25 Things to Do in Mississippi
By Janet Benoir – October 9, 2023
Exploring the South provides a wealth of experiences, and Mississippi is a state brimming with wonders. From world-renowned authors and significant historical events to breathtaking landscapes and achievements, there’s no shortage of fascinating experiences awaiting you in this diverse locale.
As you embark on your next adventure, consider these 25 top-rated attractions and activities in Mississippi. This diverse state offers stunning nature vistas, enthralling history, and unique cultural experiences to satisfy a wide range of interests and tastes. Discover the hidden gems and make lasting memories in Mississippi.
Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum
The Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum is a top attraction in Mississippi, offering a genuine look into the early life of the King of Rock and Roll. Situated in Tupelo, you can visit the well-preserved two-room house built by Elvis’ grandfather in 1935.
Beau Rivage Casino
Beau Rivage Casino, managed by MGM Resorts, presents plenty of opportunities for entertainment. You will be spoiled for choice with 12 different dining establishments, making it an ideal destination for food enthusiasts. Don’t miss out on Jia, a one-of-a-kind restaurant that combines Pan-Asian cuisine with a twist of South American flavors.
You are not limited to casino games; indulge in relaxing poolside daiquiris, unwind with an afternoon massage, or perfect your swing at Top Golf. No need to worry about accommodation, as the hotel offers upscale rooms and suites, ensuring you enjoy a comfortable and inviting stay.
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Gulf Islands National Seashore is a remarkable area in Mississippi that safeguards the barrier islands along the Gulf of Mexico. This seashore allows you to experience various leisure activities such as camping, beach relaxation, and discovering historical forts. It’s also an excellent spot for a stroll to observe diverse flora and fauna.
A highly recommended destination within the seashore is Ship Island, accessible only by boat. While visiting Ship Island, you can enjoy swimming and explore the historic Fort Massachusetts, a significant site from the War of 1812, which remains within Mississippi’s borders.
B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center
Located in Indianola, MS, the B.B. King Museum stands as a testament to the legendary musician’s legacy. Having transformed an old cotton gin house where the renowned artist once worked, the museum now focuses on uniting people through the classic R&B and refined tunes of B.B. King himself.
Within its walls, you’ll find engaging interactive exhibits, a collection of memorabilia, and stories about B.B. King’s life and the impact he had on the music landscape. Pay a visit to this unique museum, immerse yourself in the world of B.B. King, and experience the sounds and stories that made him a beloved cultural icon.
Grammy Museum Mississippi
Situated in Delta State University, the Grammy Museum Mississippi showcases the state’s rich musical history through interactive exhibitions. As you explore the museum, you’ll gain insight into the well-known award show and learn about various genres like soul, rock and roll, and R&B that have thrived in this region.
While at the museum, you can also experience intimate performances and lectures, which aim to inspire Mississippi’s residents and visitors alike to continue creating legendary music in the footsteps of renowned artists such as B.B. King and Elvis Presley.
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is an often underrated yet highly significant and educational attraction. It houses a wealth of history and showcases the key individuals who contributed to the civil rights movement. As you explore this museum, you’ll develop a deeper respect and admiration for the brave people who fought for change during this pivotal time in history.
In addition to its captivating historical content, the museum features interactive exhibits that make the information engaging and easy to remember. You will find the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum to be both informative and impactful, making it a truly valuable visit.
Mississippi Museum of Art
As an art lover, exploring the Mississippi Museum of Art is definitely a must-do activity. Situated in Jackson, Mississippi, the museum operates from Thursday to Sunday due to COVID; however, their Art Garden welcomes visitors daily during daylight hours.
Tishomingo State Park
Tishomingo State Park, nestled at the base of the Appalachian Mountains, boasts a wealth of hiking opportunities and a rich Native American history, as it is named after the leader of the Chickasaw Nation. The park features seven diverse trails with varying levels of difficulty, ensuring there is something for every type of hiker.
Some of the most popular trails at Tishomingo State Park include Flat Rock Trail, a moderate-rated 3-mile loop around a scenic lake. Additionally, the Saddlebrook Ridge Trail is a three-quarter mile journey that connects with the Flat Rock Trail and offers historical insight through rock formations and caves believed to have been used by Native Americans. Lastly, the Natchez Trace Trail provides you with a 2-mile adventure that takes you around Bear Creek and along the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Mississippi Petrified Forest
This unique attraction in Flora, Mississippi is a magnificent 36 million-year-old site featuring remarkable landscapes, walking paths, and a captivating visitor center museum. As you explore, you’ll discover impressive petrified logs, evidence of trees that were over 1,000 years old and reached heights of 100 feet.
While strolling through the trails, you’ll come across noteworthy spots, including the Caveman’s Bench – a photo-worthy location that provides a fascinating glimpse back in time.
Natchez Trace Parkway
Mississippi’s rich history with Native Americans can be well explored through the Natchez Trace Parkway. This 444-mile scenic route takes you on a captivating journey spanning 10,000 years, weaving through three states. It provides a unique opportunity to understand the area’s Native American connections with idyllic scenery surrounding you.
Along the Natchez Trace, you can encounter numerous trails, hiking paths, and campgrounds to enhance your experience. The ancient path has been traversed for thousands of years, and you too can follow in the footsteps of those who have walked it before.
At the Hattiesburg Zoo, you’ll find 12 acres of diverse wildlife featuring creatures from every continent. You won’t miss the chance to gaze at the majestic African giraffes as well as the captivating Sumatran tigers native to Asia.
More than just a zoo, you can experience adrenaline-pumping adventures navigating through the ropes course. Additionally, children are in for a treat with a unique petting zoo that showcases animals native to Australia. Explore, learn, and create lasting memories at the Hattiesburg Zoo.
The Biloxi Lighthouse, constructed in 1848, stands as a symbol of resilience for the city, particularly after enduring Hurricane Katrina. As one of the first cast-iron lighthouses in the South, it is also notable for being one of the three Mississippi Sound Lighthouses.
At the Beauvoir Estate in Biloxi, Mississippi, you can explore the historic home of Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Confederate States of America. This National Historic Landmark features 52 acres of picturesque greenery and walking areas, perfect for a day out in nature.
Lynn Meadows Discovery Center
At the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, both kids and adults can’t help but leave with smiles and laughter. This 15,000 square-foot haven is filled with a variety of hands-on exhibits that cater to children and their caregivers.
In this lively space, you can immerse yourself in the musical garden, creating melodies and making memories. Or, explore the captivating treehouses filled with engaging activities. No matter your interests, the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center promises endless entertainment for all ages.
Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
Nestled within LaFleur’s Bluff State Park in Jackson, Mississippi, you’ll find the captivating Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. This splendid museum offers expansive outdoor space, allowing for engaging science exhibitions in its 300-acre verdant surroundings and outdoor amphitheater.
Institute for Marine Mammal Studies
The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, situated in Gulfport, Mississippi, serves as an exceptional research center that offers an enjoyable experience for the whole family. Engage with their wonderful dolphins and gain insights into their intricate interactions.
Feeling adventurous? Try the “swim with stingrays” program for a thrilling encounter. Also, make sure to learn about their rehabilitation initiatives, where you can witness the admirable progress of marine animals on their path to recovery.
Vicksburg National Military Park
At Vicksburg National Military Park, you are stepping into a significant chapter in American history. This location was vital during the Civil War, as capturing Vicksburg was seen as the key to defeating the Confederate forces. The renowned Siege of Vicksburg resulted in splitting the South in two and marked a turning point in the war.
While visiting the park, you can relive the historical battle through a compelling National Park Service film, which runs for just over 20 minutes. As a history enthusiast, experiencing this firsthand at the actual site of the event will surely leave a lasting impression.
Great River Road
The Great River Road, often considered the most scenic drive in America, allows you to enjoy unmatched views of the Mississippi River. Stretching over 3,000 miles, this All-American Road winds through 10 distinctive states.
As you journey along the route, discover remarkable attractions and experience vibrant cultures in cities like Clarksdale, Mississippi. Clarksdale is the perfect destination for those interested in the Delta Blues Museum, making it an ideal spot to mix sightseeing with cultural experiences.
Step into the world of William Faulkner by visiting Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi. This modified Greek Revival home exudes creativity, having served as a basis for Faulkner’s work for four decades. Set within a sprawling 29-acre woodland, ample space invites the public to wander and explore..
One captivating stroll is along the Bailey Woods Trail, a scenic pathway that conveniently connects to the University of Mississippi Museum. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while also experiencing the very environment that influenced one of America’s most celebrated authors.
Viking Cooking School
If you’re interested in expanding your culinary skills, the Viking Cooking School in Greenwood has something for everyone. Attend a variety of classes designed for families, adults-only, or even kid-friendly sessions. Experience a range of cooking styles, from traditional comfort food to diverse ethnic dishes.
In the second paragraph, not only will you learn new recipes, but you’ll also have the opportunity to strengthen your cooking techniques and experiment with delicious flavors. The Viking Cooking School is an ideal destination for cultivating your passion for food and discovering new and exciting cuisines.
Bryant’s Grocery Store
At Bryant’s Grocery Store, you’ll find more than just a place to grab some snacks and beverages. This location holds significance in history, with its four remaining brick walls as a testament to its importance.
This store stands as a haunting reminder of the tragic and brutal lynching of Emmett Till in 1955, a young man who was falsely accused of a crime. Your visit to the site will evoke the powerful beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement, initiated by the story behind these crumbling walls.
State Capitol Building
When in Jackson, Mississippi, the State Capitol Building is a must-see. This architectural wonder dates back to 1903 and is the third to be built in the state. To make the most of your visit, schedule a guided tour and take time to explore the capitol museum. This enriching experience in the heart of Jackson awaits your discovery.
The Windsor Ruins are what remains of the once-grand Windsor plantation, which was tragically destroyed by fire in 1890. All that is left are 29 towering columns, which continue to stand tall even after centuries have passed. The site holds a significant historical value, being listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a Mississippi Landmark.
Efforts are currently underway to stabilize and preserve the remains of these architectural marvels for future generations to admire. While there are no specific amenities for visitors at the site, it can serve as a fantastic destination for photography enthusiasts who want to capture the mystique of the ruins. Just remember not to climb the fence – you never know who might be watching.
Stanton Hall, also known as Belfast, is a remarkable Antebellum Mansion situated in Natchez, Mississippi. Nowadays, this National Historic Landmark functions as a museum, under the care of the Pilgrimage Garden Club. As you walk through, you’ll appreciate the exceptional craftsmanship on display, including the exquisite imported Italian marble and other intricate features.
Interestingly, Stanton Hall has stood the test of time, surviving the Civil War and providing us with a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the wealthy before the war erupted. This experience gives you a profound understanding of the grandeur and elegance of that era.
Located in Oxford, Mississippi, Square Books has been a literary staple since its establishment in 1979. With a commitment to celebrating Mississippi’s history, the bookstore takes pride in highlighting influential authors such as William Faulkner and Shelby Foote.
Today, Square Books spans three buildings, featuring a cozy coffee shop where you can enjoy a relaxing atmosphere on a balcony overlooking the courthouse. Additionally, you can wander and unwind in their charming garden area.