Heading south toward the Gulf? To make the most of your time on the road, we’ve listed two scenic drives in Mississippi for you to explore. They are both parts of the America’s Byways®—an umbrella term for the collection of 150 roads that include National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads. For a national map of America’s byways, go here.
Note: Always check with the locations where you’ll be traveling, since there may be travel restrictions in place. Also, know what the health guidelines are in the various locales and bring along plenty of PPE (personal protective equipment), including masks.
Natchez Trace Parkway — Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee
2680 Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo, MS 38804, Phone: (800) 305-7417
Biking, hiking, or driving—the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway is a diverse landscape through three states: Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. And your RV is welcome, although there is a height and length restriction—14 feet and 55 feet including a tow vehicle, respectively. The height matters because there are five bridge clearances under 15 feet along the Parkway.
Some things to keep in mind when RV-ing along the Natchez Trace Parkway:
- Always check park hours and any COVID-19 restrictions or limitations.
- If you’re heading to Mount Locust (milepost 15.5), get there before it’s closed so you can use the circular driveway to turn around.
- You’ll be sharing space with cyclists on roads that are only 11 feet wide with little to no shoulder, so drive slowly and pass with care.
- Some pull-offs are closed to RVs and sites without a circular drive are marked “no circular drive.”
- While pets are allowed along trails and viewpoints of the Natchez Trace Parkway, they must be on a leash six feet or shorter and owners must clean up after the pet. Only service animals are allowed inside Parkway buildings.
- More safety tips are available here.
Looking for a place to camp? There are three campgrounds within the Parkway and others outside the Parkway but in close proximity. (Again, check for COVID-19 restrictions or closures.) The three Parkway campgrounds—Rocky Springs (Milepost 54), Jeff Busby (Milepost 193.1) and Meriwether Lewis (Milepost 385)—are free, primitive, and available on a first-come, first-serve basis, but are without electricity, showers, hookups, or dump stations. Note: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has banned the transport of firewood from some states to prevent the spread of highly destructive insects.
Want to get out of your RV and stretch your legs? Hike a section of the 450-mile foot Natchez Trace. Just download a map first, of one or of all five separate trails, so you know where you’re going!
Before you go, take a look at the videos available at these links: audio described videos and Parkway videos. Then go to the Plan Your Visit section, offering suggestions of what to see and do.
Another scenic drive in Mississippi
The Great River Road, another scenic drive on the America’s Byways® list for Mississippi, runs through 10 states: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. (For driving directions for the entire byway, go here.) The name refers to the Mississippi River—the “Mighty Mississippi”—that starts in Minnesota and ends in the Gulf of Mexico.
The entire byway covers 2,069 miles, with the Mississippi stretch divided into two sections: the upper (north) Mississippi (Mississippi-Tennessee Border to MS 1—52 miles) and the lower (south) Mississippi (from MS 1 to Mississippi-Louisiana State Border—about 330 miles). (Go here for information about road conditions for each state that the Great River Road runs through.)
The Great River Road site has a page that lists attractions along the byway, including the following located in Mississippi:
- Tunica: Tunica RiverPark Museum
- Clarksdale: Delta Blues Museum
- Vicksburg: Lower Mississippi River Museum, Vicksburg National Military Park
- Port Gibson: Grand Gulf Military Monument Commission, aka Grand Gulf Park
- Natchez: Natchez Convention and Visitor Bureau
- Woodville: Mississippi Welcome Center/Woodville Hospitality Station
- Go here for a list of Mississippi Welcome Centers and here for the Mississippi Great River Road map.