From sunbathing on Gulf Coast beaches to exploring snowy woodlands, Mississippi has something for everyone during the winter months. This diverse state is full of hidden gems and festivities, especially around New Year’s. As for accommodations, there are plenty of Mississippi vacation rentals to choose from such as quaint houses in the suburbs and cottages tucked away in the woods. If you’re thinking about visiting Mississippi over the winter holiday season, here are some of the best places to stay.

coliseum pier mississippi
Source: Flickr/rainchurch

1. Biloxi

Biloxi is one of the most happening places on the Gulf Coast, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. Most of the casinos and resorts go all out for the evening, often with themed parties or other special events. From the old-fashioned vibe at Boomtown Casino to the modern atmosphere at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino or IP Casino, this town knows how to party. If you’re in the mood for some culture, you can also visit the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, take in a show or concert, or simply stroll along the pristine Gulf Coast beaches.

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2. Waveland

If you prefer a quieter, more family-oriented holiday, consider staying in Waveland. This small town has a relaxed, old-fashioned feel and is home to Buccaneer State Park, so there are lots of outdoor activities. On New Year’s Eve, locals and visitors alike gather on the beaches to set off fireworks and ring in the new year. Just be sure to clean up after yourself if you set off fireworks, as the local police issue tickets for littering. Waveland is also only about an hour away from New Orleans and half an hour from Biloxi, so you can head out for the night if you want a change of pace.

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3. Natchez

Natchez is known for its historical buildings and old-fashioned feel, but this city also exudes modern charm. If you’re wondering where to go in Natchez on New Year’s Eve, you can find plenty of options to choose from. The city puts on an annual fireworks display known as Fireworks On the Bluff, and most of the casinos have special parties or other events. The Natchez Convention Center and Vidalia Convention Center also typically host New Year’s Eve parties with live music, dancing, food, and drinks. There are also numerous smaller celebrations each year held by hotels and restaurants.

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4. Bay Springs

This small town is a great place to spend a quiet winter getaway with your family. If you’re into the outdoors, stay near Claude Bennett State Park, which is open all year and one of the most popular winter parks in Mississippi. It offers excellent cross-country skiing if you happen to be there for a snowfall, but the typical mild winter weather also draws in fishing enthusiasts and hunters. Despite its small size, there are still numerous restaurants and a few public parties, although availability varies depending on the year. It’s also a great place to simply curl up and quietly celebrate the new year in a charming vacation rental cottage.

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5. Meridian

For people who never want Christmas to end, Meridian can be a great place to visit in the days leading up to New Year’s. This city takes its holidays seriously and is famous for its month-long Merry Meridian Christmas celebration, which lasts until New Year’s Eve. Meridian is also known for its vibrant music and arts scene, so you can catch live music at a variety of venues. If you’re having trouble deciding where to go in Meridian for New Year’s, just head downtown and stroll around to find some excellent music and plenty of friendly people.

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6. Jackson

Jackson is Mississippi’s largest city, and it offers diverse options on New Year’s Eve. There are several annual parties, such as the Soulabration New Year’s Eve Party. For younger kids who want to participate in the fun but can’t quite make it until midnight, the Mississippi Children’s Museum hosts Noon Year’s Eve, where kids can shoot confetti cannons, make decorations, and otherwise celebrate the new year about 12 hours early. In addition to these large, popular events, many local restaurants offer special menus and other deals.

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7. Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg is a medium-sized city with an artsy atmosphere and a variety of cute, historic vacation rentals both in the city and nestled in the beautiful scenery outside of it. New Year’s Eve tends to be fairly quiet for a city of this size, but there are still fun things to do. There’s an annual family-friendly fireworks show at the nearby Paul B. Johnson State Park. One of the most popular parties every year is the Ropers annual New Year’s Eve party, which features live music, free appetizers, and free champagne. If that’s a little too crowded, there are lots of other venues nearby.

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8. Gulfport

Along with nearby Biloxi, Gulfport is one of the most popular Gulf Coast vacation destinations in the state. Visitors for New Year’s can enjoy the Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival, a family-friendly event that features rides, entertainment, and of course, beautiful holiday lights. It wraps up on New Year’s Eve. Island View Casino Resort sponsors a more grown-up New Year’s party every year, as do several local restaurants and clubs. Beach parties are also popular events, but fireworks are prohibited.

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