The biscuits are baking and the flowers are blooming, as Natchez, Mississippi, once again welcomes visitors to this historic city. Regarded as one of the most walkable cities in the South, the true beauty of Natchez can be found while exploring the streets, visiting historically significant sites and enjoying the fresh air off the Mighty Mississippi.
The city is open for business and welcoming travelers. For a comprehensive list of businesses and attractions that have reopened, go here. If you’re wanting to socially distance and stay outside, here are 10 outdoor experiences to enjoy around the city.
This 444-mile scenic highway offers travelers picturesque views and opportunities for biking, hiking and camping along the route. Maintained and upheld by the National Park service, this road stretches through three states, ultimately terminating in Nashville, Tennessee. The highway closely follows the “Old Natchez Trace,” a historic trail frequently used by American Indians, slave traders, soldiers and even future American presidents.
Natchez Brewing Company
Natchez Brewing Company offers an extensive outdoor seating area with picnic tables and umbrellas to allow patrons to enjoy beverages outside while safely social distancing. The brewery features a variety of lagers, IPAs, stouts and ales, while also serving up fresh brick oven pizzas.
Natchez’s greatest natural attraction—the Mississippi River—is best enjoyed from the vantage point at Bluff Park. Perched above the river, visitors are invited to walk through the park, admiring the mighty river and grand views. For stunning views, head over to the park at sunset.
Grand Village of the Natchez Indians
Spanning 128 acres, the Grand Village of Natchez features three prehistoric Native American mounds, a reconstructed Natchez Indian house and museum, offering guests a glimpse into the past of the original founders of this land.
Forks of the Road
What was once the second-largest slave market in the United States, Forks of the Road offers visitors a glimpse into our humbling past as a country. Informational panels discuss the slave trade in Natchez and the South, as well as slave chains preserved in concrete.
Proud To Take A Stand Monument
After being unveiled in late 2019, the Proud to Take A Stand Monument recognizes and honors the courage of numerous young civil rights activists in 1965. The monument contains more than 400 engravings of names, including those of young men and women forced into the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman in October 1965. While at the penitentiary, African-Americans were abused and punished for days, ultimately being known as “The Parchman Ordeal.”
Natchez City Cemetery
The Natchez City Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic places, established in 1822 when remains were moved to the present location. The beautiful grounds provide breathtaking views of the Mississippi River—never more beautiful than at sunset. Tombstone inscriptions embellished by romantic and mysterious tales draw portraits of the dearly departed interred here. The ‘Turning Angel’ statue is a must-see and is said to turn as cars drive by. Local author Greg Iles even has a book titled Turning Angel, which was named for the statue.
Founded in 1716, this outdoor site is now part of the National Parks Service. The original fort was built in 1716 by the French, which essentially established the town of Natchez. Nothing of the fort remains. The property is now a park with picnic tables, open from sunrise to sunset. For younger visitors, the area is also home to more than 80 hidden treasures to find.
Natchez Golf Club
Natchez Golf Club was established in 1916 and is the home of the Historical Back Nine at Duncan Park. This 18-hole, par 71 course features a rolling terrain of 6,320 yards, covered in flowering dogwoods, long leaf pines and towering oaks draped in Spanish moss.
Natchez Trails and Walking Tour
Visitors can choose from any number of self-guided walking tours, including a nature trail, bluff trail and picturesque St. Catherine Street trail, among others. Not only will visitors get an in-depth look at a variety of museums and historic sites, but also one-of-a-kind views of the mighty Mississippi River along the bluffs.
Upon arrival, travelers are encouraged to visit the Natchez Visitor Center for a better understanding of the city’s history and all that Natchez has to offer.
Photos, except for Natchez Trace and Proud To Take A Stand Monument, by Jessica Guidry.
Mary Ellie Cassio / July 30, 2020
Jessica, your photography is magical!