Mississippi

Welcome to Mississippi, the birthplace of Elvis Presley and Oprah Winfrey! The Magnolia State will sweep you off your feet with its typical Southern charm, magnificent antebellum architecture, and blues and rock 'n' roll sounds.

Mississippi facts

Capital Jackson
Area ca. 125,000 km²
Population about 3 million
Location in the south of the USA
Nickname The Magnolia State
State animal White-tailed deer, garden mockingbird, trout perch
Time zone UTC −6/-5 (Central)

Mississippi: location & population

Mississippi is located in the deep south of the USA and borders Alabama to the east and Tennessee to the north. Along the western side of the state meanders the Mississippi River, which also marks the border with the two states of Arkansas and Louisiana. In the south, Mississippi has a coastline of around 70 km on the Gulf of Mexico.

Today, nearly 3 million people live in the Magnolia State, which is currently one of the poorest US states. According to the 2010 Census, 57.3 % of Mississippi's population is white. African Americans make up about 37.5 %, and Hispanics about 3 % of the population.

The largest cities in Mississippi

Mississippi is still a rural state, and you won't find any major cities here. Only the capital, Jackson, has more than 100,000 inhabitants. Based on population, the largest cities in Mississippi are:

City Population
Jackson  174,000
Gulfport  68,000
Southaven  49,000
Hattiesburg  46,000
Biloxi   44,000

Nature and climate

The state of Mississippi consists largely of flat terrain. The highest point is Woodall Mountain, which rises about 246 m above the Cumberland Mountains in the southwest. In addition to the Mississippi River, which gives the state its name, one of its tributaries, the Yazoo River, is also of great importance. In the northwest of the state, the two rivers form the Mississippi Delta, a large flood plain with fertile soil that provides excellent conditions for agriculture.

The US state of Mississippi can be placed in the subtropical climate zone. Winters are usually short and mild, while summers are warm and humid. The summer months are very hot (over 30 °C) and often uncomfortably damp due to the high humidity.

Many thunderstorms rage in July and August, and tornadoes and hurricanes also move in from the Gulf of Mexico more often. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi with wind speeds of more than 225.3 km/h, causing massive damage, some of the traces of which are still visible today.

Best time to travel to Mississippi

In the spring and fall, you'll find the best conditions to explore the land, the river, and the wonderful manors in Mississippi.

Mississippi in spring

The mild, sunny spring in Mississippi spoils you with clear skies during the day and pleasant breezes in the evening. In April and May, you can spend relaxing days at the coast, but hiking will also be a lot of fun now. You should rather avoid Mississippi in July and August due to the frequent and sometimes violent storms.

Mississippi in fall

The driest time of the year is autumn. The landscape is then bathed in magnificent colors, and the days are mild and pleasant. Also, you can go hiking or take a boat trip on one of the nostalgic steamboats of the Mississippi River.

Traveling to Mississippi

In Mississippi, airplanes take off and land at three airports.

The largest of them is located near the capital city of Jackson. Mississippi is home to the following airports: :

  • Jackson-Evers International Airport (JAN)
  • Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT)
  • Greenville Mid-Delta Airport (GLH)

If you fly from Europe or Asia to Jackson, Mississippi, you usually have to plan one or two stopovers. American Airlines or Finnair, for example, will take you from Frankfurt am Main to Jackson-Evers International Airport with a stopover in Dallas. United Airlines will take you from London to Jackson via Houston. If you are coming from Asia, for example, from Tokyo in Japan, you will need to make one to three stops. You only have to change planes once with American Airlines, which operates flights from Tokyo via Dallas to Jackson.

Traveling from Europe, you should budget from €700 to €1,000 for your flight back and forth to Mississippi, depending on the season. From Japan, your flight tickets will cost you between €900 and €1,000.

Flights to Mississippi

Travel authorization Mississippi

If you come from one of the Visa Waiver Program countries (e.g., Japan, Australia and most European countries), and you are not yet a US citizen or Green Card holder, you can apply for an ESTA travel authorization. This will allow you to enter the United States relatively quickly and easily and stay there for up to 90 days without a visa.

ESTA – visa-free to the USA

With an ESTA, you can stay 90 days visa-free in the USA. Apply online now!

Airport transfer in Mississippi

The Jackson airport is located about nine km east of the city. Once you land at the airport, you have the following transfer options:

Taxi or shuttle from Jackson Airport

You can get downtown either by cab or shuttle. If you want to be flexible right from the start, you will find several rental car companies directly at the airport.

Public transport in Jackson

In Mississippi's capital, Jackson, you can get across town on the Jackson Transit System (JTRAN) for a ticket price of $1.50 (adults). It includes 12 bus routes that operate from Union Station. Buses run approximately every 30 minutes from 5:45 am to 7:45 pm.

Nature in Mississippi

Aside from the ever-present Mississippi River, nature lovers should put the following two highlights at the top of their bucket list.

Davis Bayous Area Gulf Islands National Seashore

The perfect place to relax is the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which stretches along the Gulf of Mexico from Cat Island to the eastern tip of Santa Rosa Island in Florida. The barrier islands off the coast are dotted with fine sandy beaches, coastal marshes, and dense forests. On the mainland, you can hike, camp, picnic, and explore old forts in Davis Bayou. You'll also find excellent conditions for kayaking and snorkeling.

Natchez Trace

The historic Natchez Trace begins, as the name suggests, in the town of Natchez in Mississippi and leads through Alabama to Nashville in Tennessee. Once used as a trade route by Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Indians, the 715-kilometer route takes you through beautiful landscapes and 10,000 years of North American history.

Top 10 sightseeing highlights Mississippi

These Mississippi sightseeing highlights belong at the top of your travel list:

  • Davis Bayous Area Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum
  • Beauvoir
  • Biloxi Lighthouse
  • Ship Island
  • Delta Blues Museum
  • Gulf Islands Waterpark
  • Walter Anderson Museum of Art
  • Mississippi Museum of Art

City highlights in Mississippi

You'll find charming towns all over Mississippi. These four are our favorites:

City highlights Jackson

The capital of the state of Mississippi and "home of the blues" was named after the 7th US President Andrew Jackson and is characterized by its beautiful architecture. After your stroll through the many interesting museums of the city, you should pay a visit to the historic district of Farish Street, where you can end the evening in one of the first-class blues restaurants.

You can visit these city highlights in Jackson:

  • Mississippi Museum of Art
  • Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
  • The Jackson Zoo
  • Old Capitol Museum
  • Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Accomodation in Jackson

City highlights Biloxi

In the coastal city, you can not only spend a relaxing day at the beach but also visit the famous Biloxi Lighthouse, which has withstood numerous hurricanes in its 170-year history.

After the liberalization of gambling laws in the 1990s, well-known casinos settled on Biloxi's boardwalk, making the city the gambling center of the Southern states.

These city highlights in Biloxi are worth a visit:

  • Davis Bayous Area Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
  • Beauvoir
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi
  • Biloxi Lighthouse

Accomodation in Biloxi

City highlights Natchez

Natchez in southwest Mississippi will take you back to the 19th-century Southern era. Located directly on the Mississippi River, it is the oldest city in the entire state. Before the American Civil War, the town was the economic and political center of Mississippi. The opulent mansions that you can marvel at on a tour of Natchez are a reminder from this time.

These city highlights in Natchez will please your eye:

  • Longwood
  • Rosalie Mississippi State Dar
  • Natchez National Historical Park
  • Stanton Hall (Belfast)
  • Grand Village of the Natchez Indians

Accomodation in Natchez

City highlights Vicksburg

The Mississippi Delta city of Vicksburg welcomes you with panoramic views of the river, beautiful antebellum architecture, and rich history. When you stop here, be sure to visit Vicksburg National Military Park, one of the most significant memorials of the American Civil War. Vicksburg is also known as a center of blues music, which you can hear in many of the city's venues. Add these city highlights to your travel bucket list when in Vicksburg:

  • Vicksburg National Military Park
  • USS Cairo Museum
  • Old Court House Museum
  • Biedenharn
  • Coca-Cola-Museum
  • Lower Mississippi River Museum

Accomodation in Vicksburg

Road trip in Mississippi

A road trip through Mississippi will take you on a journey through the history of the southern states, but also to the roots of rock'n'roll. You should definitely stop at the following interesting places on your Mississippi trip.

Vicksburg National Military Park

One of the decisive battles of the War of Secession was fought in Vicksburg in 1863. The military park commemorates the siege and defense of Vicksburg and honors the memory of the soldiers.

The 7.3 km² site includes 1,325 historical monuments, the restored gunboat USS Cairo, 144 emplaced cannons, and the military cemetery.

Beauvoir

The grand estate of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederate States of America, was named Beauvoir for its magnificent view of the coast of Mississippi. In 1903, his widow sold it to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who turned it into a free veterans' home for Confederate soldiers that remained in place until the 1950s. Along with that, it became a museum preserving the memory of Jefferson Davis.

In today's museum and Beauvoir Presidential Library, you'll find exhibits that belonged to Jefferson Davis as well as items from the Civil War and former veterans' homes. There are also several guesthouses and a memorial cemetery situated close to the estate.

Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum

Rock'n'roll legend Elvis Presley was born in 1935 in a small two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was preserved for the King's fans and is now a museum. The cabin still contains the original furniture from Elvis' childhood.

Also, the chapel where little Elvis and his family listened to gospel music was moved to the property, which is today located at the address 306 Elvis Presley Drive. In addition to the two buildings, rock'n'roll lovers can enjoy an exhibition related to the early life of the King.

Mississippi Blues Trail

Music lovers will hear many melodious highlights on the Mississippi Blues Trail. The various stations spread across the state will take you to the roots of the blues and provide interesting facts about the history of music in the south.

The Delta Blues Museum, known as the world's first blues museum, is located in the city of Clarksdale. In Vicksburg, you can visit the Blue Room, where Ray Charles, B. B. King, and Louis Armstrong performed.

Instagram hotspots Mississippi

Charming Mississippi will get your friends buzzing, too. These are our top 5 Instagram hotspots where you can make your Mississippi photos stand out:

  • Antebellum architecture in Natchez
  • Mississippi paddle steamers
  • Natchez Trace Pathway
  • Davis Bayous Area Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Biloxi Lighthouse

Cuisine in Mississippi

In the state of Mississippi, fish and meat dishes are the preferred choices. But when it comes to desserts, the Magnolia State also has many delicacies to offer. If you're traveling in Mississippi, you'll be spoiled for choice between these regional specialties:

  • Fresh seafood (for example, crawfish or shrimps)
  • Mississippi Mud Pie (A sinfully delicious pie with a crust of crushed cookies and plenty of chocolate filling.)
  • Cajun Fried Pecans (fried pecans seasoned with Cajun)
  • Sweet Potato Pie (a traditional southern dessert made with sweet potatoes, similar to Pumpkin Pie)

Mississippi fun facts

Do you want to learn even more about the US state of Mississippi? We have found some interesting fun facts:

  • In Natchez, French immigrants established the first permanent settlement in Mississippi in 1716.
  • In 1884, Phil Gilbert's Shoe Parlor in Vicksburg became the first store in the world to sell pairs of shoes in a box.
  • Coca-Cola may have been invented in Atlanta, but it was originally bottled in Vicksburg.
  • The first Memorial Day celebration was held in Columbus, Mississippi. The first successful lung transplant was performed by James D. Hardy and his team at Jackson University Hospital in 1963.
  • On a hunting trip in Sharkey, Mississippi, Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear. The incident inspired Mr. and Mrs. Michtom to invent the teddy bear, which is now the official state toy of Mississippi.
  • In 1954, talkshow legend Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, as the daughter of an unmarried teenager. She spent her childhood on her grandmother's farm. As early as the age of three, she was entertaining the local church community by reciting poetry and Bible verses.

Immigrate to Mississippi

You can't imagine anything better than looking out over the waves of the mighty Mississippi River every day? If so, the following information about living and working in the Magnolia State will help you make your dream of moving here a reality.

Working in Mississippi

The most important economic segments in Mississippi include agriculture, mainly the cultivation of cotton, wheat, soybeans, cattle breeding, the food industry, the timber industry, and oil and gas production. But there are also jobs in the automotive industry, computer industry, and aerospace.

In the 1990s, Mississippi legalized gambling on boats, which created many jobs in casinos, hotels, and other tourist venues, primarily in the coastal area around Biloxi.

Living in Mississippi

The state of Mississippi is largely rural, and churches play an important role in the lives and culture of the people.

The overall cost of living in the Magnolia State is about 20 % below the American average. According to the Cost of Living Index, housing and transportation, in particular, are affordable in Mississippi.

Even in larger cities like Jackson and Biloxi, rents are about 40% below the American average.

Immigrating to Mississippi with a Green Card

Just like in all other US states, you need a Green Card to live and work in Mississippi permanently. This can be obtained through a job or American family members. However, the waiting time for these two routes can take many years.

A third and relatively uncomplicated way is the Green Card Lottery, in which 55,000 Permanent Resident Cards are drawn by the US authorities every year. Try your luck right now!

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