Road Trip in Mississippi

Boasting a list of natural wonders, historic landmarks, and cultural icons as long and winding as the Mississippi River itself, there are numerous reasons for why you'd want to visit the Magnolia State. If you've never been to the American south, Mississippi is a great place to start. The music you hear, the people you meet, and the places you'll visit will leave you with endless stories to tell.

MS Rules of the Road

To make your MS road trip as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, make sure you're familiar with the state's driving customs and traffic laws. Check out the Mississippi driver's handbook for an in-depth look at the laws that you must abide by while on the MS roads.

We also have a guide on Mississippi safety laws, which can be a great reference tool if you need a quick refresher on the basic rules of the road.

Licensing Requirements

Now that you know all about MS traffic laws, it's time to make sure you're equipped with the proper driver license documentation before road tripping through the state:

  • Visitors from other states within the U.S.—driver's license from your home state.
  • People visiting from outside of the U.S.—An international driving permit (IDP) is recommended, though not necessary.
    • You'll need to contact the department that issues driver's licenses in your country if you're interested in getting an IDP.

Free Ebook: Road Trips of America

Come along for the ride as we guide you through some of the best road trips in the country. Whether you’re a history buff, cultural connoisseur, or nature lover, we’ve covered all the sights and attractions in each state you won’t want to miss.

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Major Mississippi Roads

In the United States, there are a series of highways that intersect multiple states and make traveling through numerous parts of the country fairly easy. These interstate highways, and often run through the major cities and include:

  • I-10—This intestate runs through Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Gautier, Pascagoula, and Moss Point. It also connects Mississippi to Louisiana and Alabama.
  • I-20—Driving this road will take you through Vicksburg, Clinton, Jackson, Pearl, Brandon, Forest, and Meridian. Like I-10, it links to Louisiana and Alabama.
  • I-22—This highway runs west to east, from Tennessee into Alabama, and intersects Olive Branch, Holly Springs, New Albany, Tupelo, and Fulton.
  • I-55—Running north to south, Interstate 55 takes you from Tennessee to Louisiana, and goes through the MS towns of Horn Lake, Hernando, Sardis, Batesville, Grenada, Winona, Vaiden, Lexington, Canton, Madison, Jackson, Pearl, Hazlehurst, Brookhaven, and Magnolia.
  • I-59—Intersecting with Louisiana and the east and of I-20, Interstate 59 runs through Picayune, Poplarville, Purvis, Hattiesburg, Ellisville, Laurel, Paulding, and Meridian.

MS Attractions & Sightseeing

Whether you're a nature lover, history buff, or an active family of five, Mississippi has something that's sure to make your road trip memorable. Below, you'll find a list of suggested destinations that covers just a fraction of all the different things for you to do in the state.

MS Natural World

Mississippi is home to some of natural hidden gems, such as:

  • Gulf Islands National Seashore – Ocean Spring, MS.
    • Tropical beaches stretched along the Gulf of Mexico, with snorkeling allowed in some areas.
    • Tent and RV camping.
    • Biking and hiking paths.
    • Boating to barrier islands.
  • Clarkco State Park – Quitman, MS.
    • Historic outdoor recreation area covered in woodlands and located near the Mississippi-Alabama state line.
    • RV, tent, and cabin camping.
    • Boating and fishing.
    • Nature trail suitable for novice hikers.
    • Picnic area and playground.
  • J.P. Coleman State Park – Iuka, MS.
    • Nestled along the Tennessee River and Pickwick Lake.
    • Canoeing and sailing.
    • Cabin, RV, and tent camping.
    • Jet and water skiing.
    • Fishing.
    • Biking and walking trails.
  • Tishomingo State Park – Tishomingo, MS.
    • Situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, it was once inhabited by the earliest Native Americans.
    • Tent, RV, and cabin campgrounds.
    • Boat launch.
    • Hiking trails for moderate to advanced hikers.
    • One-of-a-kind geological and wildflower formations.
    • Historic buildings/structures.
    • Ball field.
  • Woodall Mountain – Iuka, MS.
    • Highest point in the state.
    • Location for the Civil War Battle of Iuka.
    • Great for visitors who enjoy hiking and climbing.
  • Red Bluff – Foxworth, MS.
    • Known as the “Grand Canyon of Mississippi."
    • Formed along the west bank of the Pearl River after years and years of erosion from rainfall.
    • Intermediate to advanced hiking trails.
    • Unmatched, bird's eye views of the Vicksburg and Tishomingo State Parks below.
  • Mississippi Petrified Forest – Flora, MS.
    • Take a step back in time and explore the vast deposits of massive, petrified trees brought to MS by an ancient flooding river.
    • Nature trails tour you around the prehistoric landscapes.
    • Museum and gem mining on site.
    • RV campsite.

Historic Mississippi

If you're an American history lover, you won't be disappointed with the variety of Revolutionary and Civil War sites that Mississippi has to offer. If you have the time and the means, be sure to stop by a few of the following:

  • Old Capitol Museum – Jackson, MS.
    • Building (now restored) served as the actual state capitol during the Civil War.
    • Guided group tours.
    • Displays of historic American documents, the history and architecture of the building, and other rotating exhibits.
    • Monthly events and workshops open to the public.
  • Champion's Hill Battlefield – Edwards, MS.
    • Location of a decisive Civil War battle, in which Ulysses S. Grant was involved.
    • Civil War re-enactments and history lectures open to the public.
    • Guided tours.
  • Emerald Mound – Natchez, MS.
    • One of the largest ancient ceremonial mounds in the country.
    • Used by the earliest Native Americans for religious and cultural ceremonies.
    • Displays on the history and architecture of the mound.
  • Mount Locust Inn and Plantation – Tupelo, MS.
    • Originally built during the times of the American Revolution as a place for travelers to stay the night or rest for a bit.
    • Walking path takes you on a tour of the plantation's dark past, winding through an historic slave cemetery, old plantation structures, and the overseer's quarters.
    • Free admission.
  • Waverly Mansion and Gardens – West Point, MS.
    • Built just before the Civil War and a direct reflection of the immense wealth that the cotton industry brought.
    • Thought to be one of the most haunted sites in the South.
  • Biloxi Lighthouse – Biloxi, MS.
    • Survived the Civil War and some of the most damaging hurricanes in America's history.
    • Still functioning to this day.

Mississippi Arts & Culture

Mississippi stakes a firm claim in the musical and literary worlds of America—there's no shortage of arts and culture in the Magnolia State. Below you'll find just a few of the state's must-see artistic and cultural sites:

  • Mississippi Museum of Art – Jackson, MS.
    • Features exhibits with all types of artwork spanning from pre-colonial times to modern day.
    • Spend some time in the “Art Garden" where you're invited to interact with the artwork (great place to take the kids!).
  • B.B. King Museum – Indianola, MS.
    • Learn everything there is to know about one of America's most iconic Blues artists, from his humble Mississippi beginnings to worldwide recognition.
    • Features a theatre, rare artefacts, and historic displays.
    • Workshops and education programs suitable for all ages.
  • Rowan Oak (William Faulkner's home) – Oxford, MS.
    • Now a National Historic Landmark, this Greek revival house was home to William Faulkner during the apex of his writing career.
    • Features Faulkner family collectables and some of William's everyday possessions.
  • Tennessee Williams Home and Welcome Center – Columbus, MS.
    • Visit the original home of one of America's most prominent literary figures.
    • Events like “Stella" shouting contests available to the public on a regular basis.
    • Free guided tours.
  • Mississippi Blues Trail – numerous locations throughout the state.
    • Customize your own journey through the history of Mississippi Blues, with informational sites and stops all over the state.
    • Destinations include (but aren't limited to):
    • Museums.
    • Train stations.
    • Cemeteries.
    • Churches.
    • Historic houses.
  • Country Music Trail – various stops all across Mississippi.
    • Take your own tour through some of the most iconic figures and places in American country music history.
    • Visit the places where country legends would begin to lay the creative foundation for country music today.

Just for Fun

Whether you're traveling with your kids or looking for ways to entertain your inner child, Mississippi is sure to please with its abundance of fun-filled activities. Be sure to check out a few of the following destinations that are the perfect place to have some good ol' fashioned Mississippi fun:

  • Geyser Falls Water Park – Choctaw, MS.
    • Waterslides, rides, pools, and playgrounds for the whole family to enjoy on a hot day.
    • Concerts and other events open to the public.
    • Private cabana rentals.
  • Gulf Coast Gator Ranch – Moss Point, MS.
    • Take a walking tour of the Gulf Coast swamplands, teeming with all sorts of Mississippi wildlife.
    • Group airboat swamp tours available.
    • If you're brave enough, you can even hand-feed an alligator.
  • Hattiesburg Zoo – Hattiesburg, MS.
    • See your favorite animals from around the world, including all sorts of reptiles, big cats, birds, and farm animals.
    • Discovery Center filled with interactive exhibits for your kids to play and learn with.
    • Exclusive Sloth Experience where visitors can feed and handle the zoo's sloths.
  • Jackson Zoo – Jackson, MS.
    • Large variety of birds and mammals for the whole family too enjoy.
    • Take a ride on a replica of old steam train around the park.
    • Daily shows and events.
  • Mississippi Museum of Natural Science – Jackson, MS.
    • Huge structure that houses numerous permanent and rotating educational exhibits on:
      • Mississippi habitats and wildlife.
      • Prehistoric fossils.
      • Biology.
    • Take a stroll along one of the museums many nature trails.
    • Several live-animal displays, including a massive aquarium.
    • Scientific lectures and workshops suitable for all ages.
  • Lynn Meadows Discovery Center – Gulfport, MS.
    • Endless hours of fun and interactive learning for your kids.
    • Hands-on displays teach all about different social, scientific, practical, and environmental topics.
    • Cooking classes for kids and adults.
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