Vicksburg, Mississippi: an old building downtown on a sunny day

7 Small Towns in Mississippi to Visit for a Weekend Getaway

Most people probably don't think of Mississippi as a weekend getaway destination spot. However, the state possesses a unique southern charm and has everything from scenic outdoor hikes to rich history. The small towns particularly show off the state's charm, with quaint local diners, beautiful mountain scenery, and charming local events. Outdoor enthusiasts will love a weekend getaway at Vicksburg, where they can explore the 16-mile trail at Vicksburg National Military Park. Laurel is a small town with charm and adorable shops to explore. The spot for a weekend getaway to enjoy southern classics is Holly Springs. The small town has everything from delicious food to activities on a Ranch. Whether you are a foodie, outdoor enthusiast, or seasoned tourist, these are the small Mississippi towns to visit on your next Weekend Getaway. 


Historic buildings in Natchez, Mississippi
Historic buildings in Natchez, Mississippi

If you are looking for a weekend getaway where you can enjoy local history and art, Natchez is the town for you. Natchez is a mixture of stunning antebellum homes and haunting history from the diversity of people who have occupied the area in the past. Natchez is the oldest continuous settlement on the Mississippi River, giving the town a rich history. Everyone from Natchez's indigenous people to European immigrants and the enslaved people from Africa's Bambara tribe have called Natchez home. The town has over 1000 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

A popular spot to visit is the Forks of The Road Slave Market. This site has a haunting history as one of the largest slave markets in the United States. Visitors can walk around the area and see the information panels talking about the slave trade in the South. Another building that showcases Natchez's history to visit is the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture. The African American Museum of History and Culture shows a different side of history in the South that you won't find anywhere else. Many homes in Natchez also date back to the Civil War and the history comes alive through the architecture. 

Beyond its history, Natchez has a spectacular art scene to explore. The Arts Natchez Gallery showcases local artists and craftsmen. The gallery is set in the heart of the downtown. A few minutes of exploring the gallery will expose the deep connection the people of Natchez have to their town. 

Water Valley

Main Street in Water Valley, Mississippi
Main Street in Water Valley, Mississippi. Image Credit: Fredlyfish4 via Wikimedia Commons

Another Mississippi town with a unique history is Water Valley. The town was the hub of the Illinois Central Railroad during the late 19th and 20th centuries. You can learn more about this by visiting the Casey Jones Railroad Museum. The history shines through the town's architecture. Historic buildings stand throughout the town. One of the must-visit historic buildings is Turnage Drug Store. Stepping into the store is like stepping back in time. The old-fashioned pharmacy has everything from a soda fountain to a quirky gift shop.

Throughout the year, Water Valley also hosts different festivals. The Watermelon Carnival is a local favorite, held the first weekend of August every year. During the festival, thousands of people come to the town to enjoy the festivities. Some of the activities at the Watermelon Carnival include food vendors, arts and crafts booths, contests, parades, an antique car show,  and a 3-K run. If you visit the town in winter, the town also has an annual holiday celebration called Christmas in the Valley. Here you can enjoy a Christmas parade, carriage rides and carolers. From historic charm to small town festivals, Water Valley makes a great weekend trip!


Downtown Vicksburg, Mississippi. Image credit Sabrina Janelle Gordon via Shutterstock
Downtown Vicksburg, Mississippi. Image credit Sabrina Janelle Gordon via Shutterstock

If your idea of a weekend getaway is exploring the outdoors, Vicksburg is the Mississippi town for you. From taking an adventure down the Mississippi River, to walking through downtown, Vicksburg has plenty to do outside. The Quapaw Canoe Company offers a variety of trips down the lower portion of the Mississippi River. You can sign up for a day trip or an overnight adventure. Bikers will love exploring the trails around town. The Vicksburg National Military Park has 16 miles of trail to enjoy. To enjoy scenic views of the Mississippi River, ride down Vicksburg’s segment of the Mississippi River Trail. The Heritage Walking Trails are another series of trails in town to enjoy. While you cannot bike on them, hiking down the trails gives you a tour of the town's history. From kayaking trips to historic hikes, Vicksburg has something for every outdoor lover to enjoy. 


Downtown Iuka, via Joseph on Flickr
Downtown Iuka, via Joseph on Flickr

Another great town for outdoor lovers in Mississippi is Luka. The town has a stunning location in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. When the leaves start to change color in fall, the town is particularly stunning, coated in hues of orange, red and yellow. Since it is near the Appalachians, Luka has several great parks to explore. J.P. Coleman State Park is a local favorite. There is lots to do in the park, from hiking trails to camping and enjoying water activities such as kayaking. The park has several stunning natural features to see. Some popular ones include the Tennessee River, Pickwick Lake and Cooper Falls, a jaw-dropping 50-foot waterfall. Another beautiful park to visit in Luka is Mineral Springs Park. Mineral Springs is stunning in every season and shows more of the town's history. It is also the place to find the state’s only covered bridge.

A spot to explore natural beauty and more history is Woodall Mountain. The area is a little bit south of Luka, but it's worth the drive. Woodall Mountain is 806 feet high, making it the highest point in the state. Woodall Mountain is also called America's Bloodiest highest point. It is the site of the Battle of Iuka, which took place during the Civil War in 1862.

To explore more of Luka's history, stop at the Old Tishomingo County Courthouse Museum on your visit. From stunning natural scenery to a rich history, a visit to Luka for the weekend won't leave you disappointed. 


Signboard welcoming visitors to Laurel, Mississippi
Signboard welcoming visitors to Laurel, Mississippi. Editorial credit: ThePhotoFab /

For a relaxing weekend trip shopping, visit Laurel. The charming town has adorable shops to explore. The Laurel Mercantile is a popular shop that features local vendors and entrepreneurs from Laurel. While walking around exploring different shops, take a stop through Laurel's historic district. Here you can explore old churches, see historic architecture, and even some homes featured on HGTV. When you are in the historic district, you might notice beautiful murals covering the walls of buildings. A great adventure to undertake in the area is going on a mural hunt and getting some great photos. There are also often events going on in the Historic district. Make sure to check the town's website to see what cool activities might be happening. To finish off your weekend getaway in Laurel, visit the Lauren Roger's Museum of Art. You can catch a glimpse of some of Mississippi's golden artwork strolling through the museum. 

Holly Springs

A lakeside scene in Holly Springs, Mississippi.
A lakeside scene in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

If you are looking for a Mississippi get away with classic southern comfort food and peaceful countryside, look no further than Holly Springs. The small town is in the rolling hills of picturesque North Mississippi. Holly Springs is home to Chewalla Lake Recreation Area, a beautiful lake surrounded by a dense pine forest. Visitors can enjoy a walk around the lake or dip right in the lake for a swim in the warmer months. 

A popular spot to visit in Holly Springs is Foxfire Ranch. Every Sunday afternoon in the spring and summer, the ranch hosts traditional North Mississippi Hill Country Blues-style concerts. Marshall County Fairgrounds is another popular tourist attraction. The fairgrounds host horse shows, barrel racing, roping, rodeos and flea markets year-round. While visiting Holly Springs, stop at Annie's Home Cooking for some Southern hospitality. The restaurant has Southern staples such as shrimp salad, catfish, and a rib plate. This is the stop for a delicious southern meal. 


Columbus, Mississippi, birthplace of American playwright and screenwriter Tennessee Williams.
Columbus, Mississippi, birthplace of American playwright and screenwriter Tennessee Williams. Image credit Chad Robertson Media via Shutterstock

A town that has retained its historic southern charm is Columbus. The town was famously named "America’s Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. While the town has changed, many buildings have remained the same. More than 650 buildings are from the 19th century. To tour the historic architecture, take a carriage ride or double-decker bus tour. Columbus is also home to Lake Lowndes State Park. The park has a popular river walk where you can enjoy scenic views. When you're feeling hungry on your trip to Columbus, make a stop at Zachary's. The local restaurant has a warm, rustic atmosphere with exposed bricks. It has won several awards, including best French Fries, best locally owned restaurant, and best beer selection.

In Conclusion

Mississippi's small towns have a lot to offer and make a great destination for your weekend getaway. There's no better way to experience the state's authentic charm then by exploring what the small town's offer. Outdoor lovers will enjoy exploring Chewalla Lake Recreation Area at Holly Springs and J.P. Coleman State Park in Luka. Those looking for a little relaxation and shopping should stop at Laurel's historic district. For some southern comfort food head to Annie's Home Cooking in Holly Springs or check out the award winning French Fries at Zachary's in Columbus. From outdoor enthusiasts to foodies and shopaholics, everyone will find something to love about these Mississippi small towns. 

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