By Maryellen Kennedy Duckett
Celebrate legendary musicians, literary giants, and civil rights pioneers on a scenic capital-to-the-coast loop through Mississippi. The roughly 800-mile route begins and ends in Jackson, leads through rural areas and college towns, and includes stops on the Mississippi Blues Trail.
The historic Biloxi Lighthouse was erected in 1848, survived Hurricane Katrina, and remains to this day Biloxi's landmark and symbol of the city's resolve and resilence.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
From Meridian, follow I-59 south about 90 miles to Hattiesburg. Stop for lunch at Cotton Blues (try the BBQ pulled pork fries) before heading south (via U.S. 49 to MS 67) 74 miles to Biloxi. Spend a few days exploring Biloxi, neighboring Ocean Springs, and the Mississippi sections of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Buy a Mississippi Gulf Coast Attraction Pass ($32) for onetime entry to eight top area attractions, such as the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art (closed Sundays and Mondays) and the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum (closed Sundays December to February) in Biloxi, and the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs. March to October, rent a kayak, Jet Ski, or other water toy from Get Wet Beach Rentals at Biloxi Beach. Before returning to Jackson (166 miles north via U.S. 49), catch a live blues performance at the Government Street Grocery or Murky Waters in Ocean Springs.
Eat and Stay: Mary Mahoney’s Old French House, Biloxi, and The Roost, Ocean Springs
Maryellen Kennedy Duckett lives, writes, and drives the backroads in East Tennessee where she wakes up curious every day. You can follow her on Twitter @mekd.
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