There are a lot of misconceptions about the state of Mississippi – one of which is its nothing but two-lane country roads through expanses of flat nothingness. While there are portions of the state that do, in fact, fit this description, it in no way describes the region as a whole. Mississippi is full of varied terrain, from fertile farmlands with rolling hills to its spirited coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. The state also has its own cultural flavor that has one foot in the past and the other in the future – evidenced by its array of antiquated buildings alongside modern marvels. Begin your exploration of this diverse and fascinating state with one of our favorite Mississippi scenic drives:

No. 10 – Red Bluffs

Starting Location: Columbia, MS
Ending Location: Monticello, MS
Length: 33 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

With lots of twists and turns through hills and woods, travelers along this way should exercise caution and keep speeds on the lower end of the spectrum. Stop at the Red Bluffs overlook for breathtaking scenery, and adventurous types can clamber down the trail there to see the remains of an old train wreck. Whether stopped or moving, keep an eye out for local wildlife because it’s not unusual to see more wild hogs cross the road than other vehicles.

No. 9 – Lower Mississippi Historic Byway

Starting Location: Issaquena, MS
Ending Location: Woodville, MS
Length: 168 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

This lower portion of the Great River Road from Issaquena County to Woodville is full of rural scenes. Keep a lookout for old general stores and antiquated gas stations that still have living and breathing attendants to fill ‘er up and check the oil. If you tire of the scenery, stop in Vicksburg to gamble or pull off along the river to watch the boats go by.

No. 8 – Chief Tishomingo Scenic Byway

Starting Location: Baldwyn, MS
Ending Location: Guntown, MS
Length: 17 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
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This C-shaped drive through Lee and Prentiss counties is steeped with the state’s rich history. Start with a visit to Brice's Crossroads Visitors and Interpretive Center, where countless Civil War artifacts are on display. While there, you can also see Chief Tishomingo’s birthplace and learn more about the Native Americans that lived in the area.

No. 7 – Highway 605

Starting Location: Saucier, MS
Ending Location: Gulfport, MS
Length: 16 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
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Beginning in Saucier, the setting for the original Ladykillers movie, and ending in the bustling beach town of Gulfport, this drive on Highway 605 is a nice way to spend an hour or two, making time to pull off and explore at will. Once in Gulfport, the array of options for entertainment are quite varied. From strolling along the beach to touring the Turkey Creek Community Historic District, there’s something to delight the senses.

No. 6 – Grenada Lake Loop

Starting Location: Grenada, MS
Ending Location: Grenada, MS
Length: 50 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
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This winding route through pine woods is dotted with bluffs for scenic overlooks of Grenada Lake, ideal for taking photos. Don’t miss the historic truss bridge over the Yalobusha River in Grenada, which is a remnant from the Illinois Central Railroad, for a grittily beautiful scene. Stop in one of the two state parks on this route – Hugh White State Park and Carver Point State Park – to explore the hiking trails while enjoying the native flora and fauna.

No. 5 – Beach Boulevard

Starting Location: Waveland, MS
Ending Location: Biloxi, MS
Length: 30 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

It’s hard to go wrong with a leisurely coastal drive and this route along Hwy 606, also known as Beach Boulevard, is no exception. Stop at the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to see the local wildlife up close and even take an eco-tour of the resident marshlands. Virtually every city on the way offers deep-sea charters for any anglers in your group, and the Busted Wrench Garage, Museum, & Gift Shop in Gulfport appeals to car enthusiasts.

No. 4 – Highway 67

Starting Location: Saucier, MS
Ending Location: Biloxi, MS
Length: 25 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

This route on the four-lane Highway 67 passes through the heart of the Little Biloxi State Wildlife Management Area, where there is no shortage of dense woods to explore and old gravesites are still being discovered. In Biloxi, the scene dramatically changes with views of fishing boats bringing in their daily catch. The Biloxi Lighthouse is a must-see landmark, as it is virtually a symbol of the city as a whole.

No. 3 – Scenic Highway 18

Starting Location: Port Gibson, MS
Ending Location: Raymond, MS
Length: 45 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

The historic Trace Cinema in Port Gibson, still used for community theater productions, is a place of interest before setting out on this scenic route along Highway 18. The drive showcases a more rural portion of the state, full of a unique charm that appeals to down-to-earth sorts with an appreciation for sociology. Once in Raymond, take time to view the old courthouse built in 1859 largely by African slaves, which is considered to be a prime example of the Greek Revival mode of architecture.

No. 2 – Natchez Trace Parkway

Starting Location: Natchez, MS
Ending Location: Paden, MS
Length: 335 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

Although the Natchez Trace Parkway extends through several states, the portion of this route that cuts through Mississippi puts some of the more interesting landscape on display. The parkway commemorates the trail used by Native Americans and early European explorers, and markers dot the roadside to point out noteworthy spots on the way. In the town of Natchez, however, it is highly recommended to explore the many historic homes and buildings, which ooze of Southern charm.

No. 1 – Mississippi Delta Great River Road Scenic Byway

Starting Location: Walls, MS
Ending Location: Issaquena, MS
Length: 180 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

Chiefly following Highways 1 and 61, this upper portion of Mississippi’s Great River Road is characterized by fertile fields and rural wonders of the Delta. In Clarksdale, don’t miss the Delta Blues Museum, which has tons of memorabilia associated with musical greats like B.B. King and Muddy Waters. Those itching to try their luck can hit the casinos in Tunica and Greenville, which also has access to Lake Ferguson and its array of recreational opportunities.

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This article originally appeared on as Top 10 Scenic Drives in Mississippi.

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