Horn Island, Coastal MS
Whatever your outdoor tastes, Mississippi has something to suit you. Take Gulf Islands National Seashore, known for its rolling white sand dunes, salt marshes, and emerald green waters; it encompasses several barrier islands that lie within the Mississippi Sound, just a boat ride away from the coast. While Ship Island is home to some of the state’s finest beaches, Horn Island is hailed among Mississippians for its quiet reprieve. In fact, the island is a designated wilderness area where pelicans and alligators reside. Consider kayaking along one of Mississippi’s scenic rivers or hiking among its vast forests, which cover more than half of the state. And don’t miss Tishomingo State Park in the Appalachian foothills, known for its remarkable landscape of massive rock formations.
From blackjack and poker to top-notch entertainment, Mississippi’s casinos are where the action is. Some of the state’s most popular casinos are located along its Gulf Coast and in the river cities of Vicksburg and historic Natchez, as well as Northwest Mississippi. It’s here that you’ll find Tunica Resorts, a collection of six distinct casinos. These include Horseshoe Tunica, with its rejuvenating spa, and Hollywood Casino Tunica, featuring the Mid-South’s largest collection of authentic movie memorabilia. Bet on professional sports teams and collegiate players—then watch them play—at one of the state’s casino-based sportsbook gaming centers, or tackle two-in-one with a casino/golf package, pairing an evening of slots with an afternoon on one of Mississippi’s most challenging 18-hole courses.
Two Brothers Smoked Meats, Starkville
It seems like everywhere you turn in Mississippi, there’s a new culinary delight awaiting. Along with soul food and mouthwatering seafood fresh from the Gulf, the state’s proximity to Louisiana means Cajun and Creole influences are plenty—as is sweet Mississippi barbecue. You’ll find this undeniable favorite in spots like Starkville’s Two Brothers Smoked Meats, serving up flavorful cuts of pork and duck in everything from Cuban sandwiches to sliders, and The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint in Ocean Springs, pairing live music with 16-hour brisket. Or try the combo of craft brews and barbecue chicken tacos at Pig & Pint in Jackson. Another essential dish, both a surprising regional specialty and the star of the Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Trail, is said to have been brought to town by early 20th-century migrants. Like a Mexican tamale but smaller, the Delta version can be sampled at restaurants and food stands from Tunica to Natchez.
B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, Indianola
Mississippi’s impact on global music is undeniable. After all, this is the land where the Blues was born. Catch world-famous headliners and the Coast’s best local artists at Biloxi’s IP Casino Resort Spa. Or immerse yourself in music history at a trio of standout museums – Indianola’s B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, Cleveland’s interactive GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi, and the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale (the same city where blues great Robert Johnson reputedly sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for some extraordinary guitar skills). Meridian sports a museum devoted to the "Father of Country Music” Jimmie Rodgers, while in Philadelphia, multi-instrumentalist Marty Stuart is opening the Congress of Country Music, a 500-seat performance space slated to feature the world’s largest private collection of country music artifacts.
Arts & Culture
Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, Ocean Springs
Mississippi art and culture extends well beyond the world of music. The Gulf Coast alone has had a major influence on the country’s pottery, from the works of Native Americans to the ceramics of George E. Ohr. More than 200 pieces from this self-proclaimed "Mad Potter of Biloxi" are displayed at the city’s Gehry-designed Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art. Over in Meridian, The Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience (MAX) honors Mississippi’s creative legends through interactive exhibits and inspires the next generation of artists with a state-of-the-art recording studio. Take classes in fused glass and wood burning and shop for artisan-made goods at Ridgeland’s Bill Waller Craft Center, or tour the Mississippi homes of some of the state’s most influential writers, including that of author William Faulkner, playwright Tennessee Williams, and Pulitzer-prize winning novelist Eudora Welty.