17 Charming Small Towns in Mississippi You Need to Visit

It’s a state with a bit of a romance to it, from the soft repetition of its name to the iconic music to the wide, open panoramas of sunsets falling, fading over the river.

And while the cities have their fun, it’s the small towns in Mississippi that really carry the soul of this charming corner of the country.

Out beyond the city limits, you can find a world of smooth Blues, of delicious Southern cooking, and a mix of history and natural beauty in Mississippi national parks that would struggle to be replicated anywhere else.

So, let’s explore.

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1. Tishomingo: cute towns in Mississippi

Tishomingo State Park
Image: Tishomingo State Park 12. Visit Mississippi. [CC BY-ND 2.0] via Flickr

First things first, let’s start small.

Tishomingo is home to only about 370 people, it’s one of the best small towns in Mississippi, a condensed package of history and nature, all wrapped up in a close-knit community.

It’s nestled at the base of the foothills of the Appalachians, and the undulating, thickly wooded landscape is a brilliant destination if you’re looking to hike or fish or just breathe in a few lungfuls of clean, green air.

Head over to the nearby Tishomingo State Park to explore for the day or camp, watching pristine water run and crash over older-than-time rock formations underneath the green canopy.

The town itself is more quiet living than big city glamour, but that’s what we’re looking for here.

It’s the perfect quiet getaway, a brilliant base to kick back at after exploring the region.

When you pass through, make sure to swing by the very appropriately named ‘The Shack’ for some homemade Southern goodness, all served with the kind of hospitality that makes Mississippi such a joy to travel around.

2. Bay St. Louis: quaint towns in Mississippi

One of the great things about Mississippi is how it mixes inland towns like Tishomingo with access to the Gulf.

If you’re looking to get to the water, few towns in Mississippi can match the charms of Bay St. Louis.

Head here for some genuinely beautiful sights, with wide sandy beaches looking out to the waters of the Gulf.

Glorious beaches aside, the town itself is a treat as well.

The historic Old Town district has beautifully preserved Victorian-era buildings scattered around it, and you can learn about the area’s history at the ever-interesting Old Town Bay St. Louis Museum or, if you’re looking for a slightly different cultural angle, try the Alice Moseley Folk Art & Antique Museum.

But it’s the seafood that’s the real star here.

Stop into some of the waterfront restaurants serving up some of the freshest food you’ll find this side of the Gulf, with classics like gumbo, shrimp po’ boys, and the clean-sea hit of oysters Rockefeller.

Kicking back, looking out to the water as the sun sets over the Gulf and everything is painted in fading orange, eating fresh food caught from that very water.

It doesn’t get much better.

3. Port Gibson: charming towns in Mississippi

Port Gibson
Photo credit: Port Gibson Facebook Page

Found close to the mighty Mississippi itself, the tiny town of Port Gibson is a great place to head to find that little bit of calm you’ve been looking for.

The area around it is a tableau of rolling hills, forests, and fields that span out around the town to the water’s edge and people flock here for the fine fishing, great golf, and plentiful bird watching that’s possible here.

But, like Bay St. Louis, the food does the main speaking.

It’s a great place to stop in for some classic Southern cuisine like fried catfish, gumbo, or a heavy dose of Southern-style barbecue.

Our recommendation: head over to Mississippi’s Finest for some classics served up with the best service in town.

The name speaks for itself.

4. Cleveland: best small towns in Mississippi to visit

Cleveland Mississippi
Photo credit: Visit Cleveland Facebook Page

Music and Mississippi go together like, well, music and Mississippi.

And nowhere is this clearer than the ever-thriving town of Cleveland.

So many great Blues musicians came from this area and, today, music is everywhere.

Whether you’re catching a local live performance, or getting the deep dive on the area’s musical history at the Grammy Museum Mississippi, or just soaking it all in, Cleveland will always stand out as one of the best little towns in Mississippi to get to the heart of the blues.

5. Corinth: small towns or cities in Mississippi

Corinth Welcome Center
Photo credit: Corinth Facebook Page

Walking here today between historic buildings, crossing the criss crossed train tracks, and ambling through the laidback, small-town atmosphere, you wouldn’t think about how pivotal this town was in the Civil War.

This was where the generals of the south banded together to plan the Battle of Corinth, and history enthusiasts are spoilt for choice with a feast of displays and exhibits commemorating this, whether it’s the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Centre, the Crossroads Museum or the Corinth Battlefield Trail.

And in the present day, there’s everything you could want from a Mississippi town, great food, better people, and that mix of beautiful scenery and historic buildings that define so many of these quaint towns in Mississippi.

6. Grenada: Mississippi small towns

The road sign on the way into Grenada calls it ‘The City That Smiles’, and that’s all you need to know really.

It’s a perfect slice of warm Southern hospitality and rural life.

Visitors come for the great fishing available in the nearby Grenada Lake Wildlife Management Area, or to explore the Civil War Forts in the area, but it’s the mix of small-town feeling, authentic Southern food, and easy living that keeps them around.

7. Taylor

Taylor Mississippi
Image: View from Taylor Grocery. LRD615. [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Finding a tiny, little-known, off-the-beaten track town and feeling at home there can be one of the great joys of traveling.

Taylor is that kind of place, with a population of around 300 people and only covering about four square miles, it’s fair to say it’s not the biggest.

But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in depth, with a feeling of genuine community, beautiful landscapes, and an idea of genuinely authentic living.

It’s the perfect place to get away from it all.

Get yourself a bed at Cypress Woods Place for a secluded home just a little outside town, nestled in the woods and with access to a private lake, and then get straight down to Taylor Grocery.

There are no reservations and no frills, but there is maybe the world’s best fried catfish and the kind of hospitality that makes you want to stay forever.  

8. Holly Springs

Town square
Image: Town Square 4. Visit Mississippi. [CC BY-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The history of Holly Springs stretches back to the early 19th century, and you can still see this past in the white-pillared antebellum mansions of the area and historic downtown area.

Stop by the Marshall County Historical Museum to fully explore the varied past of this town and the important role it played in Mississippi’s development and the Civil War.

The town itself is stuffed full of the usual Mississippi charm but also hosts numerous unique events throughout the year.

Perhaps the best for visitors is the Audubon Hummingbird Migration Celebration.

Taking place just outside of town, this is one of the biggest nature events in the South and a truly glorious sight, as these beautiful birds journey through the area, filling the Mississippi sky with sound and color.

9. Indianola

Indianola mural
Image: Mural of BB King – Indianola, Mississippi. Visit Mississippi. [CC BY-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The little town of Indianola is a charming patch of the Mississippi delta that has music in its soul.

B. B. King grew up here and named his eighth album after the town, helping cement its musical reputation.

Today, his legacy and effect on the town are visible to everybody in the B. B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Centre, which celebrates the life and story of one of the country’s greatest ever musicians.

The area around the town is laced through with streams and rivers, all feeding into the Mississippi, but here creating a landscape that is lush with vegetation and vibrant with wildlife.

Whether you’re looking to soak in some music, some quiet time birdwatching, or just to find to meander around, soaking in this thriving place, there’s no place better than Indianola.

10. Meadville

Meadville monument
Image: Pretty Monument. NatailieMaynor. [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

There’s nothing too flashy here, it’s more about soaking in what there is and enjoying the pace of life, but visitors can get a deeper look at what has gone into making this little slice of rural heaven by taking a trip to the Franklin County Historical Society Museum.

11. Kosciusko

Attala County Courthouse - Kosciusko, Mississippi
Image: Attala County Courthouse – Kosciusko, Mississippi. Tony Webster [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Now known more as the birthplace of Oprah Winfrey, Kosciusko used to go by the name of Red Bud Springs, so named because of one of the three natural springs that flowed throughout the town, famed for their clean, rejuvenating water.

It’s a place with a long history, and you can soak in some of this old-world charm wandering the streets by antebellum homes and the numerous historic sights that are scattered around the area.

Hikers and general outdoor enthusiasts flock to the town for its proximity to the Natchez Trace Parkway, the famous forest trail that passes through on its way from Nashville to Natchez.

12. New Albany

Garden club
Image: Miss1New Albany Garden Club, Mississippi. Carol Norquist. [CC BY-ND 2.0] via Flickr

Found amid the undulating hills and forests of the northern part of the state, New Albany is a thriving town nestled in lush landscapes.

It feels like there’s always something happening in its charming downtown area, whether it’s one of the town’s many annual events or just the usual hustle and bustle of specialty stores and restaurants serving up some fine Southern cuisine.

It’s a delight that is still off the beaten track, but might not be for too long.

13. Ripley

The area surrounding Ripley is known as the birthplace of the hill country blues and the town has kept this musical spirit going on.

It’s best seen in the regular events that are hosted here, showcasing some of the most vibrant and unique aspects of local Southern culture that a visitor could hope for.

You’re spoilt for choice with food here, but a trip to town isn’t complete with either a ribeye from Biscuits Steakhouse, with its wood panels walls and feeling of old school Americana that typifies the town.

14. Tunica

Tunica Mississippi
Image: Monument. Visit Mississippi. [CC BY-ND 2.0] via Flickr

Now, just because a town is small doesn’t you can’t have fun.

Tunica is home to less than 1,000 people, but there are a grand total of nine casinos here.

If you want to combine some small-town charm with some Vegas-style fun, there are very few places in the world that can match Tunica for that combination.

Of course, there’s more than slot machines and poker here, with some great gold and fantastic restaurants.

Only a 20-minute drive from Memphis, it’s easy to get to and is one of the state’s premier sports for world-class entertainment, all served up with that small-town Southern charm.

15. Ocean Springs

Ocean Springs
Image: Typical Storefront. Brian Leon. [CC BY-ND 2.0] via Flickr

If you’re looking to take advantage of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, there are few better places to do it than Ocean Springs.

Its downtown area is a mix of galleries and shops, shaded by oak trees that flank the streets that lead down to the glorious waterfront.

It’s an arty place, with art festivals scattered throughout the year and a constantly thriving art scene that really makes the place stand out among the other cute towns in Mississippi.

16. Tupelo

Birthplace of Elvis
Image: Birthplace of Elvis – Tupelo, Mississippi. Visit Mississippi. [CC BY-ND 2.0] via Flickr

Nestled up in the north of Mississippi, Tupelo has its own charms but is famous for one thing and one thing only – being the birthplace of Elvis Presley himself.

And when you’re here, you will know it.

There’s the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum, the Elvis Presley Center, the bronze statues versions of Elvis around the town, the Elvis Presley lake, and so on.

It’s a destination spot for any fans of the greatest rock star to ever walk the planet and it gives a glamorous edge to the small town.

Of course, there’s more to the town than just the Elvis appreciation, whether you’re looking for verdant landscapes or Civil War history, and no trip would be complete without trying some of the state’s finest upscale Southern food at Forklift Restaurant.

17. Vicksburg

Old Courthouse
Image: Old Court House, Vicksburg. Jeff Hart. [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

You can find examples of the state’s long history scattered in small towns from the hills of the north to the Gulf Coast in the south, but nowhere does it quite as well as the riverbank town of Vicksburg.

It’s heaven for history fans, whether it’s the well-preserved homes that date all the way back to the 18th century or the Vicksburg National Military Park, or the museums that teach about the Civil War siege of the town.

And if that’s not really your style, there’s always the great good and the floating Riverwalk Casino that is tied up on the Mississippi River. 

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