10 Places To Visit In The Mississippi Delta (Road Trip!)

10 Places To Visit In The Mississippi Delta (Road Trip!)

Back in April, I Love Memphis went on the road! I had a generous invite from Mississippi Delta tourism pros to join them on a trip through the lands just a little south of Memphis. I spent four days exploring Greenville, Leland, Cleveland, and Vicksburg with a group of writers and bloggers; there was great history, music, and food.

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Quail and rice from Delta Meat Market.

If you want to see an overview of the trip, click here. If you're a Memphian looking for a road trip or day trip idea, or if you're a visitor to Memphis looking to extend your trip to the south, this post will help you out.

Here are 10 places worth visiting in the Mississippi Delta.

1. Doe's Eat Place
When I asked y'all on Twitter where I should eat in the Delta, the overwhelming response was "Doe's" in Greenville. Their tamales are legendary, their steaks enormous, and the down-home atmosphere is one-of-a-kind. It kind of reminded me of eating in my South Mississippi grandparents' house for some reason.

Does Eat Place tamales

If you're staying late in Greenville, lodge at the historic Greenville Inn & Suites and walk right down the street to the Walnut Street Blues Bar.

2. Highway 61 Blues Museum
Not far from Greenville in Leland is the Highway 61 Blues Museum, filled with photos, art, instruments, and artifacts documenting the blues. If you're lucky, a bluesman like Pat Thomas might be there for an impromptu show.

Highway 61 Blues Museum

Outside of the museum, you'll find a handful of Blues Trail markers as well as a huge mural. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and kids 12 and under are free.

3. Winterville Mounds Archeological Site and Museum
Learn about the people who originally inhabited the Mississippi Delta before the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes. There are twelve mounds - including one major one - and a small museum. It's worth a stop just to take in the peace and quiet of the place. Admission to the museum is free.

Winterville Mounds

4. Jim Henson Museum
The Jim Henson Museum in Leland is a small museum with a big heart. It's worth a stop to for the Henson family photos, muppet memorabilia, and a human-sized Kermit. My favorite part of the museum is that it backs up to Deer Creek: the creek that inspired Henson to invent Kermit the frog.

jim henson musuem

5. McCarty Pottery
I had no idea what to expect when we stopped at the McCarty Pottery Studio in Merigold, Mississippi (just outside of Cleveland).

McCarty Pottery Showroom

What I found was one of the most exquisite residential gardens I've ever seen, a bustling pottery business (they were throwing clay on the wheel right there behind the cash register), and an earnest family eager to share their love of Mississippi, their art, and hospitality.

McCarty Pottery Garden

You'll want to set aside a decent amount of time for a walk through the gardens, shopping, and if you go during lunch, make a reservation at "The Gallery", the onsite cafe.

6. Dockery Farms
Dockery Farms is a quick stop, but one worth taking. Memphis may be officially known as the Home of the Blues, but Dockery Farms is considered the Birthplace. The African Americans who worked at Dockery Farms were the first blues singer/songwriters and blues music audiences.

dockery farms

It's a pretty little place (people get married there now) and it's totally free to go and check it out. Read up before you go, or schedule a tour.

7. Cleveland
Cleveland as a city could easily take a day or so to explore. There you'll find Delta State University, home of the Fightin' Okra, where the campus boasts an impressive sculpture garden, as well as the Railroad Heritage Museum downtown (free) which has a huge model train full of fun details that runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Cleveland Railroad Museum

Right across from the Railroad museum is the rails-to-trails walkway parallel to downtown's main drag of shops, galleries, and restaurants. There are regular festivals and events in Cleveland. You can keep up with most of them and plan a good weekend to go on this awesome site: Keep Cleveland Boring.

I love that the organizers of Keep Cleveland Boring took that "there's nothing to do here!" complaint about their town and turned it into something positive. It's definitely something I can relate to.

8. Delta Meat Market
I'll admit this was one of my favorite places we ate on our trip. It's in the heart of downtown Cleveland, and when I walked in and saw Hog & Hominy chefs Andrew and Michael's cookbook on the shelf, I knew I was going to feel right at home.

 Delta Meat Market Bread Salad

It's a new-old-fashioned butcher shop and specialty grocery store that also serves up plate lunches on weekdays, plus Friday dinner. Everything I ate there, from the biscuits and cornbread to the mixed greens salad to the quail with was superb. The drinks come in mason jars with Sonic ice, all the servingware is McCarty Pottery (of course) and I had a shockingly good moon pie bread pudding that I'm still thinking about six weeks later.

Delta Meat Market Bread Pudding

It was kind of like if Porcellino's was more casual and far less pricey.  I made it a specific point to meet the owner, and I specifically asked him to open up shop in Memphis. I think y'all would really like it.

9. Vicksburg
If you're a history buff, Vicksburg is essential. Between the architecture, the river, and the Civil War history, it makes for a day or two of exploring. The Old Court House Museum ($5 adults, $4.50 seniors, $3 under 18) is huge and full of thousands of historic and antebellum artifacts, and a chance to check out an historic courtroom.

Vicksburg Old Courthouse Building

If you have the kids with you, also stop at the free Lower Mississippi River Museum in Vicksburg. Right around the corner are the Vicksburg Riverfront Murals, also worth a look. The Anchua Mansion is a popular bed and breakfast that also hosts brunch and tours - stay there if you're looking for something special.

10. Vicksburg National Military Park
Drive through this park and get a triple dose of Civil War history. First, you're driving around literally where the Battle for Vicksburg took place and can see how the terrain played a role in the battle's outcome. Second, the park is full of about 1,300 monuments, ranging in scale from busts of important soldiers to a Pantheon replica you can walk inside.

vicksburg military park

Third, the USS Cairo Gunboat - a Civil war era gunboat - is there for you to see and has an accompanying museum. The Park is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except major holidays and is free to drive through. If you're really into history or have a group, the guided tour (which is what I did) is absolutely worth it. Get details on that here.

Where to stay: In Greenville, we stayed in the historic Greenville Inn & Suites. It had a nice courtyard and was within walking distance of a few blues bars. In Cleveland, we went for the seemingly new Holiday Inn Express. In Vicksburg, we stayed in the lovely Ameristar Hotel. The latter was a real treat - splurge for a night or two there if you're staying in Vicksburg, and call and ask about special amenities packages. We arrived to monogrammed robes, fresh chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Ameristar

Other places to eat: Everyone on the trip raved about Ubon's in Yazoo City, though I didn't join the group until after they'd eaten there. Cicero's in Leland is popular for lunch: skip the barbecue sandwich if you're from Memphis and go for the fried pickles, catfish plates and other dishes they're known for.

The Warehouse in Cleveland was tasty and had a good cocktail selection, but the locals we met raved about Mosquito Burrito and Hey Joe's burger and beer joint so much, I wish we'd gone there. We had cupcakes from Crave in Cleveland that were ridiculously good and moist and crazy sweet (below). Apparently there's a line out the door every day.

crave cupcake

I should mention that several of the places we stopped to eat seemed to have trouble accommodating large groups in a timely manner. Keep this in mind if you're bringing a crew. Bring an extra dose of patience at some of these more rural spots in general, and don't expect a plethora of healthy or gluten-free options, though it seemed like most spots had at least a veggie plate.

An important note: There are dozens of other places worth visiting in the Delta. The point of this piece is not to name every single place worth stopping, but rather to share some of my favorites that I explored on my trip. I know I didn't make it to Po'Monkey's juke joint outside of Cleveland or Clarksdale at all this time (too much to do in just four days!) but of course, that's a town worth looking into if you're going to visit the Delta.

I'd like to say a big thank you to all of the folks at the Greenville, Cleveland, and Vicksburg tourism organizations who invited me and put together such a comprehensive trip. They helped me out in a major way working out the scheduling and driving details and were very kind. They do a great job sharing their passion for their cities. If you're from the Delta and you're reading this: Come up to Memphis anytime. I'd love to give you some recommendations!

One more thing: what do y'all think about I Love Memphis going on the road? Do you like the day trip ideas? What other nearby destinations would you like me to explore?

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Raja
What about Oxford, MS? Is it worth a day trip. If yes, what should we do?
May 28, 2015 4:10pm

10 Places To V…
[…] If you’re staying late in Greenville, lodge at the historic Greenville Inn & Suites and walk right down the street to the Walnut …read more […]
May 28, 2015 4:11pm

Holly Whitfield

Hi Raja! It's totally worth a day tirp visit. Check out this post on the I Love Memphis day trip to Oxford: http://www.ilovememphisblog.com/2013/05/road-trip-oxford-miss-is-perfectly-southern/

I'd also add The Lyric, which is a music venue I've heard people really like, plus William Faulkner's house, as stops on that list.

May 28, 2015 4:16pm

ben
You should have drove over the lambfish bridge near Brazil ms.
May 28, 2015 8:29pm

Dawn Nielsen
Great reviews.  Can you publish a step-by-step?  So want to do the same trip.  Do you think it would work for kids? Again, thanks for the post.  Loved it. Dawn Nielsen
May 28, 2015 9:31pm

Justin McElroy
Stop by Wong's Foodland in Clarksdale and pick up a steak or three. My father in law Tony hand trims everything. You won't be disappointed!
May 28, 2015 9:48pm

Marilyn Storey
Helena, Arkansas..... Downtown and Cherry Street are beginning to come alive again..,, an interesting and beautiful old Mississippi River Delta, Civil War, storied architectural, Blues town. 
May 28, 2015 10:43pm

Deb
Given that the article was about the Delta, Oxford wasn't skipped or forgotten.  It's just that Oxford isn't in the Mississippi Delta.
May 28, 2015 10:54pm

Magical
So, take time to come to Cladale. It's the heart of the Mississippi Delta. http://www.deltabohemian.com/top-10-things-to-do-in-clarksdale/
May 28, 2015 10:58pm

Trip Farris
Regarding the info about Vicksburg The USS Cairo exhibit is not a submarine.  It is a civil war era ironclad gunship.  It's one of the high lights of the park.  Don't miss it!!
May 28, 2015 11:14pm

Bill nelson
Thought you would be interested to know that Roseann Cash will be performing at Dockery Farms June 6, 2015
May 28, 2015 11:44pm

Tom James
Monior correction, but the USS Cairo is an ironclad gunboat, not a submarine.
May 29, 2015 8:02am

Lynn Delas
All great places, but I must add Indianola with the BBKing Museum and a number of noteworthy places to eat. 
May 29, 2015 8:03am

billy reed
holly and all !! do not miss Sumner, Mississippi in it's entireity !!!      b
May 29, 2015 9:57am

Justin Huber
Yazoo City has a restaurant called Tom's which has the best Hungarian sandwich I've ever had.
May 29, 2015 10:57am

Christopher
Raja,  Oxford isn't in the Delta. 
May 29, 2015 11:50am

Holly Whitfield

I could be wrong, but I think Raja was answering my question about what other road trips I should take and write about! 

May 29, 2015 12:05pm

Billie Howell
Po'Monkey's is in Merigold, MS
May 29, 2015 1:11pm

Em Shafer
Don't forget Indianola. BB King Museum and Interpretive Center, as well as restaurants The Crown Intown, The Blue Biscuit, Sookie's, Nola's are all downtown Indianola! 
May 29, 2015 1:52pm

Indian Andy
Did you actually see McCarty's throwing pottery on a wheel?  
May 29, 2015 2:36pm

Sam Brookes
Ubon's is great, but it is not in the Delta. In Clarksdale I like Abe's BBQ and the Rest Haven's kibbi, cabbage rolls and mile high pie.
May 29, 2015 4:45pm

Richard Arnold
We ate at Does Eat House and the steaks were big and tough. The salad was wayyyy  to acid and the toast shown was toasted what we received was cold not toasted. The potatoe was average. I had  p
May 29, 2015 6:10pm

Holly Whitfield

Hi Indian Andy, Yes, I saw this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovememphis/18178369511/in/dateposted-public/ and was told he was "throwing clay on the wheel".

May 29, 2015 6:19pm

H.C. Porter
Vicksburg is well known for it's history, but the arts are vibrant as well! The H.C. Porter Gallery is rich with contemporary Southern art! There is  a focus at the moment on my Blues series, titled, Blues @ Home, which opened recently at Ole Miss and the BB King Museum! 
May 29, 2015 7:36pm

jacque
Love learning from your blog, Holly. Yes, day trip info is great. I look forward to it.
May 29, 2015 7:59pm

scott rich
Gotta hit the BB King Museum in Indianola.....
May 29, 2015 9:18pm

Tina Arrington
Yazoo City is in the Delta.... it's where the Delta meets the Hills.   1. Go downtown.... Tom's to eat, Knutty Knitters (biggest yarn selection in South), LOTS of antique stores.... but best of all Rick's Library---step back in time.  2. Visit the Witch's Grave at Glendale Cemetary.... yes... the witch that Willie Morris wrote about in "Good Old Boy" and became famous from the movie "My Dog Skip".   3. You won't regret it. (BTW, Ubon's is great, too.  It's not in the delta part, but in the hill part, Sam Brookes).  
May 29, 2015 9:27pm

John Ramsey Miller
I grew up in Cleveland and became slose to Pup and Lee and the Smiths. It was and is a magical place. Although Pup is no longer with us, Lee does still work in clay and makes remarkable jewelry. Usually Jamie Smith is on the wheel. Visiting is an experience worth whatever trouble getting there requires.
May 30, 2015 9:18am

nancy lee
King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena,Ark, across river from Clarkksdale,Ms, in early fall. This time has Taj Mahalo as a headliner
May 30, 2015 10:10am

Ben Warren
The Vicksburg National Military Park no longer offers free admission. Driving/walking tours range from $4 for pedestrians to $8 for a single vehicle. The Cairo museum is free with paid admission into the park.
May 30, 2015 11:00am

Lisa Spears
Yes, please - more day trips. Loved this!
May 30, 2015 11:39am

Mila Martin
Abe's Bar B Q in Clarksdale ... YUM!!
May 31, 2015 8:56am

Brenda Mathis
I am so happy to see this, and very excited about taking the same Road Trip
May 31, 2015 11:58am

Deltan
LOL, Memphis is in no way, shape, or form the home of the blues.
May 31, 2015 2:38pm

Jo Ellen Litto…
Love this group got to experience some of the highlights of the wonderful Mississippi Delta.  So much Interesting history, tastiest of food, great music & so much more in the area I grew up in & forever hold  close to my heart!
June 1, 2015 3:10pm

Brian Isbell
You forgot the Delta Blues Club, Ground Zero owned by Morgan Freeman in the heart of the Delta. This is a must for any vistor. I am from Memphis and now live in AZ but my 5 yrs MS remain my best memories.
June 2, 2015 9:47am

jan klein
My Mom grew up in Cleveland. I love getting back there, it's a great little town. I have a similar picture of the gardens at McCarty, they're beautiful!
June 2, 2015 3:12pm

Billy davis
Please post more daytrips. As an avid bike rider, I noticed you mentioned a rail to trail as well. As history buffs my stepson and I will certiny visit Vicksburg.
June 2, 2015 8:53pm

alex rosado
I fell in love with Vicksburg almost 20 years ago when I became a resident. So much to do/see! The Ms Delta is a truly remarkable place to call home! Its people and places are a constant reminder of how easy it is to love and admire such natural beauty!
June 2, 2015 9:42pm

Brenda Wood
Please visit Carrollton, N. Carrollton in the fall during the pilgrimage. Cotesworth, home of Senator J. Z. George is a must see!
June 3, 2015 7:33am

Malcolm White
thanks for coming to see us and sharing a touch of Mississippi with your folks 
June 3, 2015 7:11pm

Karen Hunter
I am from the Mississippi Delta (Greenville), and loved this article! I live in Atlanta now, but go home every chance I get. 
June 4, 2015 9:28am

Cristie Travis
Love these places in the Delta. Here are some other spots in the Delta and a few even further south that are also worth seeing http://deltamemories.blogspot.com/2014/03/on-roots-tour-in-mississippi-delta.html?m=0
June 5, 2015 10:37am

Donna
My husband n I are recently retired. We want to to some 1-2 day trips anywhere In Mississippi , or Alabama. Meals are great but mostly we want to do some site seeing. We are not focus on food that much. Anything out there Nyone could reccomendation ??  I know the small towns get let off a lot and there are some real sites there.. So ????? 
June 22, 2015 9:23am

Cornell
Clarksdale is definitely worth a visit, for the juke joints, culture and a few good/interesting restaurants. And Greenwood is not bad.
November 13, 2015 10:26pm

Errol Dillon
Your article on the Mississippi Delta was wonderful! The Mississippi Delta is a gold mine for anyone who wants to see a special place that hasn't changed in over 100 years. Lots of priceless pictures are there.
April 21, 2016 3:25am

Holly Whitfield
Thank you Errol! It's truly a special place.
April 25, 2016 10:10am

Hans
Great blog post! Check out my blog post as well (riversworld2015.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/mississippi-river-attractions-you-need-to-know-about/) #mississippi_river_attractions
November 30, 2016 2:56am

channel manager
Filled with amazing history, music, and food, it doesn’t get much better than the Mississippi Delta. http://www.4dhotelbookingsoftware.com/
May 9, 2017 2:20am

Holly Whitfield
Jolj, Yes, this was written before the GRAMMY Museum opened. Check it out: https://ilovememphisblog.com/2016/03/grammy-museum-mississippi-opens-today/
July 10, 2017 9:11am