18 Essential Mississippi Bucket List Activities and Food

Updated

Are you planning a trip to Mississippi? We’ve scoured the top Mississippi travel sites to make this list of must-dos, must-visits, and must-eats. We’ve also divided our list into spring/summer activities and fall/winter activities.

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Whether you are a beach lover or blues lover, you won’t be disappointed when traveling to Mississippi. After all, one of the state mottoes is “The Hospitality State.”

Mississippi Bucket List Trip Destinations

Many people enjoy creating a travel bucket list – with a list of places they wish to visit before they kick the bucket. Most websites that offer advice on how to make a bucket list instruct individuals to include easily achievable items – along with a few that stretch the individual out of their comfort zone. 

If your goal is to travel to all 50 states, here are some locations you might want to consider when visiting Mississippi.

1. Delta Blues Museum

No one can argue about Mississippi’s contributions to music. So if you are visiting the region, take time to visit the Delta Blues Museum, which celebrates Mississippi’s blues legacy. 

The museum is located in Clarksdale and includes artifacts, memorabilia, and instruments from some of the state’s best-known blues artists, like B. B. King and Muddy Waters. While visiting the Delta Blues Museum, you’ll see the remains of the cabin from Stovall Farms, where Muddy Waters lived during his days as a sharecropper.

2. Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Mississippi was center stage during the American Civil Rights Movement. Although we will highlight several significant historical locations on our list, you might consider the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum as your starting point – especially if you are traveling with children and teens.

The museum features eight galleries, each with a different theme. For example, one celebrates the music of the movement, while another highlights the contributions of African American soldiers during World War II. You’ll also hear first-hand stories of Civil Rights activists.

3. Elvis Presley’s birthplace

Even though Graceland is located in Tennessee, Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. Visit the birthplace of the King of Rock & Roll – a modest two-room house built by the musician’s father, grandfather, and uncle. 

Did you know that Elvis was a twin? His brother, Jessie, was stillborn.

While in Tupelo, you might also want to visit Tupelo Hardware, which was the store where Elvis’ mom bought his first guitar. 

Outdoor Activity, Hike, and Adventure Bucket List Ideas for Mississippi

Mississippi is the perfect location for outdoor enthusiasts. Even though there aren’t any National Parks in the state, you are able to visit a National Seashore, Trail, and Parkway. 

Here are some outdoor locations you should put on your Mississippi bucket list

4. Gulf Islands National Seashore 

Not to be confused with Gulf Shores, Alabama, Gulf Islands National Seashore is located along the southern Mississippi coastline and Florida panhandle. This site is known for its beautiful beaches, but those interested in history can also explore the nearby forts. 

5. Natchez Trace National Trail 

The Natchez Trace National Trail includes 67 miles of trails, with sections in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. This scenic trail is perfect for hiking or horseback riding. It commemorates the Natchez Trace, an ancient path that began as a wildlife and Native American trail. Colonizers and the military later used it before steamboats were introduced to the area.

Some of the segments of the trail run parallel to the Natchez Trace Parkway, which stretches from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. The park offers scenic, relaxed driving, as no commercial vehicles are allowed on the parkway. 

6. Activities along the Mississippi River 

Of course, one can’t think of the state of Mississippi without also thinking about the river with the same name. Outdoor adventurists would enjoy exploring the Mississippi and Pascagoula Rivers by going on a leisurely float trip or an adventurous canoe trip.

Spring and Summer Mississippi Bucket List Ideas

Of course, those enjoying outdoor summer activities in Mississippi need to be prepared for extreme heat and humidity. However, Mississippi is a great place to visit twelve months out of the year. 

Here are some things to do during the spring and summer. 

7. Visit Rowan Oak

Lovers of great books would enjoy visiting Rowan Oak, William Faulkner’s Greek revival home. The home sits on 29 wooded acres near Oxford, Mississippi. You can reach the property by walking the Bailey Woods Trail, connecting the house to the University of Mississippi Museum.

Mississippi was the birthplace of many famous American authors, including Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, Tennessee Williams, and John Grisham.

8. Vicksburg National Military Park 

One of the most important sites of the American Civil War is located in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The location of the Battle of Vicksburg is now a National Military Park. 

The battle was waged from late March to July 4, 1863, and the historic site features reconstructed forts and trenches that played a part in the 47-day siege of the city. The Union victory at Vicksburg gave the northerners control of the Mississippi River. 

Visitors to the park can drive through the site and stop to see monuments and markers. Take time to visit the U.S.S. Cairo, a Union gunboat that sank in the Yazoo River in 1862. 

9. Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area 

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is one of 55 National Heritage Areas in the U.S. that tell nationally important stories and celebrate the country’s diverse heritage. The area celebrates blues, rock and roll, and gospel music. It commemorates the time when “cotton was king.” But, of course, the region is also known for its historical significance during the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement. 

Learn more about the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area by visiting this website, which gives a list of suggested activities for those interested in learning more about the stories of this region.

Fall and Winter Mississippi Bucket List Ideas

Will you be visiting Mississippi during the fall or winter? Fortunately, the weather is typically mild enough that you can enjoy outdoor activities in Mississippi most of the year.

Here are some places to visit. 

10. Mississippi Petrified Forest

Located in Flora, Mississippi, the Mississippi Petrified Forest is open all year round. Its shady, paved trail winds through ancient trees. Visitors can also visit a museum that features a collection of fossils, petrified wood, and minerals from around the world. 

11. Biloxi Lighthouse

The Biloxi Lighthouse sits on the Mississippi Sound at the Gulf of Mexico. The lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and has been kept by female keepers for more years than any other lighthouse in the country.

12. Longwood Mansion

If you’ve visited the south, you know that many antebellum mansions are open to tour. The Longwood Mansion, also known as Nutt’s Folly, has the designation of being the largest octagonal house in the U.S. The home, built by enslaved people, is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is located in Natchez, Mississippi.

Bucket List Foods and Restaurants in Mississippi

Nothing causes more controversy than trying to come up with a list of the best restaurants in a given area. Try to talk with some of the locals when making a Mississippi food bucket list – as they are sure to know whether a restaurant is worth the hype. 

13. Mary Mahoney’s Old French House

If you are looking for upscale dining in Biloxi, look no further than Mary Mahoney’s Old French House. Presidents, celebrities, and dignitaries have enjoyed a meal at this elegant restaurant – located in a beautiful home surrounded by live oaks. 

Although the restaurant features seafood, there is something for everyone at Mary Mahoney’s Old French House. 

14. Old Country Store 

Old Country Store offers an all-you-can-eat buffet of southern comfort food. The buffet typically includes catfish, ribs, potato salad, mac and cheese, turnip greens, and dirty rice. However, people flock to this restaurant in Lorman, Mississippi, to taste Mr. D’s “heavenly fried chicken.” The chicken was featured on the Food Networks show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

The restaurant is located off the Natchez Trace Parkway.

15. Hot Tamale Trail

We know that you probably don’t associate tamales with Mississippi. Apparently, however, this dish that consists of seasoned meat wrapped in cornmeal dough and steamed or baked in corn husks is popular in the Mississippi Delta region. In fact, there are websites dedicated to directing visitors to the restaurants and roadside stands that offer the best tamales. 

Jackson, Mississippi Bucket List Ideas

Besides being the state’s capital, Jackson also features museums and entertainment destinations worthy of your Mississippi travel bucket list. 

16. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

While we already highlighted the most famous museum in the area (the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum), most travel websites rank this as the second-most popular attraction in Jackson. The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science features a 100,000-gallon aquarium network, fossil specimens, and exhibits of deer, waterfowl, and endangered species. 

Your kids will love the Preschool Discovery Room, which features a giant treehouse with a slide. While many natural science museums across the country are contained within four walls, this one also has two miles of outdoor walking trails that wind through natural habitats. 

17. Eudora Welty House and Garden

You don’t have to be a lover of literature to appreciate the Eudora Welty House and Garden. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author lived and wrote at this location for 76 years. Even if you aren’t a fan of this prolific writer, you might appreciate visiting the beautiful garden.

18. Mynelle Gardens

Speaking of gardens, you might want to visit the Mynelle Gardens while in Jackson. Visitors remark on the beautiful azaleas, bridges, and gazebos that can be found within the seven-acre retreat. 

What Did We Leave Off Our List?

While we attempted to provide our leaders with a list of the state’s most popular attractions and sites, we know we inadvertently left some off our list. So what is your favorite place to visit while in Mississippi?

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