A state with a diverse and unique history, it should come as no surprise that Mississippi is filled with interesting sites. Since listing every awesome destination in the state would be nearly impossible, we put together a list of some must-visit sites to get you started. So, whether you’re a lifelong resident or recent transplant, here are 20 items you should definitely add to your Mississippi bucket list.
1. Drive along one of the most scenic byways in the nation.
As a Mississippi resident, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this attraction at some point. Stops along the Mississippi portion of the 444-mile parkway include everything from ancient burial mounds and a ghost town to unique restaurants and the renowned Windsor Ruins.
2. Have some fun at a state park.
Mississippi is home to dozens of state parks, many of which have received national recognition. A majority of the parks even include cabins, making them perfect destinations for quick weekend getaways. Learn more about Mississippi’s state parks
3. Visit the tallest waterfall in the state.
Although Mississippi isn’t home to many waterfalls, it does have a few. The tallest can be found in Enterprise at Dunn’s Falls Waterpark. The 65’ waterfall is not only beautiful but also infused with history, as it once served as the power source for a gristmill. The original grist mill is no longer on site; however, an authentic replica now stands in its place and is available for touring.
4. Explore one of the most unique forests in the country.
Millions of years in the making, Flora’s Petrified Forest is filled with ancient trees that have been transformed into stone giants. The self-guided trail, which includes many points of interest and informative signage, makes it easy to explore this unique natural wonder.
5. Climb to the highest point in the state.
Mississippi isn’t known for its mountains, but you should definitely check out the tallest in the state at least once. Located in Iuka, Woodall Mountain stands at 806’ and includes a trail, making it ideal for all skill levels.
6. Take in spectacular views of the Mighty Mississippi.
The Mississippi River is by far one of the state’s most beautiful natural treasures, and one of the best places to take in its beauty is Bluff Park in Natchez. The picturesque park overlooks the river and includes a gazebo, picnic area, and historic markers that provide information on the city’s past.
7. Spend a day in a unique little town, like Water Valley.
Mississippi is filled with charming small towns, and often times, those towns include surprises of their own. Take Water Valley, for instance. The small town has only a few thousand residents, yet it boasts an abundance of mouthwatering restaurants, historic homes, and an amazing art scene that is comparable to that of larger cities.
8. Experience a bit of Hollywood in Canton.
Visit Canton’s Movie Museum and you’ll have the chance to get an up-close look at movie sets for "A Time to Kill," "My Dog Skip," and "O Brother Where Art Thou?"
9. Do some dolphin-watching from Ship Island.
Forget traveling to a far away tropical island to get a glimpse of a dolphin; you can do that right here in Mississippi! Companies, like
Ship Island Excursions
, offer daily ferry service to the island, making it easy for just about anyone to access it.
10. Go on a safari.
Tara Wildlife, a 9,000-acre resort, offers visitors the chance to take part in all sorts of outdoor adventures, including a tour on the Open Air Wildlife Watching Bus. For more information, click
11. Go for a one-of-a-kind ride.
Because you don’t often get the chance to ride on a rare carousel, a visit to the Dentzel Carousel in Meridian is a must. Basically a work of art, the hand painted carousel was purchased in 1909 for $2,000. Today, it is estimated to be worth more than $1 million! Luckily a ride will only cost you 50 cents; $1 will get you a tour.
12. Enjoy some spine-tingling action.
Aside from being named the most haunted home in Mississippi, Vicksburg’s McRaven is also considered the third most haunted home in the entire country. Even if you’re not up for experiencing any paranormal activity, this is still a great stop since McRaven is also historically significant and somewhat of an architectural gem. See the home for yourself by taking either a historical or haunted tour.
13. Walk through one of the most significant battlefields in the country.
Mississippi residents should definitely plan a trip to this popular military park at least once. The expansive area includes numerous markers and monuments as well as a Visitors Center, where you'll find life-sized exhibits and artifacts.
14. Dine on some of the best fried chicken in the world.
Housed in a building that is over 100 years old, a visit to Lorman’s Old Country Store is truly an experience. The still functioning general store and restaurant has become known for serving “the best fried chicken in the world.” The famous fried chicken has been featured on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” and included in Yahoo’s 2015 listing of the “Best Fried Chicken.”
15. Visit the most unique restaurant in the state.
“Dining underneath the skirt of a nearly 30’ tall woman” may not be the first thing that comes to mind when putting together a bucket list, but if you live in Mississippi, it definitely should be. Over the years, the unique Natchez eatery, Mammy’s Cupboard, has become a must-visit for tourists and locals alike, known for its southern-style meals and decadent pies.
16. Indulge on history and great food at Mississippi’s oldest restaurant.
Over the years, Weidmann’s has received numerous awards and been featured in countless books, magazines, cookbooks, and television shows, making it a must try. The menu includes traditional southern dishes, new classics, and the restaurant’s signature dessert, black bottom pie, which has been named the “best in the world.”
17. Visit the home of a literary legend...
William Faulkner and his family lived at the Rowan Oak estate in Oxford for more than 40 years. During that time, he wrote numerous works of fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "A Fable." Wander around the estate for free, or pay a small $5 admission fee to see the inside of the home.
18. and of a musical one.
Residents should definitely make it a point to visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley in Tupelo. The historic site is opened seven days a week and includes the Presley’s home, a chapel, and the family’s place of worship, Assembly of God Church.
19. Learn about the history of Coca Cola.
The Biedenharn Coca Cola Museum in Vicksburg is definitely a must-visit for any Mississippian. The one-of-a-kind museum includes all sorts of exhibits and a variety of memorabilia, telling the story of the classic drink and how it came to be bottled in Mississippi. There’s even a restored candy store, complete with furnishings and displays from the 1890s, plenty of sweet treats, and a variety of Coca Cola souvenirs.
20. Marvel at the Gulf of Mexico from the Biloxi Lighthouse.
This historic lighthouse, which dates back to 1848, is unique in a couple of ways. First, it was one of the earliest cast-iron lighthouses to be built in the south. Second, it has a lengthy history of being maintained by female lighthouse keepers. Guided tours of the lighthouse are given daily and cost only $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 2-12.