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You’re following in the footsteps of the people who first explored and settled Mississippi: There’s no other place that embodies the heart and soul of the true South in all its rich and varied expressions. You’re following the path of giants that established the nation’s first publicly supported college for women in Columbus; performed the world’s first heart and lung transplant at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson; tested rockets for NASA’s Space Shuttle engines at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. You’re rumbling along in search of that crossroad where a legend was born: Robert Johnson, Elvis Presley, blues great B. B. King, the father of country music, Jimmie Rogers. Even the teddy bear got its start in Mississippi, after Theodore Roosevelt embarked on what became a famous bear hunt in the Mississippi Delta.

You’re in the South. And it feels true. Abraham Lincoln knew the key to the Civil War was Vicksburg, but later, Coca Cola was first bottled there, too. One could almost believe the state has figured out a way to bottle literary genius: Considering the talent from William Faulkner to Eudora Welty to Tennessee Williams (and that’s just the beginning) it’s tempting to ask if it’s something in the water!

Speaking of water, Mississippi is a paradise of rich and real delights, too, from the Gulf Coast to the Mississippi River to the man-made wonder of the Ross Barnett Reservoir and the Tenn-Tom Waterway. Not surprisingly, beautiful landscapes abound in Mississippi, with a multitude of ways to enjoy them, from camping under the stars to hiking, hunting, golfing and more. Naturally, there’s music, and plenty of mouth-watering cuisine, perhaps most importantly, historic hospitality! Say it out loud. Mississippi. It rings true.

The Natchez Trace brings some of the best of Mississippi to you–battlefields to blues to the birthplace of the king of rock and roll, water sports to waterfalls, antebellum mansions to urban arts. Mississippi, turn the page, take a look and find your True South.

Learn more about the communities along the Trace in Mississippi: