Why Natchez? Why Not?
PHOTO: Magnolia Hall in downtown Natchez was the last great mansion built before the Civil War. (Courtesy VisitNatchez.org)
If you don’t know much about Natchez, Mississippi, you are in for a real treat.
You will probably be surprised at the rich and colorful history this town has — and all of the great things it has to offer — while exploring from your American Queen Steamboat Company Tour.
As one of the oldest cities in the region — it is celebrating its 300th anniversary this month, and is the oldest permanent settlement on the Mississippi River — Natchez has a very deep pedigree. It started out as a hub of the early American elite, boasting more millionaires per capita in the United States than any other city prior to the Civil War.
In present day, the city offers a wide range of attractions and activities. Its location along the Mississippi is a huge advantage, providing access via both land and sea. The shopping options are nearly endless, ranging from small boutiques to large shopping centers. Browse through unique regional items or try on some high-end couture.
Many landmarks around town manage to perfectly merge old and new in a fun way. The riverfront casino is reminiscent of an old sawmill, but has all of the latest cutting-edge features you would expect in a fast-paced gambling mecca.
The city’s unique geographic location offers opportunities that you shouldn’t miss while you can take advantage of them. The waterways are a big perk. In addition to the river, there are also an assortment of lakes and other water areas. This is great for boating, fishing or just enjoying the wildlife. Along the same lines, the nature parks and forest areas can provide both natural beauty and quiet serenity. If you like any type of outdoor activity from birdwatching to hiking or even kayaking, you can spend time engaging in your favorite pastimes.
READ MORE: Natchez Celebrates Its 300th Birthday
There are more than 1,000 city buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the homes and landmarks are open for tours throughout the year. You can also get a close-up look at other grand mansions and estates when the town hosts special tours of the historical homes and gardens during spring and fall.
Culture abounds all over town, as there are a number of art galleries where you can view paintings, photography, sculptures or any type of art you enjoy. And you definitely won’t go hungry while you are here. Not surprisingly, traditional homemade Southern food is a big highlight — and also comes complete with the whole event and atmosphere that is a hallmark of a meal in the south.
Those who want to stay for a visit have plenty of appealing options. Natchez has been unofficially dubbed the Bed and Breakfast capital of the south.
This is truly a stop that should be at the top of your agenda if you will be in the region and want to immerse yourself in one of the great authentic river cities along the Mississippi.
The best way to venture to Natchez is via the Mississippi, of course. And there’s no better way to travel than aboard a cruise offered by the American Queen Steamboat Company.
More by Bobbi Dempsey
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