12 Must-Visit Small Towns in Mississippi
Mississippi is known for many things, but like most states, it has many underrated towns that need more recognition. I love learning about what each state offers and the small hole-in-the-wall places. After researching some of the small towns in Mississippi, these twelve places have much to offer locals and tourists. Each small town has a role they each played in history and now provides plentiful things to enjoy. Read about these twelve small towns and see which should make your bucket list!
According to Southern Living and Smithsonian Magazines, Cleveland is one of the best small towns to be in. Cleveland is located in Bolivar County and began forming as a town in 1869. The city’s name is after former president Grover Cleveland. A portion of the railroad that runs through Louisville, New Orleans, Texas, still remains in the town. Cleveland has the Grammy Museum and the Blues Trail that started the beloved genre of music we know now.
Oxford was developed on the land once inhabited by the Chickasaw Indian Nation. Long ago, Oxford won the vote to become the home of Mississippi’s first university in 1841. The University of Mississippi opened its doors to eighty students in 1848; since then, it has become the landmark of Oxford. Much history occurred here after the university’s opening, like the Civil War and The Great Depression. Like most cities, Oxford pulled through and is now a thriving town. Oxford is a beautiful college town with great nightlife and good food. If visiting, check out Big Bad Breakfast for some good Southern food.
3. Bay St. Louis
Bay St. Louis is located in Hancock County and obtained its name from Louis IX of France since the ton was the scene for the battle of Pass Christian. There are plenty of outdoor activities here, primarily because of the beach. You can go kayaking and relax on one of the sunset cruises in town. The beaches are dog-friendly, so you and your furry companion can soak up some sun together. There are several fishing piers to fish off of. You can also do a fishing charter in town to capture speckled trout, flounder, black drum, and red snappers. Also, you will always have the availability to eat freshly caught seafood!
4. New Albany
New Albany is located in Union County and is the birthplace of William Faulkner, a famous American Author. This city was initially a river port and a sawmill beside the Tallahatchie River. For 25 years, the town was small and thriving until the Civil War made an impact. However, in 1870, the city was reborn. Now, locals and tourists can enjoy the culture of New Albany and hike the Tanglefoot Trail. After your hike, visit High Point Coffee Roasters for free locally-made coffee.
5. Ocean Springs
Ocean Springs was first discovered in 1699 by French explorer Pierre Le Moyne D’lberville. This town is located in Jackson County but was initially called Lynchburg. The name Lynchburg was changed to Jackson by George W. Austin because he wanted to use the town’s spring water as a sanatarium. Fort Maurepas State Park was the first French settlement. This beautiful city has museums and hiking trails to enjoy. You may also see the 30-foot Crooked Feather Sculpture built in 1976 by Peter Wolf Toth.
Natchez was established as a French Fort site overlooking the Mississippi River. This city is where culture came together. The Natchez Indians lived here first and were later joined by the French settlers. The French brought over Western African enslaved people with them for labor and development of the land. Eventually, the Spanish came and helped with the construction of the land. Here in Natchez, you can stroll down the Gold Record Road to learn the history and birthplace of music. In September every year, the Natchez Biscuit Festival occurs here, and the Great Mississippi River Ballon Race is every October. Natchez is also home to Kings Tavern, the oldest standing building in the city.
Greenville is the city to visit for good eating. Visit Doe’s Eat Place for good southern eating. While you’re there, you may hear about Aunt Flo, a local icon at the restaurant. If you are a Tamale fan, visit Scott’s Hot Tamales for their famous tamales since the 1950s. Greenville was founded in 1824 and named after Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene.
McComb was founded in 1872 and is located in Pike County. Downtown McComb has historic buildings, landmarks, and architecture dating back to the 1800s. In 1872, the historic McComb Train Depot was built and is now a museum open to everyone. In this city, you can catch different types of fish at Lake Tangipahoa.
9. Yazoo City
Yazoo City was initially named Manchester but was changed because the Yazoo Indians inhabited this area. In 2008, Yazoo City was voted “One of the Top 200 Towns for hunters and anglers. This city also lies near the Yazoo River. No wonder this city is recommended for outdoor lovers! Main Street is the perfect block to visit and admire the colorful buildings. Visit Ubon’s Barbeque for some savory BBQ.
If you are an Elvis Presley fan, Tupelo is the city to visit because this is his birthplace. You can see the Elvis Presley Birth Place Museum to envision the life he had growing up. Tupelo has a cocktail trial that makes eight stops throughout the town. Take the family to the Veterans Memorial Park for picnics or swimming in the pool. Tupelo earned its name because of the Tupelo trees supplying timber.
11. Holly Springs
Holly Springs was founded in 1836 and was a trading center for neighboring cotton plantations. The Marshall County Historical Museum has historical artifacts from the Civil War era. For more history, visit the Yellow Fever Church Museum dedicated to two refugees who died of yellow fever in the town.
12. Crystal Springs
Crystal Springs is the town that admires everything tomatoes. This town is the Tomato Capital of the World because many tomatoes have been harvested and shipped from here. There are several tomato sculptures around town, making a great photo opportunity. Each year, the Tomato Festival is held here on the last weekend of June. The Chautauqua Park is 74 acres and has a 35-acre lake for water fun. Also, stop by the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation Museum to learn about this famous guitarist and songwriter.
|12 Must Visit Small Towns in Mississippi|
|3. Bay St. Louis|
|4. New Albany|
|5. Ocean Springs|
|9. Yazoo City|
|11. Holly Springs|
|12. Crystal Springs|