The gentle foothills of the end of the Appalachian Mountains rise in northern Mississippi, and in the south of the state, sandy barrier islands protect the mainland. Much of the state is rural, with wide expanses of forests and fields, but Mississippi boasts several medium-sized cities. The delta claims title to “Birthplace of the Blues,” and if riverboat gambling is your style, you can empty your pockets on a floating paddlewheel casino. Affordable romantic getaways aren’t difficult to find in Mississippi.
Mississippi’s 62-mile-long Gulf Coast boasts the longest man-made beach in the world. Shaded golf courses, deep sea cruises and big name casinos lure visitors, and fairs and festivals celebrate music and local food. Hire a local to ferry you, or trailer your own boat to get to the remote beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore where you can pitch a tent away from the crowds. No facilities are available, but campers are allowed to build a fire on the beach, so bring along all the things you’ll need for a romantic weekend.
Role-Play in Vicksburg
Vicksburg perches atop high bluffs on the Mississippi River. Site of a critical Civil War siege, the city’s walkable downtown has shops, restaurants and antebellum homes. During the summer months, park interpreters wear period dress at Vicksburg National Military Park, but if dressing up in Civil War-era garb and sipping wine feels romantic, buy tickets for the Confederate Christmas Ball. Reasonably priced suites at DiamondJacks Casino Hotel have queen-sized beds, jetted tubs and separate sitting areas with river views. Book massages at one of Vicksburg’s spas.
A Scenic Drive, a Step Back in Time
The 444-mile-long Natchez Trace Parkway, running from Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez, winds through Mississippi’s northern hills to the region known as the delta. First used by buffalo and bison as a migration route and later by Native Americans and settlers, the two-lane road meanders through forests and fields. French Camp, about 150 miles south of the Tennessee border, is a restored 19th-century village with historic homes, an old post office and museum. The property also has a bed and breakfast and cabins. Reserve a romantic horse and buggy ride ahead of your visit.
Not That Oxford
Take a ride in a two-person rickshaw or claim seats on the upper level of a double-decker bus in Oxford, Mississippi, home of writer William Faulkner and Ole Miss. The city boasts being the “cultural mecca of the south” and supports a thriving arts scene. Spend a few hours browsing three rooms of vinyl at The End of All Music record store, or tour Rowan Oak, the 1848 mansion Faulkner lived in. Oxford accommodations fill up quickly and room rates rise on home game days at Ole Miss, so plan your romantic weekend around the team’s schedule.