State Capitol

America's 20th state is best known for its intriguing Civil War history, its booming agribusiness economy, and its title as the birthplace of blues music. Mississippi is also famous for being the most religious state in America and for having the highest population of African Americans in the country. For tourists, Mississippi is an ideal place for learning about Civil War history.

Throughout the famous conflict, Union and Confederate forces battled to gain control of the Mississippi River, the state's most prominent body of water. Key fights, like the Battle of Vicksburg, occurred in Mississippi throughout the mid-1800s. Today, Mississippi boasts a unique culture that attracts visitors from all around the world.

»State Capitol

State Capitol

The Mississippi State Capitol serves as the center for government affairs in Mississippi. The stately building, with its elegant facade and dome-shaped roof, was built in 1903. Two state capitol buildings preceded the current capitol.

During a tour of the capitol, visitors can see portraits of Mississippi state leadership in the Hall of Governors and view the legislature meeting rooms on the third floor. The capitol grounds feature a replica of the Liberty Bell as well as a Women of the Confederacy monument, which is dedicated to the wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers of soldiers who fought with the Confederacy. Tours of the capitol building are offered on weekdays.

400 High Street, Jackson, Mississippi 39201

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»Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg National Military Park serves as a memorial for the American Civil War’s Battle of Vicksburg. Fought in mid-1863, the Battle of Vicksburg took place on a 20-mile parcel of land that is lined with trenches to this day.

The 47-day siege that took place at Vicksburg ended up claiming close to 5,000 lives. Today, Vicksburg National Military Park features 1,325 historical markers and monuments, a 12.5-mile walking trail, 144 cannons, the restored gunboat U.S.S. Cairo, and Vicksburg National Cemetery, which contains the remains of nearly 20,000 people. Upwards of 12,000 of the people buried at the site are unidentified.

3201 Clay Street, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39183, Phone: 601-636-2199

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»U.S.S. Cairo Museum

U.S.S. Cairo Museum

The U.S.S. Cairo is a Civil War-era gunboat that sits at Vicksburg National Military Park. Commissioned in January 1862, the U.S.S. Cairo was one of seven ironclad gunboats that the Union used in attempts to regain control of the lower Mississippi River.

The Cairo was sunk in the Yazoo River after coming under enemy fire. It sat immersed in roughly 40 feet of water until 1965, when the remains of the gunboat were towed to a shipyard for restoration. Today, the U.S.S. Cairo sits along the tour road at the U.S.S. Cairo Museum. The museum contains all sorts of artifacts that were recovered from the ship years after it sunk.

3201 Clay Street, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39183, Phone: 601-636-0583

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»Tupelo Automobile Museum

Tupelo Automobile Museum

The Tupelo Automobile Museum boasts an extensive collection of rare antique vehicles. The 120,000-square-foot museum houses over 100 classic and collectible automobiles. During a self-guided tour, visitors can see an 1886 Mercedes Benz, a Lincoln that was once owned by Elvis Presley, a rare Tucker vehicle, and a 1994 Dodge Viper that has never been driven.

In all, the museum's car collection is worth more than $6 million. In addition to historic vehicles, the museum also contains a wealth of information about car engineering and manufacturing throughout history. Admission ranges from free to $10, depending on age and military status.

1 Otis Boulevard, Tupelo, Mississippi 38804, website, Phone: 662-842-4242

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»Longwood

Longwood

Longwood is an oriental-style villa that was designed by Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan and built for Haller and Julia Nutt, an esteemed couple belonging to Natchez's planter elite. The groundbreaking for the octagonal structure occurred in 1860, but construction was halted in 1861 due to the Civil War.

At the time, the exterior of the villa was complete but only one level of the interior had been finished. The Nutt family lived in the basement until the turn of the century. Thanks to its unfinished upper levels, Longwood became known locally as “Nutt's Folly.” Longwood was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971.

401 High Street, Natchez, Mississippi 39120, website, Phone: 601-445-5151

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»Rosalie Mansion

Rosalie Mansion

The origins of the Rosalie Mansion stretch back to 1716, when the French built a fort on the cliffs above Natchez. They named the fort Rosalie to honor the Countess of Pontchartrain. In 1820 a Pennsylvania local named Peter Little purchased a portion of the land to build his home, which he named Rosalie in keeping with local tradition.

Peter married a young girl named Eliza, and together they started the Natchez's Children Home, an organization that helped care for orphaned children. Visitors can tour Rosalie 7 days a week. For private tours and holiday tour arrangements, guests can call ahead to make a reservation at Rosalie.

100 Orleans Street, Natchez, Mississippi 39120, website, Phone: 601-446-5676

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»Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum

Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum

The quiet Mississippi town of Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis Presley, one of the most iconic musicians of all time. Presley was born in January 1935 in a two-room home that was built by his relatives. When Elvis was a child, his family struggled financially and they moved several times to find work during their 13-year stint in Mississippi.

Elvis Presley attended church in Tupelo, played shows there for locals, and made his first radio broadcast in the Mississippi town. Today visitors can choose from several Elvis-themed tours that provide a glimpse into Presley's childhood. Some stops on the “Grand Tour” include Elvis' childhood church, his home, and other places that he frequented.

306 Elvis Presley Drive, Tupelo, Mississippi 38801, website, Phone: 662-841-1245

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»Stanton Hall

Stanton Hall

Construction on Stanton Hall began in 1857. The stately Greek Revival-style home was built on a full city block in the heart of Natchez. When time came to furnish the residence, owner Frederick Stanton imported pieces from France, Philadelphia, and New York.

The home survived the Civil War and was purchased and restored by the Pilgrimage Garden Club in 1938. The residence was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974 and today guests can take a 30-minute walking tour of the home. Afterward, tourists can enjoy a Southern-style meal at the Carriage House Restaurant next door.

401 High Street, Natchez, Mississippi 39120, website, Phone: 601-445-5151

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»B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center

B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center

The B.B. King Museum is dedicated to the memory of Riley B. King, an international blues music icon. Born in 1925, King endured many struggles related to his family life. Early on, he moved to Memphis, where he became involved in the local music and radio scene. King's years of hard work culminated in him becoming an international blues star.

In particular, he was known for the respect he had for all people, regardless of race. The B.B. King Museum portrays some of the most interesting stories and events from King's life. Rare artifacts, award-winning films, and interactive computer programs are featured throughout the museum.

400 Second Street, Indianola, Mississippi 38751, website, Phone: 662-887-9539

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»Beauvoir

Beauvoir

The Beauvoir Estate in Biloxi, Mississippi, is the home of Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Confederate States of America. Davis served in several other political posts, including the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

Beauvoir, which was bequeathed to Davis in 1878, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The plantation surrounding the property and the home were turned into a museum in the late 1990s. Hurricane Katrina inflicted severe damage on the home in 2005, but Beauvoir was restored shortly after the disaster struck.

2244 Beach Boulevard, Biloxi, Mississippi 39531, website, Phone: 228-388-4400

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»Delta Blues Museum

Delta Blues Museum

The Delta Blues Museum seeks to preserve Mississippi's blues music history. Known as the oldest music museum in the state, the Delta Blues Museum was established in 1979. Housed in the historic Clarksdale freight depot, the museum features 7,000 square feet of exhibit space.

There are both permanent and traveling exhibits that detail the lives of famous blues stars like John Lee Hooker, Joseph A. Rosen, Don Nix, Anthony Mostrom, and other iconic artists. There are photographic exhibits along with artifacts from famous blues events. The museum also hosts educational programs for visitors of all ages.

1 Blues Alley, Clarksdale, Mississippi 38614, website, Phone: 662-627-6820

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»Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center

Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center

In 1860, Corinth, Mississippi, was home to roughly 1,500 people. The bustling town sat at the point where the Memphis/Charleston and the Mobile/Ohio railroads crossed at the time. Corinth sits 22 miles southwest of Pittsburg Landing, where the Civil War Battle of Shiloh was fought in 1862.

At the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center, visitors can learn all about this landmark battle. The battle claimed roughly 3,000 lives, but tens of thousands of men went missing or escaped the battle with severe injuries. The Battle of Shiloh was known as the bloodiest battle in American history, but it was soon upstaged by the Battle of Gettysburg.

1055 Pittsburg Landing Road, Shiloh, Tennessee 38376, Phone: 731-689-5696

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»Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center has a series of indoor and outdoor exhibits for kids of all ages. Inside, there are 15,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits, including the Super Colossal Climbing Structure, the Art Knows Anything Goes art center, the Bear Camp Bayou, the Dolan Avenue Depot, and the Little Pet Vet.

There are plenty of other exhibits inside that help children learn about math, science, the human body, and more. The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is open all week long, although hours vary depending on the day. Admission is $10 for adults and children over the age of 1.

246 Dolan Avenue, Gulfport, Mississippi 39507, website, Phone: 228-897-6039

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»Biloxi Lighthouse

Biloxi Lighthouse

Erected in 1848, the Biloxi Lighthouse is known for being one of the first cast-iron lighthouses built in the Southern United States. It is Biloxi's central landmark and also a symbol of the city's strength and resilience in the face of opposition.

The lighthouse has survived many storms in recent years, including Hurricane Katrina, which enveloped the 64-foot-tall lighthouse in a wall of water. The lighthouse was closed for a handful of years following Katrina, but in 2010, after a $400,000 restoration effort, Biloxi Lighthouse opened its doors again to visitors. Today guests can join guided tours to learn all about this interesting structure.

1050 Beach Boulevard, Biloxi, Mississippi 39530, Phone: 228-374-3105

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»Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is located inside Bluff State Park. The museum grounds feature 300 acres of open space, an open-air amphitheater, and 2.5 miles of hiking trails. Inside the museum, visitors will find more than 200 species of aquatic animals living in a 100,000-gallon tank.

There are also extensive displays detailing Mississippi's unique natural habitat. For school groups, the museum provides classroom space and child-friendly exhibits. The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science boasts a greenhouse, a large wall of fossil specimens, and a natural science discovery room for preschool-aged children.

1505 Eastover Drive, Jackson, Mississippi 39211, website, Phone: 601-432-2400

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»Mississippi Children's Museum

Mississippi Children's Museum

The Mississippi Children's Museum (MCM) is a one-stop shop for family fun. The museum contains all kinds of fun and educational exhibits focused on the human body, the animal world, science, art, and Mississippi history. The MCM also hosts educational age-specific programs that are designed to help children with literacy, math, STEM concepts, and more.

The Mississippi Children's Museum also organizes field trips where kids can explore the museum as part of an organized tour or join a scavenger hunt to see the museum with friends. The MCM is open Tuesday to Saturday each week. Admission is free for children under the age of 1 and $10 for everyone else.

2145 Museum Boulevard, Jackson, Mississippi 39202, website, Phone: 877-793-KIDS

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»Old Court House Museum

Old Court House Museum

The Old Court House Museum is one of the best places to see relics from the Civil War era and beyond. Some of the items housed at the museum include original Confederate flags, a tie worn by Confederate President Jefferson Davis, elegant antique furniture, and a teddy bear given to a local child by President Theodore Roosevelt.

All of these incredible items are held in the Old Warren County Courthouse, which was built in 1858. The building is known as the oldest structure in Vicksburg and has hosted men like Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Booker T. Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, and William McKinley. The Old Court House Museum is open 7 days a week all year round.

1008 Cherry Street, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39183, website, Phone: 601-636-0741

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»Rowan Oak

Rowan Oak

Rowan Oak served as home for William Faulkner for more than 40 years. The elegant estate sits on 29 acres of land just south of Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner, a prolific writer, was fascinated with history, and Rowan Oak helped inspire many of his great pieces about Native Americans, runaway slaves, and old spinsters.

Faulkner lived at Rowan Oak for many of his working years. Built in 1844, the home and grounds at Rowan Oak are open daily from dawn to dusk. Visitors can stroll along the grounds for free, or pay a $5 fee to enter the stately home.

916 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, Mississippi 38655, website, Phone: 662-234-3284

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»The Rock & Blues Museum

The Rock & Blues Museum

The Rock & Blues Museum features 3,000 square feet of interactive and entertaining exhibits centered on rock and blues music. The museum includes music memorabilia from the 1920s to the 1970s. Exhibits in the Rock & Blues Museum depict the lives and accomplishments of popular performers and producers like Led Zeppelin, Jack Johnson, and Samuel McClain.

The museum regularly holds special events like concerts, parties, and festivals and there is a gift shop for visitors to purchase souvenirs. Admission to the museum is a $5 donation and the facility's opening hours vary depending on the time of the year.

113 E 2nd Street, Clarksdale, Mississippi 38614, website, Phone: 662-524-5144

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»Mississippi Museum of Art

Mississippi Museum of Art

The Mississippi Museum of Art boasts an extensive collection of sculptures, paintings, sketches, and other art pieces by artists from around the world. In 2007 the museum moved to a new location in downtown Jackson that provided additional floor space for new exhibits and collections.

The museum has a series of ongoing and rotating exhibits. As a key member of the community, the Mississippi Museum of Art hosts educational programs, classes for people of all ages, and art exhibits for up-and-coming artists. The facility also has a robust volunteer program that allows art lovers to get involved with special museum events as well as day-to-day operations.

380 South Lamar Street, Jackson, Mississippi 39201, website, Phone: 601-960-1515

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»Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum

Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum

The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum is a massive facility filled with unique exhibits and authentic replicas. The museum currently has a boat building exhibit, a wooden boat exhibit, and several galleries that depict famous maritime events in history.

The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum hosts an annual boat show where boat owners can enter their unique vessels for prizes. Schooner Pier, a local put-in spot for boats, is home to two large Biloxi schooner replicas that are owned by the museum. Lastly, the museum runs a store where visitors can purchase maritime memorabilia.

115 1st Street, Biloxi, Mississippi 39530, website, Phone: 228-435-6320

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»Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Museum

Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Museum

This museum is managed by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce. Centered on Mississippi's history as an agriculturally productive state, the museum features a range of interesting exhibits and collections.

The family-friendly museum holds special events like Forestry Days, Pumpkin Adventures, and Story Times on an ongoing basis. The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and admission costs vary depending on age and status. The museum welcomes school groups and there are facilities for rent that can accommodate parties, wedding receptions, and other special events.

1150 Lakeland Drive, Jackson, Mississippi 39215, website, Phone: 601-432-4500

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»Mynelle Gardens Arboretum & Botanical Center

Mynelle Gardens Arboretum & Botanical Center

The Mynelle Gardens Arboretum and Botanical Center boasts an impressive collection of well-manicured gardens. A popular choice for weddings and parties, Mynelle Gardens is filled with meandering paths, peaceful streams, and a picturesque pond.

The Westbrook House, a stately home that sits among the gardens, was renovated in 2003. The gardens, the Westbrook House, and the main lawn inside the complex can be used for weddings. In general, admission to Mynelle Gardens costs $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and children between the ages of 4 and 12.

4736 Clinton Boulevard, Jackson, Mississippi 39204, Phone: 601-960-1894

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»Hattiesburg Zoo

Hattiesburg Zoo

The Hattiesburg Zoo is a fun destination for the entire family. The zoo is home to the Asbury Discovery Center, an exploratorium that allows visitors to get a close look at more than 30 of the animals that live at Hattiesburg Zoo. The discovery center is filled with whimsical furniture and interesting exhibits.

The Sloth Experience is another popular attraction at Hattiesburg Zoo. The 45-minute tour includes an up-close encounter with a sloth, an opportunity to feed sloths, and a behind-the-scenes look at the animal kitchen. Hattiesburg Zoo also boasts a high-rope adventure course that is popular with kids of all ages. In the summer months, the zoo hosts regular camps for children aged 5 to 12.

107 South 17th Avenue, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, website, Phone: 601-545-4576

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»The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) is a one-stop shop for everything related to marine life in Mississippi. The facility conducts tours, promotes rescue efforts, holds summer camps, arranges dolphin encounters, and allows visitors to job–shadow institute employees. The IMMS also has a research arm that studies the marine environment along the Gulf Coast and in the Atlantic Ocean. Field trips, family tours, and birthday parties are some other popular activities that the IMMS uses to engage with the public. IMMS fans can show their support for the organization by “adopting” a sea turtle, buying a dolphin-themed license plate, or by volunteering/donating.

10801 Dolphin Lane, Gulfport, Mississippi 39503, website, Phone: 228-896-9182

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25 Best Things to Do in Mississippi