Mississippi has short mild winters and long humid summers. Summer temperatures are mostly the same throughout the state, and many places exceed 37 degrees (Celsius). The Gulf Coast is warmer in winter with average January temperatures about 10 degrees while the northeast is in the low single digits. A small amount of snow or sleet is typical, but cold spells are so short the ground rarely freezes. Normal precipitation ranges from about 127-165cm (50 to 65 inches).The hurricane season is late summer and early autumn, and tornadoes hit land in the spring.
When to fly to Mississippi
Peak tourism along the Gulf Coast is June to September. The golf courses claim to be better than before Katrina, and casinos and hotels continue to reopen. Book ahead for accommodations; until all hotels reopen, there are fewer rooms available.
Spring and fall are also popular times to book Mississippi flights. The weather is mild, the wildflowers put on a show in the spring, and the fall foliage envies that of New England.
The Natchez Bluff Blues Fest is the third weekend in April, and the Greenville Mississippi Delta Blues Festival is the third weekend in September.
Costs of accommodations along the Gulf Coast drop considerably in the off season.
Search and compare: cheap flights to Mississippi
Getting around Mississippi
Bus service along the coast is frequent, but less frequent inland. Trains run through the state, stopping at Jackson and Greenwood. Steamboating down the Mississippi River with ports of call at several cities is a relaxing but expensive tour of the western part of the state. Off the river, the best way to see Mississippi is by car.
The Delta is best seen from its back roads. You need to be careful as this is a gun-toting area, encounters with the local police are to be avoided, and camping is not recommended. That said, the birthplace of the blues has great music, scenery, and festivals, so book ahead.
The unspoiled Natchez Trace Parkway has no commercial vehicles, no advertising, and no commercial buildings. A two-lane meander from Jackson to Tupelo with plenty of places to stop. This parkway is also popular with bicycle tours.
Once you are in Natchez and Vicksburg, bus and horse-drawn carriage tours take you to the sights and battlefields. Downtown Natchez can also be explored on foot.
Along the Gulf Coast, beachcomber trolleys run from the beach to the business centre of Gulfport.
Mississippi insider information
- If you’re in Natchez and fancy some real Southern cooking, head for the King’s Tavern. It is in the oldest building in the town, and is even supposed to have its own ghost. History and haunting aside, the restaurant is one of the most popular around for traditional Southern food.
- No trip to the Mississippi would be complete without an excursion on the huge river the state is named after. You can explore the “mighty water” from canoe, kayak or boat. One of the more relaxing excursions is to take a trip in a paddle boat. River tours are available from many of the towns that sit on the river.
- The main Elvis site is of course, Graceland, but the King was born in a small house in Tulepo. You can visit the house, for a small fee, though many tourists report feeling underwhelmed at the experience. Best saved for serious fans of the King.
- The only cactus plantation in the world is found in Mississippi. With a staggering amount of different types of cactii to be seen (more than 3,500 species of plants are found on the plantation), if you want to learn everything there is to know about the prickly succulents head to 1088 Champion Hill Rd in Edwards.
- A Hurricane Katrina Memorial is situated in the town of Biloxi. Opened in February 2006, the memorial stands 12ft tall: the height of the water during the storm in the middle of town.