Exploring Mississippi: Road Trips in the Magnolia State
By Kimberly Graf. Published on July 2, 2020
Mississippi is a unique state, boasting to be the most southern of all the southern states. Nestled between Louisiana and Alabama creates a one-of-a-kind cultural mixture that doesn't compare to anywhere else in the United States. These road trips are a little different than road trips through other states, but they're just as fun!
Hot Tamale Trail
Hot tamales are traditionally Latin-American dishes, but with the Hot Tamale Trail in Mississippi, you won't have to go south of the border! There are so many restaurants that are part of this trail. You can look up a full list or map online, but we're going to give you some highlights. This part of the Hot Tamale Trail will run you through four restaurants, 3 hours, and 162 miles.
Our first stop is at The Ranchero in Clarksdale, Mississippi. It's a western-themed steakhouse that specializes in barbeque and seafood. This is a family-owned restaurant that's really taken off in the area since its founding in 1959. You can stop here to get anything, really, but what really shines is their hot tamales!
When you're done there, head an hour and ten minutes down to the town of Greenwood. There are a lot of places here to get hot tamales, but our pick is the Crystal Grill. This place is known for their food and their service, and they've even been featured on Food Network! The tamales here are excellent, and you won't have to wait forever to get them.
At this point, you might be considering getting a takeout bag. Our last two stops are just as stellar, so be sure to take some home with you! An hour south is the town of Yazoo City, home of Harris's Hot Tamales. This food stall sells some of the best wrapped hot tamales in town, though you're free to check out the numerous other stands in town to make sure!
Another hour will take you to Vicksburg. Among all the things to do here is The Tamale Place has the best tamales in town, as well as a lot of other cultural and regional favorites. It's worth a stop even if you're just getting an appetizer at this point!
The Hot Tamale Trail is much longer than this, but these are the best of the best. Get your eat on with these favorite local restaurants.
Mississippi's Natchez Trace
The Natchez Trace is a scenic and recreational road that travels 444 miles through three states. Mississippi is the first state it travels through, and the one it stays in the longest. This used to be a historic route for the Natchez Native Americans in the area. You can travel the length of the trail just to say you've done it, but here are four stops that you absolutely can't miss in Mississippi. These four stops encompass two and a half hours, or 134 miles on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Our first stop is the French Camp Historic Village. This attraction is located at mile marker 180 along Natchez Trace Parkway. It's a quaint village made entirely of log cabins, and includes a museum, a café, and a host of other historic buildings. It has an old-fashioned Bread Bakery, a carriage house, and a blacksmith shop. There is also accommodation here in the form of bread and breakfasts, which are also located in cabins.
An hour to the north is Bynum Mounds, a Native American cultural site. There are six burial mounds here, along with an area that archaeologists believe was used for habitation. It's free to go and see the mounds and the surrounding sites. Since you're on a Native American trail, why not visit an ancient Native American village? It's a remarkable place to stop on the road.
From there, it's 45 minutes to the Headquarters and Visitor's Center of the Natchez Trace trail. It's also free of charge, and from here you can learn about the other sites on the Parkway and learn about the ancient Native Americans who used this road. It's a great blend of information about the modern road and the road it was built over!
Our final notable stop is in Tishomingo State Park. It's another 40 minutes north, and the drive is gorgeous! Here, you can see some Paleo Indian sites from the ancient Natchez while taking in the beauty of the Appalachian Mountain foothills. There's so much natural beauty here, you could spend hours wandering around, looking at the scenery!
Mississippi is worth a visit no matter what you're going there for. If you enjoy hot tamales, blues, or ancient sites, you can find what you're looking for without any trouble at all! Get out there and explore Mississippi, and find out what all the fuss is about for yourself!