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Top Ten Destination Spots in Mississippi
Elephants at Jackson Zoo
10. Jackson Zoo
Created in 1921, the Jackson Zoo is located within Livingston Park and houses over 800 animals. Many historical structures still stand around Livingston Park and has been named, Travel Attraction of the Year.
The focus of Jackson Zoo is conservation and education.
There are several educational programs offered at the zoo which include kids’ camp and environmental and educational programs.
Some exhibits located at Jackson Zoo include; the African Rain-forest which is home to hippos, chimpanzees and rhinoceros and more. Another exhibit is the African Savannah where you will see antelope, gazelle, zebra and more.
A popular exhibit at Jackson Zoo is Wilderness Mississippi. This is where the black bear and mountain lions live.
The Venomous Snake House is close by and houses some of the world’s most venomous snakes.
The Jackson Zoo is a great place to take the family and is full of entertainment.
Flamingos at Jackson Zoo
Old Sunken Trace
Indian Mounds in Natchez Trace Parkway
9. Natchez Trace Parkway
The Natchez Trace Parkway follows a trail in three states; Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. The Natchez Trail covers miles of history in the south. During the War of 1812, this trail was not used for battle but the environment could be devastating to travelers due to poor weather and other exposures. Andrew Jackson is said to have gotten the nick name, Old Hickory, from this trip to the south through Natchez Trace.
A historical place to see while visiting the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi is the Indian Mounds site. There are seven mounds located here, the largest mound being, Emerald Mound.
Another great place to stop in and see is the Mt. Locust Inn and Plantation which was used by travelers dating back to 1780. 25 cents would get you lodging and a meal. Over the years other Inns of the same kind were built but Mt Locusts is the only one remaining. Today it is used as a contact station.
Sunken Trace is probably the most photographed area in Natchez Trace. Due to being walked on over time, the path has sunken in. This path was used in the 1800’s and was walked on by people who had traveled miles and miles on foot. The weather, mosquitoes, disease and hunger caused many hardships for the travelers..
Another place located on Natchez Trace Parkway is Rocky Springs which is a ghost town that was established in the late 1700’s and was totally abandoned by 1930. There is a trail to explore this old town as well as picnic areas, restrooms and campgrounds. The only building standing today is the Methodist Church which was built in 1837 and still active today!
Ghost Town Rocky Springs, Cemetery
Vicksburg and The Civil War
8. Vicksburg National Military Park
Established in 1899, The Vicksburg National Military Park is the site of The Battle of Vicksburg during the American Civil War in 1863.
This led to the victory of control over the Mississippi River.
While visiting this park you will find 1,325 historic monuments.
You will see cannons, historic trenches, antebellum houses and the USS Cairo.
The USS Cairo was sunk on the Yazoo River in 1862. I love historical battleships and this one is so interesting!
There is also a National Cemetery and Grants Canal.
The Vicksburg National Military Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and has over a million visitors a year.
The USS Cairo
Founded in 1699 at Fort Maurepas, Biloxi was the first permanently settled city in French Louisiana. Previously called Old Biloxi, Biloxi was admitted to the union in 1817 and became a state.
The Biloxi Lighthouse is a popular point of interest and was completed in 1848.
Today Biloxi is known for its casinos and gaming as well as its seafood. The casinos offer 24 hour gaming, shows and concerts and there are restaurants and other places to eat available in the casinos as well.
A beautiful historic place to see while visiting Biloxi is the Beauvoir Plantation. Beauvoir Plantation was home to Jefferson Davis from 1875 till his death in 1889. It is a National Historic Landmark and today is used as a library and museum.
Another Historic building in Biloxi is the Biloxi City Hall which has been used as a post office, courthouse and custom house. The Biloxi City Hall was built in 1908 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside this gorgeous building you will find the bell from the USS Biloxi.
The interior of Beauvoir, residence of Jefferson Davis
Would you like to experience the Mississippi River at the Tunica Riverpark?
Take a tour on the Tunica Queen
6. Mississippi Tunica Riverpark
The Mississippi River is the longest river in the United States and flows from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.
A great way to experience the Mississippi River is at the Mississippi Tunica Riverpark. While visiting this unique park you will have the opportunity to overlook the Mississippi River from the parks overlook area which is 47 feet high.
You will also have spectacular views of the flora and fauna in the area.
There are riverboat cruises available as well as trails to walk along and a gift shop.
The Mississippi River Museum is located here as well. This is where you will find exhibits about history, culture and nature.
There are four aquariums housed here where you will be able to view wildlife found in or around the Mississippi River habitat.
There is also an art gallery available for viewing and Tunica is a great area to bring your camera and create your own art. This is also a popular spots for weddings.
Mississippi Governors Mansion
Canoe racing at Lefleurs Bluff Park
The capital of Mississippi, Jackson is located near the Yazoo River and was once occupied by the Choctaw Nation who occupied it for 1000’s of years.
It was obtained by the United States in 1820 and pushed the Choctaw into what is now, Oklahoma. Jackson is full of places to shop, dine and places for entertainment, but there are also interesting places to visit.
The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion was built in 1842 and is on National Register of Historical Places. This governor’s mansion is the second oldest in the United State to still be occupied.
The Old Mississippi State Capital is another historical landmark to visit. It served as state capital from 1837 to 1903 and is now used as a museum.
The Oaks History Museum is another point of interest in Jackson. Built in 1853 by former Mayor James H. Boyd. the Oaks History Museum remained in his family until 1960. Many of the homes were burned during the Civil War, this house was practically untouched and is one of the oldest buildings in Jackson.Today it serves as a museum.
One of the nicer places to stay at is the King Edward Hotel which was built in 1923 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Today this hotel holds 186 rooms for rent, 64 luxury apartments, shops, a coffee shop and a restaurant.
Don’t forget to drop by the gorgeous Lefleurs Bluff Park to get views of the Pearl River along with places to hike and fish. There is also a golf course and a disc golf course.
Mayes Lake is a great attraction located at Lefleurs Bluff Park with places for tents and RV hookups as well as fishing and swimming. This is a great place to take in the flora and fauna of Jackson Mississippi.
The Lobby in the King Edward Hotel
The Windsor Ruins
Confederate Memorial Chapel at Grand Gulf Military State Park
4. Great River Road
The Great River Road is a path full of history and beauty. It follows the Mississippi River throughout ten states with landmarks and points of interest all along it. While traveling on this road in South Mississippi, you will see several historical plantations and old homes, including antebellum homes.
One of the homes you will see is the Charles Redding House which is on the National Register of Historic Places and was built around 1900. The Charles Redding House was owned and built by the successful businessman, Charles Walter Redding. Grand River Road covers history from 1000’s of years ago.
The Windsor Ruins were at one time a mansion and a plantation. Built in 1849, The Windsor Mansion and Plantation was burned down by a fire in 1890 which left behind only the 45 foot tall columns. The fire was started from a lit cigar on the balcony. This plantation was used as a rooftop observatory during the Civil War and both the Confederates and the Union used it. It was also used as a hospital at one point.
Another plantation to see while travel on the Great River Road Is the Rosemont Plantation which is near Natchez Trace and was built before the Civil War. This plantation was mainly used for the cotton industry; today it is used as a Christmas tree farm.
Some of the landmarks you will see are in Vicksburg and this historical road passes by the Vicksburg National Military Park which is on the ground of the Battle of Vicksburg.Another military park on the Great River Road is the Grand Gulf Military Park.
Birding is a popular pastime due to the abundant amount of birds in the area. At certain times of the year you will be able to see pelicans migrate, great horned owls and bald eagles.
Great River Road
St. Mary's Basilica
Occupied by the Natchez Native American tribe as far back as the 8th century, Natchez was also occupied by the French in 1716 which caused wars between the French and the Natchez tribe over the land.
When the United States obtained possession of the land, Natchez became the first capital of the Mississippi Territory in 1798 and the cotton became a major industry in Natchez.
Before the Civil war, Natchez became a popular destination for the rich and antebellum homes began being built. During the Civil War, Natchez was left almost untouched.
There are more antebellum homes in Natchez than any other state. Many of these homes have been turned into museums, are open to the public and offer tours. Natchez is full of many historical churches and many of them are still in service today.
St. Mary’s Basilica is a gorgeous structure erected in 1837 and a great place to see.
While visiting Natchez you will not have any trouble finding places to shop dine or lodge at. There are gaming facilities and trails to explore as well.
One of the mansions still standing in Natchez
2. Longwood Plantation
Built in the 1860’s, the Longwood Plantation was home to Dr. Haller Nutt, his wife and family.
Also known as Nutts Folly, the Longwood Plantation houses 32 rooms however; due to the Civil War, only nine rooms were completed.
The house was being built while the Civil War broke out causing the men working on the home to leave. Dr. Nutt managed to get the basement finished where the family lived and occupied the nine completed rooms.
Each room in the house had its own entrance to the balcony. This six story mansion is located on the Civil War Discovery Trail and is a National Historic Landmark as well as on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Longwood Plantation is open to the public and tours are available with knowledgeable tour guides. While touring the house and grounds you will feel as though you are stepping back in time.
A lot of the original furniture is still inside the home, explore the grounds and learn about Dr. Nutt and the family.
A fun fact about this house is that it was used in the HBO television series, True Blood as home to the King of Louisiana, Russell.
Ole Miss and a monument to James Meredith
Founded in 1837, Oxford has become a popular college town over the years and is home to the University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss and was founded in 1848.
It was James Meredith who was the first African American to enroll at Ole Miss and due to this there were riots and protesting against it. James helped desegregate Ole Miss.
Oxford has been called the art center of the south due to the ongoing interest in art. There are museums available to explore as well.
There are still historical buildings in Oxford, even though a lot of them were burned during the Civil War. The historical JE Neilson Co. is the oldest store in Oxford and was built in 1839.The Lyric is another 1800’s building and is the largest music venue in the area.
Also located in Oxford is the William Faulkner residence. Also known as the Rowan Oak, the William Faulkner House was built in 1844 and was purchased by William Faulkner in the 1930’s. It is a National Historic Landmark.
The historic Oxford Square is a great place to go for restaurants, shopping and to get great views of the Oxford City Hall.
A fun fact about Oxford is that Eli Manning lives here on his off season.