Monument at Brice's Crossroads Battlefield, Mississippi © Wilson44691
The state of Mississippi, tucked between Alabama, Louisiana (separated by the mighty river from which the state gets its name) and Tennessee, with a tiny stretch of Gulf Coast right in the south, is often overlooked by tourists seeking a taste of the American Deep South. Those who opt for Mississippi's neighbours and ignore her charms lose out on a memorable experience in a state full of quaint towns, where wide-open spaces and porch swings combine with down home hospitality to yield many rewards for visitors.
The 'Magnolia State' has plenty of scenic beauty, and rich history, particularly associated with the Native American tribes that pre-dated European occupation and the battles of the American Civil War - the key battle of the war was fought at Vicksburg in 1863. Culturally the state has generated a wealth of talent, spawning such greats as Tennessee Williams, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Rodgers and B B King, not to mention the Blues, the music style that was born in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta. The state also has more than its fair share of architectural treasures, particularly the huge concentration of magnificent antebellum mansions in Natchez.
When exploring all the attractions associated with this heritage jades, there is always the lure of the white sandy beaches of Biloxi and Gulfport down in the south, where the lights are bright and the pace upbeat among pulsing casinos and clubs in the Gulf Coast's fastest growing tourist hub.
The state's capital city is Jackson, sophisticated and well-ordered, filling the needs of city slickers more than adequately, while visitors yearning for the great outdoors have more than 150 campgrounds and six national forests to choose from, offering opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking, cycling and boating.