From the antebellum mansions of Natchez to the golf greens of Hattiesburg, from the sultry, sun-drenched beaches along the Gulf Coast of Mexico to the fast-paced gaming action of Tunica casinos, the state of Mississippi is a special blend of city and countryside, golf swings and porch swings, history and today.
One of the best ways to experience the appeal of Mississippi travel on your next vacation is by taking a drive through the state's historic landscape. The Natchez Trace, in the Capital/River region, follows an original Indian trail and is one of the top ten scenic travel byways in America.
Detour to Vicksburg, Mississippi to visit Margaret's Grocery, a continuously evolving example of American folk art, inside and out. Here the Reverend H.D. Dennis continues to build a joyous, colorful, and utterly unique monument to God, country, and his wife Margaret. Along the way you'll find affordable hotels and motels.
Mississippi travelers with the urge to get out and run, bike, hike, or go horseback riding can do so along The Longleaf Trace, railroad tracks recently converted to a recreational trail. This shady asphalt byway winds its way along 41 miles of an abandoned section of the Illinois Central Railroad from Prentiss to Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Hattiesburg is also a haven for golfers: Two of Hattiesburg's public courses - Canebrake Golf Club and Timberton Gulf Club -- were both recently given high marks by Gold Digest magazine and welcome traveling players.
MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST: "Playground of the South"
U.S. Highway 90 parallels a 26-mile-long stretch of sand along the Gulf of Mexico's calm, turquoise waters. But that's not the only reason to explore these parts: The Mississippi Gulf Coast's twelve casinos, antebellum homes, sailing excursions, cultural museums, more than 20 golf courses, and some 60 charter fishing operators also provide ample diversion.
The area's most popular attractions include Beauvoir estate, the home of confederacy leader Jefferson Davis; the Biloxi Shrimping Trip; the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum; and the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art. The latter displays the extraordinary work of 20th-century artist George Ohr, AKA the Mad Potter of Biloxi.
Note: This article originally was posted before Hurricane Katrina. According to Stephen Richer, Executive Director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau two years after the devastating event, "Mississippi focused on making it extremely attractive for private sector investment and development as its strategic plan after Katrina. [The arrival of] the Hard Rock Casino Hotel, Emeril’s Fish House, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and the expansion of Treasure Bay Casino have all validated this strategy. Now our visitors and residents will be the big beneficiaries, as our vitality as both a community and a destination continue to move ahead.”