Downtown Vicksburg near the Yazoo Diversion Canal

The Best Small Towns in Mississippi for a Weekend Retreat

Taking a break from your normal schedule to relax and rejuvenate during a short weekend getaway can improve your productivity at work and enhance your mental well-being. With only a couple of days to spare, finding a low-key destination that allows for stress relief amid scenic surroundings is key. Thankfully, Mississippi is filled with charming small towns perfectly suited for restorative weekend retreats.

These lesser-known communities emphasize Southern hospitality in ways larger cities can't rival. They are the Magnolia State’s best options for a calming retreat, each with its own cultural attractions, outdoor recreations, and small-town charm, promising simple pleasures without bustling crowds. So, if you are up for a soothing weekend getaway, consider visiting the following pleasant towns in Mississippi.

Bay St. Louis

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

Situated less than 30 minutes from the chaotic scenery of Gulfport, Bay St. Louis promises a more laid-back vacation amidst the cozy setting of the Gulf Coast. This adorable community in Hancock County is famed for its diversity of attractions, according to visitors a range of exciting experiences. Travelers can take to the open sea on a relaxed sailing trip to discover the town from the water, courtesy of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Boat Tours. Back on land, a bustling art scene awaits exploration, with the Alice Moseley Folk Art Museum showcasing the best pieces by painter Alice Moseley.

Bay St. Louis Little Theater is an excellent stop for those who favor performance arts, providing a family-friendly atmosphere to enjoy exceptional shows on stage. For some background to the city, Bay St. Louis Historic L & N Train Depot invites guests to explore the town's rich railroad heritage. While there is no shortage of B&Bs in Bay St. Louis, the Pearl Hotel delivers the perfect balance between comfort and value for money.


Sunset on the Mississippi River in Natchez, Mississippi with the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge.
Sunset on the Mississippi River in Natchez, Mississippi with the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge.

Besides offering some of the most panoramic vistas of the Mighty Mississippi, Natchez boasts a treasure trove of historic structures decorating the downtown with amazing old-world architecture. Walking through the Natchez National Historical Park exposes visitors to antique gems like Melrose, a beautiful Greek Revival mansion that takes you back to the pre-Civil War era with its period furnishings and artifacts. Within the same neighborhood, you will come across Longwood, an antebellum architectural gem and the country's largest octagonal house. It was built in the 1860s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

To delve deeper into Natchez's colorful history, guests can tour the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians. This interesting park straddles about 128 acres and harbors a prehistoric Native American village with a series of Indian mounds. You cannot run out of accommodation options in Natchez; one of the most sought-after spots to spend the night is the Natchez Grand Hotel.

Ocean Springs

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

Ocean Springs is only 2 miles from Biloxi, presenting a more relaxed retreat compared to the bigger and more crowded city. It rewards travelers with exquisite coastal scenery, ideal for unwinding and freeing your mind. This is possible along the secluded beach trails in Davis Bayou Area Gulf Islands National Lakeshore, which also features recreations like fishing, boating, and camping. Downtown Ocean Springs is a vibrant corridor teeming with quaint stores, trendy boutiques, and delightful dining spots. Among the must-visit venues include the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, dedicated to showcasing renowned works by the multifaceted artist.

Many tourists love to attend the Ocean Springs Fresh Market on Saturdays, taking advantage of a prime opportunity to mingle with the friendly townsfolk and sample their scrumptious seafood. When it comes to lodging options, The Roost Boutique Hotel promises a cozy night's sleep and its strategic location makes it easy to get around the town.

Holly Springs

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

An exciting combination of rich history, vibrant arts, and Southern charm makes this tiny Marshall County village a vital stop on your Mississippi itinerary. Holly Springs delivers a range of experiences to cater to all travelers’ tastes and preferences. Those who fancy a trip back in time can visit the Marshall County Historical Museum to explore various exhibits chronicling the cultural and historical heritage of the region. The town is a great destination for art enthusiasts, who can get cultured by touring the Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery to browse paintings by the celebrated impressionist artist.

There are plenty of recreations in the great outdoors when you visit Holly Springs. Adventurers can make the most of hiking, camping, boating, and fishing opportunities at the Wall Doxey State Park, or get lost in the dense wilderness of the Holly Springs National Forest. Some of the top hotel choices to consider include Quality Inn and OYO Hotel.


Entrance to Vicksburg National Military Park. Editorial credit: karenfoleyphotography /
Entrance to Vicksburg National Military Park. Editorial credit: karenfoleyphotography /

If you are a fan of American war heritage, you will fancy touring this quaint town in western Mississippi. Vicksburg is among the more historically significant towns in Mississippi as the site of a momentous Civil War battle and hosts a fair share of historical markers hinting at its storied war heritage. There is none more prominent than the Vicksburg National Military Park. The park preserves the site where the Battle of Vicksburg played out and hosts a range of exhibits, most notably the U.S.S Cairo Museum. The Old Court House Museum is another must-visit venue and a vital town landmark. This attractive antebellum structure dates back to 1858 and displays a collection of Civil War artifacts.

But there is more to Vicksburg than its war history, including a lively art scene with several art venues. Connoisseurs can stop by Attic Gallery to peruse awesome fine and contemporary art pieces, featuring glassware, pottery, and jewelry art. Meanwhile, one of the best places to spend your nights in Vicksburg is the Anchuca Historic Mansion and Inn.


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's rich musical heritage makes it a worthy stop when touring the Mississippi Delta region. The town does a wonderful job of preserving the region's musical legacy with attractions like the Grammy Museum Mississippi. This landmark venue houses a selection of interactive exhibits honoring the state's role in music, with a focus on the Grammys. Downtown Cleveland hosts a charming mix of shops and businesses worth exploring. If you enjoy live performances, consider catching an enthralling show at the Bologna Performing Arts Center, known for staging Broadway shows.

The local restaurant scene promises a delectable dining experience, with various restaurants serving an assortment of flavors. You can enjoy a wholesome meal at 122 Hang Suite and down it with a refreshing cocktail while watching live sports. When you have to rest after a long day, consider booking a room at the Cotton House.


University of Southern Mississippi's iconic Administration Building in Hattiesburg, Mississippi,
University of Southern Mississippi's iconic Administration Building in Hattiesburg. Image credit Bennekom via Shutterstock.

Hattiesburg achieves the ideal balance between small-town charm and big-city attractions. It boasts an impressive range of sites and points of interest, making it a choice destination for all types of travelers. The town is home to the African American Military History Museum, which provides an insightful cultural experience, focusing on African American soldiers stationed at Camp Shelby. Elsewhere, Hattiesburg Zoo is a must-see for traveling families. Although small, the sanctuary hosts more than 100 species of wildlife, making for unforgettable animal encounters.

The Hattiesburg community has a deep appreciation for the arts and celebrates its art community by constantly converging at the Hattiesburg Saenger Theater for a variety of live performances. Finally, accommodation options abound in the town, including the luxurious Hotel Indigo.


Madison County Courthouse in Canton Mississippi USA
Madison County Courthouse in Canton, Mississippi.

Located just outside Jackson, Canton provides an escape from the busy streets and suffocating crowds in the state capital, setting the stage for an easygoing weekend getaway. Tourists can select from an array of activities to spend their time in the town, including a low-key game of golf at the Country Club of Canton. Alternatively, they can catch a family-friendly flick inside the Canton Cinema for a classic yet exciting movie experience. One of the best times to visit is during the Canton Flea Market, held in May and October. The atmosphere is always buzzing with excitement, with several awesome wares on sale.

You cannot leave Canton without sampling its trademark Southern cuisine, comprising tasty dishes tailored to tantalize your taste buds. Stopping by Santafe Bar & Grille treats travelers to some of the best Mexican dishes in town. Also, one of the most desirable hotels to check out in Canton is the Hampton Inn.


Downtown neighborhood in Clarksdale,
Downtown neighborhood in Clarksdale. Image credit Heidi Besen via Shutterstock.

Clarksdale's strong musical roots saw it producing some of the greatest blues musicians to have come out of the state, most notably Muddy Waters. Its love for music is evident when you stroll its quaint town streets, with music venues and nightclubs at every corner. The Delta Blues Museum is a worthy stop for those interested in the history of the unique music genre. Clarksdale is also known for hosting the Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival, an excellent time to visit and make the most of an immersive cultural experience.

Music aside, guests can find a window into the town's history at the Cutrer Mansion, which was built in 1916 and became a hub for the study of Tennessee Williams' life and history. If you are not looking to break the bank on your hotel stays in Clarksdale, consider checking into the Quality Inn.


City of Ridgeland City Hall. Image credit Chad Robertson Media via Shutterstock.
City of Ridgeland City Hall. Image credit Chad Robertson Media via Shutterstock.

From luxurious shopping and outdoor adventures to fine dining, Ridgeland is chock-full of unique experiences. It is especially enticing for tourists who fancy soothing retail therapy sessions, thanks to shopping outlets like Renaissance and the Township at Colony Park. These host over 100 renowned retail brands. Ridgeland also offers several family-friendly venues for those looking to spend quality time with loved ones, highlighted by the Enter/Locked Escape Rooms. At this popular amusement center, guests enjoy an authentic escape room experience.

Furthermore, fans of the arts can visit the impressive William Lowe Bill Waller Craft Center to browse a collection of art displays inside a 20,000-square-foot facility. Lastly, there are numerous places to spend the night in the greater Jackson metropolitan area, which the town falls under, such as the Hyatt Place Jackson/ Ridgeland.

Whether you seek reprieve in the natural beauty of Gulf Coast beaches, rolling hills of North Mississippi, or historic main streets of charming river towns, the smaller communities throughout the Magnolia State provide the perfect low-key setting for quick yet restorative weekend escapes. Their intimate atmospheres enable reconnection with simple pleasures that refresh the mind and recharge one's spirit. A short trip to any of these off-the-beaten-path towns in Mississippi promises an unforgettable experience, whether traveling solo or with family.

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. The Best Small Towns in Mississippi for a Weekend Retreat

More in Places