This is a sample driving tour of the state of Mississippi, intended for travelers who want to explore this state from top to bottom, over several days' time. This itinerary begins in Memphis and ends on the Gulf Coast; however, travelers should feel free to reverse the trip or modify it as necessary.
Day 1: Fly into Memphis, Tennessee. After obtaining a rental car, take US 61 south of out of the city into the Mississippi Delta.
Clarksdale: The birthplace of the blues. Stand in bluesman Robert Johnson's footsteps at the crossroads of US 61 and US 49, where according to legend Johnson sold his soul to the Devil. Follow this with a visit to Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blues Club that night.
Day 2: Continue driving south on US 61 to Cleveland.
Vicksburg: The southern terminus of the Delta. Take a stroll down Catfish Row and visit Biedenharn Museum of Coca-Cola® Memorabilia, where Coca-Cola was first bottled in 1894 and enjoy an old-fashioned fountain soda.
Day 3: In the morning, visit Vicksburg National Military Park, a huge park commemorating the 1863 seige of Vicksburg during the Civil War. Then take interstate 20 East to Jackson, about an hour's drive.
Jackson (Mississippi): Go shopping and antiquing in the quaint Fondren neighborhood followed by a visit to the Mississippi Museum of Art to see masterpieces by well-known American (and local Mississippian) artists, including Eudora Welty. In the evening enjoy dinner and live music at a venue such as Hal & Mals or Fenians.
Day 4: Take the famed Natchez Trace south out of Jackson.
The Natchez Trace: The Owen's Creek waterfall is about milepost 50 on the Trace. About twenty miles south of there is the town of Port Gibson, and taking Hwy 552 12 miles south of Port Gibson will lead you to the haunting ruins of the Windsor plantation, which emerge from the woods like some long-forgotten pagan temple. Hwy 552 will loop you back onto the Trace. At milepost 10.3, you will find the Emerald Mound, built between 1200-1730 by indigenous peoples. Shortly you will arrive in Natchez, MS.
Natchez: Stay at the spectacularly beautiful Monmouth Plantation, formerly home of General John A. Quitman. There are a number of antebellum homes to tour, such as Dunleith, Melrose, and Longwood, among others.
Day 5: Take US 98 east 2 hours to Hattiesburg, MS.
Hattiesburg: Lunch in downtown Hattiesburg. Circle S Riding Stables in nearby Sumrall, MS provides horse rentals for riding the Longleaf Trace trails.
Day 6: Take Hwy 49 S to Gulfport. Take the Ship Island Ferry to frolick on the beaches of Ship Island (bring lots of sunscreen!). Tour Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis home. At night play the slotes or take in a show at the Beau Rivage casino.
From the Gulf Coast, it is an hour's drive west to New Orleans on I-10. Mobile, Alabama and Destin, Florida are the other way on I-10 E. Gulfport-Biloxi also has an airport which can provide flights out of the state.