It’s no secret that Mississippi is full of natural beauty; however, you may not always feel like having to embark on a strenuous hike to enjoy the state’s most scenic spots. And luckily, you don’t have to. Several of the Magnolia State’s most amazing natural wonders are actually hiding in plain sight and require no hiking. Take a look:
1. Turkey Falls (near Utica)
Although this popular swimming spot is most commonly accessed from the creek, it can be viewed from the road. Simply take Fisher Ferry Road then turn onto Hunt Road and the falls will be on your left in about 1.5 – 2 miles. You’ll have to get out of your car but will be able to get a great view of Turkey Falls from the road.
2. Cooper Falls (613 Co Rd 321, Iuka)
Home to the 50’ tall Cooper Falls, a river, and freshwater lake, J.P. Coleman State Park is the perfect place to spend a hot summer day. While Cooper Falls can best be viewed from Pickwick Lake, it is visible from the shoreline. The park’s other amenities include picnic tables and grills, pavilions, playgrounds, a swimming pool, and miniature golf.
3. Bluff Park (Broadway Street, Natchez)
While Bluff Park itself isn’t a natural wonder, the Mississippi River is. And it’s at this park that you’ll be able to take in breathtaking views of one of the nation’s most famous rivers. The park includes a gazebo and picnic area that overlooks the Mighty Mississippi. If you are up for a bit of a stroll, check out the recently added nature trail and walking bridge, which provides close-up views of the Mississippi River and leads straight to the historic district, Natchez Under-the-Hill.
4. Iuka Mineral Springs Park (512 E. Quitman Street, Iuka)
Teeming with natural beauty and history, Iuka Mineral Springs Park is one of the most unique in the state. The park gained notoriety years ago because it contains six natural springs, which were believed to have healing powers. In 1904, it became even more notorious when a panel of judges at the St. Louis World’s Fair named its water the "best water in the United States." Visit today, and you can check out the three still-flowing springs.
5. Red Bluff (Highway 587, aka Red Bluff Road, Foxworth)
Known as "Mississippi’s Little Grand Canyon," this geologic formation has been created by the natural erosion of the nearby Pearl River. Standing at approximately 400’ above sea level, Red Bluff consists of exposed red clay, soil, sand, and other sediments. While many opt to hike down to the bottom of the canyon, it can be easily viewed from the highway, eliminating the need for a lengthy hike.
6. Gulf Islands National Seashore (3500 Park Road, Ocean Springs)
Definitely one of the most beautiful natural treasures, the Gulf Islands National Seashore spans from Gulf Breeze Florida to Ocean Springs. Much of the seashore is only accessible by boat; however, the Davis Bayou Area can be accessed by car. Located just three miles from Ocean Springs, the area includes a Visitors Center, which features a scenic picnic area with grills and an overlook that provides exceptional views.
7. Dunn’s Falls (890 Dunn’s Falls Road, Enterprise)
This breathtaking 65’ waterfall is situated within Dunn’s Falls Water Park, which means it’s incredibly easy to access. And while the waterfall itself is not naturally occurring (years ago, water from a nearby stream was re-routed to create the waterfall), the cliffs that form it are. Aside from the waterfall, the park offers a ton of other amenities, including a picnic area, barbecue grills, and campsites - making Dunn’s Falls the perfect destination for everything from a quick day trip to an overnight adventure.
Have you visited any of these amazing natural wonders? Know of others that easily accessible? Tell us in the comments section!