The state of Mississippi is well known for its Civil War history, unique culture and as the birthplace of blues music. It is a diverse state filled with quite a few interesting attractions and sights to see. So if you’re looking to explore the state of Mississippi and need some recommendations for things to do, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a list of some of the best things to do in Mississippi.
1. Elvis Presley Childhood Home
Believe it or not, the famous musician was born in the small town of Tupelo, Mississippi in a two-room house built by Vernon Presley, his father. The house has since then been preserved and is considered to be a historic site of the state of Mississippi. Fans are allowed to go and tour the house as well as the museum that chronicles the king’s early life. The grounds are open for exploration at any time, but the museum and the house have specific operational hours so be sure to check out their website before you visit.
2. State Capitol
The State Capitol located in Jackson, Mississippi has been designated as a Mississippi landmark in 1986 and has been the seat of the state’s government since 1903. It is a very elegantly constructed building with a dome-shaped roof and also houses a museum that showcases government and historic events that took place there. Guided tours are available by reservation for those interested in learning more about the architecture and construction of the building.
3. Mississippi Petrified Forest
The Mississippi petrified forest is definitely one of the more interesting things to do in Mississippi. It is quite a fascinating place, located in hills with ravines that were hollowed out by nature over the last 100 years or so. These trees, when living, were over a hundred feet tall and thousands of years old. Take a walk through the nature trails and walk through a wide variety of trees, many of which are now extinct, that turned to stone with time.
4. Mammy’s Cupboard
This massive roadside statue/restaurant founded in 1940 is built in the shape of a mammy archetype which was popular during those times. The building is built into the figures wide hoop skirt, which is made out of bricks, and the top is a torso for a maid holding a tray and smiling. Inside, you can find a dining room and a gift shop. The restaurant sells various lunch items and desserts. It is definitely worth checking out if you’re into these unique building sculptures.
5. Mississippi Museum of Art
The Mississippi Museum of Art, located in Jackson, Mississippi is a museum whose goal is to connect Missippians to the culture, history and community of the state of Mississippi. It is a curated space where you can go to see various art installations and find wonder, peace and a voice. The museum always has an exhibition that is free and open to the public. So if you’re into art and culture, and looking for things to do in Mississippi, this one is a great free option.
6. Mississippi River Basin Model
The Mississippi River basin model is the largest small-scale model ever built. It represents about 41% of the US and 15,000 miles of rivers that make up the Mississippi River and runs about 8 miles long.
In the 1940s, before computers were widely used, engineers had to build elaborate models that were built to scale of whatever they were trying to design. By the 1970s computer modelling had started so the Mississippi River basin model became a burden for the Army Corps and they transferred it to the responsibility of the city of Jackson. It also became too expensive for Jackson to maintain so the city left it and today it sits abandoned but is a historic sight worth visiting.
7. Red Bluff Canyon
Also called the Grand Canyon of Mississippi, this natural canyon was formed by the erosion of millions of years of accumulation of river and dirt. It ranges from about 150 feet deep and about a mile long and is known to get larger after every rainstorm that occurs there. It is definitely a sight to see, with a huge variety of colors in the soil as well as large trees at the bottom that slid downslope.
8. USS Cairo Museum
The USS Cairo is a gunboat that is on display at Vicksburg National Military Park. It was commissioned in 1892 and was one of the boats that the Union used in order to regain control of the lower Mississippi River. After it sank, it sat under mud for almost a century before it was recovered. The restored ship is now on display along with thousands of artifacts that were discovered with it.
9. LeFleur’s Bluff State Park
LeFleur’s Bluff State Park is named after Louis LeFleur, a French-Canadian explorer who had established a trading post on the banks of the Pearl River in the 1700s. Today, this state park offers luscious greenery along with areas to camp, fish, hiking trails, picnic areas and a golf course. Bring out the adventurer in you and go explore this amazing park in Jackson.
10. Museum of Natural Science
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is located inside LeFleur’s Bluff State Park, mentioned above. The museum offers visitors the exciting opportunity to learn about the natural world through its exhibits and explore the museum grounds. Definitely check out the 100,000 gallon aquarium while you’re there as it houses more than 200 different living species, as well as the indoor swamp habitat.