Possessing a name that is hard for some to say and even more difficult to spell, Mississippi is a place that is often ignored by travelers on their way to New Orleans or Florida. For those looking for an authentic taste of the Deep South in one of the region’s most rural states, Mississippi is an ideal place to experience the culture of this unique corner of America.
While the blues caught fire in larger urban centers elsewhere in the South or further north, it was here where the art form was born. Many memorable social encounters will be had, and some of the best meals in your life will be enjoyed here, whether it is in a countryside bed and breakfast, or in a roadside diner.
While some of the mainline attractions here may not be of global significance, the simple things discovered by adopting the slower pace of life here will outstrip these when you recall your excellent experience while traveling through Mississippi.
What To Do – Culture & History
No discussion of a Southern state can start or end without mentioning its connection to the American Civil War. In Mississippi, Vicksburg National Military Park commemorates the siege that was brought upon the fortress that protected this key city on the Mississippi River.
The former battle site preserves the battlefield where the protracted battle took place, and contains the raised remains of the USS Cairo, the first naval vessel in American history to be sunk by a torpedo.
While the King of Rock and Roll made his fortune and fame further north in Memphis, it was in Mississippi where he was born and raised. The Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum preserves his childhood home in Tupelo along with the chapel where he and his family worshipped on Sundays. Though simple in its construction, it goes to show the humble roots from which he rose to become one of the biggest names in music.
After suffering defeat in the Civil War, Jefferson Davis was no longer the political leader of a fledgling nation. Suffering an immense political embarrassment from not only the destruction the war wrought on the countryside, but from losing to the Union, Davis retired from public life and lived out the remainder of his days at an estate known as Beauvoir. Located in Biloxi, this former plantation is home to botanical gardens and a Confederate cemetery in addition to the stately interior of the mansion itself.
If music is a big interest of yours, checking out the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale will fill you in on the region that birthed the blues. Situated in a former railway station, it contains artifacts related to the development of the blues in the area, including the humble shack where famed artist Muddy Waters grew up and began strumming the tunes that would eventually launch him to superstardom.
What To Do – Modern & Natural Attractions
Those seeking to spend some quality time by the subtropical sea should head straight to Biloxi, where the state’s best beaches can be found. With water temperatures suitable for swimming three out of four seasons of the year, and blinding white sand, Biloxi’s beaches will have you lingering here until the sun sinks into the western horizon.
Those that love to bet their dollars in the hope of earning more dollars will be in luck here as well, as this city is also famous for its many casinos!
Want a more laid back beach experience? If so, you will be better off spending their time at Buccaneer State Park, where one can enjoy a quiet beach where the only cacophony that is audible is that of the screech of seagulls on the breeze. If you are on a budget and love the outdoors, you are in luck here, as over 300 campsites will allow you to stay overnight as the swells of the Gulf Coast lull you to sleep.
If you have ever found yourself wondering what a buffalo (bison) looks like in person, taking an afternoon to check out Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo will quell that curiosity. This wildlife preserve and zoo has a free-roaming herd of bison, while those that wish to give their kids a first glimpse of exotic animals like lions, tigers and zebras will get the chance to do so here, as these species and others are also housed by this park.
Has the infamous summer humidity of the Deep South have you and your family on your collective knees? Heading to Geyser Falls Water Theme Park will remedy this unfortunate predicament by offering you the largest wave pool in the South, as well as 13 water slides, and an amazing lazy river, so go ahead: cool off and recharge … you deserve it!