Scenic Byways In Mississippi

a scenic road in the state of mississippi

The Magnolia State

If there was an award given out for the most dreaded state name to see on a middle school spelling test, Mississippi would take the cake.

Like many states, this state gets its name from the Mississippi River, which in turn came from the Ojibwe word meaning “great river.”

That name is unsurprising, considering the Mississippi River is 2,320 miles in length, and the River basin makes up a great portion of the United States if looked at on a map.

Of course, as much as we love rivers when discussing scenic byways, there’s much more to this state than just its main tributary.

Archaeologists have found evidence of Native Americans living within what is now Mississippi as far back as 10,000 BCE. Interestingly enough, evidence has been found that people were farming in this area thousands of years ago, with fields and agricultural trade taking place long before European colonists ever set foot in the area.

As with much of the South, this territory passed hands between the French, Spanish, and British, before being ceded to the United States after the American Revolution.

Like many southern states, Mississippi has a history of both cotton production and slavery and was part of the confederacy during the Civil War. However, it was also the site of many Civil Rights victories. As of 2010, 37.3% of Mississippi’s population was African American making it the largest percentage of any of the United States.

Because of the state’s involvement in a tumultuous period of American history, several historic and national sites can be explored when visiting the state, including the Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site. There are also several National Historic parks and a national military park and Cemetery that you can visit within this state, allowing you to get a better understanding of this state’s history.

Exploring Mississippi By Road

Jackson is the largest city in Mississippi and is a bustling urban center for anyone looking to explore the various cultural offerings that can be found within the state. For those more interested in gorgeous views in the natural world, Mississippi is home to a sub tropic climate, meaning that there are plenty of biodiverse swamps, rivers, forests, and more to explore in the state.

Simply driving your car along the main roads of the state will have you enjoying the low and slow lifestyle of the Deep South, and Mississippi can be home to some interesting weather, from the captivating thunderstorms that are common in the summer, to the rare, but not unheard of snowfall during the winter.

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No matter what brings you to Mississippi, whether it’s to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement that helped shape our nation, order to enjoy fishing at some of the many lakes and rivers found within the state, you’re sure to find yourself feeling right at home in “The Hospitality State.”