Mississippi is big, with no shortage of attractions and excitement for holidaymakers. However, outside the major towns and cities there is practically no public transport. Hiring a car is essential if you want to experience the many great things the state has to offer.
Equally essential is holiday insurance, particularly for medical cover. Anyone injuring themselves on holiday, and needing some kind of hospital treatment, could easily be facing a bill for several thousand dollars.
Jackson, the state capital, is renowned for its lively music scene. Here you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied, from art galleries and museums to the Jackson Zoo. The Mississippi Story exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art is free to enter, and features paintings and artworks by artists from across the state.
Elvis and the Blues
Mississippi’s most famous son is undoubtedly Elvis Presley, and those with a taste for rock and roll history can visit his birthplace in Tupelo. This humble house contrasts wildly with Graceland, the mansion where Elvis died, which is a few miles over the state border in Tennessee.
Music lovers from around the world are drawn to the Mississippi Delta, home of the blues. Mississippi certainly makes the most of this cultural heritage, and there are many ways to explore it. The Mississippi Blues Trail highlights significant places in the history of the blues, from the birthplace of Muddy Waters to the burial site of early blues legend Robert Johnson. The town of Clarksdale is home to the Delta Blues Museum, featuring historical documents and memorabilia dedicated to the blues.
A Taste of the Old South
The Mississippi riverside the town of Natchez has many beautiful pre-civil war mansions, some of which are open to the public. For the full ‘Gone with the Wind’ experience, horse and carriage tours run around the historic centre of the town, with commentary from knowledgeable tour guides.
In the 19th century, paddle steamers regularly plied the Mississippi between Natchez and New Orleans. Travellers on these floating luxury hotels were preyed upon by a wide variety of gamblers, drifters and conmen. You can travel back in time to this world (hopefully without being robbed or fleeced) with a visit to the Isle of Capri Casino, located on a paddle steamer on the river in Natchez.
Natchez Trace Parkway
The finest way to cross the state is by the Natchez Trace Parkway, once a dirt trail used by local Native Americans and now a quiet back road. The Parkway runs for 440 miles from Natchez to Nashville, Tennessee, and along the ways passes many of the most significant attractions and landmarks of Mississippi.