Visitors to Mississippi might feel the warmth -- not from the weather, but from the locals who call the "Hospitality State” home. Mississippi is full of friendly people and attractions that will show you a good time. This southern state is surrounded by water, with the Mississippi River forming the western border and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Mississippi’s Gulf Coast resort towns see a lot of traffic, with casino areas drawing in tourists and economic gains for the state. Mississippi is also recognized for the arts, with inspired music, literature and dance adding to the landscape.
Things to do in Mississippi
Pop into the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson for a fascinating look at Mississippi’s history, government and architecture. If you’re more into pop and culture, head for the Rock & Blues Heritage museum in Clarksdale, which is considered the site rock and roll was first recorded in 1951. Mississippi is also the birthplace of Elvis Presley, king of rock n’ roll, and visitors can learn more about this rock god in the town of Tupelo. Ghost tours are popular in the south, especially in the fall, when you can build up excitement apple or pumpkin picking before nightfall. For an unforgettable theater experience, catch a show at Riley Center, a restored Victorian theater that hosts some of the best performers from around the world.
Best cities to visit in Mississippi
Known as the “playground of the south,” Biloxi harbors entertainment for both children and adults, with beaches and amusement parks for kids, and a vibrant nightlife for adults. Jackson, Mississippi is one of Forbes’ top “most bang for your buck” cities, with a relatively low cost of living and plenty of things to do. Oxford has an impressive number of music venues, restaurants and bars, catering to those in the 18 to 34 demographic who make up over 50 percent of the city’s population. Starksville also has a younger demographic, though more popular for its numerous festivals, events and cuisine. Vicksburg, with its arts, entertainment and outdoor activities, is also known for its beautiful architecture and historic landmarks.
Best small towns in Mississippi
Bay St. Louis in Mississippi is a small town that has it all—oceanfront views, a hip downtown, flourishing art scene—all while maintaining its small town vibe and charm. Ocean Springs is a haven for craftspeople and artists, also luring travelers with the numerous art shops, studios and historic churches in town. As one of the fastest growing small towns in the state, Oxford is a melting pot of robust history, a thriving music scene, tons of creative spaces and award-winning restaurants. Snow Lake Shores was first established as a private resort community, but it was incorporated into a town for all people to enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding town. Music aficionados may take a liking to Cleveland, which became synonymous with blues music in the 1860s and is now a bustling town with antique stores and lively cultural institutions.
Best lake vacations in Mississippi
Sardis Lake started off as a flood control facility in the 1930s, and has since turned into a 98,000-acre recreation space, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Lake Patsy is a scenic spectacle nestled among greenery, gardens and walking trails. Lake Bill Waller is a fisherman’s favorite, full of largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish—ideal for fishing. Oktibbeha County Lake, the largest state fishing lake according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, is also brimming with various finned creatures for fishers’ pursuit. Little Black Creek Campground and Park is where visitors can find a myriad of activities including disk golf and ziplining in addition to classic lake recreation such as kayaking and fishing. Lake Ferguson is also a popular destination for water enthusiasts, hosting numerous tournaments throughout the year and having a topography that allows the water to stay clear all year round.
Best National Parks in Mississippi
A cemetery may seem like a strange attraction to visit, but the Vicksburg National Cemetery is quite a sight, spanning 116 acres and holding the remains of 17,000 Civil War Union soldiers. It’s a part of Vicksburg National Military Park, which also houses more than 1,300 historic monuments. The Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge is where you can see wildlife native to the state, as well as a spectrum of stunning scenery. The Natchez Trace Parkway National Park houses Cypress Swamp, where visitors can bike, hike or drive around the expectedly breathtaking area. Percy Quin State Park in McComb was one of the first state parks to be cleared in the state and offers facilities for enjoyment such as tennis courts, pools, and an 18-hole golf course.