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MISSISSIPPI TRAVEL GUIDE


Welcome to the bigroads.com travel guide to Mississippi! Hopefully this page helps provide some inspiration and tips to help you plan your next trip to Mississippi.

Take note that I build and maintain this website as both a hobby and public service. I take joy in performing travel research and sharing my experiences and adventures. I do not make any profit from this website, and you will see no ads on it. Your constructive feedback about this site and its content is encouraged. Please email me if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvement.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons

OVERVIEW



Mississippi is known for being the poorest state in the country, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't visit it. There are plenty of great attractions scattered throughout the state, including many historical homes, plantations, and several great Gulf of Mexico beaches. If you enjoy gambling, Biloxi and Tunica are both one of the biggest gambling centers in the country outside of Las Vegas. The city of Jackson is packed with excellent museums. Mississippi also has many important Civil War museums and sites. There are two outstanding rail trails in the state too (Longleaf and Tanglefoot), and both are considered some of the finest cycling trails in the U.S.

TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS IN MISSISSIPPI



Are you short on time or struggling to choose something to do or see in Mississippi? Here are my selections for the top 10 attractions or experiences in Mississippi, in no particular order:

Cycle the Longleaf Trace and/or the Tanglefoot Trail; both are among the finest rail trails in the U.S.
Head to Natchez, the "B&B capital of the south"
Drive the Natchez Trace Parkway, which passes through some of MI's most historic towns
Take a boat tour from Gulfport to visit Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island
Visit one of the premier Civil War sites at Vicksburg National Military Park
Tour the Melrose plantation in Natchez
Catch some blues music at Red's Lounge in Clarksdale
Hit the beaches at Gulf Islands National Seashore
Throw some dice at one of the fine casinos in Biloxi

If I could select only one place to visit in Mississippi, I would choose the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

For a list of 10 great attractions in each U.S. state, click here.

5-STAR ATTRACTIONS IN MISSISSIPPI



Here is my opinionated list of 5-star attractions in Mississippi. I believe each of these attractions should be on your Mississippi bucket list since they are all noteworthy from a national perspective:

Northern Mississippi (including Oxford, Tunica, and Tupelo)
Civil War Interpretive Center, Corinth - exhibits on the Battle of Shiloh & the Siege and Battle of Corinth
Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale - a small but good collection of blues memorabilia
Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum, Tupelo - visit the tiny building that Elvis grew up in
Gambling at casinos in Tunica - e.g. Fitz, Gold Strike, Hollywood Casino, Horseshoe, Sam's Town, etc.
Gold Strike Casino Resort, Robinsonville - good casino with 1400 slots and 40 table games
Natchez Trace Parkway - a 444-mile scenic drive that passes through some of Mississippi's most historic towns
Red's Lounge, Clarksdale - the place to go in Mississippi for live blues music
Tanglefoot Trail - this trail is 100% paved and it is often rated one of the best rail trails in the U.S.
Tishomingo State Park, Tishomingo - arguably Mississippi's most scenic nature park; great hiking trails, rock climbing, and canoeing
Tupelo Automobile Museum, Tupelo - auto museum with more than 150 rare and collectible cars
Vaught Hemingway Stadium, Oxford - catch an "Ole Miss" college football game in this large outdoor stadium

Central Mississippi (including Jackson and Vicksburg)
B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center, Indianola - "preserves and shares the legacy and values of B. B. King"
Birthplace of Kermit The Frog Museum, Leland - small museum in Jim Henson's boyhood town
Historic Natchez Cemetery, Natchez - one of the most historic cemeteries in the south
Mississippi Children's Museum, Jackson - one of the best children's museums in the south
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Jackson - an outstanding museum exhibiting the history of the Civil Rights Movement
Mississippi State Capitol, Jackson - visit the current capitol building
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson - the largest museum in Mississippi
Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, Jackson - the best natural history museum in the state
Natchez Trace Parkway - a 444-mile scenic drive that passes through some of Mississippi's most historic towns
U.S.S. Cairo Museum, Vicksburg - see the restoration completed to date on an iron clad river boat
Vicksburg National Cemetery, Vicksburg - visit the grave sites of 17,000 Union soldiers
Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg - take a 16-mile driving loop past one of the most famous Civil War battlefields

Southern Mississippi (including Biloxi, Gulfport, and Natchez)
Beauvoir, Biloxi - visit the home of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy
Biloxi Beach, Biloxi - one of Mississippi's best and most popular beaches; the Biloxi Lighthouse is there as well
Biloxi Lighthouse, Biloxi - visit a cast-iron lighthouse built in 1848
Betsy Ann Riverboat, Bay Saint Louis - take a short cruise on an authentic stern wheel paddlewheel riverboat
Boat tours from Gulfport - e.g. take a cruise to Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island
Clark Creek Natural Area, Woodville - one of Mississippi's most beautiful hiking areas; many seasonal waterfalls
De Soto National Forest, - some of the best trails and canoeing/kayaking in the state
Fort Massachusetts, Ship Island, Gulf Islands National Seashore - take a boat or ferry to visit a historic fort; there's also a swimmer's beach
Gambling at casinos in Biloxi's - e.g. Beau Rivage, Boomtown, Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, Harrah's, IP, Palace, Treasure Bay.
Gulf Islands National Seashore - the best beaches in Mississippi
Hattiesburg Zoo, Hattiesburg - a very small but highly rated zoo
Longleaf Trace - this 44-mile long rail trail is 100% paved and it is often rated one of the best rail trails in the U.S.
Longwood, Natchez - tours of the largest octagonal house in the U.S.
Melrose, Natchez - offers excellent plantation tours, including a 15,000sq foot mansion of the Greek Revival design
Red Bluff, Foxworth - take a hike to see a colorful canyon; take note that maintenance of this location is spotty and you may see a lot of trash
Rosalie Mansion, Natchez - tour a pre-Civil War mansion; no photography allowed
St. Mary Basilica, Natchez - arguably the most beautiful church in Mississippi
Stanton Hall, Natchez - tour a palatial Greek Revival style residence; the #1 Natchez attraction
World's Largest Rocking Chair, Gulfport - 35-foot tall roadside attraction of a giant rocking chair

Are you aware of any other 5-star attractions in Mississippi? If so, please email me at gparsons66@hotmail.com.

For a list of 5-star attractions in neighboring states, click on any of these links:  AL  |  AR  |  LA  |  TN

BEST TOWNS & CITIES TO VISIT IN MISSISSIPPI



These towns and cities in Mississippi are generally regarded as the most interesting to travelers:

Biloxi - a small city on the Gulf Coast that has several good casinos, museums, and other attractions
Jackson - a medium-sized city and capital of Mississippi; known for having several great museums
Natchez - a small city with many antebellum homes; dubbed the "B&B capital of the south"; start of the Natchez Trace Parkway; music history
Vicksburg - a small city with many antebellum homes that is famous for its Civil War battlefields and museums

Click here if you'd like to see a complete list of towns and cities that I find interesting across the entire U.S.

WHAT IS MISSISSIPPI FAMOUS FOR?



Here are some things that Mississippi is famous or well-known for:

blues music
catfish
casinos (e.g. in Biloxi and Tunica)
Civil Rights history
cotton / cotton fields
magnolia trees
plantation homes
poorest state in the U.S.

Click here if you'd like to explore what other U.S. states are famous for.

NATIONAL PARKS IN MISSISSIPPI



There are currently no national parks in Mississippi, but there are many other federally-managed parks and properties in the state, including:

National Monuments
Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument

National Forests
Bienville National Forest
Delta National Forest
De Soto National Forest
Holly Springs National Forest
Homochitto National Forest
Tombigbee National Forest

National Historical Parks / Other National Parks & Properties
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Natchez National Historical Park
Natchez Trace Parkway
Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
Shiloh National Military Park
Tupelo National Battlefield
Vicksburg National Military Park

For more information on Mississippi's national parks, visit the Mississippi page of the National Park Service. For an overview of all U.S. national parks, click here.

STATE PARKS IN MISSISSIPPI



Mississippi has more than 20 state parks. Most of its state parks are focused on lakes. Tishomingo State Park is probably the finest state park that the state has.

To see my list of the top 100 state parks in the country, click here.

BEST WATERFALLS IN MISSISSIPPI



Mississippi only has about a dozen natural waterfalls, and most of them appear to be highly seasonal. Here are the best known waterfalls in Mississippi:

Clark Creek Natural Area waterfalls
Dunn's Falls (even though it's partially man-made)
Scutchalo Falls
Yellow Creek Waterfalls

For a listing of all known waterfalls in Mississippi, visit the World Waterfall Database.

BEST SCENIC DRIVES IN MISSISSIPPI



Here is a list of the best scenic drives in Mississippi:

Beach Boulevard - an 9-mile paved route along the Gulf Coast shoreline within the city limits of Bay St. Louis
Natchez Trace Parkway - a 444-mile paved route from Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN with many historic sites and scenic overlooks
US-90 - a 29-mile drive along the Gulf Coast shoreline between Henderson Point and Ocean Springs

There may or may not be some scenic sections of the Great River Road in Mississippi as well, but I haven't driven this section of that famous road yet.

For a list of great scenic drives in each U.S. state, click here.

BEST OCEAN BEACHES IN MISSISSIPPI



The Mississippi Gulf Coast has 62 miles of shoreline and there are a few great beaches in the state, including:

Bay St. Louis beaches
Biloxi beaches
East Beach, Ocean Springs
Gulfport Beach, Gulfport
Henderson Point Beach, Pass Christian
Ocean Springs Beach, Ocean Springs
Pass Christian Beach, Pass Christian
Ship Island beaches

BEST RAIL TRAILS IN MISSISSIPPI



Here is a list of some of the best rail trails (or similar cycling paths) in Mississippi:

Northern Mississippi (including Oxford, Tunica, and Tupelo)
Tanglefoot Trail - this trail is 100% paved and it is often rated one of the best rail trails in the U.S.

Southern Mississippi (including Biloxi, Gulfport, and Natchez)
Longleaf Trace - this trail is 100% paved and it is often rated one of the best rail trails in the U.S.

For detailed information on all known rail trails in Mississippi, visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website.

BEST AMUSEMENT PARKS / THEME PARKS IN MISSISSIPPI



There are a few notable amusement parks in Mississippi, including:

Buccaneer Bay Waterpark, Waveland
Geyser Falls Water Theme Park, Choctaw
Grand Paradise Water Park, Collins
Gulf Islands Water Park, Gulfport

BEST MUSEUMS IN MISSISSIPPI



Mississippi has many great museums. The best museums in Mississippi include:

Northern Mississippi (including Oxford, Tunica, and Tupelo)
Civil War Interpretive Center, Corinth
Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale
Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum, Tupelo
GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, Cleveland
Tupelo Automobile Museum, Tupelo

Central Mississippi (including Jackson and Vicksburg)
B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center, Indianola
Birthplace of Kermit The Frog Museum, Leland
Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, Jackson
Mississippi Children's Museum, Jackson
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Jackson
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson
Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, Jackson
Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson
U.S.S. Cairo Museum, Vicksburg

Southern Mississippi (including Biloxi, Gulfport, and Natchez)
Longwood, Natchez
Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, Biloxi
Melrose, Natchez
Mississippi Armed Forces Museum, Hattiesburg
Rosalie Mansion, Natchez
Stanton Hall, Natchez
Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs

The city of Jackson, Mississippi is one of the best cities in the U.S. for museums.

BEST DAY HIKES IN MISSISSIPPI



Compared to other U.S. states, Mississippi only has a limited number of hiking areas. Here are some of the best hiking trails/areas in Mississippi:

Bear Creek Outcroppings Trail, Tishomingo State Park
CCC Camp Trail Loop, Tishomingo State Park
Clark Creek Natural Area trails

I haven't hiked everywhere in Mississippi, but my guess is that the best hiking you'll find in the state is within Tishomingo State Park.

The highpoint of Mississippi is Woodall Mountain (806'). You can drive to the top, and so no hiking is required.

BEST BACKPACKING TRIPS IN MISSISSIPPI



The only backpacking trail in Mississippi that I am aware of is the Black Creek Trail. This trail is about 40 miles long and it passes through De Soto National Forest.

If you know of any other backpacking trails/areas in Mississippi, please email me at gparsons66@hotmail.com

CLASSIC OUTDOOR ADVENTURES IN MISSISSIPPI



Mississippi offers a few notable outdoor adventures, including:

Backpacking the Black Creek Trail
Canoeing/kayaking the Chunky River
Canoeing/kayaking on Okatoma Creek
Canoeing/kayaking the Piney River
Canoeing/kayaking the Strong River
Canoeing/kayaking the Wolf River
Cycling the Longleaf Trace
Cycling the Tanglefoot Trail
Mountain biking the Clear Springs Recreation Area
Mountain biking the Mt. Zion Bike Trail in Brookhaven
Mountain biking the Ridgeland Mountain Bike Trails
Parasailing in Biloxi
Rock climbing in Tishomingo State Park
Tubing the Bogue Chitto River
Tubing the Strong River
Tubing the Wolf River

SKI RESORTS IN MISSISSIPPI



There are no ski resorts in Mississippi. A bummer, but not really surprising.

MISSISSIPPI TRAVEL TIPS



For offbeat and unique Mississippi attractions, visit one or both of these amazing websites: Atlas Obscura and Roadside America

UNIQUE / SPECIALTY FOODS TO TRY IN MISSISSIPPI



Here are some unique / specialty foods to try while you are in Mississippi:

biscuits
fried catfish
fried hushpuppies
fried mullet
mud pie
pig ear sandwich
slugburgers
tamales (e.g. delta tamales)

For a list of unique foods and mom-and-pop type eateries and restaurants in Mississippi (or any other U.S. state), visit the Roadfood.com website.
For a list of unique foods to try in each of the 50 U.S. states, click here.
For a list of the top-rated beers to try in Mississippi (or any other U.S. state), visit the Beer Advocate website.

OTHER KEY MISSISSIPPI INFORMATION



State Capital:
Jackson

Major Airports:
Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT) and Jackson-Evers International Airport (JAN); you can also fly into New Orleans, LA and then drive into Mississippi

Largest Cities:
Jackson (149,739), Gulfport (73,952), Southaven (55,782), Biloxi (50,529), Hattiesburg (49,278), Olive Branch (40,957), Tupelo (38,599)

Primary U.S. Interstates:
I-10, I-20, I-22, I-55, I-59, I-69

State Highpoint:
Woodall Mountain (806') in northeastern Mississippi; you can drive all the way to the top

Professional Sports Teams:
None (although college football is very popular in Mississippi, e.g. Ole Miss and Mississippi State)

Funny or Unique Town/City Names:
Chunky, Goodfood, Guntown, Hot Coffee, Rolling Fork, and Whynot

Take note that in general this travel guide intentionally excluded restaurants, lodging/hotels, breweries, wineries/vineyards, and certain other types of attractions (like arcades, ax-throwing, bowling alleys, and escape rooms). These types of places tend to come and go, and keeping up with that would be too challenging. I encourage you to use Google Maps, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and other travel sites that have reader reviews to find the latest and greatest places that I haven't covered here.




ROAD TRIP GUIDEBOOKS



In addition to the information found on my website, I personally recommend purchasing these road trip/travel-related guidebooks. Click on any book cover to read reviews and/or purchase these books on Amazon.com.

        


MORE U.S. STATE TRAVEL GUIDES



Did you enjoy this state travel guide? If so, here are links to more of my comprehensive U.S. state travel guides:

Alabama Maryland Oregon
Arizona Massachusetts Pennsylvania
Arkansas Michigan Rhode Island
California Minnesota South Carolina
Colorado Mississippi South Dakota
Connecticut Missouri Tennessee
Delaware Montana Texas
Florida Nebraska Utah
Georgia Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico Washington DC
Iowa New York West Virginia
Kansas North Carolina Wisconsin
Kentucky North Dakota Wyoming
Louisiana Ohio  
Maine Oklahoma  

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