Mississippi is a diverse state with many exciting activities and destinations to explore. The magical ‘Magnolia State’ is characterised by beautiful scenery and abundant history and culture. There are nine wonderful national parks in Mississippi.
Mississippi is home to various national park sites, including national battlefields, seashores, monuments, historical parks, parkways, scenic trails and military parks. Here are the Mississippi national parks sites to visit.
- National Parks in Mississippi
- National Battlefield Site
- National Seashore
- National Monument
- National Historical Park
- National Scenic Trail
- National Military Park
National Parks in Mississippi
National Battlefield Site
1- Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
In the northeast of Mississippi, around 85 miles from Memphis, Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site is a one-acre national battlefield site at the intersection west of Baldwyn.
This site commemorates the Battle of Brices Crossroads in which Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate army defeated the sizable Union army.
This battle occurred on 10 June 1864 and aimed to secure much-needed supply lines between Chattanooga in Tennessee and Nashville.
The Brice Cross Roads National Battlefield Site allows you to take a walking tour of the battlefield.
The Civil War Preservation Trust, Brice’s Crossroads National Battlefield Commission and the State of Mississippi have joined together to create a fantastic battlefield tour for visitors.
Sites included in the tour comprise a number of roadside monuments, informative panels and some interpretive trails to explore.
When you arrive at the national battlefield, head to the visitor’s centre, Mississippi’s Finals Stands Interpretive Center.
Here you can gather a lot of information about the site and its history, watch a movie on the battle, and take a tour of the on-site museum.
From there, you can take a guided tour of the battlefield.
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site is at 128 MS-370, Baldwyn, MS 38824.
2- Tupelo National Battlefield Site
Another Mississippi site dedicated to commemorating an event of the Civil War is the Tupelo National Battlefield Site.
Also known as the Battle of Harrisburg, fought on 14 and 15 July 1864, this site is well worth a visit.
The Tupelo National Battlefield Site is only one acre in size but offers visitors the chance to learn about the battle and see cannons used in the Civil War.
More than 20,000 Confederate and Union soldiers were involved in this battle, that resulted in hundreds of men losing their lives.
It is also recommended to visit the city of Tupelo, which is just a 10-minute drive away.
Here you can check out the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center, where you can learn more about Tupelo’s battlefield site.
The Tupelo National Battlefield Site is at 2005 West Main Street, Tupelo, MS 38801. The Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center is at 2680 Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo, MS 38804.
For more Mississippi adventures, read:
- 20 Landmarks in Mississippi
- 9 National Parks in Mississippi
3- Gulf Islands National Seashore
If you want to know where to go on vacation in Mississippi, head to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, one of the most beautiful national parks in Mississippi.
It’s not to be missed, especially if you love the outdoors.
Congress designated the Gulf Islands as a national seashore in 1971 and the National Park Service now manages these islands.
This 160 miles (257 km) stretch of barrier islands on the Gulf Coast starts at Fort Walton Beach in Florida and ends at Cat Island in Mississippi.
Check out these barrier islands, and the pearlescent sands and crystal-clear waters will overawe you.
If you want to visit Mississippi’s Gulf Islands National Seashore, there are six spots you can check out.
There’s Cat Island, Horn Island, Petit Bois Island, West Petiti Bois Island, Davis Bayou Area, and Ship Island.
With so many islands and a myriad of things to see and do, here are the highlights of what to do on the best of Mississippi’s barrier islands.
Cat Island is home to an abundance of marshes and bayous (a type of creek or swampy part of a river) which attracts stunning birdlife and Mississippi’s notorious crocs.
Most of the island is privately owned so you can only really visit the western part and the southern tip of the island.
You can reach Ship Island by ferry from the pier at Gulfport’s Jones Park
between March and October.
From May to August, there is also a ferry that departs from Biloxi.
On the northwestern side of the island, Fort Massachusetts dates back to the 19th century when the fort played a role in the War of 1812.
You can head out on a fort tour, which is a great activity for history lovers.
There is also a lovely boardwalk on Ship Island, which is ideal for bird watching and taking in the scenery.
If you love birds, you’ll be happy to hear that the Gulf Islands National Seashore is home to more than 300 species of birds, including the brown pelican and black skimmers, so keep your eyes peeled.
Petit Bois Island is around six miles long and is the perfect destination for swimming and fishing.
If you want to find an island for relaxing, swimming and taking your boats out, head to Horn Island.
4- Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument
This national monument is dedicated to the men and women who tirelessly struggled for Civil Rights.
Here you can learn about the life and work of the Evers and the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement.
This national monument is in Jackson, Mississippi.
You may see it referred to as the Medgar Evers House for short.
This national monument comes in the form of a historic house museum and it’s well worth a visit.
So, who were Medgar Evers and Myrlie Evers-Williams? Medgar Evans was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) first field secretary.
One of his most famous quotes in the fight for equality was “You can kill a man, but you can’t kill an idea”.
Medgar was pivotal in organising voter registration and was engaged in trying to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi.
Having dedicated his life to the struggle for civil rights, he was brutally murdered in 1963, aged 37 by white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan member Byron De La Beckwith.
His murder was the first murder of an influential national leader of the American Civil Rights Movement.
It wasn’t until 1994 that his killer was finally sent to prison.
Myrlie Evers-Williams, born in 1933, is a journalist and American civil rights activist.
She worked tirelessly for more than 30 years to get justice for her husband, Medgar.
She followed the work he started and became one of the leaders of the NAACP. In 1995 she became the National Chairwoman of the NAACP.
The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument is at 2332 Margaret West Alexander Drive, Jackson, MS 39213.
National Historical Park
5- Natchez National Historical Park
This national historical park is southwest of Mississippi in Natchez, right next to the Mississippi River on the border with Louisiana.
The main features of this historical park are two antebellum houses. Antebellum refers to the years before the Civil War.
This was when cotton began to emerge as the South’s most lucrative commercial crop, overtaking tobacco, rice and sugar.
This area used to produce 2/3 of the world’s cotton by 1860.
Because of the booming cotton industry, Natchez became one of the wealthiest cities in the U.S., well this was until the Civil War resulted in the decline of the cotton industry.
The homes and plantations on the Natchez National Historical Park site belonged to John McMurran, a wealthy lawyer and plantation owner.
The houses that you can visit are Greek revival mansions that are intricately and lavishly furnished.
McMurran had 25 slaves working in various roles at the plantation.
If you visit the antebellum today, you can learn about these plantation owners and the work that the slaves were required to do.
There’s a really interesting slave quarters exhibit at the home which allows you to learn about the lives and hardships of Mississippi’s enslaved people.
The Natchez National Historical Park is at 210 State Street, Natchez, MS 39120.
6- Natchez Trace Parkway
This is an incredibly scenic drive and one of the best parkways in Mississippi and the U.S.
This two-lane road meanders its way through nearly 450 miles (724 km) of protected land.
You can even travel from Nashville in Tennessee right to Natchez in Mississippi.
This parkway has with waterfalls, historic sites and abundant wildlife.
You can travel at your own pace whilst taking in the sites and making stop-offs along the way.
The Natchez Trace Parkway also follows the Natchez Trace Trail, which provides segments of trails you can join along the way.
National Scenic Trail
7- Natchez Trace Scenic Trail
Are you looking for a Mississippi national park that will allow you to take a long walk whilst exploring the state’s attractions?
The Natchez Trace Trail is made up of five segments which can be accessed via the Natchez Trace Parkway.
There are 60 miles (96 km) of the trail to enjoy. Some parts of these 60 miles are in small three-mile segments, and others are as long as 25 miles.
The trail was originally used by Native Americans after bison and deer had flattened the terrain over many years.
The pioneers walking the original trace experienced bad swampy conditions and much of the trail was hard work.
Whilst exploring the trail you can check out the Reservoir Overlook which provides visitors with views of the 50 square miles of water.
You can also head to Windsor Ruins, a historical site of the Windsor Plantation, which Smith Daniell built in 1859 to 1861.
The Reservoir Overlook is at Natchez Trace Parkway, Madison, MS 39110. If you want to see the Windsor Plantation head to 102 Freeland Lane, Clinton, MS 39056.
National Military Park
8- Shiloh National Military Park
Technically the Shiloh National Military Park is in neighbouring Tennessee.
However, the military park has several historical sites, including one in Mississippi’s Corinth.
The Corinth Battlefield Unit has 14 historic sites related to the Civil War.
While at this site, you can check out the Corinth Contraband Camp where 6,000 ex-slaves were once kept.
Part of the camp is well preserved today, and you can walk among these life-size sculptures that depict the previous inhabitants of the camp.
There were more casualties in the Battle of Shiloh than in all of the American Civil War’s major battles put together.
There were 23,000 casualties, leaving both sides of the war in complete shock.
Also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, this battle occurred between the 6 April and the 7 April 1862.
The Confederate Army surprised General Ulysses S. Grant’s Union forces in southwestern Tennessee.
Despite the upper hand and initial success, the Confederates were forced back, and the Union became victorious.
The Shiloh National Military Park is at 1055 Pittsburg Landing Road, Shiloh, TN 38376. The Corinth Contraband Camp is at 800 North Parkway Street, Corinth MS 38834.
9- Vicksburg National Military Park
This military park is dedicated to the Siege of Vicksburg and is widely recognised as one of the most significant military campaigns.
You will find this national military park in central-west Mississippi, around 45 miles west of Jacksonville.
The Siege of Vicksburg was a 47-day siege that resulted in the Union gaining control of the Mississippi River, a highly important supply line.
The Union had plans to cut off all trade with the Confederacy.
While at Vicksburg National Military Park, you can enjoy a driving tour and explore the U.S.S. Cairo Gunboat, which belonged to the Union and discovered more than 1,330 monuments and information markers.
You can tour yourself or hire a guide to give you extra information about the battlefield.
There’s also a visitor centre which is an excellent place to gather information.
There are also a whopping 20 miles (32 km) of earthworks and trenches, which have been reconstructed to reflect the experience of troops during the Siege of Vicksburg.
Vicksburg National Military Park is at 3201 Clay Street, Vicksburg, MS39183.
If you love exploring national parks, you might like to read:
- Wyoming National Parks Guide
- Nevada National Parks Guide
- Michigan National Parks Guide
- 5 Maine National Parks
- New Hampshire National Parks Guide
- 25 National Parks in Canada
- 17 National Parks in Argentina
- Tasmania National Parks
- 20 National Parks in Mexico
- 18 New Mexico National Parks
- 18 National Parks in Massachusetts
- 17 Colorado National Parks
- 4 Indiana National Parks
- 5 Nebraska National Parks
- 30 Virginia National Parks
- 9 New Jersey National Parks
- 8 National Parks in Arkansas
- 8 Alaska National Parks
- 13 Tennessee National Parks
- 6 National Parks in Louisiana
- 5 Illinois National Parks
- 7 National Parks in Oklahoma
- 7 National Parks in South Dakota
- 11 National Parks In Florida
- 8 Hawaii National Parks
- 6 National Parks In Idaho
- Texas National Parks Guide
- 9 California National Parks
- 11 National Parks In Georgia
- 7 National Parks In Missouri
- 5 National Parks in Minnesota
- 7 National Parks In Kentucky
- 8 National Parks In Montana
- 15 National Parks In Washington State
- 8 South Carolina National Parks
- 12 North Carolina National Parks
- 4 Wisconsin National Parks
- 20 National Parks In India
- 11 Oregon National Parks
- 5 Connecticut National Parks
- 27 National Parks In New York State
- 4 Iowa National Parks
- Yosemite National Park
- Zion National Park
- 21 National Parks in Pennsylvania
- 9 National Parks in Mississippi
- 5 National Parks in Rhode Island