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Mississippi – The Magnolia State

Mississippi represents for many like no other state the Deep South, with all its flaws and charms. To others, Mississippi is only known for its Gulf Coast, certainly the most popular tourist destination. The state of Mississippi is all that and much more.

Mississippi is a very flat and low state, with the highest elevation, Woodall Mountain, not being a mountain at all at only 800 feet above sea level. Mississippi has a hot and humid subtropical climate. The summers are long and very warm, whereas winters are generally short and mild. July and August highs are usually somewhere in the 90s. Frost is a rare phenomenon even in winter.

The state of Mississippi entered Union ranks in 1817. In the mid-19th century, Mississippi planters profited greatly from King Cotton, exploiting the enslaved African-American population. At the eve of the Civil War, more than half of the state’s population was unfree. In the late 19th century, Mississippi became notorious for its strict “Jim Crow” laws, banning blacks from legal, political, and civil participation.

At the same time, Mississippi has always been an inspiring soil and has brought forth many famous artists. William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams are among the most notable, and Blues music was born in the region. The Mississippi Blues Trail is being created to commemorate the many music great stemming especially from the Mississippi Delta.

Gulf Coast

The Mississippi Gulf Coast boasts a stretch of more than 20 miles of shoreline. The beautiful sandy beaches hold everything in store that a summer vacationer could hope for. Mississippi summers are long too. Virtually from March through October or longer visitors can enjoy jet-skiing, surfing, fishing, or simply relaxing on the beach. The Gulf Islands National Seashore is a great place for day trips or your whole vacation. This chain of islands in front of the coast is an ideal getaway with great fishing, hiking, and wildlife.

Biloxi, one of the cities largely affected by Hurricane Katrina, is making a great comeback for tourism. Many historic places, great entertainment areas, and a stunning shoreline make Biloxi one of the most popular targets. Visitors can go and see Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis. Fine antebellum and Victorian houses stand along the coast. Biloxi is also an ideal basis for an exploration of the nearby islands and the surrounding areas on the coast, also because there is great vacation homes and all needed amenities provided in the city. The NASA Space Center, fishing charters and shrimping trips, canoeing and kayaking tours are among the possible getaways and tours offered in and around Biloxi.

Bay St. Louis is a community on the easternmost tip of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It entices with a rich history and a distinct ethnic heritage. Several casinos are located around the bay. But there is a much more cozy and less modern way of the citizens to go about their everyday lives. Visitors will be surprised. Generally, the Gulf Coast has some of the finest casino and nightlife options in the US, but at the same time also offers natural attractions and summer water fun.

Mississippi Delta

The Mississippi Delta is a region like no other in North America. Blues music, a characteristic blend of people and historic growth have created a unique scenario. DeSoto County, for instance, named after Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, houses some fine bluegrass music venues but also unique dining options. Tunica is a more modern place with casinos and some fine golf courses. It is one of the nation’s premier resort destinations. The brand-new RiverPark tells some tales about the old Mississippi, the Old Man River, that winds through the region.

Clarksdale has the Delta Blues Museum, dedicated to the preservation of Blues music and the adjacent culture. The agricultural roots can be discovered in Clarksdale as well, for example with a visit to one of the preserved plantation sites. Mississippi’s cotton past is also visible in places like Greenville.

Blues legend B.B. King was born in Indianola, where the traditional backbone of the Mississippian economy, farming, is still visible. The Indianola Pecan House is worth a visit – it is a nationwide known institution.

Vicksburg, further along on the Mississippi, commemorates the famous siege of the Civil War at the National Military Park. But more delicate themes are also addressed in this riverside town. The H.C. Porter Gallery and the Attic Gallery satisfy the lust for art of visitors and locals alike. Vicksburg is an El Dorado for architecture buffs as well, with its many majestic antebellum villas. Several casinos complement the picture.

Further south, Natchez National Historic Park is another worthy stop-over. In the park, a French fortification from the 18th century is preserved. Architecture in the park ranges from Greek Revival over Rococo and Gothic Revival styles.


Jackson, in central Mississippi, is the cultural epicenter of the region. The Ballet Mississippi, the Black Arts Music Society, the Bryant Galleries, and the Mississippi Museum of Art and Opera are only a few of the many notable cultural institutions. The state capital also greatly commemorates the African-American heritage of the region.

Mississippi offers a great variety of activities and attractions. Culturally, few states are richer, especially when it comes to musical heritage. The Gulf Coast is – despite recent destructions – one of the nation’s finest regions for summer vacations. And remember: Summers in the region are very long…

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