Mississippi, the birthplace of the blues and home to a rich history, offers visitors diverse experiences. With this Mississippi travel guide, you’ll discover the top things to do in Mississippi, places to stay, and vital tips to make your trip unforgettable.
Best Things to Do in Mississippi
1. Visit the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson is an unmissable gem destination for anyone interested in American history. This interactive and engaging museum delves into the state’s civil rights movement from 1945 to 1970.
Spanning two galleries, the exhibition center offers visitors a chance to learn about the struggle for racial equality and justice. Explore the eight interactive galleries, which provide insights into the struggles and triumphs of those who fought for equality in Mississippi.
2. Discover the Natchez Trace Parkway
Among the finest scenic drives in America, the Natchez Trace Parkway stretches for 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. As you travel along this picturesque route, you’ll encounter lush forests, historic sites, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Stop at the Cypress Swamp, a serene spot where you can walk among the cypress trees on an elevated boardwalk.
Or, take a moment to pause at the Sunken Trace, a partially submerged road believed to have been used by Native Americans and early settlers. With its many attractions, the Natchez Trace Parkway promises an unforgettable journey through history and nature.
3.Explore the Mississippi Delta
The Mississippi Delta is renowned for its blues music and rich cultural heritage. Visit the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale to learn about the area’s musical legends, such as Muddy Waters and B.B. King. Don’t miss the chance to experience a live blues performance at one of the local juke joints or the annual Juke Joint Festival.
4. Tour the Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg National Military Park is a crucial experience for history enthusiasts. The park commemorates the 1863 Civil War Siege of Vicksburg, a significant turning point. Take a self-guided driving tour of the park, stopping at the 1,325 historical monuments and markers, the USS Cairo Museum, and the Vicksburg National Cemetery.
Historic Vicksburg also deserves your time; situated on the south banks of the Mississippi River, it offers many antebellum homes and boutiques. Stop by the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum to learn about one of Vicksburg’s native sons, Joseph Biedenharn, who was the first to bottle Coca-Cola in 1894.
5. Soak in the Charm of Ocean Springs
Ocean Springs is a charming coastal town located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with a thriving arts scene. Wander through the picturesque downtown area, browse the unique shops and galleries, and visit the Walter Anderson Museum of Art. Don’t forget to relax on the beautiful beaches and sample fresh seafood at local restaurants.
6. Get Some Sun at the Gulf Islands National Seashore
The Gulf Islands National Seashore is a can’t-miss spot for travelers seeking the perfect sun-soaked destination. This stretch of coastline offers tourists pristine white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and a wide range of outdoor recreational activities.
From swimming and kayaking to fishing and bird watching, it offers diverse experiences to enjoy at this Gulf Coast gem. And with plenty of nearby restaurants, shops, and accommodations, visitors can quickly turn their day trip into an extended stay. So grab your sunscreen and get ready to bask in the beauty of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
7. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
The Mississippi Museum of Natural History offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about nature through detailed exhibits and experience them firsthand by exploring the exhibition center grounds.
The exhibition center provides information regarding Mississippi Wildlife and its diverse ecosystems. The most remarkable is the aquarium, which hosts over 200 native animals in an enormous greenhouse and swamp habitat. Another exhibit of interest is the extensive fossil collection and the examination of native whitetails.
8. Spend a day touring Natchez
Natchez is a beautiful city located on the Mississippi River and provides a great opportunity for visitors to explore its rich historical sites and natural beauty. The Natchez Trace Parkway runs through the area, offering an amazing view of the countryside.
Spend a day exploring the beautiful architecture, including ancient Indian burial mounds. You can also take in some of the best views of the Mississippi River while walking along the many parks and trails in the area.
Take time to visit some of the city’s historic sites, such as Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and Melrose Plantation. Don’t forget to take a stroll through downtown Natchez for unique shopping and dining experiences when you visit Mississippi.
9. Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum
On a cold January day in 1935, Tupelo, Mississippi, witnessed the birth of a legend: Elvis Presley. Nestled in the modest two-room house built by his father, the King of Rock and Roll spent his formative years. Today, the humble abode remains preserved, a testament to Elvis’s humble beginnings.
As you step through the doorway of this iconic home, you’ll find yourself transported back in time. The house remains in its original state, offering a glimpse into the early years of the man who would become a global phenomenon. Within these walls, a young boy, Elvis discovered his passion for music, fueled by gospel tunes that filled the air as his parents sang in church.
Elvis’s spiritual roots can be traced to the chapel his family attended, which now resides on the same property as his birthplace. As you explore the grounds, you’ll find more than just the house and chapel; the site also boasts a museum dedicated to the King’s early life.
The Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum is a veritable treasure trove for fans of the King. Browse the gift shops brimming with Elvis memorabilia, from classic vinyl records to keepsakes that capture the spirit of a bygone era.
Where to stay in Mississippi
When planning your visit to Mississippi, consider these top accommodations:
- The Guest House at Graceland – Memphis
- Beau Rivage Resort & Casino – Biloxi
- The Alluvian – Greenwood
- Monmouth Historic Inn – Natchez
- The Westin Jackson – Jackson
- The Roost Ocean Springs – Ocean Springs
- White House Hotel – Biloxi
- The Natchez Pearl – Natchez
- Graduate Hotel Oxford – Oxford
- The Cotton House – Cleveland
How to Get Around in Mississippi
Navigating Mississippi is relatively easy, with numerous transportation options available. Renting a car is the most convenient way to explore the state, as it allows you to travel at your own pace and visit off-the-beaten-path locations. RentalCars.com offers a wide selection of vehicles to suit your needs.
Travel Tips Mississippi
Mississippi has a diverse landscape, rich history, and warm, welcoming people. To make the most of your visit, consider these indispensable travel tips.
Be Prepared for the Weather
Mississippi experiences hot and humid summers, while winters are generally mild. Pack accordingly, with lightweight, breathable clothing for the warmer months and layers for the cooler months. Don’t forget rain gear, as sudden showers are not uncommon.
Experience Local Cuisine
Mississippi is known for its delicious Southern cuisine. Indulge in mouthwatering dishes like fried catfish, gumbo, and Mississippi mud pie. Try the state’s signature dish, the Mississippi hot tamale, a tasty concoction of seasoned meat wrapped in a cornmeal dough.
Immerse Yourself in the Music
Mississippi’s rich musical history is worth exploring. Visit iconic music landmarks such as the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, or catch a live blues show in one of the many juke joints scattered throughout the state.
Travel Insurance is Essential
Ensure you have adequate travel insurance before embarking on your Mississippi adventure. Insurance can cover unforeseen expenses such as medical emergencies or trip cancellations. Check out VisitorsCoverage.com for a range of options.
Respect Local Culture and History
Mississippi’s past is both fascinating and complex. As you explore the state’s places abundant in historical significance and learn about its rich heritage, remember to show respect for the people and events that shaped its history.