Birthplace of the Blues and home to sprawling mansions and equally sprawling cotton flats, the Magnolia State is a place with a heart and soul. Most know about its long and controversial history and also its rise and fall from one of the wealthiest states to one of the poorest, but Mississippi has a story to tell and this is what makes it such an intriguing place to explore. It also has pockets of true beauty including honey-dipped sandy beaches, serene farmland, charming historic towns, and verdant hill country. From my time spent exploring, here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Mississippi…
Elvis Presley Lake – one of the most stunning places to visit in Mississippi
Named after the legendary musician, the Elvis Presley Lake is located in Lee County, Mississippi. Popular with boaters & hikers, the lake offers a lovely campground on the east shore. Drive along with the nearby town of Tupelo, the birthplace of Presley and explore the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum with objects from Elvis’s childhood.
A haven for both relaxing and canoeing, the park offers pretty early morning views of the lake. If you’re seeking a quiet place to spend time amid nature, this scenic landscape is a perfect weekend getaway.
Mississippi River – one of the most famous and beautiful rivers in the world
Indeed one of the largest river systems in the world, the Mighty Mississippi originates from Lake Itasca in Minnesota flowing through umpteen states before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. Often referred to as the “Father of Waters”, this extensive river is a means of sustenance since the era of the Native Americans.
Along the lower Mississippi River in the historic city of Vicksburg. A key site of the Civil World War, this place houses artifacts with many interactive exhibits, something not to be missed by history buffs. From stunning waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and historic museums, the Mississippi River marks the birthplace of the Delta blues.
Biloxi – a prime coastal beauty spot to visit on the Gulf of Mexico
Located in Harrison County on the Gulf of Mexico, Biloxi is the third-largest city in the state of Mississippi. Whether you’re looking for fun in the sun or cultural attractions, Biloxi is a perfect mix of coast and culture along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A symbol of the city’s undying spirit, the Biloxi Lighthouse guides the ships since 1848.
Art buffs can visit the popular Ohr-O’Keefe Museum for quirky ceramic collections of the local artists. Spend a day riding waves, sailing, or swimming the prime location of Biloxi is truly a sultry seaside retreat.
Natchez – a walkable and beautiful historic city in Southwestern Mississippi
A premier cultural tourism destination southwest of Jackson, the city of Natchez is the oldest municipality in Mississippi. Named after the Natchez tribe of Native Americans, this city was founded in 1716.
Tour the grandest collection of antebellum homes including the Rosalie Mansion, Longwood, and the Magnolia Hall, or ride along the historic Natchez Trace, the city of Natchez also offers a rich insight into the area’s prehistoric times in the Grand Village of the Natchez. Walk along or take a ride, this friendly town is an ideal weekend escape from the commotion.
Gulfport – a popular and beloved summer destination in Mississippi
A vibrant spot on the state’s Gulf Coast, Gulfport is Mississippi’s second-largest city. Spend a day in the sun or surf in the warm gulf waters, the tranquil beach is fun for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the city’s expansive greens in Jones Park and witness the colorful murals in the Fishbone Alley, a thriving center for quirky arts and galleries.
A few miles offshore the Gulfport is the Ship Island. With pristine waters and sandy beaches, this little island is full of colorful sea creatures and historic Fort Massachusetts. A paradise for snorkelers, the Ship Island makes for a pleasant day trip.
Tishomingo State Park – a beautiful place to explore in the foothills of Appalachians
Steeped in history and scenic beauty, the Tishomingo State Park is located approx. 45 miles northeast of Tupelo. An area with excavations dating as long as 7000 BC, the park’s massive rock formations, valleys, and sandstone outcroppings make it a unique state park in Mississippi.
Explore the Bear Creek Canyon with the most spectacular scenery in the state. From rock climbing, canoeing, and fishing to picnicking and hiking, the park offers some of the charming trails with natural springs, waterfalls, rocky creeks, and huge outcrops.
Gulf Islands National Seashore – easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Mississippi
An eye-catching shoreline along the northern Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Islands National Seashore stretches 150 miles from Cat Island in Mississippi to Santa Rosa Island in Florida. With remarkable shorelines, sparkling blue waters and unspoiled barrier islands, this unique landscape narrates an untold history of America.
Camp on the Davis Bayou Campground or indulge in myriad outdoor activities, the beautiful winding trails of the islands are home to abundant wildlife. Filled with thrilling recreational activities, the white sandy beaches, and calm waters of the island offer a soothing getaway for the family.
Greenville Cypress Preserve – a quiet nature preserve with walking trails and wonderful trees
Located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, the Greenville Cypress Preserve is a quiet treasure in the town of Greenville. Purchased in the 1940s, the Greenville Cypress Preserve Trust maintains and preserves this natural wonderland. Venture into an enchanted land filled with majestic cypress, swamps, and wildflowers.
Extending over 16 acres of land, this charming preserve is truly a watery gift of the Delta. Hike the meandering trails filled with mesmerizing greens and local history or take a quiet walk amidst the beautiful gardens, this preserve is a favorite spot for birders and photographers.
Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge – one of the best places to explore in Mississippi to wander in nature
A designated wildlife preserve, the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge occupies the northeastern corner of Mississippi. Spread across three counties of Noxubee, Oktibbeha, and Winston, the magnificent refuge covers a vast area of 48,000 acres. Established in 1940, the refuge is home to several endangered species and migratory birds.
Brimming with bottomlands and upland forests, the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge offers excellent recreational facilities including canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife observation. Enjoy the natural habitats on boardwalks or hike through the beautiful region, this secluded refuge is wild yet blissful.
Red Bluff – Mississippi’s very own little grand canyon
A few miles from Morgantown and you will be enveloped by a beautiful geological feature of Red Bluff in Marion County. Truly south Mississippi’s hidden gem, the Red Bluff has been formed millions of years ago with the natural erosion of the west bank of the Pearl River.
Today the bluff features vivid colored soils from red, orange to purple clay. Hike along the top to catch beautiful views of Mississippi’s countryside and greenery or camp on this unusual landscape, this geological wonder is indeed one of the most beautiful places in the Hospitality State.
Hide-A-Way Lake – one of the most beautiful lakes to visit in Mississippi
An undisturbed gated community in the Pearl River County of Mississippi, the Hide-A-Way Lake lies adjacent to the city of Picayune. Bordered by a lovely lake covering an area of 189 acres, the lake offers many fun-filled water activities including boating, swimming, and skiing.
Ranked top in terms of livability, the Hide-A-Way lake has beautiful picnic areas, beaches, and marinas with endearing walking tracks. With a beautiful setting and relaxed atmosphere, Hide-A-Way offers a pleasant stay away from the hustle and bustle.
William Faulkner House, Oxford – a must-see attraction to explore in Mississippi
This is a beautiful and interesting place to visit in Oxford, Mississippi. The striking Greek Revival house built in the 1840s by Robert Sheegog. It was then purchased by the Nobel Prize-
Today the perfectly preserved house is open to the public and is also a museum offering by-appointment tours. A place not to be missed for literary lovers visiting Mississippi.
State Capitol Building – a striking and monumental landmark in the heart of Mississippi
The capital city of Jackson is not only full of cultural wonders but home to both the original and the current state capital. The current state capitol of Mississippi was built in 1903. Built-in the Beaux-Arts style, the state capitol building features impressive architecture, exemplary artifacts, and lovely magnolia gardens.
Housing the Legislative and executive branches of the state, the state-building houses replicas, and statues in the memory of Confederate soldiers. Atop the state building is the 15ft gold-gilded American Bald Eagle facing south towards Washington DC. View the ongoing sessions of the senate-house or get drenched in American history, this Mississippi landmark always leaves visitors in awe.
Crosby Arboretum – the premier native plant conservatory in the southeast United States
A premier plant museum, the Crosby Arboretum is located in Picayune city of Pearl River County. A dedicated memorial to the local forester, the Crosby Arboretum aims to protect the natural habitat of the Pearl River Drainage Basin. While the Piney Woods Lake displays the native plants in their natural setting, Pinecone Pavilion with wooden bridges exhibits subtle landscapes.
Home to more than 300 species of birds and wildlife, the arboretum provides environmental and botanical research opportunities. Learn about diverse plants and ecosystem or enjoy the recreational activities there’s something to learn & research in this Arboretum.
Beauvoir – a charming historical estate with truly beautiful views
Standing true to its name, the Beauvoir estate holds mesmerizing views of the gulf coast. Located in Biloxi along the Gulf of Mexico, this Historical landmark was the home where Jefferson Davis found solace after retirement.
A real slice of heaven on the southern Mississippi, the Beauvoir was designed in 1852. Witness the untold stories of the ex-confederate President and the unsung war heroes and take a step back in time. Owned by the Mississippi Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc., the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library hosts a vast library and exhibits. Stroll in gardens or watch the stunning sunsets, this treasured place is a colorful survivor of the grandest history.