25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

When you’re exploring the South, there are a myriad of wonders in Mississippi. World renowned authors, painful history, exciting new achievements…not to mention gorgeous forests and dreamy beaches.

Check out these 25 all-time best things to do in Mississippi as you plan your next adventure.

MISSISSIPPI PETRIFIED FOREST

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of Mississippi Petrified Forest

No reason to be scared by the name, because this privately-owned-but-open-to-the-public attraction is a beautiful place to be. Located in Flora, Mississippi, the Mississippi Petrified Forest is a 36 million-year-old site that offers enchanting landscapes, walking trails, and a visitors center museum to explore! The main attraction is the beautifully large petrified logs that indicate these trees were over 1000 years old and 100 feet tall!

Through the hiking trails, you will find yourself coming across the main attractions which include the Caveman’s Bench. This is a picture-perfect spot that offers a really good look back into history. 

TISHOMINGO STATE PARK

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

Tishomingo State Park is not a national park, but it sure is a beautiful state park that offers tons of hiking for everyone! The park is located right at the bottom of the Appalachian Mountains and has a rich Native American history. The park was named after the leader of the Chickasaw Nation. 

The park itself has seven different trails to choose from ranging in levels of difficulty. Some of the most popular hiking trails include:

  • Flat Rock Trail. The Flat Rock Trail is a 3-mile hike that loops around a lake offering beautiful views. It’s a moderate-rated hike and is not overcrowded. Starting at the park’s Visitor Entrance you’ll see that the trail takes you through mostly flat-rock areas given its name. Dogs are welcome.
  • Saddlebrook Ridge Trail. The Saddlebrook Ridge Trail is three-quarters of a mile and is often looped into the Flat Rock Trail. This trail though is one for history lovers as it will bring you past several rock formations that feature caves thought to be used by Native Americans. 
  • Natchez Trace Trail. This trail is a 2-mile journey that starts in the same palace as Saddlebrook. Instead, you’ll find yourself weaving around Bear Creek and through Natchez Trace Parkway. With tons of registered historic sites along this trail, this is also a great option if you want to learn more about Native American history. 

MISSISSIPPI MUSEUM OF ART

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

You’ll want to add the Mississippi Museum of Art to your list of top things to do. Located in Jackson, Mississippi, the museum is currently open everyday except Mondays and certain holidays.

Additionally, The Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art is a 1.2-acre park located in the heart of downtown Jackson. The outdoor Art Garden is open during daylight hours.

The MMA offers wonderful free exhibitions, alongside their special ticketed exhibitions. No matter when you go, The Mississippi Museum of Art always has an exhibition free and open to the public.

BEAU RIVAGE CASINO

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of Beau Rivage

Beau Rivage Casino is an MGM resort casino in Biloxi with a lot to offer. You’ll find a casino, suites and dog-friendly accommodations, entertainment, dining, a pool, a spa and salon, and more.

With 12 different dining options, there is plenty of great dining to explore. Our favorite restaurant here is Jia; a unique restaurant inspired by Pan-Asian dishes with a touch of South America.

Stay Here: Beau Rivage Casino

ELVIS PRESLEY BIRTHPLACE AND MUSEUM

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

The Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum is one of the best tourist attractions for many visiting Mississippi (including me)! Located in Tupelo, you can see the real and preserved birthplace of the King of Rock and Roll. The two-room house was built by Elvis’ grandfather in 1935 and has been preserved since. 

This is a multiple-site attraction that lets you have a real insight into Elvis’s life growing up. Tickets range from $6 to $19 depending on the number of attractions you want to see. 

BILOXI LIGHTHOUSE

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

The Biloxi Lighthouse is a city landmark that was built in 1848 and has become a symbol of being resilient to the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While it’s an absolute beauty to see, there is also a lot of history behind the lighthouse that’s worth understanding.

Being one of the first cast-iron lighthouses in all of the South, the Biloxi Lighthouse was also one of three Mississippi Sound Lighthouses. The lighthouse was civilian operated for many years, and is notable for employing female lightkeepers during that time. You can now take a walking tour of the lighthouse daily from 9-10am for a small fee, weather permitting. No reservations required.

Read More: Mississippi Gulf Coast: Unique Adventures Beyond the Beach

BEAUVOIR ESTATE

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of Beauvoir

The Beauvoir Estate in Biloxi was home to former President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis. It’s recognized as a National Historic Landmark and boasts a beautiful 52 acres of greenery and walking space for the public to explore. 

The museum and estate are open for tours, letting the public have an inside look at the life of Davis while living there.

HATTIESBURG ZOO

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of Hattiesburg Zoo

At the Hattiesburg Zoo, you can enjoy 12 acres of fun featuring animals from every continent. Want to see the giraffes from Africa? No problem! Feeling like seeing the Sumatran Tiger from Asia? They’ve got it!

In addition to animals, you’ll also find other great attractions, like a ropes course, gem mining, a carousel, a train, a splash pad, a petting zoo, and more.

GULF ISLANDS NATIONAL SEASHORE

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

While Mississippi technically doesn’t have a national park, they do have the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which protects the barrier islands and resources along the Gulf of Mexico. You can choose to go camping, explore historical forts, relax at the beach, or go for a beautiful walk exploring different plants and wildlife. 

Ship Island is certainly one of the most fun places to visit and is a can’t-miss. Accessible by boat, you can hang out for a swim while also exploring the War of 1812 Fort Massachusetts. (Yes, it’s still in Mississippi!) 

NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

We mentioned that Mississippi has a strong history with Native Americans. The Natchez Trace Parkway is one of the best ways to learn about that history. It’s labeled as a drive through 10,000 years of history and is 444 miles of scenic driving that passes through three states. 

There are tons of trails, hiking, and campgrounds located along the road to break up your drive.

LYNN MEADOWS DISCOVERY CENTER

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of Lynn Meadows Discovery Center for Children

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center for Children in Gulfport is a kid-friendly paradise, but let’s be honest, no adult leaves without a smile and a few good laughs. This 15,000 square foot play zone offers tons of hands-on exhibits for kids and their guardians. 

Whether you’re singing and making music in the musical garden or playing in the treehouses, there are endless activities. 

STATE CAPITOL BUILDING

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

Visiting the state capital is just sort of something you have to do when traveling through the United States. When visiting Jackson, Mississippi, you won’t be sorry because their State Capitol Building truly is a marvel to look at. 

Completed in 1903, this is actually the third State Capitol building constructed in Jackson. (The first no longer stands, and the second is now the Old Capitol Museum.) Worth a visit, guided tours are given Monday-Friday at 9:30am, 11am, 1pm, and 2:30pm for free. Visitors are welcome to do a self-guided tour anytime between 8am-5pm.

MISSISSIPPI MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

Science can be cool, especially when it’s found at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. This beauty is tucked in LaFleur’s Bluff State Park located in Jackson, Mississippi.

The beautiful building overlooks 300 acres of natural landscape, an amphitheater, and 2.5 miles of nature trails. Inside, you’ll find 200 living species in their aquariums and can explore permanent and temporary exhibits featuring other animal species.

You’ll also find a Preschool Discovery Playroom featuring an awesome treehouse and slide, and a Dinosaur Trail that features six large-scale, 3-D dinosaur models.

MISSISSIPPI CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of the Civil Rights Museum

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson is one of the most important and educational things on this list. This museum is filled with rich history and information about the important figures who played a crucial role in the Civil Rights Movement. 

The museum will give you a new sense of appreciation and awe for those who stood up at this time in history. And through their interactive exhibits, the information is digestible and memorable.

Read More: 15 Epic Civil Rights Museum Stops Designed To Defeat Hate

INSTITUTE FOR MARINE MAMMAL STUDIES

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of IMMS

Located in Gulfport, Mississippi, the Institute For Marine Mammal Studies is an amazing research center for marine life that brings a lot of fun for the whole family. One of the coolest programs they offer is hanging out with their dolphins and learning about their interactions. 

If you are up for something a little more daring, they also have a swim with the stingrays program. Don’t forget to ask about their rehabilitation programs, where you can follow along marine animals’ journeys back to health! 

VICKSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

Vicksburg National Military Park played a crucial role in American history. In the war between the North and South, Vicksburg was considered to be the key to winning the whole thing. In the Civil War, the Siege of Vicksburg split the South in two. 

Today, you can see the battle on film right in the very spot where it happened. For history buffs, this is over the top cool.

STANTON HALL

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

Stanton Hall, also known as Belfast, is an Antebellum Mansion located in Natchez, Mississippi. This National Historic Landmark runs as a museum, and is now owned by the Pilgrimage Garden Club. The mansion is beautiful, showcasing imported Italian marble among many other elaborate features. 

What’s unique about the mansion itself is that it survived the Civil War and gives us a look into pre-war times. To see how the wealthy lived back then is amazing.

B.B. KING MUSEUM AND DELTA INTERPRETIVE CENTER

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of the B.B. King Museum

The B.B. King Museum in Indianola, MS, is a relatively new museum on our list. The museum is housed in a refurbished cotton gin house where the great B.B. King used to work. Now it’s dedicated to bringing people together through the classy R&B and sophisticated sounds by B.B. King himself. 

The building features fun interactive exhibits as well as memorabilia and stories about the time and the way B.B. King impacted it. 

GRAMMY MUSEUM MISSISSIPPI

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of the Grammy Museum

With so much soul, rock and roll, and R&B coming out of the Mississippi, they have an entire Grammy Museum dedicated to allowing visitors to participate in interactive exhibitions while learning about the famous award show. The museum is located in Delta University in Cleveland, MS. 

With intimate performances and lectures, the goal is to inspire Mississippi to continue creating legendary music just like B.B. King and Elvis! 

BRYANT’S GROCERY STORE

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

Bryant’s Grocery Store in Greenwood, MS, today stands as four crumbling brick walls representing an important part of history.

Bryant’s Grocery Store was left in ruins after 14-year-old Emmett Till suffered a brutal lynching mob for a crime he did not commit in 1955. The story itself is incredible and seeing the grocery store representing the starting point of the Civil Rights Movement is truly a sight to see. 

GREAT RIVER ROAD

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

Great River Road is said to be the best road to drive in America, offering unparalleled views of the Mississippi River. It’s technically named the All-American Road and runs 3000 miles through 10 different states. 

Along the way, you will find tons of great attractions and amazing cities to explore.

ROWAN OAK

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of Rowan Oak

Take a look inside the mind of author William Faulkner and visit Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi. Rowan Oak is a modified Greek Revival home that served as the inspiration for 40 years of his work. Because it sits in 29 acres of forested land, there is a lot of space for the public to walk around.

The Bailey Woods Trail takes you right to the University of Mississippi Museum. 

VIKING COOKING SCHOOL

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi

For those who love to explore their culinary tastes, the Viking Cooking School in Greenwood is the place to check out. They offer an array of classes for families, adults-only, or even just for kids. From classic soul food to ethnic cuisine you can learn it all. 

SQUARE BOOKS

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of Square Books

In Oxford, Mississippi, you’ll find an amazing bookstoreSquare Books! Since opening in 1979, Square Books has always dedicated itself to sharing the history of Mississippi.

This independent bookstore occupies three buildings about 100 feet apart on the historic town square. In addition to awesome books, you’ll also find a coffee shop with a balcony overlooking the courthouse.

WINDSOR RUINS

25 All-Time Best Things To Do in Mississippi
Courtesy of Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins is the historic site of the Windsor Plantation, destroyed by fire in 1890. Now, only its 29 enormous columns are left standing. Windsor Ruins is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has Mississippi Landmark status. Currently, a stabilization project is underway to preserve the remaining columns.  

While there are no visitor amenities on the site, it’s a photographers dream.

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO MISSISSIPPI:

WHERE TO STAY IN MISSISSIPPI

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