View of Ocean Springs, a city located near Biloxi in Jackson County, Mississippi, United States.

7 Most Scenic Small Towns in Mississippi

Mississippi is situated in the United States Southeast. Also known as the "Magnolia State," it is rich in history, culture, food, and good music. From Lamar Park in Oxford to the Scenic Gulf Coast in Bay Saint Louis, there are many beautiful places to see in Mississippi. If you love watching the sunset, driving around town, or hiking gorgeous nature trails, these seven scenic towns in Mississippi are a must-visit. Let this article be your travel itinerary guide as you prepare to explore these beautiful small towns places.

Ocean Springs

Gulf Coast beach in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
Gulf Coast beach in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

The seaside town of Ocean Springs was once voted “One of the Happiest Towns by the Sea” in 2015. The city has a reputation for having oak trees on its streets and for its many art galleries and restaurants. In August 2005, major buildings in Ocean Springs, like the Yacht Club, were damaged by the Atlantic Hurricane Katrina, which caused about 1,836 fatalities and also brought the town to the limelight.

Indulge in swimming, fishing, sunbathing, and kayaking at Ocean Springs Beach. Enjoy the Gulf Islands National Seashore at Davis Bayou and Weeks Bayou Nature Trail by engaging in activities like hiking, bird-watching, and exploring the town’s diverse ecosystems. Get fine dining experiences at the Pleasant's BBQ or Dinner on the Lot, and satisfy your palate at the Tatonut Donut Shop. Visit the city’s museums at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs Museum, and Charnley-Norwood House. Don't miss out on the full outdoor experience at Wild Flier, Coastal Magpie, and The Candy Cottage & Gourmet. Yearning for some fresh produce? Visit Ocean Springs Fresh Market. Give tributes to Veterans at the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


View of the historic Main Street with Convention Center in Natchez, Mississippi.
View of the historic Main Street with Convention Center in Natchez, Mississippi. Image credit Nina Alizada via Shutterstock.

Natchez is a small town that exudes beauty, history, and elegance. The city has the best view of the greatest river in North America and is one of Mississippi’s oldest cities, dating back to 1716. Texada, now a historical landmark in Natchez, is one of the oldest capitols, which once served as Mississippi’s State Capitol.

To watch the blazing sunset, stop by the Natchez Trace Parkway. It is also a great picnic spot. The music here is top-notch because the city is situated within the epicenter of the Americana Music Triangle. Grab a glass of cold beer at Smoot's Grocery. Enjoy comfort, food, great music, and a fantastic view at Biscuits & Blues or Under-the-Hill Saloon. Be sure to see Longwood before leaving town, a historical landmark and octagonal mansion partly built by slaves.

Bay Saint Louis

Bay of St. Louis, Mississippi on Main Street. Editorial credit: clayton harrison /
Bay of St. Louis, Mississippi on Main Street. Image credit: clayton harrison via Shutterstock.

Bay Saint Louis was first settled by French Europeans, and this can still be seen in the culture of the people today.

A major tourist attraction in this town is MS Gulf Coast Scenic Byways, which is close to some of the beautiful places where you can go on a drive or take a walk. The Hollywood Casino & Resort Gulf Coast has all the fun you need when visiting. At Alice Moseley Folk Art Museum, visitors can learn all about the life of the folk artist while admiring antiques. Explore Bay St. Louis Historic L & N Train Depot, a museum and park ground. Watch flower arrangements and purchase a bouquet at The French Potager.


Downtown area of Oxford, Mississippi. Editorial credit: Feng Cheng via Shutterstock.
Downtown area of Oxford, Mississippi. Image credit: Feng Cheng via Shutterstock.

Oxford City, named after Oxford, England, was founded in 1837. During the Civil War in 1862, Oxford’s town square was burned, gutting down buildings like the County Courthouse. In 1872, Postwar, the courthouse was eventually rebuilt and is now called the Lafayette County Courthouse. At this time, black people moved into town and proceeded to build other structures and settle amidst the heavy discrimination.

Start your scenic tour at Lamar Park, a nature park with calm lakes and picturesque gardens. Visit Avent Park to enjoy adorable surroundings and outdoor games like tennis and disc golf. Check out Oxford’s stadiums, Swayze Field, or Vaught Hemingway Stadium. A great place for family bonding. Explore the University of Mississippi by visiting the Museum and The Grove Park. Visit Rowan Oak Museum and the home of William Faulkner. Get some books and store merchandise at Square Books.


African-American Museum in Woodville, Wilkinson County, Mississippi.
African-American Museum in Woodville, Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Image credit Nina Alizada via Shutterstock.

Woodville is home to Mississippi's oldest newspaper and surviving business. The town is known for its two major industries, timber and cotton. Cotton thrived in the town till 1830. However, the Timber industry still flourishes and has improved the town’s wealth and air quality. Woodville is home to a plethora of natural attractions and parks. Visit the Clark Creek Natural Area, a 700-acre park with 50 waterfalls. Learn more about the town's economy at Rosemont Plantation Museum. Look out for wildlife activities and festivals at Wilkinson County Park and snap photos to remember the trip. While driving or walking through the town, stop for a burger at Sonic Drive-In.


Exterior of the Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi. By Seanljohn - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons
Exterior of the Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi. Image credit Seanljohn via Wikimedia Commons.

Cleveland has had names like Fontaine, Coleman’s Station, and Sims after Ruben Sims before it was changed to Cleveland after President Grover by Reuben Sims' son. In 1967, Senator Kennedy remarked that Cleveland had the worst poverty in the nation. However, today, the town has the most technologically advanced music museum, the Grammy Museum.

If you enjoyed the museum, you should check out more in the town, such as the Martin & Sue King Railroad Museum, Cleveland Railroad Museum, and the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum. Visit the renovated Roy L. and Clara Belle Wiley Planetarium. Dockery Farms is a must-see. It is a former cotton plantation and now home to Delta blues music. Before leaving town, check out Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden and buy some collectibles at Moonstruck Flea Market.


Tupelo, Mississippi, USA. Image credit: Dee Browning via Shutterstock.
Tupelo, Mississippi, USA. Image credit: Dee Browning via Shutterstock.

Tupelo is the home of Thomas Wesley Pentz, aka Diplo, Music Producer and Electronic Dancer. It is a small, rich town with over $10 billion in assets. It has also won the All-America City Awards five times, an award given to cities in the US known to have overcome challenges and excelled. Tupelo has become a tourist hub, recording over 10000 attendants at the annual Tupelo Elvis Festival which is held in June to honor Elvis Presley.

Get to know more about the town at Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center. Visit Oren Dunn City Museum to hear untold tales of the city. Elvis Presley is a big deal in Tupelo. Visit Elvis Presley Birthplace and Park and Elvis Presley Birthplace to know why. Go park-hopping at Ballard Park, Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo, and Tombigbee Lake State Park. Eat at Neon Pig or Tupelo Romie's Grocery before leaving. Buy some goodies at Relics Antique Marketplace. Play escape games at Paradox Challenge Rooms Tupelo.

The natural atmosphere in Mississippi towns is scenic and peaceful. Visit these handpicked towns to get a feel for their history, culture, and scenery. Get to know the locals, go hiking, visit museums, and eat some southern meals before leaving. Take the road less traveled and visit some small towns in lieu of the larger metropolises: these destinations will not disappoint!

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