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Mississippi is the place to be for history buffs, music lovers, those looking for lady luck at the casino and for sheer relaxation, not to mention the best in Southern cuisine.

If you’re interested in history, you will be delighted by the numerous Civil Way sites, such as Vicksburg National Military Park, and the Corinth Interpretive Center, near Shiloh National Military Park. You’ll also find a treasure trove of historic homes, including some of the best-preserved examples of antebellum architecture in the South. You can tour numerous antebellum homes in varying architectural styles in Natchez among them Longwood, the largest octagonal house in North America. You can also visit Beauvoir, the Biloxi home of Confederate president Jefferson Davis; Rowan Oak, the Oxford home of writer William Faulkner; and the Tupelo birthplace of Elvis Presley.

Mississippi is where the Blues, rock ’n roll and country music were born. From blues legends Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and B.B. King to the king of rock ’n roll, Elvis Presley, to the father of country music, Jimmie Rodgers—you’ll find the history, heritage, legends and folklore that surround the sounds of America’s music in Mississippi. Mississippi Blues Trail markers are placed at key sites throughout the state to honor blues musicians and give visitors insight into this unique musical heritage.

You can try your luck at 24-hour casinos with exciting gaming, upscale shopping, luxurious spas and internationally acclaimed golf courses. From Choctaw to the Gulf Coast, north along the Mississippi River and ending at Tunica, which is the fastest growing casino resort in the United States, Mississippi’s fabulous casinos welcome thousands of visitors to the fun and games every day. Star-studded entertainment is featured each night, and you’ll find some of the finest restaurants in the state at these great places, too.

The Gulf Coast is built for relaxation. While some swimming advisories may be in effect, due to the BP oil spill, the coast and its beaches are very much open for business. (To find the latest reports go to www.visitmscoast.org/and www.msema.org/gulfrecovery/). You can enjoy the casinos stacked along the beach in Biloxi, tour majestic mansions, soak up the rich history of the region and enjoy a slower pace at areas such as Ocean Springs, which has the feel of an artist’s colony.

Food connoisseurs everywhere love to come to Mississippi just to eat their way around the state. Favorites are fried catfish, hush-puppies and all the trimmings, or a country dinner of crispy fried chicken, farm-fresh vegetables and crusty cornbread. Then, there’s steaks and tamales, spicy boiled crawfish, shrimp or crab with comeback sauce. And that’s just the beginning.

Jackson has the largest airport in the state, Jackson-Evers International Airport (JAN), followed by the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Smaller airports are found in Columbus (Golden Triangle Regional Airport), Greenville, Hattiesburg (Pine Belt Regional), Natchez, and Tupelo.

The easiest method of getting around Mississippi is by automobile (and in most cases, it’s the only method of getting around the state).

The cultural, artistic and historic heritage of Mississippi extends far beyond the borders of the Magnolia State. Its blues has influenced such musicians as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Eric Clapton. Its literature continues to be required reading in colleges and universities.

Mississippi also has many famous sons and daughters in the entertainment industry like Elvis Presley, Morgan Freeman, Parker Posey, Beah Richards and Dana Andrews.

Mississippi has a humid subtropical climate with long summers and short, mild winters. Temperatures average about 85° in July and about 48° in January.

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