Take a drive down the Natchez Trace, get up-close-and-personal with exotic animals, or visit the home of famous writers and musicians. From casinos and museums to zoos and traditional events, Mississippi is full of exciting and surprising attractions.
Part of the MGM Resorts International family of resorts, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino is one of the top attractions in Mississippi. The tallest building in the state, Beau Rivage holds eight restaurants, including two four-star AAA rated restaurants. In addition to dining for every palate, Beau Rivage, whose name translates to “beautiful shore,” also has a casino and spa with luxury that’s unparalleled in the region.
Commonly referred to as “the birthplace of America’s music,” the Mississippi Delta is home to The Grammy Museum Mississippi. A sister museum to the GRAMMY Foundation’s museum in Los Angeles, this museum highlights both Grammy award-winners and the state’s essential contributions to music. Exhibits include singing and songwriting pods featuring a recording of blues musician Keb’ Mo’, a 140-seat theater, history of recorded sound from 1877 to the present day, and dancing exhibits featuring Grammy award-winner Ne-Yo.
Elvis Presley was “The King,” and The King was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8th, 1935. While his adult home of Graceland in Memphis is a great destination, real fans of Elvis will enjoy a visit to his birthplace, the original, two-room house that still stands in Tupelo in the Elvis Presley Birthplace Park. Also nearby is the church where Elvis first learned the gospel music that helped form his classic sound.
A single island ripped into two by Hurricane Camille in 1969, Ship Island is a fun destination for an educational trip set amongst the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Ship Island holds great historical significance, with West Ship Island still holding Fort Massachusetts, built during the War of 1812. Ship Island Excursions in Gulfport or Biloxi offer day tours via ferry to the area’s beautiful white sand beaches to explore the history of the island.
The Windsor Ruins are a Mississippi landmark that sit in Claiborne County, just outside of Port Gibson. The Greek-style columns offer a glimpse into the past, and a beautiful site amongst the ancient live oaks surrounding the area. The 23 remaining columns stand as a shell of a once three-story block antebellum home that caught fire in 1890. Rumor has it that after surviving the Civil War, the house succumbed to a partygoer’s careless cigar toss.
Located in Jackson, the Mississippi Children’s Museum offers interactive fun and learning for children of all ages. With hands-on activities and real-life simulations that offer learning and discovery through play and interaction, the museum is a consistent favorite for Mississippi families. Make sure to step outside into the museum’s new literacy garden to promote early-reading skills while exploring the outdoors.
Mississippi owes much of its reputation of romantic and enticing Southern beauty to the writing of William Faulkner, who found his home in Oxford, which he named Rowan Oak. Now owned by the University of Mississippi, the beautifully restored house is open for tours, which provide a glimpse into the life of one of America’s most beloved novelists.
Though the historic Natchez Trace spans 444 miles (715 kilometers) across Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, much of its beauty can be found in The Magnolia State. The Sunken Trace at milepost 41.5 allows visitors to transport back to a time when the trace was only accessible by foot, over 200 years ago. Cypress Swamp at milepost 122.0 offers a half-mile walk (0.8 kilometers) through a visually stunning southern swamp; just watch out for swamp-dwelling alligators on this trail.
No need to go on safari to get up-close to zebras, giraffes, monkeys, tigers, camels, and more—just head for a visit to the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo. Spanning 210 acres with over 260 animals, the park is also home to a petting zoo, reptile exhibit, and Chickasaw Indian Village. Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo has a mission to provide fun, once-in-a-lifetime animal interactions, while educating visitors about the history of buffalos and Native Americans in the area.
It’s no secret that Mississippi gets hot, making Geyser Falls Water Theme Park the perfect place to cool down. Located in Choctaw, Mississippi, the park has three six-story speed slides, man-made beaches, splash pools, and “Creaky Leaky Water Factory,” a factory with over 100 interactive features. Exciting for whole family, you do not want to miss out on Geyser Falls.
Held annually in the capital city of Jackson, the Mississippi State Fair has something for everyone. Enjoy fair food classics like funnel cakes and cotton candy or Mississippi staples like chicken-on-a-stick, roasted corn, and biscuits. The Mississippi State Fair has circus acts, headlining concert performers, plenty of rides, a kids’ area, petting zoo, and 4-H competitions that provide opportunities for fun at every corner.
The Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo in Jackson occurs each February, bringing in some of the nation’s fiercest rodeo stars. Throw on a cowboy hat and head to the Mississippi Fairgrounds to see the area transformed for the rodeo events. Boasting popular country music performers and many rising stars in the competitive rodeo scene, the Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo is an attraction that should not be missed.
Opened in 2017 in Jackson, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is the first civil rights museum in Mississippi to be sponsored by the state. With innovative exhibits that dive deep into Mississippi’s infamous past and involvement with the Civil Rights Movement, it’s easy to see why the museum is quickly becoming a top attraction for Mississippi visitors. A highlight of the museum is the massive and eye-catching 40-foot (12-meter) sculpture, This Little Light of Mine.