Are you ready for our next bike trip in a new place exciting place? We surely are!
Here we are, in Mississippi state for the first time.
Maybe you never thought to visit the state, or you are just about to come here. In both cases, it’s more than useful to have some tips and options to spend your time and practice your hobby. Taking a ride, of course!
1. Windsor Ruins
Take you bike for about 10 hilly miles from Port Gibson near Alcorn State University, to the Windsor Ruins.
From a great place to take pictures, you can see 23 standing Corinthian columns of the largest antebellum Greek Revival mansion ever built in the state.
The place has a long history as an attraction. Postcards of it have been sent from almost a century. Even Hollywood has stopped by, filming here some scenes for movies such as Ghosts of Mississippi.
Made you curious?
2. Cypress Swamp
First thing first. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a more larger trail than our objective here. It is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states, from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee.
An excellent bicycle route indeed. Also offers many "cycling friendly" bed and breakfasts located along and near the Trace. But we will talk about it later. Now if you took a ride on this trail, you have to make a stop to Cypress Swamp.
It is so beautiful and peaceful seeing the cypress trees strongly standing in deep water.
This is the playground of the south, with sugar-white sand beaches, great deep-sea, an array of championship golf courses, museums and historic sites, tantalizing seafood restaurants, and the excitement of 24-hour non-stop casino resorts.
Biloxi Visitors Center, Beauvoir, Ship Island are only a few great attraction in Biloxi.
Don’t skip a visit to one of the oldest communities in the country!
4. Biloxi Lighthouse
Ride you bike to Biloxi Lighthouse, the Mississippi famous landmark.
Considered one of the most photographed sites on the Gulf Coast, the tour of the historic 65-foot tall structure is not for the faint of heart.
You should climb 57 steps of a spiral staircase inside the lighthouse, and then climb an eight-rung ladder topped by a 19x23-inch trap door into the light room.
Along the way, visitors view the waterlines from hurricanes dating back more than a hundred years as they ascend its spiral staircase.
5. Vicksburg National Military Park
Ride through the years back in time!
The park preserves the site of the American Civil War Battle of Vicksburg, waged from May 18 to July 4, 1863. Reconstructed forts and trenches evoke memories of the 47-day siege that ended in the surrender of the city. The victory here and at Port Hudson, farther south in Louisiana, gave the Union control of the Mississippi River.
A 15-stop Tour Road takes visitors around the battlefield, much of which is unchanged since the fighting. Stops at Union batteries offer excellent views towards the Confederate forts, allowing visitors to see the difficult terrain that had to be crossed in order to assault the fortifications. Later, stops at the Confederate forts look back towards the Union positions. A tour of the battlefield, if done to actually learn about the battle, will take about five hours.
The Battlefield Tour Road is open to both hikers and bikers. The 16-mile road can be divided into smaller loops for those not wanting to hike or bike the entire road. An information panel with the hike options is located near the Memorial Arch, the entrance to the Battlefield Tour Road.
6. Tishomingo State Park
This is an unique landscape of massive rock formations and fern-filled crevices found nowhere else in Mississippi.
No, you can’t say no to this trip!
Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Tishomingo State Park is steeped in history and scenic beauty. Its name comes from the leader of the Chickasaw nation, Chief Tishomingo.
Remember we first took our bikes on Natchez Trace Parkway to visit Cypress Swamp? Well, the famous Natchez Trace Parkway, the premier highway of the early 1800s and a modern scenic parkway, runs directly through the Tishomingo park.
7. Clark Creek Nature Area, Woodville
50 waterfalls, some with up to 30-foot (9.1 m) drops. Yes, here, in Clark Creek Nature Area!
Here you can find the most colorful splendor and a mix of hardwood and pine forest with large beech and magnolia trees.
The park includes the world record Mexican Plum and Bigleaf Snowbell and the state of Mississippi record Hophombeam.
There is a great mix of people here, ranging from kids and families, groups of young adults, hikers with their dogs, and married couples enjoying the great outdoors.
8. Gulf Islands National Seashore
Welcome to the most beautiful barrier islands in the United States!
The home of a historic fort where you can relax and enjoy the scenery, hike a trail, ride your bike or just explore the place.
Whether you visit the seashore for a day or a week, you have many islands to visit and you can spend a delightful holiday. You have to be prepared to rent a boat, because most of islands are accessible only by private boats. Davis Bayou Area is the exception, being the only one accessible by car.
For bikers, there are no off-road bike trails at the Mississippi unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore, but you are welcome to ride on the park roads. Live Oaks Bicycle Trail takes you from Davis Bayou Campground and for two miles runs through the park, then for another seven miles will run through the town of Ocean Springs.
9. Ocean Springs Mississippi
Did you knew that Ocean Springs was recently voted as a top 10 Happiest Seaside Towns by Coastal Living?
Shinning in the heart of the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast on the eastern shore of Biloxi Bay, Ocean Springs has been flavored by many influences during its rich history.
Nestled along the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the City of Ocean Springs is a vibrant and eclectic arts community. If you take a quick drive through Ocean Springs on a sunny weekend, you are sure to spot several cyclists. That's why the city is pushing to make Ocean Springs more bike-friendly.
Ocean Springs’ natural beauty will draw you and you will see for yourself that this is just a wonderful place to bicycle.
To be posh and comfortable on your ride to Ocean Springs, we recommend a comfortable Cruiser Bike Saddle.
One of the most comfortable and stylish bike seat, improves comfort and helps you look awesome on your bike.
All eyes will follow you! Don’t stop, ride on!
10. Natchez Trace Parkway
Yes, I know you know it already!
We already talked about Natchez Trace Parkway when it we visited places crossed but this trail, but now we will talk about it in particular.
It’s a very very long trail of 444 miles from Natchez to Nashville and it can be an experience of a lifetime. What is so cool about it? The National Park Service has designated the entire 444 miles as a bicycle route with light automotive traffic. Another nice thing is that Parkway provides innumerable side trails and opportunities for fun in the great outdoors or through artistic and cultural adventure, whether digging into history at significant sites or digging into delicious dining and shopping at historic and charming communities that stretch the length of the Parkway. You will find ten campgrounds along the Parkway, five strategically located campgrounds are bike only, equipped with tent sites, picnic tables and fire grates, with water available year-round inside Parkway restrooms and outside also during the other three seasons.
Also B&Bs catering to Parkway travel as well as excellent motel/hotel accommodations can be found all along the route. Great, isn’t it? We told you so!
But, if you want to ride all the 444 miles of the trail in one trip, you need one more tip! Choosing the time of year for the trip is important.
There’s an approximately 12 degree temperature difference between the most southern end of the route in Natchez and the most northern end in Nashville, so most of the rides prefer to ride it all in one trip in spring between late March and early May, or fall between late September and early November.
If you decided to take your vacation and ride during the cold winter months or hot summer months, you have to choose to ride either the northern or southern segment of the Parkway only.
See you next time, guys! Maybe we will meet pedaling on Natchez Trace Parkway or on the beach in Ocean Springs. In the meantime, we are more than curious what are your preferred routes in Mississippi?