From the sand-strewn shores of Biloxi to the music-drenched atmosphere of Southaven, Mississippi is all about diversity. Whether you want to spend your Valentine’s Day kayaking down the Mississippi River, hiking through the De Soto National Forest, or staring into your lover’s eyes over candlelight and fine wine, you can do all those and more in Mississippi. Book a stay at a Mississippi vacation rental today. Check out what to do and where to go in Jackson, Tupelo, and other popular cities.

1. Jackson

The capital of Mississippi has a population of over 169,000 people, so you might have trouble deciding where to go in Jackson for Valentine’s Day dinner. A few top picks include The Penguin, Strawberry Cafe, Nick’s Restaurant, and Hal and Mal’s. The Penguin goes all out for love birds with a special concert and a four-course meal. One of the popular entrees include bacon-wrapped, crab-stuffed jumbo shrimp. Add some lobster bisque and strawberries Romanoff, and Valentine’s Day has never tasted so good. Hal’s and Mal’s offers a Paris theme — with food to match — and Strawberry Cafe features a special menu highlighted with appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, and dessert. Even kids can get out and have fun on this day for lovers at the Manship House Museum, where they can learn all about Victorian-style Valentines and traditions.

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2. Gulfport

Once you settle into your Gulfport vacation rental, practice a little self-love first. Do some relaxing yoga on the beach followed by some kayaking (or canoeing). While you’re outdoors, head north to the Little Biloxi State Wildlife Management Area for a romantic hike. Pack a picnic lunch for your hike with some of the ultimate romance food: chocolate-dipped strawberries. Lovebirds can pick up some of these tasty treats at Coast Candymakers. Some couples choose to branch out on Valentine’s Day and learn to make a romantic meal at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. You don’t even need to be part of a couple to enjoy this activity; bring along a friend or family member.

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3. Biloxi

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just about people; if you have a love affair with history, than Biloxi can help you. Visit all the popular sites from the Historic Jefferson Davis Estate and Museum to the Biloxi Lighthouse — a 19th century cast iron hallmark of the city. Double down on love, and climb to the top of the lighthouse with your significant other for a romantic, scenic view. Afterwards, stop at Beau Rivage Casino’ BR Prime restaurant. Whether you gamble or not is optional, but the menu is definitely worth exploring. Opt for the four-course prix fixe menu with seafood entrees that include Alaskan king crab and fresh Gulf flounder.

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4. Gautier

Gautier lies on the Gulf Coast, along the Pascagoula River, and around the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. A visit on Valentine’s Day is all about nature. Take a guide-led kayak tour through Eco-Tours of South Mississippi. There are two- and four-hour options, or you can create a personalized tour. If you want your nature a little bit more tame, go to the Gulf Coast Orchid Society’s Tropical Valentine orchid show. Instead of a bouquet of flowers, you can view dozens of colorful varieties of orchids. Afterwards, enjoy a romantic dinner at the Tiki Restaurant and Lounge. This location combines a relaxing tropical theme with top-notch food to deliver the best of both worlds.

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5. Meridian

In Meridian, Valentine’s Day isn’t just the day of lovers. It’s the day over 150 years ago that Union troops entered the town during the Civil War. Although much was destroyed, the railroad lines were repaired, and Meridian was rebuilt. Visit some of the town’s historic markers for a romantic history trip — and observe evidence of the love people hold for their hometown — such as the Sherman “Bow Ties,” Railroads and the War, Merrehope, and Old Marion Cemetery. The town also hosts an annual Valentine’s Day Ball at the Meridian Temple Theater for the Performing Arts that includes food, drinks, and dancing.

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6. Tupelo

Tupelo is Elvis Presley’s birthplace, the romantic ballad crooner himself. Visit the Vernon Presley house, and pay homage to the smooth-singing legend. Don’t leave without listening to live blues music at Blue Canoe. This casual place offers some of the best hamburgers in Mississippi and some amazing blueberry donut bread pudding. For something with a little more candlelight, heady to Woody’s. This steakhouse is all about good, Southern food with such options as blackberry butter, balsamic-glazed Angus fillet, creamy crawfish pan sauce, and smoked cheese grits. Afterwards, get a decadent dessert at Crave. This dessert cafe is located conveniently within a stroll from a shopping district where you can pick up a little present for your Valentine.

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7. Southaven

Speaking of food, Southaven has a list of romantic restaurants that you’re going to want to try. Mesquite Chophouse is all about the vintage look, taking you back to those early days of your relationship. Cuddle together in front of the fireplace while you listen to soft music and enjoy dessert wine (chocolate-infused port is a thing). Try Thai at Leelavadee Thai Cuisine or Bangkok Alley. Southaven is only 13 miles south of Memphis, so you can head across the Mississippi-Tennessee border for a night out on the town of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

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