You don’t even have to leave the Magnolia State to visit cities and towns Forbes Magazine has tapped as some of “2023’s Best Places to Travel in the U.S.”
Eight Mississippi cities as well as the famed Delta Hot Tamale and Coastal Birding trails have landed on the annual list of the best must-see small towns and eclectic areas to visit before the year ends.
Bay St Louis
This quaint seaside town is considered “a place apart” and was named one of the “Coolest Small Towns” in America by Budget Travel. With its laid-back attitude, stunning waterfront, and funky local culture, it’s easy to see why Bay St. Louis is one of the Gulf Coast’s most underrated destinations. Its quaint downtown filled with art galleries and antique shops will keep you coming back year after year.
Contemporary and culturally rich with a kaleidoscope of colorful history, the “City of Discovery” is especially known for its art galleries and festivals, including the Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival, which is the largest fine arts gathering in the southeast and has been for more than four decades. And the walkable downtown features more than 200 shops, galleries, and restaurants with signature culinary culture and high-end dining by chefs with farm-to-table spots to no-frills establishments.
It’s the hidden gem that’s the only community on the Gulf Coast that prohibits commercial buildings on its beachfront. Known as “The Hospitality City,” this small town is surrounded by tons of natural beauty. If you’re looking for a quiet, coastal town to spend the day exploring, this is just the spot.
This bedroom community is known for some of the best greens on the coast and is touted as a golf lover’s respite, perfect for players of all skill levels in search of championship golf and scenic beauty.
The Hub City has a fantastic public art trail with more than 50 artworks and seems to be adding more and more every day with the Utility Box Art project. The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum, which is a 48×36-inch window display filled with a monthly rotating collection of artworks, is definitely worth checking out. And while visiting, you can thrift your heart out at the Lucky Rabbit, which even has glassblowing demonstrations.
As the oldest town on the Mississippi River with more than 300 years of heritage and history, the city of Natchez has lots of stories to tell. Founded in 1716, the city is striving to bridge its historic preservation to modern-day progress and has roughly 700,000 visitors each year, with many choosing to arrive by steamboat via the Mighty Mississippi. Tours of the many antebellum homes are popular as well as its walking trails. It’s also home to one of the largest collections of bed and breakfast inns in the country.
Because of its perseverance and triumphant spirit, Jackson is known as the “City with Soul” and it’s not only the capitol of Mississippi, but the Magnolia State’s largest city. And the historic city is home to several museums, including the Old Capitol Museum and the Civil Rights Museum. The city is also known for its music scene and is the birthplace of several famous musicians, including LeeAnn Rimes and Dorothy Moore.
Whether you love to shop, learn about history, or take in the sights and sounds of nature, the riverside city offers something for every type of traveler. The city’s historic downtown district is a great place to begin your adventure, as it’s home to local shops, eateries, and cultural attractions. And when it comes to nature, Quapaw Canoe Company runs day trips and overnight wilderness customized expeditions on the Lower Mississippi River through the bayous, and oxbows.
And with so many snapshots of alluring, hidden ambiance, and intriguingly rich history, it’s easy to see why famed Southern charm and modern-day Mississippi towns are inviting places for sightseers and residents to visit this summer. From a cutting-edge culinary scene to buzzing small-town squares, the Magnolia State has so much to offer aficionados wanting to create a few memories that will last a lifetime.