From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
Once one of the most important places in the Civil War — and today, an incredible and vibrant community filled with art, fine dining, cultural attractions and more — Vicksburg really does have it all. Here’s where to start if you’re hoping to get more familiar with this one-of-a-kind town!
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
The Vicksburg area is lucky to be surrounded by beautiful, natural scenery, much of which has been preserved for posterity in state and national parks and reserves. Here are some of the best state parks and national wildlife refuges to add to your itinerary in Vicksburg, MS.
Encompassing almost 100 square miles of Sharkey County north of Vicksburg, Delta National Forest is a truly wild place filled with incredible adventure opportunities. One of the last remaining hardwood forests in the Mississippi Delta — and the only bottomland hardwood forest in the country — this unique landscape is crisscrossed with multiple-use trails and is popular amongst hikers, cyclists, OHV enthusiasts, and campers alike.
Located approximately 40 minutes south of Vicksburg along the Mississippi River, Grand Gulf Military State Park is a truly unique piece of our nation’s history, including, among other sites, the remnants of two batteries that fired on General Ulysses S. Grant’s forces in the famous Battle of Grand Gulf. Encompassing over 40 acres of Mississippi countryside, this park is also home to the remains of Forts Cobun and Wade as well as a cemetery, and offers a museum, campground, and picnic facilities for visitors.
A haven for a vast array of local wildlife who’ve called this land home for centuries, Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge is an incredible place to visit. While you’re there, you might encounter white-tailed deer, squirrels, raccoons, frogs, alligators, and even the large (and, we’ll admit, slightly intimidating) Louisiana black bear! The park is also home to birds, fish, and insects, making for an incredible experience of natural diversity.
Along with its status as an important historical location, Vicksburg is also nearby to many stunning natural landscapes that have remained mostly untouched throughout the years. Here are some of the best hiking trails for those looking to get their boots on the ground in Vicksburg.
The Vicksburg National Military Park is, as discussed below, an incredible opportunity to introduce your family to the important history of the south. It’s also a wonderful spot to go for a hike. The Vicksburg Military Park North Loop runs about three and a half miles altogether and sees some slight, rolling elevation gain, making it an easy-to-moderate adventure that also features artifacts like canons. Helpful interpretive signage orients you along the way, and rolling green countryside makes for a scenic walk.
With similar stats to the northern route, the Vicksburg Military Park South Loop runs a little less than three and a half miles and also offers some gently undulating hills, and is used by both hikers and cyclists. Meandering past and through a variety of memorials and installations, this trail is both a hike and a historical venture.
Although it requires a trip over the border into Louisiana, Lake Bruin Path is only an hour’s drive away from Vicksburg — and offers a short but sweet way to get acquainted with this beautiful Louisiana state park. At less than a mile altogether and with negligible elevation gain, this is an easy walk that also affords visitors the opportunity to see some local wildlife or enjoy a picnic along the lakeshore.
Head east toward Jackson and you’ll find yourself on the Buddy Butts Park Loop, a five-mile trail through what once served as a German POW camp in World War II. Today, its shining pines and plentiful wildflowers make it a popular option for hikers, runners, mountain bikers and more — and although it doesn’t see much elevation gain, its slightly longer length makes it great for those looking or a more substantial workout.
Another option that requires driving into Louisiana, Poverty Point State Park Trail runs a little more than a mile and a half altogether and sees less than a hundred feet in elevation gain. Despite its name, this state park is rich in foliage, wildlife, and scenery — it’s particularly beloved amongst bird watchers — which makes this hike one worth making a day trip for.
With all the adventures that’ll be keeping you busy in Vicksburg, you’re sure to work up an appetite! Good thing there are so many great restaurants in town to choose from, whether you’re in the mood for some classic Italian, spicy Mexican, or something else altogether.
Whether it’s date night — or any night — sometimes, nothing hits the spot quite like a heaping helping of delicious Italian food. Billy’s Italian Restaurant is Vicksburg’s best spot for New York-style pizza, plentiful pasta dishes, satisfying salads, side dishes and more, and it’s available for both dine-in and delivery. Buon appetito!
Straightforward — and straight from the sea — Atami Japanese Grill offers only the freshest sushi, whether you’re looking for traditional rolls, creative crafted signatures, or sashimi, as well as a range of hot dishes fresh from the hibachi grill to keep those who are wary of the whole “raw fish” thing happy. There’s fried ice cream or fried cheesecake for dessert, so be sure to save some room!
Soups, salads, sandwiches and so much more make Newk’s Eatery a local favorite. Along with their signature “premium” dishes, this place also offers a range of vegetarian-friendly fare, so it’s a good option for those trying to keep to a plant based diet in the South (which isn’t always easy!).
You may be quite a few miles away from the border, but you can enjoy some authentic south-of-the-border cuisine at El Paso Mexican Grill, which is largely regarded as the best Mexican restaurant in Vicksburg. From tacos to tequila and everything in between, be sure you go with an appetite… because you’re certain not to leave hungry!
It’s more than just a beloved Vicksburg restaurant: it’s a must-do Vicksburg experience. Big Bees BBQ Grill and Restaurant serves up some of the best southern cooking in the state, in a no-frills, down-home, approachable venue. Freshly barbecued meats and delicious sides make this a satisfying spot perfect for fueling a serious appetite for adventure!
Delicious dining and discovering the great outdoors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun and exciting things to do in Vicksburg, MS. Here are some more options for every adventurer!
Bringing the family along for the journey? Good deal: Vicksburg offers tons of kid-friendly to-dos that are both entertaining and educational. Here are some of our top pics.
Standing tall on a hill and enjoying a designation as a National Historic Landmark since 1968, the Old Court House Museum is an incredible piece of living history, offering visitors the opportunity to see one-of-a-kind artifacts like a pair of trophy antlers won by a steamboat named the Robert E. Lee in an 1870 race (amongst many others). Open during business hours Monday through Saturday and offering admission as low a $6 for adults and $4 for young students, this is a must-visit for families and solo adventurers alike.
Betcha didn’t know that everybody’s favorite fizzy drink was originally bottled right here in Vicksburg — and you can visit the restored building where it all went down! The year was 1894, and little did the Biedenharn family know what kind of sensation they were creating. Today, the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum walks visitors through the history of Coca-Cola with a variety of relevant artifacts and exhibits, and also hosts an authentically restored candy store where you can get a bottle of your own, along with some other sugary treats.
Although there’s plenty to keep you occupied during the daylight hours in Vicksburg, there’s lots to see after the stars come out, as well. Here are some of our favorite nighttime activities in town!
Easily one of our top picks for people looking for things for couples to do in Vicksburg, the Bottleneck Blues Bar is a beloved local institution known for staging some of the very best talent from in town and far beyond. Cozy up, grab a drink, sit back and enjoy!
There’s no night like movie night — and when it’s movie night in Vicksburg, locals head to the B&B Theatres Vicksburg Mall 6, which screens both big box-office hits and the occasional indie film for flare. Grab a heaping bag of popcorn and settle in for an enjoyable and affordable show!
Sometimes, exploring can feel like an exercise in shelling out lots (and lots) of cash. Fortunately, there are lots of things to do in Vicksburg that are pretty darn close to free!
Perhaps the best-known attraction in town, the NPS-run Vicksburg National Military Park is the site of some of the most important moments in Civil War history, as this town was considered the “nailhead that holds the South’s two halves together.” Today, visitors can stroll the grounds to see where epic battles were fought or explore the more than 1400 memorials and monuments that dot the landscape. You can also climb aboard the USS Cairo & Museum — all for a nominal entrance fee of $20 per vehicle (valid for seven days).
One of the most extensive private collections of antique dolls and toys in the country, if not the world, Yesterday’s Children is a truly one-of-a-kind Vicksburg experience that costs just $3 for adults and $2 for children under 12. Of course, if you think dolls are creepy… this might not be the right attraction for you!
Seeing as it was such an important place in the Civil War, Vicksburg is scattered with a large number of preserved homes from the era, such as the McRaven Tour Home, Pemberton’s Headquarters, the Martha Vick House and many more. Many of these locations offer tours that give both a glimpse of life in the past and some incredible architecture — well worth your time and the minimal cash investment required!
Want to get more familiar with town without spending a single cent? It’s doable! Here are some incredible and totally free things to do in Vicksburg, MS.
Meander along Levee Street to see 32 murals depicting a range of historical periods here in Vicksburg, as well as motioning toward the city’s immense future potential. The Vicksburg Riverfront Murals are an iconic part of the town’s scenic landscape, and they’re totally free to gaze at as you walk along the waterfront!
While you’re walking along the Yazoo River to view the murals, be sure to stop by Catfish Row Children’s Art Park, a free local preserved space between Clay Street and Grove Street. Alive with unique exhibits, garden walks, splash fountains and even more, there’s tons of fun to be had here — for kids and adults alike.
Everyone needs a little TLC — or a new ‘do — from time to time. If you’re in the mood for some pampering, check out the following day spas and salons in Vicksburg to get you looking and feeling right as rain.
Whether you’re in need of a classic spa service, like massage or facials, or something more beauty-oriented, like nail care, hair care, or a purifying back treatment, The Secret Garden Spa is your one-stop shop for all things feel-good. They even offer on-site yoga classes so you’ll feel as good inside as you look on the outside. It’s all conveniently located and affordable, too!
It’s incredible what just a little bit of change can do to your attitude — and Tangles Hair Salon is one of the best local places to go if you’re in need of something new. Offering cuts, color, styling and so much more, this friendly, down-home salon offers cutting-edge service (no pun intended) with southern charm… and don’t worry, you definitely won’t be left with tangles!
Staying in shape does wonders for more than just your body: it revitalizes your soul. Here are the very best gyms and yoga studios for those looking to get a sweat session on in Vicksburg.
It doesn’t get much more definitive than The Gym of Vicksburg, where members are welcome 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to the comprehensive range of cardio and strength training equipment available. Along with the DIY route, you can also take advantage of on-site group fitness classes and personal training, all led by empathetic and knowledgeable professionals.
Offering both a range of yoga classes and Pilates, the strengthening, lengthening practice that so many men and women have found helpful and revolutionary, Vicksburg Yoga and Pilates is a friendly and open-hearted space that’s perfect for finding your center and your core — which are certainly related, but as you’ll soon learn on your mat, aren’t quite the same thing. Get ready to sweat!
While you surely don’t have to leave Vicksburg to have a good time, it’s true that there are some incredible nearby locations for those looking for a quick getaway. Here are our favorite options for day trips near Vicksburg!
Less than an hour north of Vicksburg, you’ll find yourself in a 36 million year old forest — the only petrified forest, in fact, this side of the Mississippi River. Meander along the nature trail and enjoy the informative signage that explains the rich and fascinating history that led to this unique landmark. You’ll have plenty of time to be home for supper!
Mississippi’s capital city has so much to offer in the way of cultural experiences, fine dining, museums and more. It’s also home to several of the most important historical sites in the Civil Rights movement, making it an incredible educational trip for young students (as well as many adults). It’s all less than an hour from Vicksburg — so what are you waiting for?
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? If you don’t, you will once you visit — though at three hours one way, this one is maybe best for a long weekend rather than a day trip. Enjoy some fresh Creole cooking and live music, and don’t forget to stop by Cafe du Monde for a beignet!
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Vicksburg that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Vicksburg? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.