Known as the “Magnolia State”, Mississippi is truly one of the most beautiful and naturally stunning places in the Southern United States. Indeed with its alluring natural ambience, fascinating history, and of course plenty of famed Southern charm, modern day Mississippi is a welcome place for visitors and residents alike. Within its towns, great snapshots of hidden beauty, wonderful awe, and new adventures are offered. For any afficionado of Americana, a visit to Mississippi’s towns will surely leave any traveller with a most memorable and lasting experience.
For a genuine example of small town USA, Louisville offers its visitors and residents plenty of Southern charm and natural beauty. With a population of just over 6,000, the seat of Winston County is full of special historic sites, cute shopping boutiques, and tasty locally run eateries. Visit such sites like the fascinating Big Red Fire Museum which contains an impressive array of vintage equipment and old fire trucks. Or perhaps catch a show at the Strand Theatre constructed in 1918, a lively performing arts centre. Meanwhile outdoor lovers will certainly appreciate Lake Tiak-O’Khata, where tranquil strolls along the banks, sunbathing, and paddling are all awesome ways to have fun.
Seat of Tishomingo County, the modest town of Iuka has a population of only 3,139 inhabitants. Formally established in the 1850s and named for a local indigenous chief, Iuka welcomes visitors with its mild winters and hot summers and loads of small town charm. Site of the Civil War’s 1862 Battle of Iuka, visitors can enjoy the wondrous Tishomingo State Park and the JP Coleman State Park, two splendid places to experience the outdoors. In addition to the town’s quaint shops and restaurants, visitors can also stop by numerous small galleries and local museums. These include the beloved Apron Museum, the only American museum dedicated to the history of this important kitchen tool.
Rolling Fork was founded in the 1840s, and today is home to a relatively small population of 1,883. Still it serves as the seat of Sharkey County and is a most welcoming place full of great natural surroundings and historic intrigue. Located within the Mississippi Delta, Rolling Fork is surrounded by vast fields of cotton, corn, and even soybeans. As with other towns with roots in the 19th century, many historic buildings can be found here, each with a fascinating story. These include the Mont Helena Mansion (1896) or the charming Onward Store. This turn of the century convenience shop continues its operations today and is the one of the most unique time machine like stops in the region.
In addition lovers of presidential history will surely not want to miss a stopover at the wooded area where President Theodore Roosevelt partook in a bear hunt. It was after this 1902 escapade that the nickname “Teddy Bear” was applied and created one of the world’s most lasting toys.
Situated near the Natchez Trace Forested Trail, the scenic town of Raymond is a most charming and picturesque Mississippi destination. Home to a population of 1,960 residents, Raymond was established back in 1829 and continues to offer its visitors and denizens alike direct ties to the 19th century. Indeed even just a casual stroll through town means one will encounter beautiful antebellum style buildings and homes. From the Hinds County Courthouse, to the Little Big Store and the Raymond Military Park, there is always attractive to see in town. And as the site of an 1863 Civil War battle, history lovers will further relish their time in this great Southern locale.
A friendly, vibrant, and scenic town first established in the 1860s, Meridian is also Mississippi’s seventh largest urban centre. With just over 35,000 inhabitants, visitors will find plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with the outdoors, live music (especially the country genre), and a lively visual arts scene. Visit the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience, an interactive and sprawling museum dedicated to the wide range of all creative arts, or spend an afternoon at the tranquil Highland Park which has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. And for the golf lover, a round or two can always be enjoyed in Meridian where several wonderful courses can be found. Here scenic views of Okatibbee Lake make for a most splendid and memorable athletic outing.
Named after the British city of the same name, Oxford was formally established in 1837 and is the home of the esteemed University of Mississippi (1844). With a population of just over 25,000 residents, Oxford has long hosted a vibrant scene for the arts and literature, in addition to most fascinating historic landmarks. These include the Rowan Oak Mansion, an 1840s style home that once belonged to novelist William Faulkner, the Lyric Theater, the University of Mississippi Museum, and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (1860). In addition to its warm climate, laid back vibe, and famed Southern charm, Oxford is surrounded by forested hills noted for their red clay which only enhances the total beauty of the area.
Seat of Monroe County, the historic town of Aberdeen has a population of just under 5,000 residents and was first established in the 1830s. Situated on the banks of the 200 mile long Tombigbee River, the scenic and historic Aberdeen is full of many historic 19th century buildings, many of which form part of the National Register of Historic Places. Tour a stunning antebellum mansion or theatre, or naturally spend time along the Tombigbee River for truly special waterfront views. In addition a number of colorful and cute boutique shops, restaurants, and museums, add to Aberdeen’s southern charm and make it one of Mississippi’s most special places.
The town of Corinth lies right on the State line with Tennessee and is beautifully nestled within the Appalachian Mountain range. Seat of Alcorn County and with a population of just under 15,000, Corinth was founded in the 1850s and was an important railroad stop for the Confederacy during the Civil War (1861-1865). Today the town maintains a number of fascinating museums and buildings from the 19th century, which all serve to bring visitors back in time to important moments in American history. Stop by the Black History Museum or the Museum of Southern Culture for truly fascinating insights.
Meanwhile tourists can also enjoy Corinth’s beautiful surroundings, all of which invite plenty of outdoor adventure. From hiking to biking, and even splendid family or solo picnics within the rolling hills Corinth is a great mixture of historic intrigue and natural awe.
Right along the Mississippi River, the historic Natchez traces its roots way back to the year 1716. Founded by French colonists, this modern town of just under 15,000 residents lies near the Louisiana border and is full of beautiful historic charm and natural wonder. Indeed just spending time along the waterfront is one of the most special activities to do in Natchez, where hot summers and warm winters are the norm. In addition as one of Mississippi’s major cotton producing centres prior to the Civil War, Natchez was a major trading post and visitors can continue to explore this important history. Explore a number of preserved antebellum homes, plantations, museums, and churches in the historic district sure to create most vivid memories.
Established in 1811, Woodville is one of the oldest towns in the State of Mississippi. Near the border with Louisiana and the seat of Wilkinson County, this alluring historic town has a most modest population of only 928 residents (according to the 2020 census). Full of wonder and natural beauty, what Woodville may lack in size it makes up for in tremendous offerings for visitors and inhabitants alike.
Stop by the African American Museum and its great exhibits, tour the Rosemont Mansion, or perhaps just take a simple stroll the Main Street where a plethora of 19th century structures continue to stand. And for the nature lover a visit to the nearby Clark Creek Natural is a must. In a 700 acre conservation area, hiking, biking, wonderful opportunities for birdwatching, and over 50 separate waterfalls, make this one of the most picturesque areas in the State.
Greenville is a true marvel of a town beautiful situated at the confluence of the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers, otherwise known as the Mississippi Delta. Founded in 1870, just under 30,000 residents call this historic town home today and that truly is a delight a discover throughout the year. Noted for its hot summers and warm winters, Greenville is a beautiful place to spend along the water where biking, jogging, and boating are all popular activities. In addition in the historic district several 19th century homes and landmarks continue to exist bringing guests back to an important period of America’s growth. Meanwhile jazz and blues lover will certainly not want to miss Nelson Street, where a plethora of 1940s style music clubs continue to have patrons dancing.
Mississippi is an undoubted place of stupendous natural beauty and fascinating historic intrigue, with something to offer for all kinds of tastes. For anyone travelling in the American South, a stop through any of these charming Mississippi towns will assuredly bring plenty of memories, fun, and relaxation. From sojourns on the Mississippi River to explorations of important 19th century history, there is indeed plenty of splendid cultural and natural beauty to be found in Mississippi. For the outdoors enthusiast to the history lover, it can all be found in abundance in the “Magnolia State”.