Did you know that this state was named for its famous waterway? Today, it’s a bustling hub of history and culture. There are plenty of things to do in Mississippi.
This southern state is bordered by the Mississippi River to the west, Alabama to its east, and the Gulf of Mexico down south. Of all the fifty states, the Delta Region here is the most well known for being the birthplace of jazz music. From history to art and culture, there is so much to take in. Needless to say, there are so many things to do in Mississippi.
While the options never run dry, we know you can’t see it all. At least not all at once. So, we’re here to give you the lowdown on the best spots, hidden gems, and tricks of the trade while traveling. Let’s go.
Here Are Our Picks for the Top Things to Do in Mississippi
1. Visit Clarksdale
Come and see the crossroads of culture and quirkiness. And don’t forget a dose of blues. Clarksdale offers a central hub within just a few hours of all the blues sights. But don’t get us wrong. This little Delta town isn’t all about glitz and glamor.
Quite to the contrary, in fact, its washed out storefronts and old streets stand reminiscent of its historic charm. In spite of its grungy exterior, there is a true warmth to this place. We’ll bet anything you end up lingering here just a bit longer than you expected. To get you started on your Clarksdale adventure, we have a few recommendations for must-see places while you’re there.
First things first. Start the day off right by visiting the Rock & Roll Blues Museum. This joint is teeming with memorabilia from some of the best artifacts spanning from 1920 to the 1970s. Exhibits follow the evolution of music in the country from blues to R&B, rock n’ roll, soul, and more. Visiting here is a must for things to do in Mississippi.
After a day of exploring the city, you need to swing by s. If you’re looking for an authentic Mississippi juke joint, look no further. Think loud music, louder crowds, and beer glasses as big as your head. Places like this are what make blues music what it is. Back in the day, Red’s was originally called Levine’s Music Center. This is where Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm bought the instruments for the first rock n’ roll song. Talk about history.
2. Go See Rowan Oak
Have you heard of Rowan Oak before? If not, you should add it to your list of the top things to do in Mississippi. This was the home of William Faulkner and his family for more than forty years. The residence dates all the way back to 1844, spanning over 29 acres of land south of the Square in Oxford. Rowan Oak and its grounds are open year-round from morning to evening. There is no fee to visit the grounds but it does cost $5 admission to tour the house. Additional hours and information can be viewed here.
3. Spend the Day Wandering Around the Capital City, Jackson
As cliche as it may sound, the people make the place. We can’t think of a better way to describe Jackson. Passionate people, friendly locals, and a warm sense of hospitality pervade throughout the city. The people have imbued their soul into every little bit of it. From hole-in-the-wall record shops to mom and pop restaurants, this place carries a special quirk that pulls on the strings of your heart.
When you’re traveling, there’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in the culture without hesitation. Don’t make a massive list of to-dos. Keep a short one and wander to see what you will find. Try a new type of food. Chat with the person next to you at the bar. Make new friends that will soon become old ones. Now that you’re in the mood for adventure and some good eats, we’re going to show you our favorite places to enjoy it all.
One of our favorite things to do in Mississippi is to go on a foodie tour. If you haven’t been to 1908 Provisions, you’re doing this traveling thing all wrong. This premier farm to table restaurant is nestled downstairs of the historic Fairview Inn. Southern-inspired cuisine and fine dining come together in a warm, cozy ambiance you’re sure to love.
We love that they champion the quality of their ingredients, rotating a list of seasonal items for brunch and dinner. Some of the long-time favorite menu options include the stuffed pork tenderloin, Simon’s 1908 burger, Kentucky bourbon derby pie, and apple cinnamon bread pudding. We’re getting hungry just thinking about all of it. Here, luxury, wonderful provisions, and attentive service come together for the perfect experience.
4. Explore the Bay St. Louis Area
If you have a little extra time to spend, exploring the Bay St. Louis Area is a good way to do it. Add wandering this scenic spot to your list of things to do in Mississippi. Beach lovers post up along the shore. Old architecture and renovated spaces offer an interesting juxtaposition of the old and new.
You’ll find this charming city ninety miles east of New Orleans. Sitting at the juncture of the marsh, river, and the Gulf of Mexico, there are so many fun activities you can take part in. One of our favorite spots in the city of Bay St. Louis is the old town. Thirteen years ago, Hurricane Katrina tore through the town. But the resilience of the people prevailed. Rebuilt from ruins, the town managed to retain its quirky sense of self-expression and independence.
Wandering the old town, you’ll find the local library, cute artist co-ops, and The Buttercup on Second Street restaurant. Other favorite spots to spend an hour or two are Tree House Yoga, Century Hall, and a myriad of antiques and retail shops. Just minutes from Main Street, you will find some of the best hole-in-the-wall eateries, shops, and the Bay St. Louis Little Theatre.
5. Take a Road Trip and Marvel in the Beauty of Gulf Islands National Seashore
Enjoy 150 miles of pristine shoreline. As the longest stretch of federally protected shoreline in the country, there’s plenty of space for you to find that perfect spot on the sand. This secluded seashore is the perfect place to take a lazy beach day and just catch up on your R&R. Not only is the water a beautiful shade of turquoise but the sand is strikingly white in contrast.
Why? The beaches here are made from 99.4 % pure crystal. Thousands of years of erosion of the Appalachian Mountains and remnants carried along rivers have given way to the powdery shoreline. Visitors who come to the shoreline fall in love as soon as they sink their toes into the sand. Exploring here is one of our favorite things to do in Mississippi. From hiking to taking a bike ride or kayaking down the coast, you’ll never run out of options for fun and excitement.
An abundant ecosystem gives way to a truly unique marine and terrestrial wildlife scene. Look overhead as osprey and blue herons ride the wind effortlessly into the horizon. In the clear waters below, dolphins, sea turtles, and rays are easily spotted. Adventure seekers will love that the Seashore offers a wide array of activities to take part in. Choose from kayaking, snorkeling, boating, fishing, wildlife observing, camping, kayaking, hiking, and more. Go out on your own and explore or you can book a ranger-led nature tour with to explore hidden life in the ecosystem.
Last but certainly not least, history buffs will appreciate the significance of the region in regards to military use. The strategic use of this region even predates the American Revolution. Three forts mark the Pensacola Harbor, Fort Pickens, Fort Barrancas, and Fort McRee. All are included within the scope of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and protected by the National Park Service (NPS). If you’ve ever daydreamed about having a deserted island all to yourself, your wishes are about to come true.
6. Take A Step Back in Time at the Emerald Mound
Spanning some eight acres, the Emerald Mound is certainly a sight to behold. A must-see stop along the Mississippi Trail, this is the second largest Indian Temple Mound built within the United States. In fact, it is also the third-largest pre-Columbian network located north of the Mexican border. The mound was built between 1300-1600, used as a central base.
From the parking lot, you can take a footpath up the main platform. A series of steps will take you from there to one of the remaining secondary mounds. Since Emerald is the highest point in the surrounding landscape, you will get a great view of the surrounding region. Early traveler’s accounts describe Emerald as a large primary mound framed by several smaller ones.
Despite its early origins, archaeological excavations did not occur in the region until the late 1880s. The most recent excavation occurred in 1972. These excavations have determined that the first building stages of the mound were accomplished at the beginning of 1350. Emerald Mound was the hub of the Natchez Nation before AD 1500.
Plan A Getaway and Check off the Top Things to Do in Mississippi from Your List
While most people don’t think of Mississippi as an ideal getaway, this state really has a lot up its sleeve. From holding the title as the birthplace of jazz to a critical place in our country’s history, there is so much culture to dive into.
Are you interested in seeing more places to explore on the east coast? Check out these other travel articles on places to visit:
- Why San Antonio is the Best for a Day Trip
- The Ultimate Guide of Things to Do in South Florida
- 14 Absolutely Beautiful South Carolina Beaches
Questions and Comments
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