There’s no denying it; a waterfront locale instantly adds to a town’s charm factor. Luckily, Mississippi is home to several towns that offer exceptional views of the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River, and other bodies of water that fill the Magnolia State. Featuring everything from hiking and nature trails to historic sites and great eateries, these 10 waterfront towns are perfect for a daytrip.
Established in the early 1700s, Natchez is one of the oldest settlements along the Mississippi River. At one time, the town’s riverfront was notorious for being home to the worst of the worst. Today, the historic area, along with the entire city of Natchez, is a popular destination, filled with great restaurants, impressive antebellum homes, loads of historically significant sites, and, of course, spectacular views of the Mighty Mississippi.
Home to the Vicksburg National Military Park, this riverside city is as rich in history as it is natural beauty. A trip to the town wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the renowned park, which offers a 16-mile tour that stops at forts, attack sites, the Vicksburg National Cemetery, U.S.S. Cairo Museum, and more. You’ll also find plenty of places to take in the spectacular waterfront views, including the Mississippi River Overlook, Yazoo River Overlook, and 10 South Rooftop Bar and Grill. The rooftop eatery is known for its tasty southern fare and even better vistas of downtown Vicksburg, the Mississippi River, Yazoo Diversion, and Centennial Lake.
3. Bay St. Louis
Despite being home to less than 10,000 residents, this small coastal community is known for a burgeoning art scene and trendy downtown area that’s brimming with great shops and eateries. No longer one of the state’s best kept secrets, Bay St. Louis has been named one of "America’s Coolest Small Towns" and featured in Vogue Magazine’s article "A Summer Road Trip Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast."
4. Ocean Springs
Nestled on the state’s coastline, Ocean Springs definitely delivers when it comes to scenic beauty, but that’s not all it has to offer. As the oldest city in the state, Ocean Springs is proud of its heritage. The perfect mix of old and new, the beachside town is loaded with history along with great restaurants, shops, galleries, and more.
Located on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, this charming Delta town has it all. Whether you’re interested in music, literature, history, gaming, or great food, Greenville can deliver. Take it all in with a drive down Great River Road - one of the oldest, longest, and most historic byways in the country. While in Greenville, you’ll also want to pay a visit to the River Road Queen Welcome Center. Named one of the "10 most unique welcome centers in the U.S.," it’s housed in a replica steamboat that was originally built for the 1984 World’s Fair.
Greenwood is located in the Mississippi Delta, where the Tallahatchie and Yalobusha Rivers meet to form the Yazoo River. Take in Greenwood’s natural beauty with a hike on the Yazoo River Trail. Part of the Greenwood-Yazoo River Natural Area, the trail includes two routes – the meadow trail, which meanders through gorgeous groves of trees, and the forest trail, which winds along the Yazoo River.
Bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Gulfport is a bustling beach town with no shortage of things to see and do. Aside from great restaurants, shops, and museums, the coastal city is home to miles of beaches, Gulf Islands Water Park and Ship Island Excursions, a ferry service that provides transportation to the nearby Ship Island. While in Gulfport, be sure to check out
. Described as a "funky little destination," the alley offers access to several restaurants and features a ton of original artwork by local artists.
Brimming with history, small town charm, and natural beauty, Columbus definitely lives up to its slogan – "the city that has it all." The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway runs right through the town; get your fill of stunning waterfront views at Riverwalk Park or
Plymouth Bluff Environmental Center
. Be sure to check out Columbus’ Main Street – it was named one of the "50 Best Small Town Main Streets in America." The city is also home to an impressive historic district, which has one of the largest collections of antebellum homes in the state, coming in second only to Natchez.
9. Glen Allan
A small, unincorporated community, Glen Allan is situated just east of Lake Washington’s southern shoreline. Much more than a popular fishing spot, the lake provides exceptional views of both natural scenery and impressive architecture. Several notable mansions have been built on the banks of the lake, including Linden, Mount Holly, and the Law House, which was used to film the 2012 movie "Haunted." Among the notable sites in Glen Allen, you’ll also find the ruins of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Built in 1830, it was one of the first churches in the Delta, and as of today, it’s one of the most photographed historic sites in Mississippi.
One of the state’s oldest and largest cities, Biloxi offers the perfect mix of history and culture –all while retaining a beachy vibe. A popular tourist destination, the coastal city features miles of beaches, casinos, museums, and award-winning restaurants. It’s also home to several notable historic sites, including Beauvoir, which is the former home of Jefferson Davis, and the Biloxi Lighthouse.
Have you ever visited any of these charming waterfront communities? Know of another town that should have been included in this list? Tell us in the comments section.