Enjoy a three-day weekend in Mississippi during Columbus Day weekend. Look forward to carefree days of fishing, canoeing, and kayaking in the mild October temperatures, or enjoy the electrifying nightlife. You’ll have a phenomenal time if you stay at one of many cozy or luxurious Mississippi vacation rentals that overlook the Gulf of Mexico or the Mississippi River. With fall festivals in full swing, you can get to know the area and locals when choosing one of these 10 cities as your vacation destination for Columbus Day weekend.

1. Clarksdale

Celebrate the Columbus Day holiday with the locals jamming at the Hambone Festival in Clarksdale. This annual October event at Ground Zero features live blues music, family-friendly games, Bloody Mary samples and a tour of the downtown art gallery. Before retreating back to your vacation rental, take a tour of the Rock & Blues Museum or take a family photo in front of the Crossroad landmark.

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2. Vicksburg

If you are a biking enthusiast, join in the bike race over the holiday weekend at the Vicksburg Fall Fest. This annual festival features a sidewalk sale, live music, family activities, and antique tractor displays. Soak up the history of this Mississippi town by touring the Old Courthouse and the U.S.S. Cairo Museum. The trails at the Tara Wildlife Center are ideal for hikers while the Ameristar Casino in town offers nightlife.

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3. Jackson

Spend your holiday weekend enjoying the warm temperatures in Jackson with a hike in LeFleur’s Bluff State Park. This historic city is home to tours of the Old Capitol Museum, as well as 18 additional museums to delight the history buffs. The light fall breeze makes the Jackson Zoo a great place to spend an afternoon when making Jackson your vacation destination for the weekend.

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4. Aberdeen

Join in the fun of the Bukka White Festival in Aberdeen and find yourself surrounded by classic cars, antiques, and live blues music. This Columbus Day weekend festival includes an animal show, kids’ games and arts along with crafts for the entire family. Explore the great outdoors when walking the trails along the Aberdeen Lock and Dam or catch a show at the Elkin Theatre on your weekend getaway.

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5. Olive Branch

Treat the kids to a weekend of face painting, mini golf, sand art, and arts and crafts when booking a vacation rental in Olive Branch, home to the Olive Branch Octoberfest over the Columbus Day holiday weekend. This German festival includes a display of local photographers’ work, as well as live music and food vendors. Before heading back to your cozy vacation rental, get in 18 holes at Cherokee Valley Golf Club.

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6. Gulfport

Gulfport is a popular tourist attraction any time of the year, but when you make this beach city your vacation destination for the Columbus Day holiday, you can take part in the Cruisin’ the Coast festival. More than 7,000 classic cars show up for this block party that also features a swap meet, auto auction and headline bands. Take advantage of the warm and breezy October weather on the Gulf of Mexico during your weekend getaway when renting canoes or kayaks from Everything Kayak.

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7. Biloxi

Make a splash with the family while floating down the river in kayaks and canoes from Affordable Boat Adventures in Biloxi. This popular Mississippi city is home to the Tchoutacabouffa River where the fish are plentiful. When you want some adult adventures, try your lock on the slots or tables at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

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8. Collins

Opt for a delicious way to celebrate the extended weekend by attending the Mississippi Peanut Festival in Collins. Hosted by Mitchell Farms, this outdoor festival features food vendors and more than 75 vendors offering jewelry, collectibles, antiques, crafts, and yard art. Cool off from the warm temperatures during the weekend with a thrilling stop in at Grand Paradise Water Park.

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9. Hattiesburg

Head to southern Mississippi in October to enjoy a refreshing day at Pep’s Point Water Park or tour the Hattiesburg Zoo. Since football season is in full swing, head over to Roberts Stadium to see the University of Southern Mississippi team play. If you want authentic German food while on vacation, stop in at the St. John Lutheran Church’s Oktoberfest that offers sauerkraut, potato salad, and brats.

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10. Carrollton

Step back into time with tours of historical buildings, churches, and homes when attending the Pilgrimage and Pioneer Day Festival in Carrollton. This annual event offers fun in the sun with vendors and tours of the J.Z. George Library. Expand your sight-seeing when traveling to nearby Winona for rock climbing and hiking at Old Mountain Outdoor Adventures.

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11. Natchez

Make your holiday trip educational when soaking up the architecture and history of Natchez. This historic city features tours of quaint Mississippi estates such as the Longwood Mansion and the Melrose Estate. Head to Duncan Park for golfing and hiking, or take a dip in the Mississippi River. When hunger strikes, opt for the Southern cuisine at Biscuits and Blues.

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