Located in Clarksdale, The Shack Up Inn is just three miles (about five kilometers) from the infamous Crossroads (Highways 49 and 61), and a short drive to local attractions like the Delta Blues Museum, Ground Zero Blues Club, and Red’s Lounge. Capturing the spirit of the Mississippi Delta, the Inn consists of renovated sharecropper shotgun shacks, plus a lobby and bar added into a former cotton gin. The rustic charm sets the vibe—think repurposed materials, Mississippi Cypress walls, and tin roofing— without sacrificing the comfort of a modern day hotel. Visitors will appreciate a stay at this one-of-a-kind property that the owners call a “bed and beer.”
For a fun event for the entire family, head to Museum After Hours at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Every third Thursday of the month, the museum keeps their doors open late for this pop-up event, Museum After Hours. Here, the community comes together for live music, games, art displays, food trucks, and other collaborations with the local creative community. In partnership with the Crossroads Film Festival, the after-hours events are accompanied by movie screenings on the BankPlus Green in the museum’s Art Garden.
Sure, everyone eats multiple times a day, but eating in Mississippi is a whole different experience. For Southern comfort food, grab tamales or a “Frito pie” at Tamale Place in Vicksburg, or Taylor Grocery in Taylor, home to some of the best fried catfish in the state. For barbecue, hit The Shed Barbecue & Blues Joint in Ocean Springs or Mama Hamil’s Southern Cookin’ and Bar-B Que Buffet in Madison. If a more modern fare is on your radar, check out Snackbar in Oxford or Parlor Market in Jackson.
Mississippians know how to throw a good party. Need some proof? Just hit up one for their exciting festivals. A local favorite, Mighty Mississippi Music Festival is held on the banks of the Mississippi River in Greenville and offers live music, food, camping and vendors from around the region. Mississippi’s largest art festival is the Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival, which has something for everyone and features work from over 400 artists. For even more variety, head to Jackson for Jackson Indie Music Week, Hal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade & Festival, Jacktoberfest, or the Crossroads Film Festival, all of which offer visitors a great time and a taste of local culture.
Mississippi has no shortage of things to do outside, and hiking is one of the best. Turkey Fork Recreation Area in Laurel sits on a 240-acre lake, surrounded by great trails so that you can immerse yourself in nature. National parks like J.P. Coleman State Park in Tishomingo County or the Tishomingo State Park in Tishomingo offer some of the most picturesque trails and easy to moderate hiking. The Natchez Trace also offers beautiful spots to hike, like historic Rocky Springs at milepost 54.8 or Cypress Swamp at milepost 112.0.
The arts play a significant role in Mississippi’s culture, especially theatre. Straight from the theaters of New York City, Broadway in Jackson brings popular shows likes Chicago, A Chorus Line, and Dirty Dancing to the stage of Jackson’s Thalia Mara Hall. For a unique experience, head to Vicksburg to catch the Vicksburg Theatre Association’s annual presentation of Gold in The Hills, which has been running since 1936, making it the Guinness World Records holder for “Longest-Running Show.” For a listing of theatre productions from children’s shows to college and professional, check out the Mississippi Theatre Association.
Mississippi doesn’t have a professional football team, but college football provides fierce competition in The Magnolia State. Warm up with a hot toddy and head to the Egg Bowl, where two great rivals, Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi face off each November. Mississippi football offers some of the best tailgating in the country, particularly at Ole Miss’s famed “Grove” or Mississippi State’s “The Junction,” but University of Southern Mississippi, Delta State University, Alcorn State University, and Jackson State University also offer notable tailgating and competitions.
Mississippi has a rich, often harrowed history and the state does a great job of honoring the significance of its past. The Mississippi Blues Trail marks spots that hold historical significance to the roots of America’s music and offers a self-guided tour to some of the most exciting areas in the state. To learn a little more about the blues in Mississippi, head to the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, both in Jackson, do an excellent job of preserving the past and educating visitors on Mississippi’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, while the Mississippi Freedom Trail marks essential areas from this period.
A trip to Mississippi isn’t complete without a night of dancing to heart-pounding and soulful live blues music. Being the birthplace of the genre, it’s not hard to find a great blues show in Mississippi. Take a late-night visit to F. Jones Corner in Jackson or head to Smoot’s Grocery in Natchez to hear the Mississippi sound. For the most authentic blues experience, head to the Delta to Ground Zero Blues Club or Red’s Lounge, both in Clarksdale.
Mississippi’s Gulf Coast beaches are a hidden gem nestled between Alabama and Florida. The serene waters offer a great escape from the crowds, and with over 62 miles (99 kilometers) of sandy shoreline, water activities like paddle boarding, swimming, and kayaking abound. For a great day trip, take a boat to nearby West Ship Island, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.