Discover the 7 Best National and State Parks in Mississippi

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: April 25, 2022
Image Credit Bennekom/Shutterstock.com
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Mississippi State is located in the southeastern United States. The capital and largest city of the state is Jackson. The Mississippi River primarily defines the western boundary of Mississippi, so you can rest assured that there are plenty of scenic parks and places to visit across the state!

The national historic sites and trails and the state parks will surprise you with their cultural and historical background and breathtaking views! Waterfalls, rare types of trees, scenic beaches, and the beautiful Natchez Parkway are just some destinations you need to see!

1. Natchez National Historical Park

Natchez National Historical Park
Natchez National Historical Park tells the history of the people that lived in Natchez over the years.

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Natchez National Historical Park
LocationNatchez, Adams County
Size108.07 acres
Animals to spotBears, foxes, beavers, deer
Attractions to seeWilliam Johnson House, Melrose, Forks of the Road

Natchez National Historical Park tells the history of the people that lived in Natchez over the years. European settlement, African enslavement, and the Civil Rights struggle are just some of the historical events that marked this place. An insightful American history trip is guaranteed!

The park has four sites: Fort Rosalie, the William Johnson House, Melrose, and Forks of the Road.

Fort Rosalie is the place where a former fortification built in the 18th century stood. This site is not open to the public. The William Johnson House preserves William Johnson’s home. He lived in the 19th century and was a free African American barber. The site features furnishings specific to the period and other interesting exhibits. Melrose was owned by a lawyer and a state senator named John T. McMurran. Forks of the Road marks the second-largest slave market in the United States.

2. Natchez Trace Parkway

Natchez Trace Parkway
A road trip on Natchez Trace Parkway will provide you with scenic landscapes, stunning waterfalls, and insightful historic sites.

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Natchez Trace Parkway
Location in MississippiAll over the state
Length444 miles
Animals to spotTurtles, lizards, snakes, coyotes, foxes, armadillos
Attractions to seeScenic landscapes, waterfalls, hiking trails, Emerald Mound, Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail

The 444-mile national parkway, the Natchez Trace Parkway, starts in Natchez, Mississippi, and ends in Nashville, Tennessee. A road trip on this parkway will provide you with scenic landscapes, stunning waterfalls, insightful historic sites, and even scenic hiking trails. 

There are more than 50 access points in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee from where you can access the parkway and enjoy the views and recreational activities. Some of these cities in Mississippi are Clinton, Jackson, and Tupelo. Some tourist attractions along the way are Emerald Mound, the French Camp Historic Village, and the French Camp Log House Museum. You can also stop at the only visitor’s center along the parkway, located in Tupelo, Mississippi. 

The 60-mile Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail consists of five trail segments. All of them can be accessed from the Natchez Trace Parkway. These places will instantly transport you to the 19th century.

Check this guide to the National Trace Parkway for more detailed information.

3. Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore
Gulf Islands National Seashore is the perfect tourist destination if you want to spend some time near the water.

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Gulf Islands National Seashore
LocationJackson and Harrison Counties
Size135,457.89 acres
Animals to spotBottlenose dolphins, cotton rats, beavers, armadillos, river otters
Attractions to seeNatural beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, historic sites, visitor’s center

Gulf Islands National Seashore is the perfect tourist destination if you want to spend some time near the water. It stretches from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, to Cat Island, Mississippi. The protected regions of the seashore consist of parts of seven islands and mainland areas. There are natural beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, historic sites, nature trails, and picnic areas in Mississippi. 

Some islands can be accessed by boat if you’re willing to go for an adventure. Campgrounds are available in case you’re planning a more extended stay. Our recommendation is to spend some more time at the beaches so that you can spot the bottlenose dolphins!

The William M. Colmer Visitor Center in Ocean Springs will provide you with detailed information about the Gulf Islands National Seashore. 

4. Clark Creek Nature Area

Clark Creek Nature Area
Clark Creek Nature Area is one of the few parks in the United States with lots of uncommon trees.

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Clark Creek Nature Area
LocationWilkinson County
Size700 acres
Animals to spotBirds, venomous and non-venomous species of snakes, rare land snail, Southern redbelly dace, white-tail deer, armadillos, black bear
Recreational activitiesHiking, bird watching

The 700-acre natural preservation area, Clark Creek Natural Area, is located in Wilkinson County. The area is popular due to the numerous waterfalls that offer the visitors amazing natural views! There are approximately 50 waterfalls in the park, with up to 30-foot drops.

The park is rich in species of animals, including a state endangered fish called the southern redbelly dace. Plant lovers will delight in seeing and savoring the variety of flowers and trees, including the magnolia tree. Clark Creek Nature Area is one of the few parks in the United States with lots of uncommon trees, namely southern sugar maple, umbrella tree, chinquapin oak, pyramid magnolia, serviceberry, and witch-hazel.

Hiking enthusiasts will also find this destination worth checking out, as there are both primitive and improved trails. The primitive trails are 2.6 miles long, while the others are 1.75 miles long.

5. Tishomingo State Park

Tishomingo State Park
At Tishomingo State Park, you can enjoy a picnic, go on a hiking trail, or relax by the swimming pool.

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Tishomingo State Park
LocationTishomingo County
Size1,530 acres
Animals to spotDeer, eagles, armadillos
Attractions to seeBear Creek Canyon, archeological excavations, hiking trails, picnic spots

Tishomingo State Park is a recreation area that will help you connect with nature like never before, as it is situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. History lovers will also enjoy what the park has to offer!

The biggest tourist attraction in this state park is Bear Creek Canyon, with its sandstone outcroppings. The archeological excavations date as early as 7000 B.C. More than that, the Natchez Trace Parkway runs through Tishomingo State Park. If you happen to be on the parkway, you can quickly stop for a few hours in Tishomingo, and you won’t regret it!

At Tishomingo State Park, you can enjoy a picnic, go on a hiking trail, let your children explore the playgrounds, play some volleyball with your companions, or relax by the swimming pool. Bear Creek is available for canoeing and fishing.

6. Bienville National Forest

Bienville National Forest
Bienville National Forest is home to deer, rabbits, various bird species, foxes, and raccoons.

U.S. Forest Service / This image is a work of the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

Bienville National Forest
LocationCentral Mississippi (nearest city Jackson) 
Size178,541 acres
Animals to spotDeer, rabbits, various bird species, foxes, raccoons
Recreational activities Hiking trails, horseback riding trails, hunting, fishing, picnicking, camping

If you’re looking for a relaxing day to disconnect from the monotonous daily activities, you should check out what Bienville National Forest has to offer! Hunting, hiking, fishing, and camping are allowed in the forest. Horseback riding can be enjoyed on the Shockaloe Horsetail, but it’s also open for hiking and has picnic and camping areas. 

The area features five lakes. You can relax near the water or spend some time fishing. The Harrell Prairie is a must-see for plant lovers, as it is the largest and quietest prairie in Mississippi. Seeing the numerous types of flowers will be an incredible experience!

7. Roosevelt State Park

Roosevelt State Park
Roosevelt State Park is famous for providing lots of recreational activities and panoramic views of the Bienville National Forest.

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Roosevelt State Park
LocationScott County
Size550 acres
Animals to spotHerons, egrets, ducks, geese, frogs, coyotes, white-tail deer
Recreational activitiesPicnicking, swimming, fishing, boating, water skiing

Roosevelt State Park is famous for providing lots of recreational activities and panoramic views of the Bienville National Forest. There’s a visitor’s center that has useful information for the visitors, a game room, a banquet hall, and a performing arts & media center.

Picnicking, golfing, swimming, playing tennis, and going for some walks on the nature trails are only some of the activities you can opt for at Roosevelt State Park. Other facilities include fishing, boating, and even water skiing available on Shadow Lake.

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