The City With Soul is Ready for You

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The City With Soul is Ready for You

The City With Soul is Ready for You

Ready for an authentic experience? Then it’s time to visit Mississippi’s state capital, Jackson the “City with Soul.”

Jackson abounds with cultural and historic attractions, the kind that are iconic in our nation’s history such as the Medgar Evers Home Museum and the Mississippi State Capitol. The Mississippi Freedom Trail, which spans the entire state and contains several sites significant to the civil rights movement, meanders through the city as well.

LeFleur’s Bluff State Park is a lovely setting for the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, which offers hiking trails and an aquarium. Its lush green space is a nice compliment to the Natchez Trace Parkway’s sense of nature. You can also find fishing, picnic areas, nature paths, and 28 sites for tent and RV camping in the area.

Jackson’s museums are where it excels. You can explore many significant facets of American history through a local perspective. I began at the International Museum of Muslim Cultures, which links Islamic civilizations worldwide with the earliest enslaved Muslims who came to Mississippi plantations. The Mississippi Sports Hall of FameMississippi History Museum and Civil Rights Museum tell the stories that touch the heart and soul.

For those ready to dive into the culinary scene, Jackson is a city for foodies. You’ll be in heaven if you enjoy Southern comfort cuisine as much as I do. Many eateries have been around for years. Comeback sauce, a Southern favorite, is thought to have origins at the 1935 Greek-style eatery Mayflower Cafe. Both Big Apple Inn and Bully’s Restaurant are well-known for their pig’s ears sandwiches and award-winning soul food, respectively. But it’s not just dated restaurants. Parlor Market and The Iron Horse Grill serve contemporary cuisine in historical settings. The Fondren neighborhood’s Walker’s Drive-In is also popular local hangouts with excellent options.

Jacksonians are enthusiastic people with a winning attitude. You’ll feel right at home because of their intrinsic feeling of genuine welcome! Because of its attractions, award-winning chefs, unique restaurants, various exciting events, three historic cultural districts, the abundance of visual and performing and trendy nightlife, Jackson is the perfect destination for your next adventure.

Let’s See Some Blooms!

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Let’s See Some Blooms!

Let’s See Some Blooms!

Who’s ready for sunny days? We sure are!

During the spring months, the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway is set to bloom into full beauty as the sun peeks out and the temperatures rise. We are happy to announce that springtime is around the corner, and the dogwoods, redbuds, and blooming wildflowers are starting to pop up along the Trace! It’s the perfect time to get outdoors to enjoy this gorgeous spring scenery.

Natchez, Mississippi

From Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, the Natchez Trace Parkway is vibrant with wildflowers for all to enjoy. As you travel this 444-mile route, the flowering trees give the perfect opportunity to experience springtime. Whether your unhurried trip through time is by car, RV, bike, or foot, take a moment to appreciate the foliage’s natural charm and snap a picture or two.

See NPS’s list of common wildflowers and where to look for them along the Natchez Trace.

Travelers enjoying the scenery

You can even stumble upon a special site at milepost 275.2 called Dogwood Valley. This site entails a 10-12 minute walk through a valley where unusually large dogwood trees tower overhead, often revealing an array of bright blooms. While walking, you’ll encounter a short section of the original Trace and walk through footsteps of history.

Dogwoods in bloom on the Natchez Trace

But spring isn’t just meant for dogwoods and redbuds to come out and appreciate the sunshine. Visitors can enjoy outdoor recreational activities like cycling, hiking, fishing, and camping. Bring your loved ones, friends, and the pups – all is welcome on the Trace!

Check out our Instagram photos and Pinterest board to see more spring flowers dotted along the way. And remember that not only is the Natchez Trace Parkway a National Scenic Byway, it’s also a historic one. Take the time to visit the interpretive sites and attractions to get a true feel of its culture and history.

Springtime is the perfect time to get out and explore the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway! Please keep in mind estimated bloom times are difficult to predict due to the length of the Parkway and the variations in weather. Often times, the blooming of dogwood and redbud trees begin in mid-March on the southern sections of the Parkway and travel north, continuing through late April or early May.

Redbud trees along the Natchez Trace Parkway
Redbud trees along the Natchez Trace Parkway

Start planning your trip! Download your free Natchez Trace Visitors Guide.

Follow @TheNatchezTrace on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! #TheNatchezTrace

Explore Tennessee … Your Spring Road Trip

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Explore Tennessee … Your Spring Road Trip

Explore Tennessee … Your Spring Road Trip

Music, homemade biscuits, beautiful outdoor vistas, waterfall and hikes … ready to explore Tennessee?

The area features beautiful natural areas, remnants of early America and the legacies of some of the greatest artists and musicians in American history.

Visit the Wayne County Welcome Center in Collinwood for a hearty welcome to Tennessee, and learn about one of the undiscovered gems along the Natchez Trace. In Collinwood and Waynesboro, you can find deals in antique stores and an inviting downtown made to stretch your legs.  For outdoor enthusiasts, rent a pontoon boat and float the Tennessee River, go canoeing on the lovely Buffalo River or Shoal Creek, or inquire about hunting and fishing in the many rivers and verdant valleys.

Lewis County holds exhibits on early American settlements, the Meriwether Lewis monument/Burial Site, Civil War history and Gordonsburg mining. You can also find a 1960s commune, an Amish and Mennonite payment, General Store, two wineries along the Natchez Trace Wine Trail, working alpaca and horse farms, antique shops with small town prices, unique clothing, specialty restaurants, horseback riding trails and gift shops. Even the country’s largest natural habitat refuge explicitly created for endangered African and Asian elephants is located in Lewis County.

If Sunday morning had a hometown, it would be the quaint community of Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. A unique fusion of scenic settings, culture and Southern cuisine can be found at this come-as-you-are treasure off the Natchez Trace Parkway just south of Franklin. You’ll discover the pinnacle of elegance with a side of BBQ and southern charm in Leiper’s Fork thanks to the community’s distinguished force of local artists and galleries, as well as landmarks such as the renowned Fox & Locke and its iconic open mic night stage. You’re likely to feel at home during any visit to Leiper’s Fork, whether you attend a play at the Lawnchair Theatre, sip local whiskey or unwind on a front porch by a fire pit.

Franklin is the ideal location if you want to unwind and experience southern refinement. You will become immersed in a new adventure in a lovely place, from locally-owned distilleries to their nationally famous, historic Main Street. Tennessee’s Franklin is located just south of Nashville. The 1864 Battle of Franklin was fought at this important American Civil War location, and the city is also home to the Carter House and Carnton Plantation, which also contains the McGavock Confederate Cemetery. There is a sizable collection of 19th-century furniture in the Lotz House from 1858. Main Street’s downtown is lined with art galleries, antique stores, and renovated Victorian structures.

Families of all ages may take an enjoyable road trip to Tennessee’s Natchez Trace section to learn about the country’s rich history and experience nature. Spring break and spring blooms are just around the corner, so let’s get to planning! Also, be sure to check out our friends at Nashville’s Big Back Yard for more in-depth stories and history on the area.

Tishomingo State Park Featured on 2023 Mississippi Tour Guide

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Tishomingo State Park Featured on 2023 Mississippi Tour Guide

Tishomingo State Park Featured on 2023 Mississippi Tour Guide

Tishomingo State Park, located along the Natchez Trace Parkway, is the featured cover image for Mississippi’s 2023 Tour Guide!  

Tishomingo County is situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering caverns, canyons, a swinging bridge, a covered bridge, miles of hiking paths and streams that are ideal for canoeing, fishing and swimming.  The county also holds the highest point in Mississippi, Woodall Mountain, and has two award-winning state parks.

Chief Tishomingo, the head of the Chickasaw people, is honored in the park’s name. The famed Natchez Trace Parkway, a modern picturesque parkway and the preeminent road in the early 1800s, passes through the park. Visitors to Tishomingo State Park today are awed by the same enduring natural beauty that long ago mesmerized the local Indians. Nowhere else in Mississippi can you find the vast granite formations and fern-filled crevices seen in Tishomingo. Hillside routes traveled initially by Native Americans are bordered by vibrant wildflowers and enormous stones covered in moss.

The park’s unique environment offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including disc golf courses, compass courses, playgrounds, hiking trails, multi-use fields, volleyball courts, lodge facilities and swimming pools. Rock climbing is by permit only. Bear Creek offers fishing and canoe adventures. Fishing is also allowed on the 45-acre freshwater lake known as Haynes Lake.

A trip to Tishomingo County offers a great escape into nature, a change to unwind and unplug.  And don’t forget your new Mississippi Tour Guide for some wanderlust reading!

Springing Into Mississippi’s Natchez Trace Parkway

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Springing Into Mississippi’s Natchez Trace Parkway

Springing Into Mississippi’s Natchez Trace Parkway

Spring break is just around the corner, and it is the perfect time to start planning a fantastic seasonal road-trip through the Mississippi portion of the Natchez Trace, exploring the towns of Natchez, Raymond, Clinton, Jackson, Ridgeland, French Camp, Tupelo and Tishomingo.

The state features scenic nature sites, history and culture, outdoor recreation and roots laid by the best artists and musicians in American history.

Southern hospitably abounds in Natchez as it is perched high on the bluffs overlooking the magnificent Mississippi River. Natchez, MississippiWith a fascinating history spanning more than three centuries, Natchez easily blends the old and the new. It is home to an extraordinary collection of historical structures, residences and churches, as well as immaculately preserved antebellum mansions, four National Park sites, prehistoric Indian mounds and the stunning Natchez Trace Parkway.

Raymond, a small antebellum city, is 40 miles north of Port Gibson. Raymond welcomes visitors with its picturesque charm and Civil War history. A driving tour highlights the historic Hinds County Courthouse and the Dupree House. The Confederate Cemetery and the Civil War Battlefield include a walking trail, allowing visitors to see where history was made in 1863.


Clinton, just southwest of Mississippi’s capitol city, offers a variety of unique experiences for visitors of all ages. The numerous historical landmarks, as well as the robust visitor center, will appeal to history buffs. The museum room highlights the history of the Natchez Trace through Clinton, hosts monthly “Mississippi Old Time Music Society” jam sessions and has changing exhibits throughout the year. Numerous walking paths and activities are available at one of Clinton’s many parks. The charming brick streets of Clinton’s Olde Towne complement a variety of unique shops, restaurants and hotels.

Jacksonians have a triumphant spirit and are passionate individuals. Thanks to their innate sense of genuine welcome, you’ll instantly feel at home. Jackson is the ideal location for your next vacation thanks to its attractions, award-winning chefs, distinctive restaurants, countless entertaining events, three historic cultural districts, plenty of visual and performing arts and hip nightlife.

Ridgeland presents a surprising fusion of nature and style to discerning tourists. Boutique and upscale shopping, outdoor adventures, dining of all types and the Bill Waller Craft Center help Ridgeland maximize Mississippi’s pleasant climate by fusing the inside and outdoors. Visitors are greeted by the natural beauty and exceptional recreational options of the 33,000-acre Barnett Reservoir, whose north side skirts along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

French Camp’s Historic District sits directly on the Natchez Trace Parkway and offers a glimpse into the daily activities of early settlers. Set your watch back – to the 1800s – and stay a while as you a bed and breakfast, historic buildings and special attractions, such as the pottery studio, gift shop, restaurant and museum.

In Tupelo, at the Natchez Trace Parkway headquarters, visitors may immerse themselves in the road’s vibrant and thrilling history through recently redesigned and improved exhibits that mix learning with fun. The chance to participate in tasks like crafting corn shuck dolls, weaving baskets, beading and working with leather is provided by living history demonstrations for both adults and children. The city of Tupelo offers a wide range of lodging options, the birthplace or Elvis Presley and award-winning culinary experiences.

Tishomingo Swinging Bridge
Tishomingo Swinging Bridge

Tishomingo County is home to Woodall Mountain, Mississippi’s highest point, two award-winning state parks and a national park. It is located in the Appalachian Mountains’ foothills. Caverns, canyons, a swinging bridge, a covered bridge, miles of hiking trails and streams perfect for canoeing, fishing and swimming make this an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

Mississippi abounds in historic and cultural experiences, mouth-watering food, southern hospitality and a climate made for year-round outdoor enjoyment, so get to planning your Spring trip now!

Wrap It in Ridgeland! 🎁

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Wrap It in Ridgeland! 🎁

Wrap It in Ridgeland! 🎁

When the holidays come knocking, we all look forward to meaningful family time, lively get-togethers, and plenty of spirited cheer. In addition to dazzling light displays, fresh-baked gingerbread, Nutcracker performances, and cozy nights in, the start of the season also brings the start of the yearly gift-buying frenzy.
For many, gift buying has become a burden or simply a thing to check off a busy holiday to-do list. No matter how convenient, clicking “buy” on an Amazon order just doesn’t have the same charm as hand-picking the perfect gift for a loved one. 

This year, put the joy back in gift shopping by dedicating a weekend to the pursuit in a charming setting sure to bring on the holiday cheer. There’s no better place to find something for everyone on your nice list than Ridgeland, Mississippi. The Hallmark-esque Southern town is the perfect holiday shopping destination. The city’s Wrap It in Ridgeland promotion encourages visitors to create the perfect weekend itinerary complete with plenty of shopping, as well as delicious eats and spirited drinks to keep you joyful no matter how heavy your bags get. 

Shop til You Drop!

From your picky mother-in-law to your sports-obsessed nephew, Ridgeland’s lineup of local retailers and charming boutiques has everything you may need. Here’s where to shop for everyone on your list: 

For the Self-Care Slayers

Know someone who could use a little self-care? Have any ladies in your life who are always up-to-date on the latest skincare trends? For the self-care kings and queens, a spa experience at one of Mississippi’s premier pampering destinations is the perfect gift. Voted Mississippi’s best spa for the past 20 years, Aqua Day Spa is all about rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. The 6,000-square-foot spa offers massages, facials, scalp treatments, manicures and pedicures, body peels, hand and foot treatments, and more. Be sure to check out the Aqua’s holiday gift card specials to get even more bang for your buck. For the lash and brow lovers, opt for a gift card to Drench Day Spa and Lash Lounge.

For the Fashionistas

While it may not be Paris or New York, Ridgeland has more than its fair share of stylish boutiques stocked with the season’s hottest trends and styles. Head to Hemline for women’s designer apparel, accessories, and shoes from favorite brands like Love Shack Fancy, Nicole Miller, Citizens of Humanity, Diane Von Furstenberg, Show Me Your MuMu, Alice & Olivia, and more. We all know a shoe addict, and you can feed their addiction at Arco Avenue. From smart leather loafers to thigh-high boots and playful sneakers to sophisticated pumps, there’s something for everyone. Libby Story is a great place to pick up trendy tops and chic skirts for teens and young adults looking to dress to impress for a college tailgate, sorority event, or night out. And since everyone needs a great coat to rock once the temperatures drop, head to CoatTails to for something cozy, chic, or a bit of both. 

But it’s not just women’s fashion that Ridgeland can help with. At Kinkade’s Fine Clothing, men are the stars, and the mission is to make every man look dapper no matter the occasion. From office wear to casual fashion and even wedding attire, Kinkade’s has it all. The store’s team of fashion consultants can help you pick out your husband’s new favorite shirt, your father’s new lucky tie, or the best pair of pants your brother has ever worn. 

For the Active Adventurers

Because we all know someone who just can’t seem to sit still, this is the category for them. Whether they’re running a half marathon, hitting the slopes, or catching a wave, Ridgeland’s sports stores have them covered. Fleet Feet specializes in running shoes for every type of runner, from ultramarathoners to trail runners and those just getting into the sport. In addition to their huge selection of shoes, you can also pick up other athletic apparel and accessories that will keep them fully outfitted and ready for adventure. Sportique is all about two extremes: sunny sand and surf and frigid slopes. Head to this outfitter for top-of-the-line ski gear and apparel, as well as a huge selection of swimsuits perfect for catching some rays. 

For the Treasure Hunters

There are those special people in our lives who are too unique to be put in a box. And often, you have no idea what to buy them until the moment you see it. For the eclectics who seem to march to the beat of their own drum, as well as any antique or vintage lovers, your digging will best be done at Repeat Street or Antique Mall of the South. Repeat Street offers 17,000 square feet of hand-selected furnishings and fashion. Explore the booths of dozens of vendors displaying gifts, food, clothing, furniture, and much more. Antique Mall of the South is the perfect place to shop for one-of-a-kind home and décor items. From collectible china to vintage furnishings, you’ll definitely experience the thrill of the hunt while perusing the megastore’s many aisles. 

For the Home Chefs

Whether it’s your grandma who specializes in comforting homemade casseroles or your sister-in-law who’s recently been inspired by the “Great British Bake Off,” Ridgeland has your home chefs covered. The Everyday Gourmet has everything you could possibly need for the kitchen, including common tools, tableware, cutlery, gadgets, and even cookbooks. For the home cook who has it all, inquire about one of the shop’s private or public cooking classes. Your favorite foodie can take time to sharpen his or her skills while learning to make a new recipe. 

For a gift of the edible variety, look no further than J. Olive Fine Oils and Balsamics. Specializing in top-quality oils and balsamic vinegars, your loved one will be forever thankful for the way these bottles of magic will elevate their dishes. While truffle, harissa, or wild Fernleaf olive oil—if you can dream it, J. Olive probably makes it. 

Once you’re sufficiently starving from a long day of shopping, it’s time to wine and dine! Here’s where to go for dinner, a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, or late-night cocktails. 

Refueling in Ridgeland

Similar to Ridgeland’s shopping scene which has something for everyone, the town’s dining scene is just as diverse. If you prefer a casual atmosphere but intend to make no concessions for the quality of food, Walk-On’s or Crab’s Seafood Shack are ideal. At Walk-On’s, Drew Brees’ lively restaurant and sports bar, experience a taste of the Big Easy with traditional Cajun and creole dishes like duck and andouille gumbo, crawfish etouffee, catfish Atchafalaya, and bayou pasta. Talk about soul-warming food and spirited good times! If you’re looking for more of a picturesque vibe for post-shopping supper, don’t miss Crab’s Seafood Shack. Located on the Reservoir, Crab’s Seafood Shack offers dinner and a view. It’s all about the seafood at this waterfront eatery that boasts the “best legs in town” and offers a huge menu of fried, steamed, and grilled fish, oysters, crab, and more.  

If you’re looking to celebrate a successful day of shopping with a little more fanfare, trust chef Derek Emerson to make your dinner plans. His upscale restaurants Caet and Local 463 are both excellent choices for chef-driven food and expertly paired drinks. At Caet, opt for fresh seafood or a decadent steak. At Local 463, the Dr. Pepper-Braised Beef Short Ribs or a specialty burger are the way to go.  

When you’re ready to toast to a fairytale holiday weekend in Ridgeland, raise a glass at Dogmund Tavern or E.A.T.S. Diner. Both offer their own distinct vibe, but each offers just as much fun. Dogmund Tavern is known for its craft beer selection and commitment to creative cocktails in a kitschy atmosphere complete with board games and science fiction references galore. If you like a sweeter drink, the Sugar Pony, made with Irish cream, blue curacao, banana liquer, lemon and cotton candy, should do the trick. For something a little stronger, the Mister Tall Hat packs a punch with habanero-infused bourbon, sugar, and bitters (perfect for warming you up on a chilly winter’s evening!). In search of a bit of nostalgia? Step back in time at E.A.T.S. Diner, a classic diner serving up the best burgers and dogs, blue plate specials, and breakfast offered all day. At the E.A.T.S. bar, order from a list of old-school cocktails and five frozen drinks. For the most festive way to celebrate, try the Poinsettia (cranberry and champagne). 

Ready to plan your holiday shopping weekend in Ridgeland? Visit for more information. 

Need a Budget-Friendly, Soothing Getaway?

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Need a Budget-Friendly, Soothing Getaway?

Need a Budget-Friendly, Soothing Getaway?

Ready for a Fall vacation but also looking to watch the budget? A Fall foliage trip along the Natchez Trace Parkway is a great answer for budget-conscious adventurers!

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a top U.S. destination for its naturally beautiful and peaceful atmosphere. Although we may not always be top-of-mind, this national park and All-American Road is worth spending some time exploring. Whether traveling by foot, bicycle or car, you can find communities along the way full of excitement and the tranquility of the Parkway along the way.  Experience it alone, with fellow explorers or with your family; it is an excellent idea for weekends.

So check out a few of the Parkway’s/communities’ budget-friendly activities:

Explore The History Of the Natchez Trace

Many families visit the Natchez Trace Parkway to experience its scenic views, outdoor activities and wildlife. However, its history is what sets it apart from other national parks in America. Some of our favorite spots on the Natchez Trace are the numerous wayside exhibits and interpretive signs. More than just a break from the trail, these sites offer a great way to learn while enjoying the natural, historic wonders of the scenic Trace. Follow the trek initially laid out by migrating animals, followed by Native American tribes for trading routes, then later developed into a state road by European settlers.

Enjoy A Walk In The Park With Your Dog

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a dog-friendly park! Hiking, biking, backpacking, and horseback riding are permitted on most of this outdoor adventure path. Backcountry campsites are also available for overnight stays by experienced campers who want to experience the park’s beauty and tranquility in a more secluded environment.

Experience The Beauty Of Nature

The Natchez Trace Parkway consists of 444-miles of greenway with lush forests, expansive meadows, open fields and an abundance of wildlife – which can be seen by those willing to get off the beaten path. Visitors will enjoy exploring this natural environment while taking a hike on one of many hiking trails or visiting a trailside museum.

Enjoy A Picnic At A Scenic Overlook Or Creek Bed 

Visitors will enjoy picnicking in one of over 100 picnic areas located along the Natchez Trace Parkway.  Sites are available on a first-come/first-serve basis and can accommodate both large and small groups – making it easy to plan a family reunion or company outing. Whether you prefer picnicking at an overlook or by a trail or creek – there are peaceful spots for everyone.

Visit For The Holidays And Enjoy Seasonal Events

Visitors will enjoy holiday events, including antique car parades, musical performances and special activities. Feel the holiday magic in communities along the way as Christmas lights decorate the towns.

Explore Nature At Its Best & Coolest During The Winter

While some outdoor parks close their gates when temperatures drop, the Natchez Trace Parkway remains open 365 days per year. Even during the colder winter months, cycling, hiking and bird-watching remain popular activities!

Plan Your Trip Now!

Start building your itinerary now, and let us help organize all there is to do along the way ad within the communities by using our interactive map.

No matter what time of year you decide to visit, the Natchez Trace Parkway and communities along the way stay ready to offer you family-friendly, budget-friendly experiences.

Changing Seasons and Popping Color

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Changing Seasons and Popping Color

Changing Seasons and Popping Color

Every year as the air begins to cool, we become immersed in the beauty of the new fall season and fall foliage. Fall signifies many changes, not just shorter and colder nights. 

America’s beloved sport plays on our screens again. Friends and family come together every weekend to passionately cheer for their favorite team. 

Deep orange squash replaces the vibrant flowers and lush greenery of summer months. It takes over our doorsteps, grocery stores, candles, sweets and even our coffee drinks.  

As an unfamiliar crisp cool breeze rushes through the air, we slowly bundle up with long sleeves, light jackets and fuzzy blankets. 

However, out of all the changes we experience, there is only one change that truly represents fall, and we all look forward to. 

The changing of color. 

Fall foliage will quickly fill the world around us. Red, yellow and orange are the first signs that the new season is here. These colors will paint the sky in an amber hue and cover up any remnants of summer green still on the ground. 

The beauty of fall foliage is coming to Natchez Trace Parkway. 

A trip along the scenic route of Natchez Trace Parkway highlights every part of nature. Whether you simply travel in your car looking out the window or stop along the many trails, you will see the brilliant fall colors around you. Experience firsthand the changing of seasons and colors by planning a trip now. 

Our friends at NPS even have a few suggestions on where to enjoy the foliage as well as an updated fall color report.

5 Places to Learn About Black History Along the Natchez Trace

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5 Places to Learn About Black History Along the Natchez Trace

5 Places to Learn About Black History Along the Natchez Trace

By Kristin Luna + Scott van Velsor

While the land populating the Natchez Trace dates thousands of years before the Civil War, there are plenty of sites along the parkway that tell the story of Black history in the American South from slavery to the civil rights movement through the present. Don’t drive the Natchez Trace without making these stops.


Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opened in 2017 as a way to pay homage to and tell the stories of the Black populations who were enslaved, discriminated against, bullied and murdered. Part of the Two Mississippi Museums, the civil rights museum paints a sobering picture of Black strife in the Southern states through pictorial exhibits, facts, broadcast clips and sound effects from actual lynchings. While not for the faint of heart, the facts contained within this museum are an extremely important part of the nation’s past, so if you do just one thing in Jackson, tour the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.


This Mississippi town of 15,000 residents was the site of one of the bloodiest acts of racial violence in the state’s history. In 1875 at the beginning of Reconstruction, Senator Charles Caldwell held a rally of more than 1,500 people, the majority of whom were freed men and their families, in anticipation of that fall’s election. The white mobs showed up, killing more than 50 people—the majority of whom were Black men—in the days that followed. This massacre helped spark the Mississippi Plan. Four months later, Sen. Caldwell was also assassinated. The city is recognizing this history by building an interpretative center at the site of the Clinton Riot.

Clinton has a self-guided walking tour available on a separate website that you can use via your phone while you explore the area.


The Forks of the Road Slave Market, just outside of the city of Natchez, was by some measures one of the most prolific marketplaces for the internal slave trade in the United States. Thousands of enslaved Blacks were traded here from the north, along the Natchez Trace and, ultimately, to Southern plantations as the demand for labor increased and the prohibitions on the international trade of slaves came into effect in the early 1800s. It’s estimated that 1,000 human beings were bought and sold each year in this very spot.

Currently, the Forks of the Road is only marked by a sign and a concrete slab filled with manacles and chains, though the Natchez National Historical Park plans to expand the Forks of the Road into a full-on interpretative center in the future. While you’re in Natchez, be sure and also check out the African American Museum of History and Culture to continue expanding your knowledge of Black history in the South.


Tupelo’s history is rooted in music, and without the jazz and blues that emanated from Shake Rag’s restaurants, cafes and performance venue’s in the Roaring Twenties, North Mississippi’s music scene might look very different today. Tupelo’s historically Black community, Shake Rag was located alongside the railroad and most famously gave rise to a Tupelo-born musician by the name of Elvis Presley, who grew up next door and was heavily influenced by the neighborhood’s powerful sound.

In the 1960s, Shake Rag was demolished to make way for an urban renewal project, its residents relocated. Today, the shiny, new Tupelo Visitors Center sits on what was once the hallowed Shake Rag ground, paying tribute to the historical figures who shaped this neighborhood’s identity through interactive exhibits that are free and open to the public.


Newly opened in downtown Nashville this winter, the 56,000-square-foot National Museum of African American Music shares the central role Black artists have played in shaping more than 50 genres of music, including spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B and hip hop.

Kosciusko Welcome Center Landscaping

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Kosciusko Welcome Center Landscaping

The landscape makeover of the Kosciusko Welcome Center is more than just a new pretty face. The renovation of the gardens surrounding the center helps to celebrate the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Mississippi.

The Natchez Trace Parkway was pleased to partner with the Natchez Trace Parkway Association and the City of Kosciusko to revamp the Welcome Center’s garden areas. The project was a team effort that included botanical research, special funding, and plain old hard work,” said Parkway Superintendent Mary Risser.

Some of the Welcome Center’s original plants, including American beauty berries and red buckeye, are native species that were preserved during the renovation.  Non-native plants were removed and replaced with native species. Oakleaf hydrangea, star anise, native yellow and honeysuckle azalea, and dwarf fetterbush were planted. Other native species will be added as they become available. The new landscaping serves several purposes. Not only are the plants attractive, but they also provide natural food and habitat for native wildlife and showcase Mississippi’s natural diversity.

“The Welcome Center has been refreshed, and the new plants help to preserve the traditional landscape. It helps us feel even more a part of the Parkway,” said the City of Kosciusko’s Director of Tourism Donna Holdiness.

The Welcome Center has a unique relationship with the Natchez Trace Parkway (Parkway). The land is federal government property and part of the Parkway. The building, upkeep and services are provided by the City of Kosciusko (City). Together, the Parkway and the City provide information and a break from traveling visitors, much like the naturally landscaped historic stands of the Old Trace.

The Kosciusko Welcome Center is located at milepost 160 on the Parkway, at Kosciusko, Mississippi.  The Parkway Visitor Center is located at milepost 266 near Tupelo, Mississippi. For additional information, please call 1-800-305-7417.

America’s federal lands and waters are living classrooms. Make learning come alive by participating in Every Kid in Park. All current 4th graders and their families can visit national parks, monuments, seashores and more for free. Learn more at

Bike Your Park Day | The Natchez Trace

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Bike Your Park Day | The Natchez Trace

Bike Your Park Day | The Natchez Trace

Biking Natchez Trace

Winding 444 miles through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, the Natchez Trace Parkway provides an exceptionally scenic roadway for visitors and cyclists alike. This designated bicycle route from Natchez to Nashville has been declared a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road. Riders can relax and enjoy nature’s beauty, unspoiled by commercial signage or stop lights. If historic stops and picturesque vistas at every turn sounds up your alley, hop on two wheels and join us on September 30, 2017 for the second annual Bike Your Park Day!

Bike Your Park Day was created to encourage and promote bicycling in parks and public lands (September 30 is also National Public Lands Day). The idea is to inspire people across the country to discover nearby parks and public lands by bicycle.

Bicycling is a healthy, sustainable way to travel — this annual adventure is not only a great reminder of that, but also a fun, easy way to hit the outdoors with family and friends on the Trace. Plus, this national event is for all ages and abilities!


Register here for Bike Your Park Day on the Natchez Trace in Ridgeland, MS. This is a free, come and go as you please event. Parking and sign-in will be at Madison Landing beside Old Trace Park.

Many parks will offer activities and volunteer opportunities. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, please fill out this form.

There’s no denying the Parkway is one of America’s favorite bicycle-friendly scenic byways. Bike Your Park Day 2017 will be the ultimate opportunity to experience all it has to offer. (Fingers crossed the fall foliage will be starting to show!)

Biking Natchez Trace Fall

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons the Trace is an Exceptional Bike Route

Join usAdventure Cycling Association, and the National Park Service as we celebrate having the Natchez Trace in our backyard. Come discover your nation’s parks and public lands on the same day this September, and all year round!


Take a look at these bicycling tips and safety efforts. For more resources to plan your trip anytime of the year, download your free Visitors Guide. You can also see brochures and maps here.

Follow The Natchez Trace on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to check out photos and share your travel adventures with us! #TheNatchezTrace #BikeYourPark #FindYourPark