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Mississippi

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Travel Guide North America USA Southern United States Mississippi

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Introduction

Mississippi is a state in the Southern United States with around 3 million inhabitants. Jackson is the state capital and largest city.

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Geography

Mississippi covers about 125,000 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by Tennessee, to the east by Alabama, to the south by Louisiana and a narrow coast on the Gulf of Mexico and to the west, across the Mississippi River, by Louisiana and Arkansas. In addition to its namesake, major rivers in Mississippi include the Big Black River, the Pearl River, the Yazoo River, the Pascagoula River, and the Tombigbee River. Major lakes include Ross Barnett Reservoir, Arkabutla Lake, Sardis Lake and Grenada Lake. The largest lake in Mississippi is Grenada Lake. The state of Mississippi is entirely composed of lowlands, the highest point being Woodall Mountain, in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains, 246 metres above sea level. The lowest point is sea level at the Gulf coast. The mean elevation in the state is 91 metres above sea level. Most of Mississippi is part of the East Gulf Coastal Plain. The Coastal Plain is generally composed of low hills, such as the Pine Hills in the south and the North Central Hills. The Pontotoc Ridge and the Fall Line Hills in the northeast have somewhat higher elevations. Yellow-brown loess soil is found in the western parts of the state. The northeast is a region of fertile black earth that extends into the Alabama Black Belt. The coastline includes large bays at Bay St. Louis, Biloxi and Pascagoula. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico proper by the shallow Mississippi Sound, which is partially sheltered by Petit Bois Island, Horn Island, East and West Ship Islands, Deer Island, Round Island and Cat Island. The northwest remainder of the state consists of the Mississippi Delta, a section of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The plain is narrow in the south and widens north of Vicksburg. The region has rich soil, partly made up of silt which had been regularly deposited by the floodwaters of the Mississippi River.

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

National Parks

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Weather

Mississippi has a humid subtropical climate with long summers and short, mild winters. Temperatures average about about 35 °C in July and about about 9 °C in January. The temperature varies little statewide in the summer; however, in winter, the region near Mississippi Sound is significantly warmer than the inland portion of the state. The absolute temperatures temperature in Mississippi has ranged from -28.3 °C to 46.1 °C.
The late summer and fall is the seasonal period of risk for hurricanes moving inland from the Gulf of Mexico, especially in the southern part of the state. Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which killed 238 people in the state, are the most devastating hurricanes to hit the state, both causing nearly total storm surge damage around Gulfport, Biloxi and Pascagoula. As in the rest of the Deep South, thunderstorms are common in Mississippi, especially in the southern part of the state. On average, Mississippi has around 27 tornadoes annually.

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Getting There

By Plane

Jackson-Evers International Airport (JAN) offers flights to/from Dallas, Atlanta, Memphis, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Orlando, Charlotte and Washington, D.C..

Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT) has flights to/from Dallas, Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston and St Petersburg/Clearwater.

By Train

Two trains operated by Amtrak serve the state of Mississippi:

  • The Crescent operates between New York and New Orleans, stopping in a number of places in Mississippi.
  • The City of New Orleans operates between Chicago and New Orleans and also stops in several cities in the state.

By Bus

Check Greyhound buses for more information.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

Mississippi has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.

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Sleep

Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

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References

  1. 1 Mid-2008 estimate, U.S. Census Bureau

Quick Facts

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Capital
Jackson
Population
2,938,618[1]

Contributors

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This is version 16. Last edited at 7:51 on Nov 5, 12 by Utrecht. 17 articles link to this page.

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