand and ocean views. And visitors would be remiss if they didn't try any of the fantastic seafood options offered in town.

  • 21. Port Gibson

Port Gibson

Port Gibson was founded in 1729 by French settlers, making it the third oldest community in the state of Mississippi. During the Civil War, Port Gibson was spared the fiery fate of many of its neighbors because General Grant thought it was "too beautiful to burn," which is a sentiment that still stands today. Port Gibson is full of gorgeous historical homes and buildings, many of which are now bed and breakfasts where visitors can stay. One truly unique attraction in Port Gibson are the Windsor ruins, the notable remnants of what was once a giant mansion. After a fire in 1890 started by an unattended cigar, all that's left today are the pillars, balustrades, and stairs, and it makes for a fascinating sight.

  • 22. Ridgeland


A relaxing stay in Ridgeland, located just west of the large and beautiful Ross Barnett Reservoir, is exactly what many travelers are looking for in a vacation. Ridgeland allows its visitors the opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful weather in Mississippi, with bike trails and a strategic location along the Natchez Trace, a stunningly scenic road that follows the same path as a trail that has been used for hundreds of years. And, of course, there's the reservoir, where visitors can sunbathe, swim, kayak, or even rent a sailboat for a beautiful day spent out on the water beneath a blue sky.


The town of Tunica touts itself as the South's Casino Capital, and visitors to Tunica will certainly find a jackpot of a good time. Located in the northwest region of Mississippi, Tunica is easily accessible from other parts of the state as well as from Memphis. With a charming historic downtown and a fabulous offering of hotels and casinos, those staying in Tunica will find themselves choosing from more than 14,000 slot machines and over 400 game tables. Live musical performances, delicious dining options, and some impressive golf courses only sweeten the deal in Tunica.


Tupelo is the birthplace of the King himself, Elvis Presley, and music lovers will find evidence of him all over the city, with plenty of statues of Presley and even his childhood home open for visitors. The Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum in Tupelo is part of a 15-acre park that displays exhibits about Presley's childhood and his career. There is also the Buffalo Park and Zoo as well as the Tupelo National Battlefield, where a Civil War battle was fought in 1864.

  • 25. Vicksburg


During the Civil War, the Union army headed by Ulysses S. Grant laid siege to the city of Vicksburg, an operation that lasted months and was a major event during the war. Today, this event is remembered at the Vicksburg National Military Park, which includes monuments, a retired Civil War era gunship, a Confederate cemetery, and a visitors center where guests can watch a documentary on the siege. There are a lot of other historic buildings and monuments in Vicksburg in addition to museums like the Lower Mississippi River Museum, the Old Court House, and the Biedenharn Coca Cola Museum.

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Home » Travel Guides » United States » Mississippi (MS) » 21 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Mississippi

21 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Mississippi

Mississippi , know also as “The Magnolia State” and “The Hospitality State”, offers some of the most beautiful and spectacular sights and places to visit! Just browse through these awesome pictures and be amazed by it’s beauty. Ps: Did you know the world’s largest shrimp is on display at the Old Spanish Fort Museum in Pascagoula?

1. Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins National Historic Site, Mississippi

The Windsor Ruins are well and truly off the beaten track, giving visitors a private window into the centuries gone by quite unlike other tourist attractions. Surrounded by natural beauty and a breath-taking scenery, it’s easy to forget the Windsor Ruin’s past of slavery, war, and disaster.

Built between 1859 and 1861 by a wealthy plantation owner, Smith Coffee Daniel II, was a four-story Greek Revival mansion overlooking the Mississippi River. Destroyed by a fire on 1890, all that remains of the grand mansion are the beautiful Greek columns and a deathly serenity—a haunting reminder of what once was.

2. Doyle Arm, Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

The Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge is home to not only a wide variety of Mississippi’s native wildlife but some stunning natural beauty, too. As a feeding area for migratory species, the boardwalk at Doyle Arm offers some spectacular bird watching year-round—and for the more adventurous explorer, the opportunity to see Alligators in their natural habitat is something not to be missed.

Doyle Arm has something for everyone, offering breathtaking scenery, a host of animal-spotting opportunities, and room for quiet contemplation. The best time to visit is the fall when the leaves have begun to change and the water glistens an orange-brown hue.

3. Cypress Swamp

Cypress Swamp on the Natchez Trace in Mississippi

While away a few hours in the tranquility of Cypress Swamp, inside the Natchez Trace Parkway National Park. Bask in the natural beauty that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere and take in the excitement of seeing Mississippi’s wildlife at play. Whether walking, driving, or cycling, you’ll find lots to do and see when you visit the Cypress Swamp and its surrounding area.

4. Dunn’s Falls

Dunn's Mill and Falls

Dunn’s Falls, named after their creator—John Dunn, an Irish immigrant—came to be in the mid-1850s. Hidden among the rugged landscape around the Chunky River, the stream provides a natural source of power via a working water wheel, before crashing seventy feet into the river below.

Whether you are looking to take part in activities such as fishing, canoeing, and swimming, or simply wish to see the marvel of nineteenth-century engineering, this quiet landmark offers something for everyone.

5. Friendship Cemetery

Friendship Cemetery, Columbus

Formerly known as Odd Fellows Cemetery, the Friendship Cemetery in Columbus fills visitors with conflicted emotions. While appreciating the natural beauty of this historic resting place, it’d be easy to forget that thousands of unknown soldiers, federal and confederate, are buried here—were it not for the graves that stretch as far as the eye can see.

However, many graves have been reclaimed by Mother Nature herself, with Southern Magnolias decorating otherwise grim reminders of the bloody civil war that raged on in the surrounding areas in the not too distant past; Friendship Cemetery is a real testament to the continuous beauty of the natural world.

6. Stanton Hall in Natchez

Stanton Hall In Natchez

Irish immigrant and successful cotton merchant, Frederick Stanton, began the construction of his dream home in 1857. The house covered the area of a city block and was decorated with the finest marble from New York and grand mirrors imported from France. Stanton Hall has seen a vast and varied history: with its namesake dying only months after it was completed, the hall housed Union troops throughout the Civil War.

In 1894, Stanton Hall was transformed into a Ladies College and remained that way until 1938, when it was bought and restored to its former glory by the Pilgrimage Garden Club. Nowadays, daily 30-minute tours of the home are given, providing a unique insight into the history of this beautiful mansion. Whether you love architecture or history, Stanton Hall provides an excellent day out—and food lovers will delight in the nearby Carriage House Restaurant!

Biloxi, Mississippi

You’d be forgiven for thinking that New Orleans was the birthplace of Mardi Gras. However, that honor actually resides with Biloxi! Known as the “playground of the south,” Biloxi has a host of activities, landmarks, and cultures to suit all tastes. Thanks to its prime position on the Mississippi Gulf, wherever you are in Biloxi, you’re always near to beautiful coastline and pristine beaches.

With casinos and nightclubs for party-goers, mini-golf and amusement parks for children, and everything in between, it’s no wonder that Biloxi is such a popular seaside getaway!

8. Mississippi State Capitol

Mississippi State Capitol, Jackson

The third State Capitol building to be built in Jackson, Mississippi, this signature landmark was completed in 1903 and cost over one million dollars to build! After undergoing a renovation between 1979 and 1983, the Capitol building still retains its original architectural design and feel, as was the intention throughout the restoration project.

Listed on the National Register of Historical Places and located at 400 High Street, Jackson, the Mississippi State Capitol building is well worth a visit thanks to its beautiful Beaux Arts flair. It is hard to decide what is more impressive, the exterior façade, with its 180-foot dome; or the brightly lit interior with its replica liberty bell, and multitudes of scenes from US history. With free-of-charge daily tours on a daily basis, and group reservations available upon request, the Mississippi State Capitol is not to be missed!

9. Fillmore Street Chapel, Corinth

Fillmore Street Chapel, Corinth

Located 90 miles or so from Memphis, the Fillmore Street Chapel is Corinth’s oldest place of worship. It was completed in 1871 and at one time served as a Presbyterian Church. From the outside, you’ll be amazed by awe-inspiring steeples and arched windows that act as mirrors reflecting Corinth’s scenery.

Currently, Fillmore Street Chapel is maintained by the First United Methodist Church and its history and landmark status make it a popular venue for weddings, baptisms, and more. Whether you’re religiously inclined or not, Fillmore Street Chapel is well worth a visit, merely to see a beautiful historical landmark that is currently making history for people every year.

10. Ship Island

Ship Island

Once a single island, 1969’s hurricane split the land mass in two. Located some eleven miles south of Gulfport and Biloxi are some of Mississippi’s most magnificent beaches. Accessible by a 50-minute ferry ride on which you’ll see Bottlenose Dolphins at play, Ship Island is definitely the place to be for sun seekers and marine-life lovers alike.

Ship Island offers affordable fun for families and individuals alike. Administered by the National Park Service, there’s loads to do across miles of tranquil beach and warm, gentle shoreline. If you’re a fan of history, you’ll be more than pleased to know that Ship Island played a vital role in the settlement up and down the gulf coast—its deep water anchorage providing French settlers with its name, which still stands to this day.

11. Bluff Lake, Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

Bluff Lake

The beauty of nature and the tranquility of solitude combine at Bluff Lake to create memories that will last a lifetime. Bird watchers will appreciate the vast number of species on offer—included the endangered Red Cockaded Woodpecker. Meanwhile, fishermen will appreciate the quality of the sport available, and nature lovers will fall in love with just about everything on offer.

Visiting Bluff Lake during the fall is truly magical: the crunching of leaves underfoot as you adore the orange and yellow and brown that envelopes you into a trance-like peaceful state is something that you’ll never quite get over.

12. The Biloxi Lighthouse

Biloxi Lighthouse, Mississippi

Construction of the Biloxi Lighthouse was completed in 1848, making it one of the very first cast-iron lighthouses in the southern states. It is central to Biloxi’s image and has, since Katrina, become an iconic tribute to the city’s strength and resolve. Biloxi Lighthouse has a rather symbolic meaning for females in the area, thanks to its rather unique renown for having female lighthouse keepers, right up until the Coast Guard took on the lighthouse in 1939.

Despite Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge battering a third of the lighthouse’s 64-foot tall stature, it stood firm, and the City of Biloxi re-opened it for tours in 2010, after an almost half-million dollar renovation. Whether you’re visiting Biloxi for its nightlife or culture, you’ll definitely want to visit this living tribute to the city’s triumph over Katrina’s destructive force.

13. Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi

The battle of Vicksburg was pivotal to the American Civil War—it included a 47-day siege which gave way to the surrender of the city, which gave the Union complete control of the Mississippi River. Vicksburg National Military Park is run by the National Park Service in commemoration of this vital point in United States history, and to the lives of the soldiers that gave their lives throughout the campaign.

Whether you’re a history lover or not, it’s impossible not to appreciate this national treasure. Over 1,300 historical monuments and markers are within the park’s bounds, as well as the melancholic Vicksburg National Cemetery—the resting place of over 18,000 people, of which two-thirds are unidentified. Over 500,000 visitors attend this haunting tribute to the battle of Vicksburg and the soldiers that gave their lives during; whether you wish to learn more about the civil war, or just pay your respects, Vicksburg National Military Park is a prime place to do either.

14. Tishomingo State Park

Hiking trail along Bear Creek in Tishomingo State Park

Rich in history and a breath-taking sight to boot, Tishomingo State Park takes its name from Chief Tishomingo, the leader of the Chickasaw nation. Archeological surveys have indicated that Paleo-Indians were active within the Park’s boundaries as far back as 7,000 B.C—and if that’s not enough to get you interested, the natural beauty and the array of activities on offer surely will!

Dissected by the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Tishomingo State Park is a landscape of the likes you’ll only find in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains—imposing ferns scatter the ground, moss-covered boulders rise from their earthy domain, and colorful wildflowers add majesty to the harsh terrain.

15. Clark Creek Nature Area, Woodville

Clark Creek Nature Area

Totaling over 700 acres and scattered with over 50 waterfalls, some of which stand over 30-feet tall, Clark Creek is a paradise for all naturists, hikers, cyclists, and outdoors lovers in general. Though the majority of the park is made up of large beech and magnolia trees, this hardwood forest also has some of the United States’ rarest flora on offer—all of which is clearly marked, helping visitors to stay out of trouble!

Clark Creek Nature Area is a popular and beautiful state park, but do not be fooled: the terrain is tough going and it is highly recommended that you take the correct equipment!

16. Elvis Presley Birthplace Park

Elvis Presley Birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi

In 1935, few people local to Tupelo would have guessed that this area would become known as the birthplace of the King of Rock n’ Roll. Of course, Elvis Presley’s name and legacy will live on forever; and thanks to Elvis Presley Birthplace Park, so too will his birthplace.

A couple of hours from Memphis, this museum is home to the place where the future music legend was born and has various personal effects on display for guests to view. If you’re a fan of Elvis, or even if you’re not, this small but impressive monument to the birth of one of the most iconic names in musical history is well worth a visit!

17. Noxubee Refuge

Noxubee Refuge, Starkville

Established in 1940, Noxubee Wildlife Refuge set out to repair the damage done by generations of intensive farming and grazing and provide habitat protection for species that direly needed it. This vast and beautiful refuge, covering three counties, has been a great success—it is now home to both wildlife and forests that were on the brink of destruction at the turn of the twentieth century.

The landscape will take your breath away. The selection of wildlife—both native and migratory—on offer, is as impressive as you’ll find anywhere else in Mississippi. The Noxubee Refuge sees 150,000 visitors a year, and just by looking at it, it is easy to see why!

21 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Mississippi:

  • Windsor Ruins
  • Doyle Arm, Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge
  • Cypress Swamp
  • Dunn’s Falls
  • Friendship Cemetery
  • Stanton Hall in Natchez
  • Mississippi State Capitol
  • Fillmore Street Chapel, Corinth
  • Ship Island
  • Bluff Lake, Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge
  • The Biloxi Lighthouse
  • Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Tishomingo State Park
  • Clark Creek Nature Area, Woodville
  • Elvis Presley Birthplace Park
  • Noxubee Refuge


15 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Mississippi

Written by Lura Seavey Updated Apr 25, 2022

Mississippi is a diverse state filled with a wide variety of tourist attractions and destinations. Jackson is its best-known city, home of the state capital and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Tupelo is a smaller city but draws tourists who want to visit the two-room house where Elvis Presley was born. Vicksburg is one of the state's most historic locations, home to the Vicksburg National Military Park at the site of one of the Civil War's most important battles.

Tourists can also enjoy sightseeing as they pass through the state via the Natchez Trace Parkway, a scenic route that has many historic spots and picture-perfect outlooks. Often overlooked, Mississippi's seashore is also a lovely place to visit, rich with marine life and home to the region's only dolphin rescue center.

Explore the state with our guide to the top attractions and things to do in Mississippi.

1. Get Some Sun at the Gulf Islands National Seashore

2. tupelo automobile museum, 3. visit the uss cairo museum at vicksburg national military park, 4. b.b. king museum and delta interpretive center, 5. the institute for marine mammal studies, 6. tour beauvoir, 7. mississippi museum of natural science, 8. elvis presley birthplace & museum, 9. grammy museum mississippi, 10. drive the natchez trace parkway, 11. jackson zoological park, 12. visit antebellum mansions in natchez, 13. old capitol museum, 14. ocean springs, 15. mississippi petrified forest.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

The Gulf Islands National Seashore extends from Cat Island in Mississippi to the eastern tip of Santa Rosa Island in Florida. Most of the seashore is actually submerged, but the barrier islands offer white-sand beaches, coastal marshes, and dense maritime forests.

Davis Bayou is located on the mainland at Ocean Springs and can be easily accessed. There are hiking trails, camping and picnicking areas, old forts, as well as other recreational opportunities, including kayaking and snorkeling.

There are several visitor centers within the Gulf Islands National Seashore that offer a variety of things to do. Ranger-led programs are available, and Fort Pickens has volunteers ready to answer questions, as well as several interactive visits. There is also the Park Headquarters; William M. Colmer Visitor Center; and the Fort Barrancas Visitor Center, which focuses on the military significance of the seashore.

Official site: www.nps.gov/guis

1928 Hispano-Suiza at the Tupelo Automobile Museum

The Tupelo Automobile Museum was declared the official auto museum of the state of Mississippi in 2003, the culmination of 28 years of collecting by founders Frank Spain and Max Berryhill. The entire collection includes 150 vehicles, some of which are presently being restored in open bays while museum visitors watch.

The vehicles on display represent the evolution of the automobile with chronologically organized exhibit halls. Visitors are greeted by its oldest piece, an 1886 Benz, and can admire several examples of early cars including an 1889 Knox Porcupine, 1903 Cadillac, and a 1907 Ford Model R.

The collection includes some of the 20th century's most iconic vehicles, including the Dunesberg, a Messerschmitt, and even a 1981 Delorean DMC. The museum's newest vehicle is a 1994 Dodge Viper with only 12 miles on the odometer. The collection also includes a Lincoln once owned by Elvis Presley.

Address: 1 Otis Boulevard, Tupelo, Mississippi

Official site: www.tupeloautomuseum.com

USS Cairo Museum at Vicksburg National Military Park

The USS Cairo, which is on display at Vicksburg National Military Park, was sunk the same year it was commissioned. It sat under the mud for nearly 100 years until a cannon and the pilothouse were recovered, and soon a full salvage effort was underway. The restored ship is now on display, as well as thousands of recovered artifacts.

The Vicksburg National Military Park commemorates the battle that took place in this strategically critical town during one of the most decisive periods of the Civil War. It was here that General Grant was captured, giving Union forces control of the waterway. The park is also home to Vicksburg National Cemetery , which is home to 17,000 fallen Union Soldiers, as well as another 1,300 US military veterans who have lost their lives in conflicts since then.

Location: Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi

B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center

This museum focuses on the life and work of one of the most influential blues artists of all time and on the birth of blues itself in the Mississippi Delta. Visitors can get an overview of the history of blues and B.B. King's significance in the museum's theater.

Exhibits are themed by era, first introducing visitors to the 1930s Delta and King's adulthood when he was a farmer. Subsequent exhibits follow B..B King to Memphis, where he became the "Beale Street Boy" and was first put on the radio, and then look at his rise in the 1960s when he became an icon. The museum also has a gift shop that sells blues and King-related souvenirs.

Address: 400 Second Street, Indianola, Mississippi

Official site: www.bbkingmuseum.org


The Institute of Marine Mammal Studies is a large research and rehabilitation center with an interactive museum that teaches visitors about ocean life. It is one of the only dolphin rescue facilities on the gulf coast, and the staff here cares for a wide variety of marine mammals.

The museum has dolphin presentations that give visitors the chance to learn about these intelligent creatures while watching them play with their trainers, and guests who want to get up-close can register for a dolphin encounter. The Discovery Room has touch pools that allow visitors to interact with creatures, including sea stars, stingrays, sharks, and other marine life.

There are also opportunities to learn about reptiles and birds in tropical animals shows, and kids can take home a shark tooth after unearthing it in the fossil digging activity.

Address: 3671, 10801 Dolphin Ln, Gulfport, Mississippi

Official site: www.imms.org


This large estate overlooks the Mississippi Sound and was given the French name of Beauvoir in honor of the beautiful view. The home was built in 1852 and became the home of the Confederate States of America's only president, Jefferson Davis, in 1877. It remained in the family until 1903, when Davis' widow sold the property to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

As part of the sale, the organization agreed to use the property as a free veterans home for confederate veterans, a facility that was open from 1903 until 1957. The other requirement of the sale was that the property remain a memorial to confederate soldiers and Jefferson Davis. Since 1903, Beauvoir has housed the Confederate Presidential Library and Museum .

The museum includes artifacts belonging to Davis, as well as items from the former veteran's home, and Civil War artifacts. Visitors may tour the large estate, which includes the home, guest cottages, and the Memorial Cemetery.

Address: 2244 Beach Blvd, Biloxi, Mississippi

Official site: www.visitbeauvoir.org

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science offers visitors the unique opportunity to learn about the natural world through detailed exhibits and experience it firsthand by exploring the museum grounds, which are located in LeFleur's Bluff State Park. Within the museum, visitors will find information about Mississippi's wildlife and its many habitats.

One of the most impressive is the 100,000-gallon aquarium, which houses more than 200 native species, as well as a swamp habitat that sits inside a huge greenhouse. Other exhibits include a large fossil collection and an extensive look at native white-tailed deer.

Location: Off Lakeland Drive at Interstate 55 in Northeast Jackson, Mississippi within LeFleur's Bluff State Park

Official site: www.mdwfp.com/museum

Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum

On January 8, 1935, Elvis Presley was born in a two-room house that was built by his father in Tupelo, Mississippi. The home has been preserved and is open for fans to see it as it was during his childhood, complete with period furnishings.

Elvis's interest in music was sparked as a young boy, listening to gospel music in church, and the chapel that his family attended has been relocated to the same property for fans to appreciate. Visitors will also find a museum that chronicles the King's early life, as well as a gift shop full of Elvis-themed souvenirs.

Address: 306 Elvis Presley Drive, Tupelo, Mississippi

Official site: www.elvispresleybirthplace.com

The Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi is a must-visit for any music lover, offering a variety of exhibits that highlight the history of American music. Permanent exhibits include displays of industry-related relics, including actual instruments used by iconic performers, from the great B.B. King to modern star Bruno Mars, and original outfits worn by stars as they walked the red carpet at the Grammys.

The museum specializes in interactive exhibits, including a mini surround-sound theater where visitors can enjoy past Grammy performances, as well as Grammy archives that highlight the careers of past winners. Aspiring musicians will particularly enjoy the interactive creation pods where you can write, record, and produce your own music, which will then become part of the museum's archives.

Address: 800 W. Sunflower Road, Cleveland, Mississippi

Official site: www.grammymuseumms.org

Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi

The Natchez Trace Parkway follows a route once used by Native Americans, stretching for 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi through Alabama to Nashville, Tennessee. It is a popular scenic route for sightseeing, with plenty of things to do and see along the way.

Among the most popular tourist attractions are numerous prehistoric mounds and archaeological sites, scenic lookouts, and historic points of interest like the Tupelo and Brices Cross Roads battlefields. The Parkway is also a designated bicycle route with incredible views and photo opportunities.

Official site: http://www.nps.gov/natr/index.htm

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Natchez, MS

Orangutan at the Jackson Zoological Park

The Jackson Zoo is a family attraction for all ages, home to a wide variety of animals from around the world. The zoological park hosts special events throughout the year, and there is a rotating schedule of educational activities open to visitors and groups.

The park is home to 250 animals representing 150 species from around the world, and is dedicated to ensuring that each habitat is as close to nature as possible. There are several endangered species in residence, including the red-ruffled lemur, red wolf, pygmy hippopotamus, reticulated giraffe, Sumatran tiger, and southern white rhinoceros.

In addition to mammals, the park is home to some interesting birds, including ostriches, American flamingos, and Australia's kookaburra. Reptiles include a large selection of snakes, from the poisonous copperhead to the massive anaconda, and novice entomologists will be fascinated by the Madagascar hissing cockroach.

Address: 2918 W. Capitol Street, Jackson, Mississippi

Official site: www.jacksonzoo.org

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Jackson, MS

Antebellum mansion in Natchez, Mississippi

The cozy town of Natchez was founded in 1716, and thanks to its location on the Mississippi River it became an important trade port. Natchez is best known for its well-preserved antebellum homes, as well as its excellent dining and shopping.

The most famous of the historic mansions is Stanton Hall , also known as Belfast House . Built by plantation owner Frederick Stanton in 1857, the Greek Revival home and its grounds are now maintained by the Pilgrimage Garden Club. The house features some of its original furniture, as well as authentic period pieces.

Longwood , locally nicknamed "Nutt's Folly," does not look like the typical Southern estate but exudes elegance and grandeur with its towering brick exterior and ornate columns. It is notable for its octagonal shape and a Byzantine onion dome, which tops the six-story mansion. Only the first floor was completed before the Civil War halted construction, and to this day, it sits unfinished.

A much older Natchez home is Rosalie Mansion , a stately brick edifice that overlooks the Mississippi River. It was completed in 1823 and served as the home of Peter and Eliza Little, and exhibits within include several personal items, as well as some original furniture. Notable features include a chandelier from a Mississippi River steamboat, two 19 th -century pianos, and a separate kitchen and larder which predate the house.

Old Capitol Museum

Mississippi's former state capitol building in Jackson was in use as the State House from 1839 through 1903, when the present capitol building was opened. The building is made of limestone and designed in a classic Greek Revival-style with a copper dome and stands as a National Historic Landmark.

The building is now open to the public and houses a free museum that focuses on the government and historic events that took place here, like the signing of the Married Women's Property Act in 1839. Guided tours are also available by reservation for tourists who want to learn more about the building's construction, architecture, and restoration.

Address: 100 S. State Street, Jackson, Mississippi

Official site: www.mdah.ms.gov/oldcap

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

The town of Ocean Springs is located about two miles east of Biloxi. It has become a haven for artists and craftspeople, with numerous art shops and studios. The town also maintains a number of historic churches from the late 1800s. Although it was greatly affected by Hurricane Katrina, Ocean Springs has made considerable progress in re-establishing itself.

One of the town's best-known spots is the Walter Anderson Museum of Art , which features the work of Walter Inglis Anderson and his two brothers. Collections include oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints, as well as carvings and ceramics.

Mississippi Petrified Forest

The Mississippi Petrified Forest is a unique opportunity to see the enormous remains of what was once a massive forest, now turned to stone with time. Nature trails give visitors a chance to explore and see these specimens firsthand, while the Earth Science Museum has exhibits that explain the science behind how this came to be.

The museum also includes examples of the evolution of plants over time, as well as other types of fossils, including whale bones, dinosaur footprints, and a cast of the fossil of a prehistoric camel. Kids will enjoy getting their photo taken on "Caveman's Bench" and sifting for treasure in the gem mining flume.

Address: 124 Forest Park Road, Flora, Mississippi

Official site: www.mspetrifiedforest.com

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10 Best Places to Visit in Mississippi

Last updated on February 4, 2024 by Alex Schultz - 1 Comment

Set in the Deep South of the United States, Mississippi is a fascinating state to visit. It is known as much for its literature and music as its rich and at times raw history and heritage. While traveling around, visitors will come across everything from beautiful beaches and verdant fields and hills to glitzy casinos, college towns, and Civil War Battlefields.

Dominating the state and defining its western border is the mighty Mississippi River that flows to the glittering Gulf of Mexico. In its delightful delta region, the beautiful music style known as the blues was developed.

Map of Places to Visit in Mississippi

Map of Places to Visit in Mississippi

As such, there are plenty of bars and clubs where you can enjoy live music. A friendly and welcoming place to visit, Mississippi certainly lives up to its nickname of ‘The Hospitality State.’

10. Vicksburg


Perched atop a prominent bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, the small city of Vicksburg is set in a scenic spot. Located in the west of the state on the border with Louisiana, it is famed around the country for being the site of a long siege and battle that swung the American Civil War in favor of the North.

While General Ulysses S. Grant’s infamous victory is still commemorated in its artworks, museums and traditions, there is much more to Vicksburg for visitors to enjoy. Besides this unique history and heritage, it also has a wonderfully well-preserved center full of beautiful old buildings and attractive streetscapes, as well as a handful of magnificent museums.

Visitors to Vicksburg can also take a romantic carriage ride around its historical center or a delightful boat ride down the river, while some quality hiking can be had in the surrounding forests and hills.


Long one of the most impoverished places in the whole of the US, the town of Tunica is nestled in the northwest of the state, just an hour’s drive to the south of Memphis, Tennessee . Following the introduction of gambling in the 1990s, its fortunes dramatically changed. People now flock to what is the third-largest gaming market after Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

The popular resort town now boasts a wealth of grand and glamorous casinos, home to a myriad of slot machines, table games, and poker rooms. Each has an extensive array of rooms and suites for visitors to stay in, with everything from swimming pools and spas to gourmet restaurants and golf courses on offer.

While most if not all people who visit Tunica come for its glitzy casinos and Las Vegas-style shows, the nearby Tunica RiverPark is home to some superb scenery, nature, and hiking trails. In addition, Memphis isn’t far away should you want a change of scene.


As picture-perfect as they come, the pretty and pleasant city of Oxford lies amid the dense forests of Mississippi’s North Central Hills region. Named after the prestigious seat of learning in the UK, life in the town is dominated by the University of Mississippi and its large, lively student body.

While the state’s most famous college town certainly has a wild side, it is also noted for its scenic and sophisticated central square and sweet Southern charm. As well as being home to lovely oak-shaded neighborhoods, the city showcases some astounding old architecture and historical sights, with many treasures found on its sprawling university campus.

Due to its sizeable student population, Oxford also hosts a staggering array of concerts, conferences and cultural events, with new shows and performances taking place all the time. On top of this, The Square has plenty of great restaurants and bars where you can sample the town’s famous nightlife.

7. Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Set just to the south of both Mississippi and Florida, the Gulf Islands National Seashore are a series of beautiful barrier islands. Home to lots of wonderful white sand beaches and wilderness, the breathtaking scenery offers untold outdoor recreation opportunities.

Due to their serene and secluded settings, the islands are delightfully undeveloped and unspoiled, with stunning sands lying next to wild wetlands and intriguing forests. While the islands of Horn, Sand, Petit Bois, and East Ship boast the loveliest landscapes, they are also the toughest to get to: guests need to charter a boat to them before camping overnight amid the dunes.

Thanks to the park’s pristine and protected nature, there are loads of excellent outdoor activities to enjoy, with hiking, cycling, and swimming particularly popular. Besides this, visitors can go snorkeling in the glittering Gulf of Mexico or snap photos of the diverse bird species inhabiting the barrier islands.

6. Natchez Trace Parkway

Natchez Trace Parkway

Encompassing everything from steamy swamps and boggy bayous to epic overlooks, Indian burial mounds, and lots of exceptional scenery, the Natchez Trace Parkway is one of the most popular places to visit in Mississippi. Stretching from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi, the 715 kilometer-long national parkway is fabulous to hike, cycle, or drive along, with lots of spectacular sights to stop off at on the way.

Winding through wonderful woods and wilderness and past roaring rivers and reflective lakes, the scenic route follows what was once a Native American footpath. Later used by explorers and Ohio Valley farmers, it has been in use since pre-Colonial times. As such, numerous historic sights dot the route, with age-old battlegrounds and burial mounds found alongside marvelous monuments and museums.

Besides its rich history, heritage, and culture, the Natchez Trace Parkway has sublime scenery, with sparkling waterfalls, phenomenal views, and dramatic landscapes all on show. Along the route in Mississippi, there are also some great towns and cities for visitors to stop off at, such as Tupelo, Jackson, and Natchez.


Lying in the northeast of the state, the small, sleepy city of Tupelo is primarily known for being the birthplace of one of the world’s most famous pop icons – Elvis Presley. While most of its main sights relate to ‘the King’, the town is a perfectly pleasant and peaceful place to visit, particularly if you’re traveling along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

In the center of the city, visitors will find a thriving restaurant scene to delve into, as well as some magnificent murals that have added some much-needed color and life to the downtown area. Besides the Birthplace of Elvis Presley, there is also the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo to check out, while a fun and festive flea market takes places the second weekend of every month.

Just outside the city are a couple of American Civil War battlefields well worth visiting, as well as the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center, which can point you towards all of the route’s most scenic tourist attractions.


Set in the southwest corner of the state, Natchez lies perched atop a prominent bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Lying on the border with Louisiana, the small city boasts a beautiful historic center full of astounding old antebellum homes that evoke images of the Old South.

Before the Civil War, the small settlement was an important center of trade. As such, wealth and riches poured into its scenic streets. Nowadays, its charming center is a delight to visit, with horse-drawn carriage rides one of the most memorable ways to take in its grand collection of elegant homes and historical landmarks.

While history and heritage are on show wherever you go, Natchez is very much a living city with a fun party atmosphere on the weekends. Besides stopping by its numerous bars and live music venues, the final stop of the Natchez Trace Parkway also has lovely nature and scenery for visitors to enjoy nearby.


Situated along the state’s scenic and sun-kissed shoreline, Biloxi is a popular place to visit due to its beautiful beaches and oceanfront casinos. While it can appear brash and blingy at first sight, the city has numerous sides to it, with a delightful historic center for visitors to explore.

Most people, however, come for its glut of glitzy casinos, which look out over the glittering Gulf of Mexico and are home to innumerable slot machines and table games. Many of them have cowboy, tropical, or live music themes, with plenty of restaurants and entertainment also on offer.

Besides gambling, gaming, and reveling in the city’s lively nightlife, visitors can also relax on the golden sands or enjoy sailing and watersports along the seafront. In addition, New Orleans is just an hour away should you want to combine your trip to Biloxi with a visit to ‘The Big Easy.’


Although tourists often overlook it, Mississippi’s capital and largest city, Jackson certainly has enough going for it to warrant a visit. Set on the banks of the Pearl River, it boasts a brilliant live music scene and a handful of excellent museums and historic buildings.

Its two main tourist attractions are the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. While the former offers a fascinating look at the state’s history and culture, the latter highlights the fight for racial equality in Mississippi. Besides the magnificent museums, there is also the artsy Fondren District with all its boutiques and coffee shops to explore.

As ‘The City with Soul’ is Jackson’s slogan, it should come as no surprise to learn that there’s a load of great live music to discover in its numerous bars and venues. Weekends are a particularly good time to visit: this is when blues, folk, and jazz can be heard on every street corner.

1. Clarksdale


Set on the banks of the Sunflower River, the small and slightly dilapidated city of Clarksdale has long been popular with tourists as it lies at the heart of the Delta blues scene. In the early 20th century, many African-American musicians developed the blues here before migrating north and performing in cities such as Chicago and New York.

This captivating past is now explored in depth at the delightful Delta Blues Museum, while markers and monuments relating to the mesmerizing music and its most-distinguished musicians can be found around town. In addition, big-name blues acts regularly perform in the scattering of bars and clubs, while a handful of cultural events and festivals take place during the year.

As it lies just a couple of hours’ drive from most of the main blues sights, Clarksdale also makes for a great base if you want to explore the Mississippi Blues Trail. On top of this, both the lively college town of Oxford and the major city of Memphis aren’t far away if you want to explore the rest of what the region has to offer up.

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The 25 Best Things to Do in Mississippi

Belted by the robust Mississippi River, Mississippi is a place of many faces. Travel through the state, and you’ll discover everything from regal mansions to rural simplicity, white sandy beaches to dense woodland, and simple mom-and-pop stores to mighty shopping emporiums.

Often misunderstood, Mississippi is home to some of the most important history in the US. Take your time as you travel throughout the state, and you’ll learn more from the personal stories, thought-provoking artwork, raw novels, and heart-wrenching music here than you ever could from a textbook.

From the birthplaces of famous characters who have changed the world and sprawling forest-covered state parks to friendly towns that date back centuries and lively festivals the whole family can join in with, you’ll never be stuck for what to do in Mississippi. With a huge range of indoor attractions, outdoor nature-based activities, and epic road trips, Mississippi is an excellent place to visit at any time of year.

With so many fantastic things to do, it can be tricky to know where to begin. To get you started, we’ve put together a list of the absolute best things to do in Mississippi. Add these fun activities and attractions to your Mississippi bucket list, and you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time exploring the Magnolia State! 

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 25 Best Things to Do in Mississippi

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

25 Fun and Unique Things to Do In Mississippi 

1. marvel at the mississippi petrified forest.

Best Things to do in Mississippi: Mississippi Petrified Forest

One of the most fascinating Mississippi attractions is the Mississippi Petrified Forest . Inviting you on a journey 36 million years back in time, the natural phenomenon is home to a beguiling collection of ancient trees that have since turned to stone with time. 

The place has an otherworldly feel that you won’t find in any other forest on the planet. Follow one of the several nature trails, and you’ll have the chance to admire the millennia-old logs, as well as surround yourself with the wonderful smells of honeysuckle vines, wildflowers, cedar, and pine. 

To find out more about how the Mississippi Petrified Forest came to be this way, spend some time exploring the Earth Science Museum. Here you’ll find a number of exhibits that explain the science behind the region. The museum also includes displays that cover the evolution of plants, plus fascinating artifacts, such as prehistoric fossils, dinosaur footprints, and whale bones. 

2. Get Back To Nature At The Gulf Islands National Seashore

Best Things to do in Mississippi: Gulf Islands National Seashore

The Gulf Islands National Seashore is a captivating natural wonderland that stretches from Cat Island in Mississippi all the way to the eastern tip of Santa Rosa Island in Florida. An excellent place to visit whether you’re in need of relaxation or excitement, this small piece of paradise provides you with everything you could ever need to break out of your typical routine.

Although most of the seashore is hidden away underwater, the barrier islands boast intrepid coastal marshes, Instagrammable sandy beaches, and dense maritime forests that provide you with countless adventures. 

Cool Things to do in Mississippi: Gulf Islands National Seashore

The Bayou Davis area is one of the best spots in this part of the state. Located close to Ocean Springs, it features a well-equipped camping area, visitor’s center, and picnic areas, as well as countless hiking trails, kayaking opportunities, lookout points, and snorkeling spots. 

3. Stand Before The Eerie Windsor Ruins

places to visit in south mississippi

For some of the best sights in Mississippi, spend the day at the Windsor Ruins. One of the most unique Mississippi attractions, these ruins are made up of a collection of balustrades and columns that once formed a grandiose complex.

The complex included a mansion and plantation that was built between 1859 and 1861. It survived the destruction of the Civil War when the complex was used as an observation post and hospital. But in 1890, it was completely destroyed following an unattended cigar that caused the entire place to burn to the ground.

Fun Things to do in Mississippi: Windsor Ruins Mississippi

While there’s very little left of the mansion and plantation, the ruins that remain are interesting to see. There’s a distinct sense of mystery that surrounds the place. If you’re into creepy, abandoned spots, you’ll be able to take loads of cool photos to show off here! Plus, one of the best things about the Windsor Ruins is that there’s no entrance fee.

4. Tour The Mississippi State Capitol

What to do in Mississippi: State Capitol

The Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson is one of the most popular attractions in the state. As well as being the center for Mississippi government affairs, it’s also a place that you can visit to admire many pieces of incredible artwork, beautiful stained glass windows, and monuments dedicated to important people throughout history.

Free guided tours are organized several times every weekday. If you prefer to do your own thing, you can take yourself on a self-guided tour and explore the State Capitol in your own time. Some of the highlights include the replica of the Liberty Bell and the Women of the Confederacy monument, dedicated to the mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives of soldiers who fought on the side of the Confederacy. 

Mississippi Bucket List: State Capitol

If you’re in a rush and haven’t got time to venture inside, the outside of the building is worthy enough of a visit on its own. The stately construction is instantly recognizable thanks to its dome-shaped roof and elegant façade that was built in 1903.

5. Hike In Tishomingo State Park

Cool Things to do in Mississippi: Tishomingo State Park

When you need a break from the ordinary attractions, one of the best things to do in Mississippi is to spend a day at Tishomingo State Park . This colossal park covers 1,530 acres in the northeast corner of the state and boasts spectacular landscapes that you won’t find anywhere else in Mississippi.

A fantastic place for nature lovers, the park is home to a considerable number of walking and hiking trails that take you past everything from colorful wildflowers to remarkable rock formations and incredible crevices. Just a few hours here will leave you feeling relaxed and connected to nature. 

When you’re finished hiking, you can relax and enjoy the many secret birdwatching spots or cool off in the swimming pool.

Tishomingo State Park is also a great place if you’re interested in ancient history. Archaeologists have found evidence of Paleo Indians here, with artifacts that date as far back as 7000 BCE!

6. Check Out The Restored USS Cairo 

Mississippi Things to do: Vicksburg National Military Park

To see something truly spectacular, spend the day at the Vicksburg National Military Park . An enthralling museum that thoroughly covers the Siege of Vicksburg, the park is most proud of the USS Cairo.

This incredible ship was sunk the very same year it was commissioned. It remained hidden, sunk deep within the mud for almost a full century, until the pilothouse and cannon were discovered and brought to the surface. Shortly after, a full salvage effort was underway, and the complete ship was recovered.

Cool Things to do in Mississippi: Vicksburg National Military Park

You can now see the dramatic and fully-restored ship on display within the museum, along with thousands of recovered artifacts. 

While many people consider the USS Cairo to be the highlight of the museum, Here Brothers Fought is also definitely worth checking out. This compelling theater presentation follows the Siege of Vicksburg, one of the most important aspects of the Civil War.

7. Treat Your Sweet Tooth To Mississippi Mud Pie

Fun Things to do in Mississippi: Mud Pie

When you’re in the mood for something sweet and indulgent, one of the most fun things to do in Mississippi is to treat yourself to a Mississippi mud pie. The iconic dessert got its name because it looks like the muddy Mississippi River tributaries following a rainstorm. But believe us, it tastes so much better!

The base of the dessert is made from crushed chocolate cookies. This is topped with thick, creamy layers of dense, flourless chocolate cake and decadent, velvet-smooth chocolate pudding. It has a wonderfully intense chocolate flavor, and, even though it’s incredibly rich, you’ll want to eat the entire thing every time.

Mississippi Bucket List: Mud Pie

You don’t have to eat an actual pie to get your Mississippi mud fix. Because the dessert is so popular, it’s been transformed into all sorts of sweet treats, from cakes and sundaes to ice cream cakes and cocktails. 

The Chimneys in Gulfport is one of our favorite places for this iconic dish. Here it oozes with a decadent marshmallow and chocolate sauce, making it even more rich and indulgent.

8. Unleash Your Inner Artist At Ocean Springs

What to do in Mississippi: Ocean Springs

Spending a day at Ocean Springs is like visiting a completely different world. Even though it’s located just a couple of miles east of Biloxi, the town has a laid-back bohemian vibe that will sweep you away with it.

A thriving hotspot for craftspeople and artists, Ocean Springs is bursting with creative studios, art galleries, and independent boutiques selling all kinds of cool and quirky things you won’t find anywhere else. Thanks to the number of historic buildings that date back to the 1800s, even the streets of the town boast an unprecedented beauty.

Must do Things in Mississippi: Ocean Springs

Although a lot of Ocean Springs was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, a huge effort was made to restore the town to its former glory. While it’s not finished just yet, most of the town has been put back together and is even more stunning than it was before the natural disaster.

9. Stop Off At The BB King Museum

Unique Things to do in Mississippi: BB King Museum

For one of the coolest things to do in Mississippi, plan a trip to the BB King Museum in Indianola! This fascinating museum highlights the life and work of one of the most influential blues artists who ever lived. BB King was born and raised along the Mississippi Delta, and this museum gives you the chance to gain a greater understanding of the history of the blues and BB King’s influence.

The exhibits are clearly and chronologically laid out, starting with the Mississippi Delta in the 1930s and BB King’s time as a farmer. The museum then goes on to follow BB King as he moved to Memphis and transformed himself into the Beale Street Boy. There are fantastic displays of his first radio performance, as well as his rise up through the 1960s when he became a world-famous icon.

If you’re a major BB King fan, you’ll love the gift shop. Here you’ll find a huge collection of blues and BB King memorabilia! 

10. Celebrate The Start Of The Fishing Season With The Blessing Of The Fleet

Fun Things to do in Mississippi: The Blessing of the Fleet

The Blessing of the Fleet is one of the oldest festivals in Mississippi, dating all the way back to 1929. It began in Biloxi as a way to celebrate the beginning of the shrimping season, one of the biggest industries on the Gulf Coast. While it’s still centered on this theme today, it has expanded hugely over the past century. 

The annual festival starts with the blessing of the ships, which is meant to guarantee a safe and prosperous fishing season. For this event, several ships are decorated from top to bottom with colorful flags. After the blessing, they head out to sea and catch all the delicious shrimp they can!

As well as the blessing, the exciting event includes loads of other fun activities and attractions. There’s a drool-worthy seafood cook-off, vibrant street party, Shrimp Queen pageant, and even the coronation of the Shrimp King and Queen. 

11. Swim With Dolphins At The Institute For Marine Mammal Studies

places to visit in south mississippi

You’ll find one of the most unique things to do in Mississippi at the Institute For Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport. This huge rehabilitation and research center is home to one of the very few dolphin rescue facilities in the area. 

While it’s great fun to watch these intelligent aquatic mammals play with their trainers and other dolphins, it’s much better to sign up for a dolphin interaction program and get close to the magnificent creatures yourself. You can choose to meet one of the dolphins and receive a special kiss – or take things to the next level and get in the pool for the chance to swim with them, pet them, and feed them!

places to visit in south mississippi

There are plenty of other opportunities to interact with animals, too. Check out the Discovery Room, where you’ll find touch pools that allow you to get close to sharks, stingrays, starfish, and other small marine life. You can also sign up for encounters with sea lions and stingrays or shadow one of the facility’s workers for a day.

12. Take A Southern Cooking Class

places to visit in south mississippi

The food in Mississippi is so amazing that you’ll want to carry on eating the delicious dishes when you get home. If you’re a whiz in the kitchen, one of the best ways of recreating your favorite Southern eats at home is to take a cooking class. It’s a great opportunity to embrace Southern culture while also learning some tasty recipes you can enjoy at home.

Southern Biscuit Class in Natchez is one of our absolute favorites. Led by chef Regina Charboneau, the Queen of Biscuits, this class will teach you how to make the very best biscuits you’ve ever had. They’re incredibly buttery, flaky, and surprisingly easy to make. 

Unique Things to do in Mississippi: Southern Cooking Class

The Farmer’s Table cooking class in Livingston is also fantastic. This cooking class focuses on local ingredients and encourages you to meet the people behind the protein and produce. It’s a great way to make friends with other foodies, and wine is included in the price!

13. Admire The 100,000-Gallon Aquarium At The Museum Of Natural Science

Must Do Things in Mississippi: Museum of Natural Science

If the weather takes a turn for the worse, one of the best things to do in Mississippi is to head to the Museum of Natural Science in Jackson. This captivating attraction is where you’ll find one of the largest aquariums in the US. Filled with 100,000 gallons of water, this colossal aquarium is home to more than 200 aquatic species that are native to Mississippi. 

There are tons of other incredible things to explore within the museum, too. If you’ve got little ones, you’ve got to check out the Dinosaur Trail. This outdoor forest walk passes by six large-scale 3D dinosaur models and offers detailed information about each dinosaur.

You’ll find plenty of other nature trails to explore, too. Each one shows you a different side of the park and gives you the chance to see the local wildlife and get involved with interactive displays. Most of the trails are really short, so you can follow multiple walks in a single visit. 

14. Try Every Kind Of Blue Crab There Is

Mississippi Bucket List: Blue Crab

Are you a fan of seafood? Then you’ve absolutely got to try blue crab while you’re in Mississippi. The delicate, sweet meat of blue crab is hugely popular throughout the state, so much so that you’ll find it as a topping on all kinds of different dishes. 

One of our favorite ways to enjoy it is as part of a salad appetizer. It’s often served in delicious flakes, marinated in a rich Italian dressing, and tucked into crunchy iceberg lettuce cups. The simplicity of the flavors and contrast of the textures work remarkably well together.

If you’re not much of a salad person, you can also try deep-fried blue crab claws and blue crab claws sautéed in garlic butter. These delicacies are really easy to find and taste as good as they sound!

Mary Mahoney’s is one of the best places for blue crab in Biloxi. Here you’ll find a number of hearty salads topped with crab meat, as well as tempting seafood platters that highlight the seafood.

15. See Countless Elvises Perform At The Elvis Festival

Mississippi Bucket List: Elvis Festival

Elvis was born in Tupelo, and every year, the city throws the phenomenal Elvis Festival in his honor. Definitely one of the best Mississippi activities, this annual festival is made up of a staggering number of Elvis impersonators who take to the stage and recreate the King’s famous performances.

Artists from all over the country travel to Tupelo for the chance to show off their remarkable talents. As well as individuals, the festival also attracts gospel choirs that mesmerize and enchant the audience with their singing. 

While the music is certainly the highlight of the event, there’s a lot of other stuff going on during the Elvis Festival, too. There are countless food vendors selling all kinds of delicious eats, exciting carnival rides to enjoy, a cute pet parade to watch, a dramatic beauty pageant to witness, and a 5K run to get involved with.

16. Visit The Spot Where Elvis Was Born

Cool Things to do in Mississippi: Elvis' Birthplace

If the Elvis Festival left you wanting more, hang around in Tupelo and visit the tiny two-room house where the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was born. Elvis’ father built the family’s modest home in 1934 with just $180 worth of materials. The following year, the famous singer that would become the world-renowned Elvis Presley was born there!

The family only lived in the home for three years. After that, they were evicted, and the home was repossessed because they couldn’t pay back the $180 loan taken out to build the house.

Best Things to do in Mississippi: Elvis' Birthplace

A huge effort has been made to restore the house, so it looks just like it did when Elvis lived there. Today, fans from all over the world visit for the chance to see trinkets and everyday items from Elvis’ childhood. 

As well as the family home, it’s also worth checking out Elvis’ childhood church and the Fountain of Life which represents his time in Tupelo and Memphis.

17. Take It Easy At Biloxi Beach

What to do in Mississippi: Biloxi Beach

When you need a break from all the Mississippi sightseeing, spend a few hours relaxing on Biloxi Beach. One of the most stunning parts of the state’s coastline, this small, sandy beach is the perfect place to chill out and forget about your to-do list for a little while.

The beach is known for its 19th-century lighthouse and wooden pier, which is home to a number of shacks selling freshly caught fish and seafood. The beach and surrounding area have a quaint coastal village vibe that you’ll miss as soon as you leave!

places to visit in south mississippi

The sand here is super soft, and the water is reliably calm and warm – even in spring and fall. This makes it an excellent location, whether you want to doze in the sunshine or cool off with a swim. If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, there are also several fishing charters and sunset cruises available.

18. Drive The 444-Mile-Long Natchez Trace Parkway

Best Things to do in Mississippi: Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is the best road trip in Mississippi, and it’s packed with amazing things to see and do along the way! The extensive route follows the path once used by Native Americans, starting in Natchez, Mississippi, and ending 444 miles later in Nashville, Tennessee.

Some of the most popular places to stop off at include archaeological sites, prehistoric mounds, historical points of interest (like the town of Tupelo and the Brices Cross Roads battlefields), and gorgeous lookout points that will leave you snapping away with your camera.

Cool Things to do in Mississippi: Natchez Trace Parkway

If you want to feel closer to nature, there are plenty of opportunities to ditch your car and explore along the way. Be on the lookout for signposts pointing to cycling trails, hiking routes, horseback riding, and campsites. You’ll also find picnic spots dotted along the route so you can enjoy a casual outdoor lunch surrounded by nature.

19. Have A Drink At The Centuries-Old Under-The-Hill Saloon

Unique Things to do in Mississippi: Under-the-Hill Saloon

Ordering a drink at the Under-The-Hill Saloon is one of the must-do things in Mississippi. This iconic bar dates all the way back to the 1800s and once had a terrible reputation for boozing and brawling. Today, the bar has cleaned up its act and is now a hugely popular tourist attraction.

The Under-The-Hill Saloon got its name due to its location in Natchez, and it boasts spectacular views of the Mississippi. Today you can still relax in the rocking chairs on the saloon’s front porch and soak up the dramatic vista.

Cool Things to do in Mississippi: Under-the-Hill Saloon

Inside the centuries-old bar, you’ll find countless original black and white photographs, along with historical memorabilia reminiscent of a time gone by. The structure is entirely genuine, and a lot of the dark wooden furniture is also from the 1800s when the bar first opened.

Don’t forget to look at the ceiling during your visit. It’s traditional for drinkers to fold a quarter and a thumbtack into a dollar bill and toss it high, so it sticks in the ceiling! 

20. Pick Up A Unique Memento At The Market Street Festival

What to do in Mississippi: Market Street Festival

If you’re planning to visit Columbus, Mississippi, in May, you’ve got to check out the Market Street Festival . This giant two-day festival has been going on for decades and attracts around 40,000 people each year, all keen to snap up some one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs they can’t find anywhere else.

Here you’ll find vendors selling all sorts of arts and crafts, from cute printed t-shirts and handmade jewelry to restored furniture and even upcycled birdhouses. With so much to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find just what you’re looking for.

Despite the name, the Market Street Festival isn’t just about shopping. The popular event also includes an excellent entertainment lineup, with live music performances, tons of children’s activities, fun runs, karaoke, car shows, and more. And don’t worry about getting hungry. Every year there’s an excellent choice of food trucks to hop between. 

21. Dig Into Authentic Barbecue

Unique Things to do Mississippi: Authentic Barbecue

When you’re feeling hungry, one of the top things to do in Mississippi is to enjoy a traditional local barbecue. Although the enormous feast wasn’t invented in the state, many Mississippi locals believe it was perfected there – and we sure aren’t going to argue!

An authentic Mississippi barbecue is made up of all sorts of delectable grilled dishes, such as BBQ chicken, smoky ribs, and pulled pork. Hearty sides like corn on the cob, baked beans, and coleslaw finish the feast off and make it one of the most comforting, fulfilling, and satisfying things you’ll ever eat.

Fun Things to do in Mississippi: Authentic Barbecue

There’s an almost never-ending list of places that serve barbecue in Mississippi. Little Dooey in Starkville is one of our absolute favorites. This iconic eatery dishes up all kinds of incredible barbecue dishes, such as a Little Dooey Sundae (pulled pork layered with baked beans, coleslaw, and BBQ sauce) and huge barbecue platters with ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and brisket.

22. See Many Endangered Species At Jackson Zoo

places to visit in south mississippi

If you’ve got a day to spare, Jackson Zoo is an excellent place to spend it. This sprawling attraction is home to 250 animals that represent 150 species from all around the world. Here you can see all kinds of endangered species, including southern white rhinos, Sumatran tigers, reticulated giraffes, pygmy hippos, red wolves, and red-ruffled lemurs.

In addition to the resident mammals, Jackson Zoo is also home to a huge population of fascinating birds, including kookaburras and ostriches, as well as a staggering collection of reptiles which includes Madagascan hissing cockroaches and giant anacondas. 

Must do Things in Mississippi: Jackson Zoo

If you’re visiting the zoo with little ones, seek out the traditional carousel. Kids always love it, and if you’re in the mood for some nostalgia, it can be great fun for adults, too. 

Plan your trip for a Tuesday, and you’ll save a small fortune. Each Tuesday, Jackson Zoo offers $2 entry tickets for everyone!

23. Explore The United States’ Biggest Bonsai Nursery

Mississippi Things to do: Brussels Bonsai

You’ll find some of the best things to see in Mississippi inside Brussel’s Bonsai . Just a 15-minute drive away from Memphis, this hidden gem in the town of Olive Branch provides a serene escape whenever you need a little peace and quiet.

The largest bonsai nursery in the US, Brussel’s Bonsai is a state-of-the-art facility, boasting more than 175,000 square feet of remarkable greenhouse space teeming with beautiful miniature trees. The attraction was created by Brussel Martin in 1975, who was fascinated by bonsai trees as a child. 

If you thought there was only one kind of bonsai tree, this place is definitely going to prove you wrong. Here you’ll find row after row of greenhouses brimming with diverse and distinctly different bonsai trees. Some of them have price tags on – you’ll be shocked to see how expensive they can be!

Although the trees may be pricey, Brussel’s Bonsai is completely free to enjoy.

24. Step Back In Time In Natchez

Cool Things to do in Mississippi: Natchez

Mississippi is bursting with fascinating towns to visit, and Natchez should be at the top of your list. This quaint, welcoming town was founded in 1716 and is best known for its gorgeous antebellum homes, top-quality shopping, and excellent dining scene.

If you want to keep things casual, you’ll have a wonderful time simply strolling around town and soaking up the atmosphere. This place is full of incredible photo opportunities, and there are plenty of cute cafes to pop into when you need a break.

Best Things to do in Mississippi: Natchez

For a more structured visit, plan to check out some of the town’s highlights. The most famous landmark in the city is Stanton Hall, also known as Belfast House. This mansion was built by a plantation owner in 1857 and still contains authentic period pieces and furniture.

The Longwood Estate and the Rosalie Mansion are also worth visiting. Here you can see how the wealthy lived centuries ago and admire the possessions they filled their homes with.

25. See Where Kermit The Frog Was Created

Mississippi Bucket List: Kermit the Frog

You may know that Elvis was born in Mississippi, but did you know Kermit the Frog was also born in the state? Jim Henson, the famous mind behind the puppet, was born in Greenville in 1936 and spent his childhood playing around the swamplands of Leland. Today, the small town has a permanent exhibit dedicated to Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog!

Despite its modest size, the museum boasts a considerable collection of puppets and memorabilia in honor of Kermit the Frog. Some of the original puppets had to be returned to the Jim Henson Company, but you can still see the original Kermit the Frog puppet, which was donated by Jim Henson’s wife, Jane.

Fun Things to do in Mississippi: Kermit The Frog

There’s also a great gift shop where you can pick up all sorts of Kermit-related trinkets, as well as a giant stuffed Kermit you can take a selfie with!

There you have it! The 25 best things to do in Mississippi. What’s your favorite thing to do in the Magnolia State?

Planning a trip to Mississippi? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!

About the Author:

Nicola Quinn

Nicola is a freelance writer with an insatiable hunger for travel. She swapped her home in the UK for the sunny Canary Islands when she was just 11 and she has been based there ever since. From crawling on her hands and knees inside pyramids in Egypt to swimming with baby sharks in Bali and searching (fruitlessly!) for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Nicola takes every chance she gets to explore new places. The incredible experiences she has around the world fuels her writing and inspires her to plan even more adventures for the future.

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places to visit in south mississippi

Hi. Please let us know the next time you’re writing about Mississippi, particularly the Mississippi Delta. We’d love to talk with you about including the charming town of Cleveland (www.visitclevelandms.com). We hope you’ll check us out!

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places to visit in south mississippi

The 50 Best Small Towns in The South

By  Southern Living Editors  

Updated on March 7, 2023​

South's 50 Best Small Towns

Forget about size. These 50 Southern towns may be small (some are technically villages) but each one has its own distinct story to tell. We asked our readers to share their favorites, and this wide-ranging list captures the wonderful diversity of our region. You’ll find towns by the seaside, in the mountains, outside of  big cities , near universities, and more. Some are known for German food (Helen, GA; Fredericksburg, TX), others have thriving art and culture scenes (Ocean Springs, MS; Berea, KY; Boone, NC), many are rich in history (Williamsburg, VA; St. Augustine, FL; Harper’s Ferry, WV) or  natural beauty  (Beaufort, SC; Blowing Rock, NC). There is a small town for every type of person on this list, and we guarantee that all of these places are destination-worthy in their own right. But be warned: One visit, and you might start packing your bags to start a new small town life. 

50. Opelika, Alabama

Opelika, AL

You can almost hear the train whistle blowing as you stroll the streets of this former railroad town. Although its big sister Auburn (home to Auburn University) often steals the spotlight, Opelika is making a name for itself with hip hangouts like the coffee shop Side Track; the downtown speakeasy Sneak & Dawdle; and Botanic, a plant nursery, market, and restaurant.


49. Danville, Kentucky

Constitution Square Historic Site, Danville, KY

Often referred to as Kentucky’s “city of firsts,” Danville’s appeal is due in large part to its long history. Explore spirited Main Street, where you can find Renaissance Revival- and Federal-style buildings housing modern eateries; boutiques; and the Art Center of the Bluegrass, a creative hub in the community.


48. Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Shepherdstown, West Virginia

One of West Virginia’s oldest towns is a prime location to see the splendor John Denver waxed poetic about in “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Stunning views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and the meandering Potomac River play backdrop to centuries-old Victorian houses and an art-filled downtown. 


47. Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Bay St. Louis Mississippi

Just over 50 miles from New Orleans, Bay St. Louis blends The Big Easy’s funky, artsy feel with the mellow, barefoot vibe you can find only in a tried-and-true coastal town. The beaches are dog-friendly, the blueways (water trails) are ready for exploring, and Old Town’s French Quarter appeal can’t be beat.


46. Thomasville, Georgia

The Paxton Hotel in Thomasville, GA

Redbrick streets and a topnotch restaurant culture add character to the picture-perfect downtown of Thomasville, a community with a strong entrepreneurial bent and plenty of places to grab a tasty bite— Liam’s, Jonah’s Fish & Grits, Sweetgrass Cheese Shop, and Empire Bagel & Delica.


45. Boone, North Carolina

Linville Gorge Sunrise Boone, NC

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone is known for its creative soul. It’s home to galleries and arts centers, and (thanks to Appalachian State University) it’s also a college town with a notable music scene. Drive to Grandfather Mountain for hairpin turns and incredible views.


44. Jonesborough, Tennessee

Main Street, Jonesborough, TN

As the “storytelling capital of the world,” Tennessee’s oldest town celebrates and preserves the state’s oral history. Visit the International Storytelling Center, or see a show at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre.


43. Round Top, Texas

Shopping Round Top, Texas

A contender for the award for tiniest town (at less than 1 square mile), Round Top has enough Lone Star spirit and style to more than make up for its population of just 87. It is situated around three squares: Henkel, Rolland, and Town, and you should complete the trifecta for the full experience in this renowned antiquing destination. 


42. Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia

The cobbled streets and 18th-century environs have long drawn people to Williamsburg, but these days, there’s much more to discover by way of shops and restaurants. Muststops include The Virginia Beer Co., Merchants Square, and The Cheese Shop. 


41. Georgetown, South Carolina

620 Prince Boutique Hotel in Georgetown SC

This spot on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast calls itself “the little town you’ve been looking for,” and it’s hard to argue the point. Georgetown has gorgeous old homes, abundant live oaks, a walkable downtown, and the dramatic Waccamaw River Bridge. 


40. Covington, Louisiana

Biking in Downtown Covington, LA

Planted just north of Lake Pontchartrain among three rivers—the Bogue Falaya, Abita, and Tchefuncte— Covington has a city center jam-packed with boutiques, art galleries, bed-and-breakfasts, and antiques shops. Don’t miss a meal at Lola, a local favorite.


39. Dunedin, Florida

Dunedin Sunset

Picture an Old Florida beach town, and you’ll likely imagine a place like Dunedin. Locals and visitors love this Clearwater-area spot for its undeniably relaxed atmosphere, sandy shores, lively Main Street shops, and no-frills approach to fresh seafood. Take time to go osprey spotting at Honeymoon Island State Park.


38. Mountain Home, Arkansas

Mountain Home Twin Lakes Thunder Motorcycle Rally

Waterways like Bull Shoals Lake, Norfork Lake, and the White River surround this small town, which got its start as a resort. It lured folks in with opportunities for fishing and boating, activities that still power tourism here in the southern stretches of the Ozark Mountains.


37. Port Aransas, Texas

Cinnamon Shore in Port Aransas, TX

Hurricane Harvey caused major damage here in 2017, but nothing can keep this resilient coastal town down. “Port A” remains one of the state’s main spots for fishing, and its 18 miles of beautiful beaches continue to attract returning visitors and new residents.


36. Fernandina Beach, Florida

Stores on Centre Street in downtown Fernandina Beach City, Florida

Tucked away on the north end of Florida’s Atlantic coast, this historic town is a down-to-earth foil to the busy resorts along the neighboring shores. Set on Amelia Island, the area’s walkable downtown is full of boutiques offering beachy wares. It’s also home to restaurants such as Timoti’s Seafood Shak, where it’s always a good idea to order the day’s fresh catch. 


35. Paducah, Kentucky

Street view of the Market House Theatre

A jewel situated at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, Paducah has an undeniably creative soul and is home to The National Quilt Museum as well as one-of-a-kind businesses like the antiques shop Frenchtown Station and the bourbon palace Barrel & Bond. 


34. Guthrie, Oklahoma

Oklahoma: Guthrie

While wandering the nation’s largest contiguous historic district, you won’t have to work hard to picture this Victorianera treasure as it was in the late 1800s. Today, you can learn more about the frontier city’s history at The Oklahoma Territorial Museum (also the site of The Carnegie Library) and at the Oklahoma Frontier Drug Store Museum. 


33. St. Francisville, Louisana

St. Francisville Louisiana

Just northeast of Baton Rouge, positioned along the meandering Mississippi River, is this closeknit community filled with beautifully preserved architecture. Check out Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, and then refuel downtown with the Crawfish Dip and Spicy Shrimp Poboy from Magnolia Cafe.


32. Natchitoches, Louisiana

Front Street in Natchitoches, LA

Louisiana’s oldest town has much more to offer than its famous fried  meat pies . Visit sites like the National Historic Landmark District (with an array of architectural styles ranging from French Creole to Art Deco) and Melrose Plantation, a stop on the state’s African American Heritage Trail that is home to rare works by folk artist Clementine Hunter.


31. Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Broken Bow, Oklahoma

To reacquaint yourself with the great outdoors, all you need to do is head to Broken Bow. This nature lover’s paradise is headlined by Beavers Bend State Park, where you can fish for trout on the Lower Mountain Fork River, boat on Broken Bow Lake, or explore miles of trails on foot or horseback.


30. Lewisburg, West Virginia

Lewisburg, West Virginia

A lively local culinary scene, shows at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre (West Virginia’s state professional theater), and frequent music festivals are just a few reasons to plan a trip to Lewisburg, a town steeped in American history. Visit in the fall to see the forests papering themselves in reds and golds. 


29. Middleburg, Virginia

Middleburg, Virginia

America’s “horse and hunt capital” is characterized by winding roads, scenic countryside, and an especially busy calendar of equestrian events. The expansive farmland provides fertile soil for the area’s 30 vineyards, including two in Middleburg.


28. Wimberly, Texas

Wimberley, Texas at Sunset over the swimming hole.

Natural wonders abound in Wimberley, a minuscule Hill Country locale just under an hour outside  Austin . When summer arrives in this part of the state, people plunge into swimming holes like the ones at Blue Hole Regional Park and Jacob’s Well Natural Area. Try exploring the landscape on long drives and easygoing horseback rides. 


27. Leipers Fork, Tennessee

Leipers Fork

“Quality over quantity” could be the motto for this tiny place. Technically a village, Leipers Fork has a main drag with only one stoplight. But the friendly residents and the fine art galleries, shops, and restaurants ensure it’s worth a trip. Rolling pastures, horse farms, and winding roads make getting there a pleasure too. 


26. Berea, Kentucky

Berea, KY

Known as the “folk arts & crafts capital of Kentucky,” Berea is a dynamic spot for creators and craftspeople working across a variety of media. Many sell their wares at galleries along Chestnut Street and in both the Artisan Village and the Kentucky Artisan Center. 


25. Laurel, Mississippi

Laurel Mercantile Mural

Stars of HGTV’s Home Town  Erin and Ben Napier  put this place on the cultural map in 2016. Since then, it’s become a Southern hot spot. Spend an afternoon meeting locals who have revitalized downtown Laurel, and stop by the Napiers’ flagship store, Laurel Mercantile Co., to buy pretty and practical home goods.


24. Bardstown, Kentucky

Bardstown, Kentucky

In the center of Bourbon Country, Bardstown is a hub for whiskey lovers. New distilleries stand alongside long-lived institutions, many of which offer tours and sips in tasting rooms across the countryside. Head to Bardstown Bourbon Company for creative takes on classic Bluegrass State foods and drinks.


23. Chincoteague, Virginia

Chincoteague Island Village

This coastal Virginia town shares its name with the famed wild horses that roam the serene shores nearby. The area teems with ample opportunities for fishing, hiking, and biking—all of which are more memorable when surrounded by unspoiled nature.


22. Oxford, Mississippi

Oxford, Mississippi

In 1837, this town incorporated and named itself after Oxford, England, with the hope that it would also be home to a great university one day. About 10 years later, The University of Mississippi opened, and in time, Oxford became the South’s quintessential college town. Equally celebrated for SEC football and its literary-and-arts scene, this place attracts all kinds, creating a vibrant community with a refined sense of Southern style. 


21. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

harper's ferry west virginia

The Appalachian Trail runs directly through the main thoroughfare of this pretty town (population about 300) on the West Virginia-MarylandVirginia borders. The area is designated as a national historical park thanks to its mountain and river views galore and its role in sparking the Civil War. 


Mount Dora, Florida

Mount Dora, FL

With its live oaks, lovely inns, and quaint shops, Mount Dora offers a nostalgic taste of Old Florida. Head to Palm Island Park to stroll a boardwalk surrounded by old-growth trees and lush foliage, or spend an afternoon hitting the many nearby antiques shops. 


19. Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Nestled in the Ouachita Mountains, this town gets its name from the area’s geothermal wonders—hot springs at an average temperature of 143 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to Bathhouse Row, there are plenty of local shops and restaurants to enjoy. You can also visit the University of Arkansas’ Garvan Woodland Gardens, a pine-shaded botanical wonderland. 


18. Ocean Springs, Mississippi

ocean springs mississippi

A thriving arts community, vibrant entertainment districts, and the beauty of the Gulf Coast are just a few reasons this is a great place to live and visit. Delicious food doesn’t hurt either. Go old-school at Aunt Jenny’s Catfish Restaurant (with a speakeasy in the cellar), or have a fancy night out at Vestige, an award-winning restaurant with a five-course tasting menu. 


17. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Folks have been flocking to this resort town since the 19th century thanks to its namesake natural hot springs. The stunningly preserved Victorian architecture makes downtown a destination unto itself, and quirky shops selling everything from kaleidoscopes to quilts can entertain you for hours.


16. Bluffton, South Carolina

Bluffton Oyster Factory

Consider Bluffton the poster child for the Carolina Lowcountry. With tranquil marshland, elegant homes, a colorful art scene, and palmettos everywhere you turn, this enclave on the May River has everything to love about South Carolina all in one place. 


15. Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, AL

Although many think of Florida when it comes to great beach towns, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach beg to differ. The coastal twins boast the same sparkling turquoise water, white-sand shores, and family-friendly fun. With miles of coastline and easy access, it’s clear why sunseekers love the area. 


14. Helen, Georgia

Helen, Georgia

Take a trip to old-world Bavaria by visiting Georgia’s third-most popular destination. With its cross-gabled cottages, steeply pitched roofs, and German flags flying in the breeze, this hamlet packs oodles of character into just 2.1 square miles. The annual Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market), glühwein (mulled wine), and the occasional snow flurry make Helen a bucket list getaw


13. Abingdon, Virginia

Abingdon, Virginia

Any time of year is glorious in this part of the South, but Abingdon shines especially bright when the weather begins to cool. In autumn, plan a bicycle ride along the brilliantly colorful Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail. And when the holiday season arrives, nothing’s more festive than the tree-lined brick streets downtown. 


12. Hendersonville, North Carolina

Hendersonville, Tennessee

An all-seasons mountain escape, Hendersonville is always worth a trip. In the spring, you can summit Blue Ridge Mountain peaks. During the summer, cool off in a swimming hole. In the fall, go apple picking at a picturesque orchard. Come winter, cozy up to a delicious meal with a local beer or cider. 


11. Beaufort, North Carolina


North Carolina’s third-oldest town has kept its low-key allure as a former fishing village while offering plenty to see and do. Stroll the shops and restaurants on Front Street, pedal to the shoreline, or take a ferry to a nearby barrier island.


10. Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredricksburg, TX

Located in the heart of the  Texas Hill Country , Fredericksburg has deep German roots. Its Main Street has always drawn visitors, but now people are also making a beeline for the fantastic food scene here (biergartens included) and more than 100 area wineries.


9. Folly Beach, South Carolina

Folly Beach, South Carolina

If going to a dive bar in flipflops is your idea of a good time, head to this easygoing seaside town. Book an ocean paddleboard tour, check out the state’s oldest surf shop, or find a spot to sink your toes into the sand on its 6 miles of beaches.


8. Sanibel, Florida

Walking to the beach at the Sundial

This 12-mile-long barrier island on Florida’s west coast is a laid-back slice of paradise and a treasure trove for shell seekers. Sanibel took a major hit from Hurricane Ian in 2022, but the beloved getaway is open to visitors and on the mend. 


7. Tybee Island, Georgia

Tybee Island

You’ll find several of Georgia’s best beaches on Tybee Island, near  Savannah . This bikeable escape’s calling cards are salty breezes and freshly caught seafood. Outdoor activities close by include birding in a nature preserve and kayaking tranquil waterways. 


6. Fairhope, Alabama

Fairhope, Alabama

When Otis Redding sat down to pen “The Dock of the Bay,” he may have been dreaming about Fairhope. The bayside spot is populated by ethereal live oaks, brilliant azalea bushes, pastel-colored bungalows, and brick sidewalks traversing a lively downtown. 


5. Blowing Rock, North Carolina

The Blowing Rock in NC

This mountain town is named for its most famous feature, a 4,000-foot cliff that overlooks a spectacular gorge, distant peaks, and dense forests. But Blowing Rock is no one-hit wonder. Expect plenty of High Country character from a community of talented craftspeople and chefs inspired by their surroundings. 


4. Dahlonega, Georgia

Dahlonega, Georgia

Georgia’s gold rush happened here almost two centuries ago. Today, it’s a destination for waterfalls and wineries in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, though if you’re feeling lucky, you can still go panning for nuggets of gleaming ore. You can also search for treasures in the many quaint shops.


3. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Groups love the family-friendly attractions and mountain adventures in this bustling resort town. It’s also an entryway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a hiker’s paradise. Rent a cabin to take in the scenery and plenty of fresh air. 


2. Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina

Wild beauty and Lowcountry allure abound in this South Carolina gem. Get lost among the pines and palmettos of an ancient maritime forest, catch a striking sunset over the Beaufort River, and marvel at the columns and sweeping porches of stately mansions. 

1. St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine

In this town founded in 1565, you’ll encounter the past and present around every corner. Step back into the 1600s at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, and then enjoy the area’s up-and-coming dining scene and its many craft breweries and distilleries. 

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places to visit in south mississippi

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places to visit in south mississippi

Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled

Top 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Mississippi

Birthplace of the Blues and home to sprawling mansions and equally sprawling cotton flats, the Magnolia State is a place with a heart and soul! Mississippi has a story to tell which in my opinion makes it such an intriguing place to explore.

It also has pockets of true beauty, including honey-dipped sandy beaches, serene farmland, charming historic towns, and verdant hill country. It was a tough choice but these are my favourite beauty spots…

1. Elvis Presley Lake

Elvis Presley Lake

The Elvis Presley Lake is named after the legendary musician in Lee County. Popular with boaters and hikers, the lake offers a lovely campground on the east shore.

Drive along the nearby town of Tupelo, Presley’s birthplace, and there I would recommend exploring the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum with objects from Elvis’s childhood.

A haven for relaxing and canoeing, the park offers pretty early morning views of the lake. If you’re seeking a quiet place to spend time amid nature, in my opinion, this scenic landscape is a perfect weekend getaway.  

2. Mississippi River

The most beautiful places to visit in Louisiana

One of the largest river systems in the world, the Mighty Mississippi, originates from Lake Itasca in Minnesota, flowing through umpteen states before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a seriously stunning natural beauty spot and in places is jaw-dropping! 

Located along the lower Mississippi River is the historic city of Vicksburg. A key site of the Civil World War, this place houses artefacts with many interactive exhibits and I would recommend a visit here.

From stunning waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and historic museums, the Mississippi River marks the birthplace of the Delta blues! 

Biloxi - beauty spots in Mississippi

Biloxi is the third-largest city in Mississippi, located in Harrison County on the Gulf of Mexico. Whether looking for fun in the sun or cultural attractions, Biloxi is a perfect mix of coast and culture along the Gulf Coast.

A symbol of the city’s undying spirit, the Biloxi Lighthouse has guided the ships since 1848 and I would highly suggest a visit there too (don’t forget to take your camera!)

Art buffs can visit the famous Ohr-O’Keefe Museum for quirky ceramic collections of local artists. Spend a day riding waves, sailing, or swimming. The prime location of Biloxi I believe makes it a truly sultry seaside retreat! 

Natchez - best places to visit in the Mississippi

A premier cultural tourism destination southwest of Jackson, the city of Natchez is the oldest municipality in Mississippi. Named after the Natchez tribe of Native Americans, this city was founded in 1716.

Tour the grandest collection of antebellum homes, including the Rosalie Mansion, Longwood, and the Magnolia Hall, or ride along the historic Natchez Trace; the city of Natchez also offers a rich insight into the area’s prehistoric times in the Grand Village of the Natchez.

I love just taking a stroll around this area and taking it all in. I would suggest walking along or riding around this friendly town is an ideal weekend escape from the commotion.  

5. Gulfport

Gulfport Missisippi

Gulfport is Mississippi’s second-largest city, a vibrant spot on the state’s Gulf Coast. I would recommend spending a day in the sun or surfing in the warm gulf waters; the tranquil beach is fun for outdoor enthusiasts.

Explore the city’s expansive greens in Jones Park and witness the colorful murals in Fishbone Alley, a thriving center for quirky arts and galleries.

A few miles offshore the Gulfport is the Ship Island. With pristine waters and sandy beaches, this little island is full of colorful sea creatures and historic Fort Massachusetts. A paradise for snorkelers, the Ship Island makes for a pleasant day trip.  

6. Tishomingo State Park

Tishomingo State Park

The Tishomingo State Park is approximately steeped in history and scenic beauty. Forty-five miles northeast of Tupelo. An area with excavations dating as long as 7000 BC, the park’s massive rock formations, valleys, and sandstone outcroppings make it a unique state park. 

I would recommend exploring Bear Creek Canyon with the most spectacular scenery in the state. From rock climbing and canoeing to picnicking and hiking, the park offers charming trails with natural springs, waterfalls, rocky creeks, and massive outcrops.  

7. Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore

An eye-catching shoreline along the northern Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Islands National Seashore stretches 150 miles from Cat Island in Mississippi to Santa Rosa Island in Florida.

With remarkable shorelines, sparkling blue waters, and unspoiled barrier islands, this unique landscape narrates an untold history of America and I’m a huge fan of this place! 

Camp on the Davis Bayou Campground or indulge in myriad outdoor activities; the beautiful winding trails of the islands are home to abundant wildlife so I would suggest wildlife spotting here too.

Filled with thrilling recreational activities, the island’s white sandy beaches and calm waters offer a soothing getaway for the family.

8. Greenville Cypress Preserve

Located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, the Greenville Cypress Preserve is a quiet treasure in Greenville. Purchased in the 1940s, the Greenville Cypress Preserve Trust maintains and preserves this natural wonderland. Venture into an enchanted land filled with majestic cypress, swamps, and wildflowers.

Extending over 16 acres of land, I think this charming preserve is truly a watery gift of the Delta.

I would recommend hiking the meandering trails filled with mesmerizing greens and local history, or taking a quiet walk amidst the beautiful gardens; this preserve is a favorite spot for birders and photographers.

9. Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

The Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge is a designated wildlife preserve occupying the northeastern corner of Mississippi. Spread across three counties of Noxubee, Oktibbeha, and Winston, the magnificent refuge covers a vast area of 48,000 acres.

Established in 1940, the refuge is home to several endangered species and migratory birds. Brimming with bottomlands and upland forests, the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge offers excellent recreational facilities, including canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife observation.

I would suggest enjoying the natural habitats on boardwalks or hiking through the beautiful region, I love that this secluded refuge is wild yet blissful! 

10. Red Bluff

Red Bluff – Mississippi's own little grand canyon

A few miles from Morgantown, you will be enveloped by a beautiful geological feature of Red Bluff in Marion County. Indeed, south Mississippi’s hidden gem, the Red Bluff, was formed millions of years ago with the natural erosion of the west bank of the Pearl River.

Today, the bluff features colored soils from red and orange to purple clay. I would recommend hiking along the top (just remember to keep safe!) to catch beautiful views of Mississippi’s countryside and greenery, or camp on this unusual landscape; this geological wonder is a stunning spot! 

11. Hide-A-Way Lake

Hide-A-Way Lake Mississippi

An undisturbed gated community in the Pearl River County of Mississippi, the Hide-A-Way Lake lies adjacent to Picayune. Bordered by a lovely lake covering an area of 189 acres, I love that this lake offers many fun-filled water activities, including boating, swimming, and skiing.

Ranked top in livability, the Hide-A-Way Lake has beautiful picnic areas, beaches, and marinas with endearing walking tracks. With a beautiful setting and a relaxed atmosphere, Hide-A-Way offers a pleasant stay away from the hustle and bustle.

12. William Faulkner House, Oxford

Located in Oxford, Mississippi, the striking Greek Revival house was built in the 1840s by Robert Sheegog. It was then purchased by the Nobel Prize- winning author  William Faulkner, who charmingly named it Rowan Oak, and then it served as his home and inspiration for his famous work for more than 40 years.

Today, the perfectly preserved house is open to the public, and a museum offers by-appointment tours I would highly recommend getting on a tour if you’re a first-time visitor. This is a place not to be missed for literary lovers! 

13. Bay St. Louis Beach

Bay St. Louis Beach Mississippi

Bay St. Louis Beach is a fantastic place to relax along the Gulf of Mexico in Bay St. Louis. It’s a secluded, pet-friendly beach with soft white sand that always stays cool and this was one of my favorite spots in the entire state.

I love that t he pristine beach rarely feels overcrowded and features many activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, parasailing, jet-skiing, boating, and diving.

You may never want to return as you slide above the shoreline and goggle in awe at a horizon where azure water dissolves into the cerulean sky. 

14. University of Mississippi

University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi is the state’s flagship and world-class research institution and I think this deserves a place on your itinerary.

The university’s main campus is located at an altitude of around 500 feet. You’ll see buildings of several different architectural styles here. While most buildings feature Georgian architecture, some are constructed in a Neoclassical Revival style.

James Alexander Ventress Hall, the first significant building constructed after the Civil War, has Victorian Romanesque architecture.

I would also recommend seeing s ome of the most famous buildings on the campus including George Hall, Barnard Observatory, W. Alton Bryant Hall, Martindale, and Barr Hall, each of which features a unique architectural style.

15. Bonita Lakes Park

Bonita Lakes Park Mississippi

A picturesque park covering 3,300 acres of natural land in Meridian. I love that you can enjoy an eclectic variety of outdoor activities here, including paddling, hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, birding, dog walking, and exercising. 

You can hike, bike, or ride along trails fringed with exquisite herbage and immerse yourself in the lovely flora of Mississippi. Bonita Lakes Park is open to the public every day between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. 

16. Rosalie Mansion

It is a historic pre-Civil War mansion with a marvelous Greek Revival architectural style and I would highly recommend a visit! Located on Orleans Street in Natchez, Rosalie Mansion is the architectural inspiration for many Greek Revival city mansions. 

The front facade of the two-story mansion has a monumental four-column Tuscan portico.

The ground and second floors feature double-leaf doors, semi-oval transom windows, and sidelight windows. Rosalie Mansion’s library still has items belonging to the house’s late owners, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Wilson. All rooms have photos of their adopted daughter on the walls.

17. State Capitol Building

The capital city of Jackson is not only full of cultural wonders but is also home to both the original and the current state capital. The current state capitol of Mississippi was built in 1903.

Built in the Beaux-Arts style, the state capitol building features impressive architecture, exemplary artifacts, and lovely magnolia gardens.

Housing the Legislative and executive branches of the state, the state building houses replicas and statues in the memory of Confederate soldiers.

The 15ft gold-gilded American Bald Eagle facing south towards Washington DC is atop the state building. View the ongoing sessions of the senate-house or get drenched in American history; this Mississippi landmark always leaves me in awe.

18. Crosby Arboretum

Mississippi beauty spots

A premier plant museum, the Crosby Arboretum is located in Picayune, a city in Pearl River County. A dedicated memorial to the local forester, the Crosby Arboretum aims to protect the natural habitat of the Pearl River Drainage Basin.

While Piney Woods Lake displays the native plants in their natural setting, the Pinecone Pavilion, with wooden bridges, exhibits subtle landscapes.

Home to more than 300 species of birds and wildlife, the Arboretums provides environmental and botanical research opportunities. Learn about diverse plants and ecosystems or enjoy recreational activities. I think there’s something to learn and research in this Arboretum.

19. Beauvoir

Beauvoir - best places to visit in Mississippi

Standing true to its name, the Beauvoir estate holds mesmerizing views of the Gulf Coast. Located in Biloxi along the Gulf of Mexico, this Historical landmark was the home where Jefferson Davis found solace after retirement.

I love this authentic slice of heaven on the southern Mississippi, the Beauvoir was designed in 1852. Witness the untold stories of the ex-confederate President and the unsung war heroes and step back in time!

The Jefferson Davis Presidential Library hosts a vast library and exhibits owned by the Mississippi Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. Stroll in the gardens or watches the stunning sunsets; this treasured place is a colorful survivor of the grandest history.  

20. Stanton Hall

Stanton Hall Mississippi

Built in the 1850s, Stanton Hall is a Greek Revival-style mansion with magnificent antebellum architecture. The historic home allows visitors to discover the roots of the Mississippian culture and what life looked like in the 17th century. 

Located at 401 High Street in Natchez, Shantaon Hall is one of the most opulent and palatial Greek homes in the United States. The entrance of the two-story house is a Greek temple portico with four fluted columns. 

The elaborate interior features imported Italian marble and grand chandeliers of bronze and glass. You can visit this monumental place any day of the week between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

Becky Moore

Becky Moore – Owner, writer and photographer

My first true adventure began as a six-month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh-faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi-nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in the warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds, and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex-Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.

Hotel Reviewing Experience – published hotel review in the 52 Sleeps Book organised by Laterooms.com and Lonely Planet. Asked by over 12 tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Germany Tourist Board , Canada Tourist Board , Eviivo , France.fr , Visitoostende.be , Live Riga and Queensland Tourist Board . Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos .

I’ve also been quoted in Forbes, National Geographic , The Times , LA Weekly , Yahoo Travel , Huffington Post , Business Insider , Thrillist , British Airways Magazine, Entrepreneur , Daily Express , Wanderlust , Telegraph Travel, Daily Mail and Metro . Winner of Travel Blog of the Year . Find me on Linkedin or Facebook .

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Rebecca and the World

Mississippi Road Trip: 7 Fascinating Places to Visit in the Magnolia State

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The United States is made for road tripping . Route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway, the Blue Ridge Parkway are all adventures that travellers crave. But if you want to do something a little unusual, something I bet most of your friends haven’t done, then head to the Deep South for a Mississippi road trip .

Mississippi was where we started our 4-month USA road trip , and before we embarked on the journey, every single American friend and colleague told me that they’d never even been to Mississippi.

The only things I knew about Mississippi before we visited were that it’s hard to spell and that we used it as kids when counting in games of hide-and-seek (one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi). After spending almost two weeks road tripping through Mississippi, we saw a state that is full of contrasts and is still struggling with a raw, complex history. Opulent wealth lies next to abject poverty. We heard stories and whispered words that were hard to stomach.

But we left this state with the blues streaming through our souls , our eyes full of the sight of the mighty Mississippi River and the warmth of Southern people filling our hearts.

So, if you’re looking for one of the most soulful USA road trips, here are a few places to visit in Mississippi . Hopefully I can encourage you to visit a part of the U.S. you may not have considered before.

This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

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Mississippi road trip itinerary

This itinerary has you flying into Memphis, Tennessee . It might sound odd for me to tell you to start a Mississippi road trip in Tennessee, but the Home of the Blues sits right on the border of Mississippi and it’s an easy city to fly to from most parts of the United States.

Head south to blues country and immerse yourself in the soulful music that defines this part of the country and that greatly influenced other musical genres including country and rock ‘n’ roll. Tunica , Clarksdale and Cleveland all have homages to this great music form – and plenty of bars to see it live.

Next up is Vicksburg , a key location during the American Civil War . The Vicksburg National Military Park is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about the civil war.

Right on the mighty Mississippi River sits pretty Natchez , home to grand old houses and a horrific slave-trading history. From here, you can add a few days on the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway .

One of the beautiful antebellum homes in Natchez, MS

End your trip in Jackson , home to two fantastic museums that recognise civil rights struggles and the state’s origins.

We didn’t make it as far south as the beaches, but you could easily add a few days on after Jackson to explore the Gulf Coast and beach towns like Biloxi .

I’ve also got a road trip packing list to help you plan for your visit to Mississippi.

Mississippi travel guide

To follow this bucket list USA Mississippi road trip, fly into Memphis , Tennessee, and out of Jackson , Mississippi.

In Memphis, rent a car . This road trip follows highways, so you’ll just need something simple, no 4WD required. I like to compare prices, cars and availability online with RentalCars and Discover Cars .

Along the way, there are plenty of unique and beautiful accommodations to stay in when you visit Mississippi. I’ve recommended lodgings throughout this article. You can use Booking.com to book most of them or look for vacation rentals if you’d like the comforts of home.

The Visit Mississippi welcome sign that you'll see when you enter the state

1. Memphis, TN

One of the best things to do in Memphis is visit the famous Sun Studio

Rent a car in Memphis and start your road trip straight away, or – better yet – spend a few days to discover the many Memphis museums that cover history, culture and music . Hit up a few blues bars along Beale Street – get your ears and soul ready for all the blues music you’ll be hearing in Mississippi – and fill your belly with barbecue .

A few of the famous blues bars to add to your Memphis itinerary are Blues City Café , Blind Bear Speakeasy (downtown) and Rum Boogie Café Blues Hall .

Learn more about music at Sun Studio , the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Blues Hall of Fame . Enter the hallowed grounds of Graceland , the former home of Elvis Presley. It’s now a very commercial space that’s always buzzing with Elvis fans but it has plenty of memorabilia including his records, clothes and planes.

The Civil Rights Museum is a must. Housed at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot on 4 April 1968, it’s a sobering and inspirational insight into civil rights struggles in the United States.

Consider these Memphis tours

  • Historic Memphis Guided Walking Tour
  • Taste of Downtown Memphis Food Tour
  • Memphis Mojo Bus Tour

How long to stay in Memphis, Tennessee

Plan to spend two to three days in Memphis – it’s a big city and there’s plenty to fill your days here.

Where to eat in Memphis

  • Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken | Popular fried chicken joint that’s now got franchises across the country
  • The Gray Canary | Restaurant in an old refurbished distillery with great cocktails and extensive food menu
  • Central BBQ | Possibly Memphis’s most famous BBQ place, expect queues at all hours of the day
  • The Beauty Shop | American restaurant in an Instagrammable former beauty parlour

Where to stay in Memphis

  • The Peabody Hotel | A venerable Memphis institution. Elvis signed his first contract here, and today it attracts crowds of people every day clamouring to see the cute resident ducks that bathe in the lobby fountain. While it may be a historic hotel, the rooms are modern and luxurious.  Check availability and rates online | Read reviews
  • Hotel Napoleon | This hotel is in a great location, just a 5-minute walk to Beale Street (but away from the noise). The hotel is in a beautifully refurbished building .  Check availability and rates online | Read reviews
  • 2-bedroom home | If you’d prefer your own space and a kitchen and laundry while you’re in Memphis, this lovely home in the Midtown neighbourhood is a good choice. Book online

2. Tunica, MS

The entrance to the Gateway to the Blues museum in Tunica, Mississippi

After a few days exploring and eating your way through Memphis, jump on Highway 61 – also known as the Blues Highway – and head south for the 1-hour drive to Tunica .

Blues music is a uniquely American art form that was birthed in the Mississippi Delta , and the Mississippi Blues Trail is a journey through some of the most important people and points of interest in blues music. There are more than 200 markers throughout the state, including the birthplace of B.B. King, Muddy Waters’s house and plenty of original juke joints.

If you’re not familiar with Mississippi Delta blues music, start at the Gateway to the Blues Museum in Robinsonville. From the outside, this museum looks small, but it’s jam packed with memorabilia and information about the history and evolution of blues music. You can even step into a booth and record a blues song yourself – one of the most fun things to do in Mississippi for music-lovers!

How long to stay in Tunica, Mississippi

We only stopped in Tunica for a few hours on our way from Memphis to Clarksdale. You could do the same, spending a few hours here, exploring the museum and having lunch, or stay overnight.

Where to eat in Tunica

  • Hollywood Café | This small café is the home of deep-fried dill pickles (they’re yum!) and was the filming location for Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” video clip
  • Blue and White Restaurant | Dine on traditional Southern dishes like Mississippi Catfish hoagie in this former gas station

Hollywood Cafe in Tunica, MS - try the yummy fried dill pickles!

Where to stay in Tunica

We didn’t stay overnight in Tunica, but the small town is known for its casino resorts . Two popular choices are the Horseshoe Tunica Casino & Hotel and the Gold Strike Casino Resort . You’ll be close to the action and there’s a spa at the Horseshoe.

3. Clarksdale, MS

Live music at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Clarksdale is one of the key stops on the Mississippi Blues Trail, and one of the coolest places to visit in Mississippi in my opinion. Many blues musicians, including Charley Patton and Ike Turner, have called Clarksdale home at one point or another, and there are flags on the street lamps highlighting famous current and former residents .

Clarksdale is small and friendly ; on our first day there, in search of something to eat, the City Commissioner stopped us in the street and asked my husband and I where we were from (our Aussie accents must have given away that we weren’t locals!), even giving us each a Clarksdale pin.

In Clarksdale, plan to stop by the blues clubs to check out the local music scene. Ground Zero (co-owned by Morgan Freeman) and Red’s are great spots. The Shack Up Inn also has live music a few nights a week. The Delta Blues Alley Café can tell you who’s playing where on what night – and also has live music.

Visit the Delta Blues Museum to learn more about the history of blues. The museum is old and in need of some updating but it’s packed with information, blues musicians’ guitars, handwritten lyrics and plenty of other gems.

Also stop for a photo at the Crossroads , where legendary guitarist Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil in return for musical success. The sign can be found at the junction of U.S. 61 and 49 – in the middle of two very busy roads, so be careful!

The Crossroads in Clarksdale, MS where Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil

Consider taking a day trip to visit some nearby historical sites:

  • Indianola – home to the B.B. King Museum
  • Money – infamous as the small town where 14-year-old Emmett Till was brutally lynched. There’s a marker (part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail ) at the location of Bryant’s Grocery. The Emmett Till Interpretive Center in nearby Sumner is located in the courthouse where his murderers stood trial (and were subsequently acquitted despite mounds of evidence)
  • Tupelo – the birthplace of Elvis Presley , here you can see the humble shotgun home he grew up in and visit the Elvis Presley Museum , one of the top Mississippi attractions

How long to stay in Clarksdale, Mississippi

If you’re into blues music, you need to plan to stay in Clarksdale for at least two to three nights . This will give you a chance to check out all the different clubs. Make sure to time your trip around the middle of the week to the weekend to catch the best shows (the clubs are usually closed Monday and Tuesday nights).

Where to eat in Clarksdale

  • Stone Pony | Modern restaurant where we ate great pizzas
  • Abe’s Bar-B-Q | Great BBQ in a small diner that’s been open since 1949
  • Hick’s BBQ and Tamales | As the name says, this place serves up BBQ and tamales
  • Hooker Grocer + Eatery | Serves breakfast and lunch along with a range of groceries

Where to stay in Clarksdale

  • The Shack Up Inn | For something really unique , book a few nights at the Shack Up Inn. Located on an old plantation, you can stay in refurbished grain bins or shotgun shacks . The whole place has a casual, homely vibe. We stayed here and loved it. For our first two nights we stayed in Grain Bin C, which had a small kitchenette, two bedrooms, separate lounge room and bathroom. On our last night we moved to the Robert Clay shack, which was larger and had a full kitchen. You don’t have to go far to hear music, as blues music is played here many nights throughout the week. There’s no food served here but you can order delivery from a few places in town. It’s dog friendly . Check availability and book online | Read reviews
  • The Clark House Inn | This is a beautiful old homestead that’s been in the one family for generations. In fact, my friend’s husband is a Clark! The house is set on two acres and each of the 8 rooms have a private bathroom. This is the ideal accommodation for those seeking a B&B stay while in Clarksdale. Check availability and book online | Read reviews
  • The Lofts at the Five & Dime | For something more modern, these stylish lofts have kitchens and laundries. The building that the 6 lofts are located in is listed on the National Register of Historic Places . Check availability and read reviews

One of the grain bin accommodations at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, MS

4. Cleveland, MS

Inside the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi

Mississippi is the home state of a ridiculous number of musicians. Britney Spears, Brandy, Diplo, Nate Dogg and LeAnn Rimes all hail from the Magnolia State, along with musical greats B.B. King, Sam Cooke, John Lee Hooker and Howlin’ Wolf.

We took a day trip from Clarksdale to Cleveland where we spent several hours exploring the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi . We loved this huge museum, which started with a video showing some of the most memorable Grammy Awards performances. The museum is really interactive , with instruments to play, dance floors to bust some moves and plenty of touch screens that share even more information than what’s on the walls.

Also head out to Dockery Farms , believed to be the birthplace of blues music. Drop a donation into the box and then wander around the old cotton farm and gas station.

Dockery Farms is believed to be the birthplace of Delta blues music

How long to stay in Cleveland, Mississippi

I think a day would be plenty to explore this lovely little university town while on your Mississippi road trip. Alternatively, you can do what we did and visit it on a day trip from Clarksdale so you don’t have to pack up again.

Where to eat in Cleveland

  • The Warehouse | We grabbed lunch here, in a repurposed warehouse that serves sandwiches and Southern food
  • Hey Joe’s | Popular place dishing up American food

Where to stay in Cleveland

  • Cotton House Cleveland | We only stopped in Cleveland on a day trip from Clarksdale, but the Cotton House is highly recommended. Located on the former “Cotton Row”, the refurbished building now has elegant hotel rooms. Check availability and rates online | Read reviews

5. Vicksburg, MS

One of the Cannons at the Vicksburg National Military Park

On our way through to Natchez, we stopped in Vicksburg to drive through the Vicksburg National Military Park . As Australians, we’re not too familiar with the details of the American Civil War , and we learned a lot during our short time here.

The Vicksburg National Military Park preserves the site of the Battle of Vicksburg , a key clash during the Civil War. After a 47-day siege, the Union Army took control of more of the Mississippi River and cut off the Confederacy’s supply routes.

There’s a 16-mile self-driving tour through the park that stops at various battery locations, the Vicksburg National Cemetery and the USS Cairo Gunboat. This is one of the most popular things to do in Vicksburg.

There are many sights to see at the Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg is also home to the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum , where Coke was first bottled (thus getting into the hands of more people), and the Lower Mississippi River Museum . Both are worthwhile Mississippi tourist attractions to visit.

The Mississippi Blues Trail extends to Vicksburg as well, with the Blue Room , one of the South’s most storied night spots, along with other markers.

How long to stay in Vicksburg, Mississippi

I think a day is plenty to stay in Vicksburg, but if you’re interested in American Civil War history, I’m sure you could spend a whole day just touring the military park.

Where to eat in Vicksburg

We didn’t eat in Vicksburg, but here are some places that I had on my wishlist.

  • Gumbo Pot | Seafood, steak, burgers and pasta are all on offer here
  • 10 South Rooftop Bar & Grill | Modern restaurant with great views of the city
  • Walnut Hills Restaurant | Traditional Southern food plus huge slabs of cake for dessert

Where to stay in Vicksburg

We drove through Vicksburg on our way to Natchez, so I can’t offer personal recommendations. These hotels in Vicksburg get good ratings online:

  • Bazsinksy House | A lovely B&B that’s lose to the main tourist attractions in Vicksburg. The owner also cooks a great breakfast every morning. Check availability and rates online | Read reviews
  • Baer House Inn | This B&B is in an 1870s-era mansion. There’s daily breakfast, and most nights there’s a social gathering with wine and snacks. Each room is furnished with antiques. Check availability and rates online | Read reviews

6. Natchez, MS

One of the antebellum homes in Natchez, MS

From Vicksburg, continue south to Natchez . You can either make the journey on Highway 61, or veer off to join a small portion of the Natchez Trace Parkway , which runs almost parallel with Highway 61 down to Natchez. This will give you a taste for the gorgeous drive, which runs around 440 miles between Natchez to Nashville, Tennessee . It’s particularly beautiful in the fall, when the leaves turn red and gold.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a beautiful road between Natchez, MS and Nashville, TN

Natchez, with its strategic location on the Mississippi River, was once the capital of Mississippi. It was also home to the second largest slave market . There’s a marker at the former Forks of the Road Slave Market that commemorates the atrocities of this time.

Now, Natchez draws people for its well-preserved antebellum houses , with more than 600 homes dotted around the city. You can visit several of the homes which are open to the public, including Stanton Hall, Choctaw Hall Historic Home and Longwood Historic Home.

During the Natchez Pilgrimage , held for a few weeks each spring and fall, more private homes are opened to the public.

One of the beautiful antebellum homes in Natchez, MS

The Natchez National Historical Park consists of three buildings: Melrose, the William Johnson House and Fort Rosalie. The park preserves Natchez history  and highlights the fact that, as the brochure says, “the Mississippi River brought success and prosperity to some, and enslavement and despair to others.”

You can visit Melrose and the William Johnson House, or have a picnic at Fort Rosalie. At Melrose, you can do a self-guided tour of the grounds and gardens. Unlike many other estates throughout the Deep South, the Natchez National Historical Park openly talks about the slave trade and the shocking conditions enslaved people lived in.

One of the highlights of a visit to Natchez is of course watching the sunset over the Mississippi River . Wander along Bluff Park to find the best view across the river.

Sunset over the Mississippi River

How long to stay in Natchez, Mississippi

Depending on your interests, one to two days is enough time to explore Natchez.

Where to eat in Natchez

  • Fat Mama’s Tamales | Has the best tamales in town, if not in the state, as well as kicking margaritas (this place is listed on the Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Trail )
  • Magnolia Grill | Popular local haunt right on the river
  • The Camp Restaurant | Also overlooking the Mississippi River, grab burgers, tacos and steak here

Where to stay in Natchez

  • Monmouth Historic Inn | This is a beautiful old home that’s decorated in the style of the period. It’s on a huge block of land so there’s plenty of lush gardens to stroll through. It’s just outside of Natchez, a 5-minute drive. Check availability and book online | Read reviews
  • Guest House Historic Mansion | In downtown Natchez, this historic mansion has 16 rooms and a truly elegant Southern atmosphere. Breakfast is provided daily. Check availability and book online | Read reviews

7. Jackson, MS

Jackson was our last stop before we headed east into Alabama on our extended USA road trip.

The capital of the state is home to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum . On our visit, we only had time for the Civil Rights Museum. Once again, similar to when we visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis , I was shocked by what I read and saw, and I left feeling very emotional.

The museum hosts eight exhibits , the first being the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi. You wind their way through the exhibits, passing through the central This Little Light of Mine exhibit, from where strains of the song filter throughout the whole museum.

This museum doesn’t shy away from the brutality of the treatment of African Americans. Some of the exhibits are graphic , like the story of Emmett Till and films of lynchings – but there are warnings so that you can choose whether to view them or not. This museum is one of the most important things to see in Mississippi.

Inside the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Next door is the Museum of Mississippi History. While we didn’t have time to visit this museum, it’s apparently just as good as the Civil Rights Museum. It traces the history of the first people to live on what’s now known as Mississippi – including the Choctaw and Chickasaw peoples – to the present day.

Besides these two museums, there are plenty of things to do in Jackson. You can also tour the home (by appointment only) of murdered Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers , now a National Historic Landmark. Evers was assassinated standing out the front of his home, and you can still see some of the bullet holes in the wall.

Finally, take a gander at the Mississippi State Capitol building . Designed in the Beaux Arts style, it has a 180-foot-high dome. There are guided tours each weekday. While a beautiful building, it was of course here that many of the Jim Crow laws were enshrined in the 50s and 60s.

End your Mississippi road trip here in Jackson. The Jackson–Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN) is 6 miles from downtown Jackson. You’ll return home with your head full of stories and history, your stomach full of Southern food, and your heart filled with soulful music.

How long to stay in Jackson, Mississippi

If you only have a week to do this Mississippi road trip, one to two days is enough time to explore Jackson.

Where to eat in Jackson

  • Barrelhouse | A gastropub with a Southern twist
  • Crazy Cat Eat Up | I hear the Bis-Cat – a biscuit with fried catfish and slaw – is worth the calories
  • Pig & Pint | Fun and delicious elevated BBQ food

Where to stay in Jackson

If you do want to stay longer than a day in Jackson, some recommendation hotels in Jackson are:

  • The Westin Jackson | This fairly new hotel is stylish with friendly staff. It’s dog-friendly if you’re doing this road trip with your furry friend. Check availability and book online | Read reviews
  • Fairview Inn | If it’s Southern charm you’re after, then the Fairview Inn won’t disappoint. This boutique hotel has 18 rooms and an on-site restaurant. Check availability and book online | Read reviews

Mississippi really surprised me. It turned out to be one of the most interesting states we visited on our 4.5-month USA road trip. Beautiful architecture, welcoming people , the musical soul of the state, absorbing museums – but also the atrocious history of this state make it a fascinating state that you need to visit to understand. So, go road trip Mississippi to see it for yourself.

Ready to plan your own Mississippi road trip? Let me know if you have any questions via the comments section below.

Looking for more USA road trip ideas? You might like these articles!

  • New Mexico road trip
  • Deep South road trip
  • West Texas road trip
  • Utah national parks road trip


  • Book flights to and around the USA online with Skyscanner . I like this site because it shows me which dates are cheaper.
  • Find a great hotel in the USA. Check prices on Booking.com   and Expedia online.
  • Check out the huge range of day tours throughout the USA on GetYourGuide or Viator . There’s something for everyone.
  • A copy of the  Lonely Planet guide to the USA will be handy.
  • One thing I always purchase is  travel insurance ! Travel Insurance Master allows you to compare across multiple policy providers, while SafetyWing is great for long-term travellers and digital nomads.


Want to save this guide to the best places to visit in Mississippi so you can plan your road trip later? Simply click the “Save” button on any of the images below to save this article to Pinterest.

One of the coolest things to do in Mississippi is take a Mississippi road trip. This article highlights the best places to visit. | Mississippi | Mississippi Road Trip | Things To Do in Mississippi | Road Trip Mississippi | Best Places to Visit in Mississippi | What To Do in Mississippi | Things To See in Mississippi | What To See in Mississippi | Mississippi Vacations | Mississippi Blues Trail | Mississippi Attractions | Visit Mississippi | Places to Go in Mississippi | Mississippi Delta


I'm a travel junkie who started dreaming about seeing the world from a very young age. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. A former expat, I've lived in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and the United States. I share travel resources, tips and stories based on my personal experiences, and my goal is to make travel planning just that bit easier.

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Wall Doxey State Park located in Holly Springs, Mississippi, USA.

  • 12 Unforgettable Small Towns to Visit in Mississippi

Mississippi is a state rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. It is filled with small towns packed with historic tales that have been passed on through generations. Each town stands apart from the next, offering new stories, historic landmarks, and places for leisure. Travelers who have never visited the Magnolia State will soon realize it is the heart and soul of the United States.

Longwood Plantation Octagon House, an Antebellum Victorian octagonal mansion in Natchez, Mississippi, United States.

Longwood Plantation Octagon House is an Antebellum Victorian octagonal mansion in Natchez, Mississippi, United States. Editorial credit: Dietmar Rauscher / Shutterstock.com

Natchez is a town that overlooks the Mississippi River. Its history is rooted in the Natchez Indian tribe, who occupied the area for hundreds of years before it became what it is today.  Natchez is famous for its historic homes, such as Longwood, Monmouth Historic Inn, and the celebrated Stanton Hall. These landmarks are deeply rooted in the Old South and its history and serve as physical history lessons for those who visit. Natchez is also home to the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile scenic route with captivating natural beauty, where visitors can immerse themselves in the serene landscapes of the Deep South.

Bay St. Louis

Archway entrance to the coastal beach town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

Archway entrance to the coastal beach town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Editorial credit: clayton harrison / Shutterstock.com

Nestled along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Bay St. Louis is a haven for artists and creative souls , with charming art galleries like B.E.E. by the Bay, the Tami Curtis Gallery, and the Alice Moseley Folk Art Museum. Local artistry is extremely popular here. For a nature fix, visitors can head to Buccaneer State Park, where they can explore diverse ecosystems, including beaches, marshlands, and forests. The tranquility of Bay St. Louis and the friendliness of its residents make it a sought-after destination. Visitors can also take a trip to Old Town for shopping. It is lined with more art galleries along with several boutiques. 

University of Mississippi campus building in Oxford, MS, USA.

University of Mississippi campus building in Oxford, MS, USA. Editorial credit: Feng Cheng / Shutterstock.com

Oxford , home to the University of Mississippi, is a small town with a rich literary history. Renowned author William Faulkner lived here, and his former home, Rowan Oak, is now a museum open to the public. The inside of the home has been preserved to carry the essence of Faulkner’s time there. Visitors can view his kitchen, bedroom, writing room, and more. The town square features bustling bookstores and the historic City Grocery, known for its exquisite cuisine. The University of Mississippi campus is also a beautiful place to explore, with its lovely Grove, a sprawling, centuries-old oak grove, offering a perfect spot for a picnic.

Downtown neighborhood in Clarksdale, MS, US, known for its significance in blues music history and civil rights activism.

Downtown neighborhood in Clarksdale, MS, US, known for its significance in blues music history and civil rights activism. Editorial credit: Heidi Besen / Shutterstock.com

Often referred to as the "Birthplace of the Blues," Clarksdale has played a pivotal role in shaping American music. This small town has a deep blues history, and tourists can visit the Delta Blues Museum to learn about legends like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. The Shack Up Inn offers an unusual and memorable stay in renovated sharecropper shacks, complete with rustic charm and a taste of the Delta's musical heritage. Visitors can catch live blues performances at the Ground Zero Blues Club, an electrifying experience that's a must for any music enthusiast. The Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art is a must-visit music store for people looking to take Clarksdale home with them. 

Two bridges over the Mississippi River in Vicksburg, Mississippi, illustrating contrasts between old and new, with a railroad bridge beside a highway bridge, and trains versus road traffic, with both the United States and Mississippi state flags flying.

Two bridges over the Mississippi River in Vicksburg, Mississippi, illustrate contrasts between old and new, with a railroad bridge beside a highway bridge, and trains versus road traffic, with both the United States and Mississippi state flags flying.

Vicksburg 's claim to fame is its pivotal role in the Civil War. The Vicksburg National Military Park stands as a testament to this history and features countless monuments and markers, a great place for history buffs to explore. The town is also filled with historical architecture in the form of antebellum homes and buildings like Anchuca Mansion. The Mississippi River can be seen from the town, offering a breathtaking natural wonder that has captivated visitors for generations. The USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum is also a great visit. The gunboat was built at the beginning of the American Civil War and was named after the city, of Cairo, Illinois. 

Ocean Springs

View of Ocean Springs, a city near Biloxi in Jackson County, Mississippi, showcasing the local landscape and community vibe.

View of Ocean Springs, a city near Biloxi in Jackson County, Mississippi, showcasing the local landscape and community vibe. Editorial credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Ocean Springs is a coastal town on the Gulf of Mexico that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and artistic expression. The town's Front Beach is a serene place to relax and enjoy the sea breeze. The Walter Anderson Museum of Art pays tribute to the work of the renowned Mississippi artist, Walter Anderson. The town is also known for its annual Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival, showcasing the talents of local artists and craftsmen. Antique lovers would enjoy a trip to Coastal Magpie, an antique store that sells art, jewelry, pottery, and more from various eras throughout history. 

Corinth Contraband Camp at Shiloh National Military Park in Corinth, Mississippi, where African-Americans fled for freedom during the Civil War, featuring a statue of a man giving a book to a child.

Corinth , a small town with a big Civil War history, is a treasure trove for history enthusiasts. The Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center provides insight into the battles fought in the area. Shiloh National Military Park is nearby and offers a glimpse into one of the Civil War's deadliest battles. Additionally, the town's historic downtown district is a charming area to explore. For an even deeper dive into the town’s history, visitors can learn to explore an extensive collection of artifacts, exhibits, and documents that tell the story of Corinth's history at The Crossroads Museum. Exhibits detail the town’s history and include The Civil War, Wurlitzer, and Pre-Corinth. Each exhibit explores its respective era in detail and provides a physical view of the world before current-day Corinth. 

William Frederick Holmes House in McComb, Pike County, MS, showcasing historical residential architecture.

William Frederick Holmes House in McComb, Pike County, MS, showcasing historical residential architecture. By Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39475724

In the southwestern part of Mississippi , McComb is a town rich in railroad history. The McComb Railroad Museum celebrates the town's heritage and showcases a thrilling collection of locomotives and rail memorabilia. However, due to a fire in 2021, the exhibit is temporarily closed. Percy Quin State Park, just a short drive away, is a natural paradise, complete with a serene lake for boating and fishing, lush forests for hiking, and picturesque picnic areas. The Black History Gallery is another historic site for tourists to visit. McComb's combination of history and natural beauty makes it an unforgettable destination.

Laurel City Hall building in Laurel, Mississippi.

Laurel City Hall building in Laurel, Mississippi. Editorial credit: Chad Robertson Media / Shutterstock.com

Laurel, Mississippi, has garnered attention in recent years due to the popularity of the HGTV show "Home Town." The town's historic district features beautifully restored homes, each with its own unique character. Visitors can embark on a self-guided tour to admire the intricate details of these houses. Additionally, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art houses a diverse collection of American and European art, making it a cultural gem within the town. Just 20 minutes outside of Laurel in Jones County, Mississippi, lies the Landrum's Homestead and Village. It is a living history museum that contains reconstructed buildings, log cabins, a blacksmith shop, and several other structures. 

The Grammy Museum Mississippi in Cleveland, showcasing the history of the Grammy Awards, located in Bolivar County, Mississippi.

The Grammy Museum Mississippi in Cleveland, showcasing the history of the Grammy Awards, is located in Bolivar County, Mississippi. Editorial credit: Nina Alizada / Shutterstock.com

Cleveland is a small town with a big artistic spirit. Strolling through downtown, visitors will encounter a stunning array of outdoor murals that tell the story of the town's history, culture, and musical heritage. Cleveland is also home to the Grammy Museum Mississippi, a unique attraction dedicated to the history and significance of American music. The Delta State University campus, with its charming architecture and tranquil setting on the banks of the Sunflower River, is another point of interest. The Bologna Performing Arts Center hosts performances throughout the year, from dance to music, theater, and more.  Consider visiting Studio230, which showcases art from artists throughout the area for art enthusiasts looking to take the talents in the area home.

Birthplace of Tennessee Williams, American playwright and screenwriter, in Columbus, Mississippi.

The birthplace of American playwright and screenwriter, Tennessee Williams, in Columbus, Mississippi. Editorial credit: Chad Robertson Media / Shutterstock.com

Columbus is one of the more popular small towns to visit in Mississippi. It's known for its well-preserved antebellum architecture, which can be admired during a leisurely stroll along the historic streets. The town is home to the Tennessee Williams Home & Welcome Center, where visitors can explore the childhood home of the renowned playwright Tennessee Williams. The Waverley Mansion, an elegant antebellum home, is also a must-visit for those interested in history and architecture. Columbus offers a glimpse into the past with its historic sites, including the Friendship Cemetery, known for its Civil War history. It’s a great destination for history enthusiasts and includes gravesites of over 2,000 Confederate soldiers who lost their lives during battle. 

Holly Springs

Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. Holly Springs of Mississippi State of US.

Holly Springs is a small town located just a short drive from Memphis, Tennessee. The Strawberry Plains Audubon Center and Center for Birds of Prey offers a chance to explore the natural beauty of the region and observe various bird species. Visitors can also explore the historic courthouse square, which features charming shops, restaurants, and galleries. The Marshall County Historical Museum provides further insights into the town's history, making Holly Springs an intriguing destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers. The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum is another notable historic site in Holly Springs, dedicated to the life and work of the renowned civil rights activist. Those looking to dig deeper into the Civil Rights Era will learn a great deal at this museum.

The Unforgettable Charm of Mississippi's Small Towns

Mississippi's small towns are a treasure trove of unique experiences, blending history, nature, and culture. These towns have distinct characteristics that set them apart from one another and leave an indelible mark on anyone who visits. Whether visitors are exploring the Civil War history in Vicksburg, delving into the blues in Clarksdale, or enjoying the artistic vibe in Ocean Springs, Mississippi's small towns offer a taste of the state's authentic charm. Plan the next journey to one of these unforgettable destinations and discover the heart and soul of Mississippi.

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23 Riveting Things To Do in Oxford Ms for the Weekend

I originally learned about Oxford, MS from my charming sister-in-law. She grew up in nearby Albany and went to school at Ole Miss. A few years later I learned about the Debutante Farmer and the amazing food scene in this small Southern town. Football, food, and friendly folks like my SIL, Tina? I was ready to visit!

So hubby and I hopped in the car for a ‘date night’ weekend escape to Oxford, Mississippi , and fell head-over-heels. Here are just 23 Things to do in Oxford MS and why we love it so much…now it’s your turn to fall in love with it, too.

Our recipe for an exciting time doesn’t include a game day at Ole Miss (Hotty Toddy!), so you’ll have to make it back for that!


  • Best Boutique Hotel: Graduate Oxford is just a mile from Ole Miss campus, and prominently perched on The Square – the hub of the city center. Their lobby is stacked high with vintage reads, awash in preppy pink floors and cozy seersucker sofas. We have a whole section on this Instagram-worthy spot below.
  • Best Near The Stadium: Located within 1.9 miles of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and a 19-minute walk of Oxford, La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Oxford is a great place to stay to be in the middle of the action.
  • Best Pet-Friendly Choice: Tru by Hilton Oxford is a pet-friendly spot within 10 minutes of the best of Oxford — from the University of Mississippi campus and the Grove, to shops and restaurants on the historic Square. 


Oxford treehouse gallery.

We have visited many art galleries, but the Oxford Treehouse Gallery is special.

When we pulled up and were greeted by the chickens, we knew this was a place we’d adore. Vivian and Walter – the owners and amazing artists in their own right – have created an oasis just a few miles from the downtown square. The eclectic gallery includes art work of varying mediums from a great number of regional artists, primarily from Mississippi.

Don’t be shy about stopping by; they have scheduled hours or you can make an appointment. And don’t worry about having to make a purchase…of course they hope you find something you love to take home with you…but they really want to simply share the experience with you. (And honestly, there is something for all price ranges, even starting at about $10.)

I feel horrible not writing a lot more here because honestly, it was my favorite stop.. BUT stay tuned. We have an entire post about Treehouse Gallery coming shortly. Know this: You’re missing out if you don’t make a stop!


Southern Living named The End of All Music in Oxford as one of the five best record stores in the South, and now we know why! Even if you don’t have a turn table you need to stop in to see the wonder. (Also, you need a turn table. Seriously! Pick one up while you’re there.) The End of All Music is special because of the wide variety of music genres represented here…everything from country to blues to indie rock.

I loved the little listening room, where I could grab a single and hear songs of yester-year. I swear I listened to that Johnny Cash single twice over. There’s also a section of “pricey” albums that are fun to (gently) look through. We didn’t leave with one of those, but we did bulk up our collection during that visit.

The owners here also regularly put a “free” album among their inventory, so keep an eye for that while you’re exploring.

There are million cute stores along The Square that you MUST visit. OK – not a million, but a ton. We loved finding shoes at Lulu’s…trying the “Brando” at Lenora’s (it’s a lemon whiskey drink…and tell them 365AF sent you) … and picking up some Ole Miss attire at University Sporting Goods.

We also loved the photo ops. There is a red photo booth – British style – perfect for this city named after its European counterpart. It also pays homage to the Double Decker bus tour you can take on Fridays in the spring and fall before Ole Miss home baseball and football games. Reserve a spot beforehand; these are popular.

Finally, don’t miss the life-size statue of William Faulkner next to Square Books Jr. This bronze sculpture marked the 100th anniversary of his birth and is another great photo spot. This is no ordinary town square.


You don’t have to be a bibliophile (like me) to appreciate the three story book store that is Square Books !

It was named Book Store of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly, but simply calling it a bookstore doesn’t do it justice. Over 2,000 writers have appeared to read and/or sign books since 1979, including Oxford resident John Grisham, who visited here for his very first book signing of A Time To Kill .

Don’t miss Square Books Jr for a few kiddo presents, and Off Square Books for lifestyle books plus their events…including the next item on our list…


We did not visit on a Thursday, but after learning about this, I wish we had! If you’re not in the know, Thacker Mountain Radio Hour is a weekly live radio show featuring author readings and a wide array of musical performances.

There are 12 shows in the spring and 12 in the fall, all taped and broadcast live on The Square inside Off Square Books at 6pm on Thursdays. The book shelves are rolled over to the walls or to the back behind a curtain, wooden folding chairs are set up, a lectern is placed in front for the host and for visiting authors to read from their books, and the cozy raised “reading area” in the back right is cleared to make a stage for the house band (Yalobushwhackers) and visiting musicians.

Take a listen if you’re interested. There are shows Thursday-Sunday. Here is the schedule .

Why am I sending you to a department store? Neilson’s isn’t just  any department store! This is the Suffrages of the South!

It was founded by William Smith Neilson, born in 1812, and in 2019 Neilson’s celebrated its 180 th  year. It is the South’s oldest store, and the nation’s 16 th  oldest.

The University of Mississippi is here in Oxford, and even if you’re not an Ole Miss grad, it is still a remarkable place to visit. I’ll cover a few places you have to check out in the History section below, but other fun sights include

  • The Grove : Voted the best place in the nation for tailgating.
  • The Lyceum: Where you can see one of the remaining bullet holes in the door left as a reminder of the battle that broke out over the enrollment of James Meredith, the first African American to attend the school. It’s known as the oldest building at Ole Miss. According to HottyToddy.com, some historians say the integration of Ole Miss was the last battle of the Civil War. Bob Dylan even wrote a song about it.
  • Farley Hall : Dubbed “Dead House,” this is the site of the building that was used as a morgue during the Civil War.
  • Ford Center for Performing Arts : The site of the first Presidential debate in 2008 between Obama and McCain.


College Hill Presbyterian Church , located just outside Oxford, Mississippi, at College Hill, is an historic church and a member of the Presbyterian Church in America. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Rowan Oak is the former home of Oxford’s author, William Faulkner. You can tour the home of the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning author.

Faulkner purchased this home in 1930 and made it his own until his death. He is one of America’s most celebrated authors…with a penchant for extreme detail, circular writing, intricate character descriptions and long complex sentences. In fact, Absalom, Absalom includes the longest sentence in literary history.

You can see where he and his wife, Estelle, raised their children and made a life for themselves. I loved seeing Faulkner’s own handwriting on the wall, both by the telephone and in an upstairs room where he outlined A Fable , the story for which he won the Pulitzer.

There are not an exceptional number of oak trees on the property – primarily cedar. But look as you may, you won’t find a single Rowan Oak – it’s a mythical tree. Anther fun fact: the plethora of Cypress you see here and around Oxford are from a time passed when people didn’t know where malaria came from…they just knew it wasn’t happening in the mountains. Perhaps, they thought, it didn’t happen there because of the smell coming from the Cypress, and so they planted hundreds! And they are lovely.


Don’t miss the chance to visit Faulker and his wife Estelle at their grave in St Peter’s Cemetery. Bring a few coins and a bottle of Jack Daniels, as is custom.


A courageous soul of the Civil Rights Movement, Meredith’s bravery  is commemorated in a life-size statue behind the Lyceum building on the Ole Miss campus.

According to Wikipedia, Meredith was inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, and he decided to exercise his constitutional rights and apply to the University of Mississippi. His goal was to put pressure on the Kennedy administration to enforce civil rights for African Americans.

Meredith wrote in his application that he wanted admission for his country, race, family, and himself. He said, “Nobody handpicked me…I believed, and believe now, that I have a Divine Responsibility…I am familiar with the probable difficulties involved in such a move as I am undertaking and I am fully prepared to pursue it all the way to a degree from the University of Mississippi.”

After twice being denied, he was advised by Medgar Evers, and after a long fight, the Supreme Court decided he should attend Ole Miss. There was rioting, gun shots, and protests to be sure. Meredith was even shot on his second day, but recovered quickly from his wounds. He’s still alive today, living with his wife in Jackson.

What an incredible man…it was an honor to see the memorial celebrating the 40th anniversary of his admission.


It is with much regret that I tell you that we ran out of time to visit The University of Mississippi Museum , but I will use it as an excuse to go back. Don’t make my mistake…leave some room for it! 

Among this museum’s 20,000 items are Southern folk art, Greek and Roman antiquities, 19th century scientific instruments, and American fine art. It was even named one of the top college museums in the US.

It’s free to visit, and you’ll need about an hour to explore.


Yet another place we ran out of time for was the L.Q.C. Lamar House , but I learned about it from my special history tour guide and just had to share! Lucius Lamar, for which a street is named along the Oxford Square, holds many honors. Here are three I enjoyed learning about:

  • He was one of few people who held a job in all three branches of the Federal government. He was Secretary of the Interior (Executive), a Mississippi Congressman and Senator (Legislative), and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (Judicial).
  • He developed the idea of the Federal State Parks, for which Roosevelt gets the credit.
  • He was instrumental in healing relations between the North and South after the Civil War.


Thacker mountain rail trail.

The South Campus Rail Trail , formerly known as the Thacker Mountain Rail Trail, is part of a network of wooded trails linking the community of Oxford.

You might run across a University of Mississippi Cross Country Team out running or members of the Oxford Cycling Club on their way to ride the mountain bike trails.


Located in north Mississippi and central Mississippi, Holly Springs National Forest provides a public treasure of sparkling small lakes nestled among the lovely greens of upland hardwoods, pine forests, and unique bottomlands. 

The forest covers portions of Benton County, Lafayette County, Marshall County, Tippah County, Union County, and Yalobusha County.


Want to splurge on a single restaurant while you’re in Oxford? Let this be the Saint Leo ! A 2017 James Beard Foundation “Best New Restaurant” semifinalist, the wood-fire Italian cooking here is divine.

Don’t miss the charcuterie plate with garlic-rubbed grilled bread. The pizza crust is on point with 800-degree ovens, though I was partial to the little neck clams.

The Coop is the name of the bar/restaurant on the rooftop of The Graduate hotel (more on this hotel shortly). It’s not your average hotel bar – the view is spectacular and the food is worth making a stop in for.

Its name is a nod to Cooper Manning, but we love the play on words with the chicken coop theme…don’t miss the fox at the bar. Who let him in the hen house?


City Grocery is the first restaurant from Chef John Currence, a 2009 James Beard Foundation award recipient for Best Chef South. It’s one of four restaurants owned by Currence and probably his most popular.

You’ll not want to leave without trying the shrimp and grits, and I also recommend the cold corn and buttermilk soup!


Bottletree Bakery is an adorable cafe that offers a great cup of coffee and pastry for breakfast, or you can head there for lunch for one of their specials (listed on Facebook each day).

Hurry up, though — they close at 2:30 pm.

Snackbar is another of  Chef John Currence’s establishments, and this one focuses on French Creole. The food is a creation of Chef Vishwesh Bhatt, a 2017 James Beard finalist, Best Chef South.

Fun fact: Bhatt also participated in  Gunshow’s Hired Guns series, which hubby and I attended. It is from that visit that I named Gunshow one of Atlanta’s best restaurants for several publications.

I am a HUGE fan of the raw bar here…don’t miss those oysters. This is not just a tapas eatery, but we focused on that during our visit, giving us a chance to sample a wide range of amazing options. Crab Corn Fitters, Red Chili Pork Belly, Lady Pea Salad, Cornbread Toast, Boudin Balls..oh my! It was a slice of heaven!


The final Currence establishment we visited on our visit was no disappointment. At Big Bad Breakfast , the meats are cured on site, and the bacon proved to be angelic – hit up with just a tad of heat. You can’t go wrong with any selection, but we adored the skillets.

And you know it’s deep south cooking done right when you get to select from three different gravy types: sausage, red eye or tomato!


We didn’t eat at The Library – we just had a few drinks. We visited on fight night (Mayweather vs. McGregor) and decided to watch it here based on feedback from the locals. Great choice!

If you need a sports bar while you’re in town, this is the place to go. Just tell “mom” you’re heading to The Library.


“ Going Greek” may have two meanings in this college town, but this is the route you want to take while visiting. Falafel, gyros, souvlaki…it’s all at Volta Taverna and it is darn tasty!

I highly recommend the Hotty Toddy balls to start off with, and the chicken gyro was my fave.


Looking for a little entertainment with your meal? Check out the grub and tunes at Proud Larry’s .

The calendar of talent is online, and you might want to grab your tickets while you’re there, too.


The graduate oxford.

The Graduate Oxford is reason number 23 to head to this college town. This charming hotel offers so much, both to visitors and to the community. Let me tell you why this boutique hotel made the list.

Biking Breaks . The hotel offers a handful of bikes free of charge, for your use around the city. Just check them out and you’re off!

Community- Minded Mission . When we visited the hotel, there were dozens of students hanging out in the lobby. They were studying, drinking coffee, reading books. I spoke with the General Manager, and he told me this was common. With free internet, comfy seating, alumni memorabilia, sprawling tables and plenty of food options…there is no wonder they love it.

Additionally, The Graduate hosts several local events.  When we were there they hosted a pet adoption day (even offering free drinks!) You know from the moment you step foot here that it’s not a typical hotel. They love their town, and we love that !

Adorable Rooms and Lobby . Pink wood floors. Pink. That’s what you see when you first walk into The Graduate. Globes hang from the ceiling and books line the check-in desk like a library. My favorite thing? The oversized hot pink velvet chair pulled up to a long wood table. In the picture above you can see the rooms, with their nod to university living. Even our key cards featured Oxford greats like the Manning family.

There are a number of Graduate Hotels in the country… each in a college town (have you been to the one in Athens?) …each taking on the personality of the town they represent, down to the last detail.

A Nod To History . I love that the coffee tables hold Faulkner’s books, that the walls are covered with local art depicting Oxford’s legends, that black and white photos of Mary Ann Mobley and Archie Manning are tucked into subtle corners. The hotel even sits on North Lamar Blvd (named for Lucius Lamar, whom I told you about earlier.)  It’s those details that make all the difference…those acknowledgments that make it feel like home – even if you’re not a local.

Good Eats . In addition to The Coop (mentioned above) you are also welcome to dine at Cabin 82 Cafe , located in the lobby. Select patio seating or a cozy space inside.

For breakfast, you absolutely want the chicken and egg biscuit (and add the pepper jack cheese.) You can grab that chicken sandwich for lunch, too…and don’t skip the bread pudding.

Book It: Graduate Oxford


What is oxford, ms famous for.

Oxford, MS is most famous for the city known as the home of William Faulkner, a Nobel Prize winning author.

What are the top attractions in Oxford, MS?

Some of the top attractions in Oxford, MS include Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner, This collections of the University of Mississippi Museum, and Proud Larry’s.

Which movies were filmed in Oxford, MS?

Some of the movies filmed in Oxford, MS include O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Past Is Never Dead: The Story of William Faulkner, and Big Bad Love.


  • MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST: Unique Adventures Beyond The Beach
  • BILOXI: 17 Best Things To Do In Biloxi MS For Coastal Fun


So hubby and I hopped in the car for a 'date night' weekend escape to Oxford, Mississippi, and fell head-over-heels. Here are just 23 Things to do in Oxford MS and why we love it so much...now it's your turn to fall in love with it, too.

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  • Last Updated On
  • June 25, 2023

15 Best Places to Visit in Mississippi — Unique & Fun Places to Go!

Lucy Adams

Mississippi — home to some of the top beaches in the US and major Civil War sites — should rank high on everyone’s travel bucket list.

The Magnolia State has scores of attractions to entertain all types of travelers.

If you’re a foodie, ready your appetite for tantalizing cuisines.

History buffs, buckle up for an excursion back in time.

For the outdoorsy adventurers, the state has verdant forests and sparkling beaches.

Can’t wait to go?

Here’s a list of the best places to visit in Mississippi to offer you a glimpse of what lies ahead.

1. Gulf Islands National Seashore — Ocean Springs

gulf islands national seashore — ocean springs

3500 Park Road Ocean Springs, MS 39564 (228) 230-4100

Resting along the Gulf of Mexico, this 135,457-acre park offers endless outdoor pursuits and recreation opportunities for anyone looking for a head start on what to do in Mississippi.

Why You Should Visit This Place

Gulf Islands National Seashore usually tops all the top places to go in Mississippi for an amazing vacation.

With striking white sand and sparkling azure waters, this seashore is sure to give you a satisfying beach escape.

An Expert Tip Before You Go

Aside from classic beach activities, there are educational tours, hikes, and even tons of historic sites within the area.

You’ll also spot some wildlife here like sea turtles.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Golden Nugget Biloxi

Related: Best Things to Do in Mississippi

2. Old Capitol Museum — Jackson

old capitol museum — jackson

100 State Street Jackson, MS 39201 (601) 576-6920

Located in Jackson , the former capital building of Mississippi served as the official state house between 1839 and 1903.

The Old Capitol Museum beckons photography enthusiasts with its copper dome and classy Greek Revival design.

A National Historic Landmark, this building is one of the most iconic places to see in Mississippi and houses a museum that you can visit for free.

Guided tours are available through reservation for anyone interested to learn more about its architecture and construction.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Westin Jackson

Related: Restaurants in Jackson

Related: Best Family Vacations in Mississippi

3. BB King Museum — Indianola

bb king museum — indianola

400 2nd Street Indianola, MS 38751 (662) 887-9539

Perched in Indianola, this museum highlights the story of American blues singer-songwriter BB King, as well as the music that made him an icon.

The BB King Museum showcases some of the most fascinating events and stories from the life of the King.

Inside the museum, visitors find hands-on computer programs, award-winning flicks, and rare artifacts related to blues music.

Experience the interactive tech and film to dive into the colorful life of BB King.

There’s also a music summer camp for kiddos and a wide range of events and traveling exhibits.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Cotton House, Cleveland, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

4. Beauvoir — Biloxi

beauvoir — biloxi

2244 Beach Boulevard Biloxi, MS 39531 (228) 388-4400

Click Here To See Ticket Price

Built in 1848, this Biloxi landmark was the post-war home of a notable figure in American history.

Today, it’s one of the top places to visit in Mississippi for history buffs.

Do yourself a favor and include Beauvoir to your list of Mississippi tourist attractions.

Not only is it a designated Mississippi Landmark; it’s also listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

Get a guided tour of the estate and discover how the former Confederate president Jefferson Davis lived his life.

Afterward, rent a golf cart and tour the area’s grounds, which feature a nature trail, a cemetery, and garden.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: South Beach Biloxi Hotel & Suites

5. Mississippi Petrified Forest — Flora

mississippi petrified forest — flora

124 Forest Park Road Flora, MS 39071 (601) 879-8189

Formed more than 30 million years ago, this natural marvel is one of the two petrified forests in the whole eastern US region.

This oasis gives you a rare chance to admire the remains of a former massive forest that turned into stone.

Its museum and exhibits tell the story of the forest’s evolution.

When checking out the museum’s awesome exhibits, don’t miss the dinosaur footprints and whale bones.

For extra fun, try gem fluming or stay for the night on the campgrounds in the woods.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hilton Garden Inn Jackson-Madison

Related: Best Weekend Getaways in Mississippi

6. Jackson Zoological Park — Jackson

jackson zoological park — jackson

2918 W Capitol Street Jackson, MS 39209 (601) 352-2580

Jackson Zoo, which opened in 1919, is home to at least 250 animals representing 120 different species.

If you have a fondness for animals, then one of the best places to travel in Mississippi is Jackson Zoological Park, where animals such as Sumatran tigers, chimpanzees, tortoises, flamingos, and so much more make their home in the park.

Make sure you wear comfortable shoes!

The zoo also features a splash pad, so bring extra clothing just in case.

An animal-themed carousel is also available for the little ones.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Best Western Plus Jackson Downtown Coliseum

7. The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies — Gulfport

the institute for marine mammal studies — gulfport

10801 Dolphin Lane Gulfport, MS 39503 (228) 896-9182

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies was established in 1984 as a research organization dedicated to the conservation and research on marine mammals.

It is found in Gulfport .

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies works to care for sick and injured animals and offers exciting interactive exhibits, activities, and entertaining shows.

IMMS is undoubtedly one of the state’s most popular sites.

Meet dolphins there, touch rays, watch birds, and witness dolphins and sea lion shows!

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hilton Garden Inn Gulfport – Biloxi Airport

Related: Best Places to Eat in Gulfport

8. Natchez Trace Parkway — Tupelo

natchez trace parkway — tupelo

2860 Natchez Trace Parkway Tupelo, MS 38804 (800) 305-7417

Spanning 444 miles, this pathway follows a Native American trail to Nashville from Natchez .

The Natchez Trace Parkway has been ranked as one of the top 10 most visited national parks in the country.

This popular sightseeing route features plenty of breathtaking scenery and cheap yet majestic Mississippi destinations along the way.

Stop by archaeological sites, prehistoric mountains, and picturesque lookouts.

There are also must-visit tourist spots along the way, like the Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site.

If biking is your thing, there’s a designated bike route lined with photo ops along the way.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Best Western Plus Tupelo Inn & Suites

Related: Best Things to Do in Tupelo, MS

Related: Places to Eat in Tupelo, MS

Related: Best Places to Eat in Natchez

9. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science — Jackson

mississippi museum of natural science — jackson

2148 Riverside Drive Jackson, MS 39202 (601) 576-6000

Originally founded in 1933, the Museum of Natural Science is one of the cool and unique places to visit in Mississippi and is the largest museum in the state.

The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science boasts over 250 acres of open space, 2.5 miles of nature trails, and an open-air amphitheater.

As you step inside the museum, you’ll discover over 180 aquatic animal species living in a massive 100,000-gallon aquarium.

From an impressive fossil location to the discovery room, the museum has a bevy of displays highlighting the beauty, history and eccentricities of the natural world.

For extra fun, see their official calendar to join workshops and lessons and witness events.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Best Western Plus Flowood Inn & Suites

10. Biloxi Beach — Biloxi

biloxi beach — biloxi

2200 Beach Boulevard Biloxi, MS 39531

With glistening white sands and warm waters, this beach in Biloxi guarantees a fun day out and a healthy dose of Vitamin Sea.

Wondering where to go in Mississippi with a gang seeking endless vacation spots?

Why not spend a day relishing the coastal beauty of Biloxi Beach?

Although known for its glitzy casino, Biloxi Beach has plenty of sandy spots and entertaining places of interest.

This gorgeous beach is actually home to a bundle of creatures, including sea gulls and pelicans.

You may also go for a jet ski ride or see kid-approved attractions near the beach.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi

Related: Best Places to Eat in Biloxi

11. Mississippi Civil Rights Museum — Jackson

mississippi civil rights museum — jackson

222 North Street #2205 Jackson, MS 39201 (601) 576-6800

When it opened in 2017, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum became the first civil rights museum to be sponsored by the state.

Through intriguing exhibits, this museum gives you a deeper insight into one of the most important movements in the history of America, along with the heroes who fought for civil rights.

While exploring exhibits, hear firsthand anecdotes from people who fought for civil rights in Mississippi.

Also, see the captivating 12-meter sculpture This Little Light of Mine .

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Holiday Inn Pearl – Jackson Area, an IHG Hotel

12. Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum — Tupelo

elvis presley birthplace and museum — tupelo

306 Elvis Presley Drive Tupelo, MS 38801 (662) 841-1245

Nestled in Tupelo, this unique landmark is dedicated to preserving the birthplace of the American rock ‘n’ roll icon Elvis Presley.

The Elvis Presley Birthplace overflows with exhibits that pay tribute to its most famous resident.

As you explore this park, you’ll see the hand-built, two-room home where the legend was born.

Moreover, you’ll find the church wherein the icon honed his craft as a choir member.

For fans of the king of rock and roll, there’s a gift shop where you can purchase Elvis-themed souvenirs.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: La Quinta by Wyndham Tupelo

13. Vicksburg National Military Park — Vicksburg

vicksburg national military park — vicksburg

3201 Clay Street Vicksburg, MS 39183 (601) 636-0583

Situated in Vicksburg, this 1,852-acre park is filled with exhibits and remnants of Vicksburg’s American Civil War Battle.

The Vicksburg National Military Park is a godsend for history buffs. Inside the park are the renowned USS Cairo , 144 cannons, and 1,325 historical monuments and markers.

There’s also a 12.5-mile trail for those who want to stretch their legs.

Looking for some action?

Living history programs are held in the park from July 3 to 6!

See costumed historians roam and do Civil War musket demonstrations.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Holiday Inn Vicksburg, an IHG Hotel

Related: Things to Do in Vicksburg

Related: Restaurants in Vicksburg

14. Mississippi State Capitol — Jackson

mississippi state capitol — jackson

400 High Street Jackson, MS 39201 (601) 359-3114

Founded in 1903, the seat of Mississippi’s government is a National Historic Landmark.

The State Capitol’s dome-shaped roof and elegant facade ranks among the best of Mississippi in terms of architectural feats.

It also offers you an insight into the beguiling history of the state.

Portraits of Mississippi’s leaders line the walls at the Hall of Governors.

On the third floor are the legislature’s grand meeting rooms.

The capitol grounds, on the other hand, showcase the Women of the Confederacy monument and Liberty Bell replica.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Residence Inn by Marriott Jackson The District at Eastover

15. Downtown Canton — Canton

downtown canton — canton

Canton, MS 39046 (601) 859-4331

Mississippi also has its own collection of pastel-colored historic houses.

Canton, one of the best cities to visit in Mississippi, boasts a Georgian courthouse square, which is now a historic shopping district.

Wherever you are in Mississippi, Canton will always be one of the most beautiful places to visit near you.

Much of Canton is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, so expect a trip down memory lane wherever you go when you’re here.

After visiting the best places to visit in Mississippi, drop by Canton.

This sleep city hosts a charming flea market and is home to several cheerful bars and a large Confederate cemetery.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: La Quinta by Wyndham Canton MS

Related: Best Family Hotels in Mississippi

Map of Places to Visit in Mississippi

Mississippi Places to Visit: The 15 Best Places to Go for 2024

best places to visit in mississippi

  • Gulf Islands National Seashore — Ocean Springs
  • Old Capitol Museum — Jackson
  • BB King Museum — Indianola
  • Beauvoir — Biloxi
  • Mississippi Petrified Forest — Flora
  • Jackson Zoological Park — Jackson
  • The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies — Gulfport
  • Natchez Trace Parkway — Tupelo
  • Mississippi Museum of Natural Science — Jackson
  • Biloxi Beach — Biloxi
  • Mississippi Civil Rights Museum — Jackson
  • Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum — Tupelo
  • Vicksburg National Military Park — Vicksburg
  • Mississippi State Capitol — Jackson
  • Downtown Canton — Canton

15 Best Places to Visit in Mississippi — Unique & Fun Places to Go!

Main Navigation

Mississippi Trail Guide for Hikers

Mississippi is home to some of the most scenic hiking trails in the South. With routes ranging from easy and family-friendly to more adventurous and challenging, our state can accommodate all those who wish to experience the great outdoors first-hand. Let Visit Mississippi be your  tour guide  as you plan your next hiking trip – we will recommend trails worth checking out and provide insights on some of the things you should expect on your journey.

Great Hiking Trails Throughout Mississippi

With natural beauty that includes savannahs, prairies, and a gorgeous coastline, Mississippi offers visitors one-of-a-kind hiking experiences. Trails we recommend include:

places to visit in south mississippi

Clark Creek Primitive Trail

Considered a moderately challenging route, this trail is perfect for hikers who wish to work up a sweat while also getting plenty of opportunities to take in gorgeous views. The 4.3-mile loop trail is near Woodville, MS, and typically takes just over 2 hours to complete. In addition to hiking, the area is excellent for bird watching and fishing. Guests are welcome to visit this path year-round.

Bear Creek Outcropping Trail

Outdoor enthusiasts looking for an easy way to experience nature should check out this lovely 1.8-mile loop located near Dennis, MS. With an average time to complete the trail at just around 40 minutes, hikers can begin their day with a walk through nature and still have plenty of time to experience other local attractions . For a more challenging hiking experience, try climbing the rocks located along the trail.

Clark Creek Improved Trail

Beautiful to visit any time of year, this 2.8-mile loop is situated near Woodville, MS, and offers hikers an excellent outdoor challenge. Typically taking just over an hour to complete, guests will enjoy taking in the sights, such as waterfalls and creek beds. Be prepared for elevation changes and a few obstacles along this route. Should you forget any supplies, there is a general store located just before the parking area.

Tuxachanie Trail

This 12.6-mile point-to-point trail is a great option for families interested in spending the day outdoors. Signs posted along the way offer a brief history of the area. At a little over four hours to complete, this popular route is great for walking and running.

Planning for a Hike

Hiking in Mississippi state parks and other areas is a fun and relaxing way to experience the great outdoors with family and friends or even to just get in some alone time. One of the best advantages of hiking is being able to explore the places many roads can’t reach. For this reason, it’s important to always be prepared. Visit Mississippi offers the following tips for your next hike:

places to visit in south mississippi

What You Should Pack

Because you are going to be carrying everything you pack for your hike, it is important to bring only the essentials. Things you may want to consider packing include:

  • Navigation tools: If you are traveling from out of town and are unfamiliar with the area, it’s wise to pack reliable navigational tools, such as a map, a compass, or a GPS.
  • Drinking water: Perhaps the most essential item to pack is water. Make sure to bring enough to last while you’re on the go. Whether it is cold or hot outside, properly hydrating your body is crucial.
  • Safety items: Packing a first-aid kit may be the difference between having an enjoyable hike or one that ends abruptly. Your first-aid kit should include bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze pads, and any other items you think you might need during your hike.

What You Should Wear

What you choose to wear on your excursion can significantly impact your hiking experience. The wrong shoes may lead to sore feet, while heavy pants may result in an uncomfortable journey. Proper hiking attire includes:

  • Appropriate footwear
  • UV-protective attire, if necessary
  • Easily visible layers
  • Breathable fabrics

What You Should Eat Before a Hike

Engaging in any kind of physical activity, such as hiking, requires a good amount of energy. Our bodies require fuel before and during a hike to replenish the energy used. The American Heart Association suggests eating at least two hours before exercising.

Plan Your Next Hiking Trip in Mississippi

Those looking for a solo outdoor adventure or a family-friendly outing in the great outdoors can find both in Mississippi. Visit Mississippi offers locals and travelers recommendations on popular access points and other fun activities to help them  plan  their excursions. Contact us  today to learn more about the excellent hiking trails in Mississippi.

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17 Places In Mississippi You Must See Before You Die

places to visit in south mississippi

Daniella DiRienzo

Though Daniella was born in New York and has lived in a couple of other states, Mississippi has been her home for more than 30 years. After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, Daniella began to hone her writing skills through various internships. In the years since, she’s had the privilege of having her articles appear in several publications, such as the Mississippi-based Parents & Kids Magazine. She’s also had the honor of interviewing actress Sela Ward for The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience.

More by this Author

Mississippi is filled with beauty and immersed in history, so it should come as no surprise that people travel from all over the world to visit our state. And with what seems like never ending options, the only problem that arises is deciding which sights to see and which to skip. From breathtaking scenery to historical landmarks, there are just some things in Mississippi that can’t be missed, so check out this list for the state’s must-see sights.

Please note, Rowan Oak is temporarily closed.

places to visit in south mississippi

Related Stories

Most People Don't Know These 7 Castles Are Hiding In Mississippi

Most People Don't Know These 7 Castles Are Hiding In Mississippi

These 12 Pieces Of Architectural Brilliance In Mississippi Could WOW Anyone

These 12 Pieces Of Architectural Brilliance In Mississippi Could WOW Anyone

These 7 Beautiful Covered Bridges In Mississippi Will Remind You Of A Much Simpler Time

These 7 Beautiful Covered Bridges In Mississippi Will Remind You Of A Much Simpler Time

places to visit in south mississippi

There are so many awesome sights in our beautiful state that narrowing down this list was really hard. Keep it going by adding to the list in the comments section below!

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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