CAPITAL / RIVER
Central Mississippi includes the southern part of the Mississippi River and the area surrounding Mississippi’s capital city of Jackson—the state’s government, business and cultural center. Every four years, Jackson serves as the only United States city to host the International Ballet Competition. You can also visit the incredible Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Mississippi History Museum, Mississippi Arts Museum, Old Capital Museum and the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion - all within walking distance to one another. Vicksburg offers one of the country’s most interesting and important Civil War sites. Tour Vicksburg’s National Military Park for a unique experience and insight into America’s past. A little further south on the Mississippi River, you’ll find Natchez, Lorman and Port Gibson which are highlighted by the astonishing number of antebellum mansions. Antiques and family heirlooms fill each room, and many are surrounded by lush gardens and finely manicured grounds.
South Mississippi includes interesting towns such as Hattiesburg, home to the University of Southern Mississippi, and Laurel, the setting of HGTV's "Home Town." The southern-most portion of the state is the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The beaches welcome old and young, whether to relax or partake in outdoor adventure, including kayaking, paddle boarding and deep-sea fishing. Here you’ll spend your days sampling succulent seafood caught fresh from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The coast’s vibrant nightlife provides endless entertainment at the casinos and in many local restaurants and clubs. With all there is to see and do, it’s no wonder the Mississippi Gulf Coast is known as the “Playground of the South.”
Just 30 minutes south of Memphis, Tennessee, lay the Mississippi River towns of Tunica and Robinsonville. Here you’ll find a string of casinos with bright lights, bustling activities and world-renowned entertainment. The Delta, in the northwest part of the state, is best known as the "Birthplace of the Blues." Cleveland's GRAMMY Museum Mississippi (currently the only GRAMMY Museum in the world outside of Los Angeles) immortalizes the region's (and states's) contributions to the world of music. Indianola's state-of-the-art B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center allows visitors to get an inside look at the King of Blues’ legacy, while the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale traces the history and influence of this unique music genre as a whole. The southern half of the Delta has some of the world’s richest farmland. But the area has also produced some incomparable sites of interest. Greenwood is a major agricultural center. Nearby Leland is home to Kermit’s “Birthplace of the Frog” exhibit, a tribute to Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets® and a native Mississippian.
The hills of northeast Mississippi encompass the beginnings of the lush, rugged woodlands, clear lakes, and bubbling streams of the Appalachian foothills. While traveling the area, you’ll run into many picturesque towns, historic homes and Civil War battlefields along the way. North Mississippi provided the inspiration for the works of native novelist William Faulkner. His Oxford home, Rowan Oak, may be toured. While in Oxford, visit the University of Mississippi campus and browse through the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Fans of rock ‘n’ roll music know north Mississippi best for Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley. Visitors can walk through his humble two-room childhood home as well as the adjacent museum and memorial chapel.
Two 20th century cultural icons hail from the Pines Region of central Mississippi. Playwright Tennessee Williams comes from Columbus, and you can tour his Victorian birthplace (which also serves as the Welcome Center) while you’re there. Meridian immortalizes country music pioneer Jimmie Rodgers with a Country Music Trail marker and a special exhibit in the all-encompassing Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience. In this region, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians built the world-class Pearl River Resort in Choctaw, outside of Philadelphia in Neshoba County. This resort offers two large casino/hotel properties with a spa, upscale dining, a fun-filled water park and two of the nation’s highest rated golf courses. Starkville, another city in the Pines Region, is home to Mississippi State University which was founded in 1878 and features a quaint downtown and the colorful Cotton District neighborhood.