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Travel the USA (Visit Mississippi)

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It is the unique goal of travel adventurers to visit all fifty states in America. To boost this objective, each week we shall explore one state. Alphabetically, the 24th to visit is none other than Mississippi, abbreviated MS. Regardless of the order in which you explore them, MS, the Magnolia State is simply delightful.

 
 
 
 

Visit state # 24 – Mississippi

State MottoVirtute et armis (By valor and arms)
State FlowerThe Magnolia
State BirdThe Mockingbird
State StonePetrified wood
State CapitalJackson, Mississippi
Famous FoodsCatfish, shrimp and grits, sticky barbecue pork and beef, fried chicken, fried okra, biscuits and gravy, collard greens, cornbread, Mississippi mud pie, and more.

Mississippi’s namesake comes from the Native American term meaning “great waters” or “father of waters.” The state is situated in the southern part of the US and shares a border with Alabama in the east, Tennessee in the north, Louisiana in part of the south, and has a small coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, too. Louisiana and Arkansas also sit to the west. The Mississippi River helps to form the state’s westward border. Mississippi was admitted to the union in 1817 to become the 20th state.

The state is divided into two basic geographic regions to include the Delta, also called the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, and the Gulf Coastal Plain. The former starts at the Mississippi River, extends east to the state border, and contains fertile soil. The latter covers the state along the Gulf of Mexico and most of Mississippi and is best described as flat and broad. Per National Geographic, the Gulf Coastal Plain includes the Red Clay Hills and Holly Springs National Forest. The Gulf Island National Seashore, featuring 160-miles of rich maritime forests, bayous, and sandy beaches, is also included in the gulf coast region.

You might be surprised to learn that Mississippi is an awesome place for lovers of nature. That’s because forests cover about 65 percent of the state, and there is also abundant farmland to produce soybeans, sweet potatoes, and other important US crops. In fact, one of the most debated topics is where it’s best to hike. Often Tallahala Wildlife Management Area comes to mind, offering a variety of fun outdoor activities for all ages, including scenic lakeside treks perfect for those who marvel at nature and wildlife. There are fabulous places to camp, swim, fish, hike, picnic, observe wildlife and more. What could be more enjoyable?

Gulf Islands National Seashore, established in 1971 and operated by the US National Park Service, is equally breathtaking. These barrier islands in both Mississippi and Florida are home to white sand beaches, wetlands, wilderness, wildlife sanctuaries, and more. The islands offer fun-in-the-sun activities such as swimming and snorkeling, plus hiking, cycling, nature watching and more. Each year, millions of visitors are drawn to the region to experience the seashore’s emerald coast waters and significant historical landscapes. More than 80 percent of the park is submerged land rich in marine life. The area is rich in marshes and live oak forests, attracting unique migrating birds and diverse plants, animals, and sea creatures.

Of course, the cities of Mississippi offer glitz and glamour and unique adventures unlike anywhere else in the world. Mississippi’s largest city is Jackson, rich in museums such as the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Mississippi’s Children’s Museum. Biloxi is well known for its beautiful beaches and high-octane casinos, Ocean Springs for its charm, and Natchez for its rich history and great walkability. There are fun annual events to partake in, such as the Natchez Biscuit Festival in September and the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race in October. And there are a great many other amazing visitable cities as well.

Music lovers should not miss some awesome things to do, such as visiting the birthplace museum of Elvis Presley,  “The King of Rock and Roll,” in Tupelo, northeastern Mississippi. Also highly visitable is the Grammy Museum, located in Cleveland, Mississippi, and considered “the Birthplace of America’s music.” The museum proudly features Grammy award winners, famous blues musicians, and more. Also, do not pass up a trip to the Mississippi State Fair, an annual event featuring live music and performances, rides, competitions, roasted corn and biscuits, and some of the best funnel cakes and cotton candy in the world. This year’s event takes place from October 6-16, 2022.

History is an important aspect of Mississippi’s legacy and should be duly remembered. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is one prime example. Opened in Jackson in 2017, it is among the finest civil rights museums of the country and is proudly sponsored by the state. See innovative exhibits that delve into the state’s infamous past and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. An important feature of the museum to witness in person is the amazing 40-foot fabric/light sculpture entitled, This Little Light of Mine. The exhibit highlights hope, courage, and action in the fight for freedom. When visitors walk in, blades begin to blink. As more people enter, the lights and colors increase in correlation to the movement. Voices of the choir also build to culminate in an experience unlike any other. Whether you seek time in forest land, pristine beaches, or want the best cultural experiences, Mississippi has it all.

Up next: Missouri


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