Mississippi’s national parks are unlike any you may have been to before—most are historic sites featuring antebellum architecture and monuments of the past. Natchez, Vicksburg, Brices Cross Roads, and the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home are all worth visiting.
National parks are among the best places to explore on a road trip, yet they are not all the same from one state to the next. Mississippi may not be the first state that comes to mind when it comes to national parks, but their historic sites are all must-sees.
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Natchez National Historic Park
Location: 640 South Canal Street, Natchez, MS 39120
Hours of operation: Open daily 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Admission price: Guided Melrose Mansion Tour is $15; Self-Guided Tours are free
What makes Natchez National Historic Park special
Natchez National Historic Park serves as a protected site commemorating the history of its namesake city. It’s composed of four separate sites:
William Johnson House: Once the home of William Johnson, a 19th-century free African-American barber whose diary has since been published.
Melrose: The estate of John T. McMurran, a Natchez lawyer, state legislator, and planter who lived there from 1830 through the Civil War.
Forks of the Road: Between 1832 and 1863, this site was the second-busiest slave trafficking market in the Deep South. The park officially opened on June 18, 2021.
Fort Rosalie: This was a former fortification dating back to the 18th century, originally built by the French. It was eventually renamed Fort Panmure and was occupied by the United Kingdom, Spain, and the United States in turn. The fort isn't open to the general public.
What to do in Natchez National Historic Park
Immerse yourself in the history of Natchez through the following activities:
Driving tour: Your tour will take you through this historic site, including some of the most significant Civil War and Federal occupation sites. Natchez escaped the war relatively unharmed, and today boasts one of the nation's finest collections of antebellum architecture.
Guided tour of Melrose: Explore one of the best-preserved Deep South estates from the mid-1800s and learn about those that once occupied the Melrose estate.
Picnic in the park: Pack a picnic and wind down in the park—both Fort Rosalie and Melrose have picnic tables for public use.
When to visit Natchez National Historic Park
Natchez Park is open year-round (excluding federal holidays), so you’ll want to plan your visit around the best weather conditions.
The best time to visit is from October to March when the summer heat has subsided and hurricane season has passed.
Vicksburg National Military Park
Location: 3201 Clay Street, Vicksburg, MS 39183
Hours of operation: Park grounds are open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; the Tour Road is open to vehicles from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Admission price: $20 per vehicle; $10 per individual; $35 for an annual pass
What makes Vicksburg National Military Park special
Vicksburg National Military Park honors one of the most pivotal Civil War battles: the Vicksburg campaign, siege, and defense.
Its surrender on July 4, 1863—along with the fall of Port Hudson,
Louisiana—split the South and gave the North complete control of the Mississippi River.
These historic grounds include 1,325 monuments and markers, 20 miles of reconstructed trenches, a 16-mile tour road, an antebellum home, and the VicksburgNationalCemetery.
What to do in Vicksburg National Military Park
There are countless interesting, educational sites and activities throughout Vicksburg that are a must-see for any history buffs.
Watch a living history program: Historic weapon fire demonstrations and
living history activities begin on Memorial Day weekend and last until Labor Day weekend.
Explore monuments and memorials: Over 1400
monuments and memorials dot the Vicksburg landscape, each a work of craftsmanship honoring the siege veterans.
Take in the USS Cairo: The
USS CAIRO museum, the only existing example of a City Class ironclad, provides a glimpse into the Brown Water Navy and life aboard.
When to visit Vicksburg National Military Park
Like the Natchez Historical Park, Vicksburg is open daily year-round, so you can plan your trip around whatever time works for you.
October through March make for the best weather to walk the grounds of this historic Civil War landmark.
Pro Tip July is usually the rainiest month in Mississippi—if you’re planning to visit one of these national parks during this time, be sure to pack an umbrella and/or raincoat!
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
Location: 260 Bethany Rd, Guntown, MS 38849
Hours of operation: 24 hours, year-round
Admission price: No entrance fee
What makes Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site special
Commemorating the battle of the same name, Brices Cross Roads was seen as a huge tactical triumph for the Confederacy, but it had no effect on its intended target, the North’s railroad supply line. It’s a classic example of winning the battle, but losing the war.
Brices Cross is home to a 1-acre memorial site where the two opposing armies once clashed.
The site was established in 1929 by the War Department, transferred to the National Park Service in 1933, and automatically added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
What to do in Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
The chance to travel to a land visited by so few people can make for a serene and beautiful trip unlike any other in the country.
Explore the battlefield: Take in the various
memorials and monuments that mark significant moments in the Brices Cross Roads battle.
Go on a driving tour: From the first shots of the battle to the second battle lines, a
driving tour around the park is the best way to take everything in.
When to visit Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
Open year-round, ideal months to visit this historic Civil War relic are (once again) October through March!
Be sure to research the weather and conditions ahead of time so you aren’t caught off guard when actually visiting Brices Cross!
Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home
Location: 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive, Jackson, MS 39213
Hours of operation: Year-round
Admission price: Small admission fee to view exhibits
What makes the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home special
The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument honors the memories of two civil rights pioneers who dedicated their lives to eradicating racial injustice against Black Americans through local and national activity from their small, three-bedroom ranch home.
Medgar and Myrlie Evers created and ran the first NAACP Mississippi State Office while fighting racial inequity by organizing boycotts, voter registration campaigns, and investigating incidents of violence against African Americans.
Medgar was assassinated in their home’s carport on June 12, 1963—this would be one of the circumstances that led to the eventual passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Myrlie, an author, presenter, and educator, has continued her advocacy, becoming one of the first African American women to run for Congress and later serving as NAACP chairwoman.
What to do in the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home
While the property is not currently open to the public for tours, the National Park Service is working with partners in the community and preparing to accommodate visitors.
But even visiting the house and observing from the outside provides a great opportunity to learn about the Evers’ past, their significance in the civil rights movement, and the repercussions of Medgar Evers’ assassination.
The national monument consists of a 0.15-acre plot of land and the Evers' residence.
When to visit the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home
Summer in Mississippi brings heat, humidity, and frequent thunderstorms.
To truly take in the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home, it’s best to visit during the fall and winter months.
How to prepare to visit Mississippi’s national parks
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