The Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi. Editorial credit: Nina Alizada /

6 Most Inviting Towns in Mississippi

While planning their vacations, many people pass on Mississippi for more well-known states such as Florida, California, and New York. However, by doing so, travelers are missing out on a state filled to the brim with hidden gems. From the rhythmic beats of Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley, to the artistic haven of Ocean Springs, where oak trees shade galleries and coastal culture thrive, these Mississippi towns beckon all kinds of visitors. Keep reading to uncover Mississippi's six most inviting towns and plan your next unforgettable adventure.


View of downtown Tupelo, Mississippi.
View of rustic buildings along downtown Tupelo, Mississippi. By Fredlyfish4 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Tupelo has earned its spot on the map due to being the birthplace of Elvis Presley, making it a must for music lovers! Presley fans can immerse themselves in his origin story by visiting the modest, two-room home where he was born or seeing the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum, filled with artifacts from his life and immersive audiovisual presentations. Visitors should also check their calendars to see if they can attend the annual Elvis Presley Festival in June to participate in special events celebrating the star’s life!

The town has a variety of activities that extend beyond simply Elvis. The highly rated Oren Dunn City Museum examines history from the area’s prehistoric times through the present day, including untold stories that will allow visitors to see the town in a new light. For families, the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo, spanning 210 acres and hosting more than 260 animals, is an unforgettable activity. The Park is also home to a herd of American Bison, or buffalo, that parkgoers can see roaming freely in the fields!

Bay St. Louis

Hancock County Courthouse in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
The Hancock County Courthouse in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. By Infrogmation of New Orleans - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Filled with swaying palm trees, sandy beaches, and breezy, sunny days, Bay St. Louis offers a relaxing vacation fused with art and nature. A great place to start a visit would be in the Bay St. Louis Historic L & N Train Depot. Not only does it have incredible architecture, but due to its mission-style design and cultural offerings, it is a Mississippi landmark. Within this property, visitors can find the Visitor Center to help them plan their trip and the Alice Moseley Folk Art Museum, which is a great place to learn about the artist Alice Moseley and witness her art. As a bonus for film buffs, the movie “This Property is Condemned” was filmed in the Train Depot!

Stop to drink a cocktail or beer at Rags to Riches, a sports bar with a classy lounge feel that, between listening to live music, watching sports, or watching the sunset, Bay St. Louis has something for everyone. For visitors who will be in Bay St. Louis on the second Saturday of the month, come out for the monthly art walk that features an array of art galleries, food, and live music. Lastly, for nature lovers and families, check out Buccaneer State Park, a 4.5-acre water park with beautiful nature trails and disc golf.


Rosalie Mansion in Natchez, Mississippi.
The historic Rosalie Mansion in Natchez, Mississippi.

Natchez, founded in 1716 and one of Mississippi’s oldest cities, welcomes visitors with its beautiful Greek revival architecture, featuring grand, dramatic staircases and gorgeous white pillars. Architectural fanatics must visit Texada, the earliest brick building in the city and temporarily Mississippi’s state capital from 1817 to 1820. It takes visitors back in time by maintaining some of its original features, such as original paint, molded chair railings, and beadboard ceilings.

For an adventure into nature, visitors can take a trip to Duncan Park which has an activity for everyone. The park has running and bike trails, a golf course, baseball fields, and tennis courts. The Natchez National Historic Park beautifully combines history with nature and allows visitors to learn about Natchez’s history, including European settlers, the cotton economy, African enslavement, and the civil rights movement in the town. To finish off an eventful day, visitors can go to Biscuits & Blues to have a delicious southern meal and hit the hay at the Dunleith Historic Inn, which is not only a bed and breakfast but also a national historic landmark.

Ocean Springs

Saint John's Episcopal Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
Saint John's Episcopal Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. By Quentin Melson - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Ocean Springs is a historical, artsy town scattered with beautiful oak trees. Beginning on the main street, visitors can meander through a variety of galleries, local artisan shops, and tasty restaurants. Also downtown is the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, which immerses visitors in the artist’s life and exhibits art representing the southern landscape and coastal culture. Art lovers should also attend the annual Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival, which is the largest arts festival in Mississippi and features many artists, food vendors, and crafters from all over the US.

Extending beyond its art scene, the town is also home to the Davis Bayou Area Gulf Islands National Seashore, which is recognized nationwide for its unique coastal forest and bayous. In addition to hiking, camping, and picnicking, lucky visitors may spot wildlife such as alligators, sea turtles, and a variety of fish and bird species. For those wishing for a charming place to lodge, check out the Inn of Ocean Springs, which is a charming southern-style home with the perfect location close to many restaurants, shops, and museums downtown.


The Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi.
The Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi. Editorial credit: Nina Alizada /

Speckled with boutiques, flea markets, art, bookstores, and antique shops, Cleveland, Mississippi has an undeniable allure. All travelers should stop by the Roy L. and Clara Belle Wiley Planetarium at Delta State University. This renovated planetarium with a cutting-edge projector system takes visitors on an unforgettable journey to space. Another unmissable spot is The Grammy Museum, providing a truly unique experience as an interactive, high-tech museum with more than two dozen exhibits that celebrate music and cover a wide array of music genres. Other interesting museums for history buffs include the Cleveland Railroad Museum, the Martin & Sue King Railroad Museum, and the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum.

After a day of shopping and museum tours, visitors should visit either the Country Platter Too Restaurant to have some good, southern-cooked food, or Hey Joe’s Burger and Beer, an eclectic joint with craft beer and live music. Cleveland is also home to the Deep Roots Music Series, a series of music events focusing on the town’s delta roots and Americana Music. Visitors can see the calendar for these series online.

Port Gibson

The Windsor Ruins in Port Gibson, Mississippi.
The Windsor Ruins in Port Gibson, Mississippi.

Port Gibson is a town a bit off the beaten path but well worth the visit, beckoning visitors who are history lovers. Perhaps the most famous landmark in Port Gibson is the Windsor Ruins, a location on the National Register of Historic Places that boasts 29 mystical and colossal columns that remain standing following a devastating fire in 1890. The A.K. Shaifer House is another great point to visit as a landmark from the Civil War, specifically part of the Battle of Port Gibson in 1863.

The Grand Gulf Military State Park is a natural park with a historic twist. This 400-acre park is filled with historic landmarks from the Civil War and includes fascinating spots such as the Grand Gulf Cemetery, Fort Cobun, and Fort Wade. It also has camping and picnic areas, hiking trails, and a museum. Continuing the historical trend, the town has an Annual Mississippi Delta Blues And Heritage Festival, which features a Quilt show, cultural and historical activities, and a Blues show. For those looking for a place to stay, check out the Isabella Bed and Breakfast! This historic home has beautifully refurbished guest rooms and will enchant all visitors with its well-maintained spaces.

Final Thoughts

As one’s exploration of Mississippi's inviting towns draws to a close, it is clear that each destination offers a unique array of experiences waiting to be uncovered. From the architectural marvels of Natchez to the hidden historical gems of Port Gibson, these towns leave an enduring impression on every visitor. So, as you plan your next adventure, consider traveling more off the beaten path and immersing yourself in the rich history, culture, and charm of Mississippi's most welcoming towns. The experience will definitely be a memorable one.

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