Mississippi travel guide

Mississippi serves up a veritable feast of hearty food, outdoor adventure and fascinating history. Running deep like the Mississippi River, the state’s narrative has been shaped by American Indians, European traders and pioneer settlers, whose tales of triumph and toil litter the Natchez Trace Parkway, a fascinating heritage route between Natchez and Nashville.

Vicksburg also delivers a huge slice of history. A key battle ground during the American Civil War (1861-1865), the conflict is commemorated with memorials and monuments at the Vicksburg National Military Park. Meanwhile, the Mississippi Freedom Trail pays poignant tribute to the racial strife that erupted here during the 1960s, when the state was a major player in the Civil Rights movement.

The architecture is no less dramatic. From 19th-century antebellum plantations to the eccentric Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, the state abounds with eye-catching design. But nothing beats Mississippi’s stunning landscapes, which have inspired a wealth of artistic talent, from William Faulkner and Eudora Welty to Elvis Presley and BB King. The arts scene still thrives, with indie film festivals, honky tonks and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors lending the state a creative vibe.

Outdoor enthusiasts are well catered for in Mississippi: its balmy climate and vast wilderness are ripe for adventure. Bike a section of the 4,800km (3,000-mile) Mississippi River Trail, which scythes through 10 states, cycle through the Appalachian foothills on the Tanglefoot Trail, or set up camp in one of the state’s six national forests.

Mississippi’s culinary offerings also deserve exploration. State specialities range from fresh-from-the-Gulf shrimp and Delta hot tamales to super-sweet slices of Mississippi mud pie. You’ll want seconds – and we’re not just talking about the food.