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Mississippi rest areas are more than just bathrooms

Summertime is in full swing in Mississippi, and for many, that means it’s time for a well-earned vacation. Those who often opt for road trips know that there’s nothing like stretching your legs after sitting in the car for hours, and rest areas are the ideal place for a pit stop. It’s more common to rely on out-of-state rest stops for travel information, but after a Mississippi Welcome Center flyer informed me of eco-tours that happen in my hometown, I started to rethink what these buildings-with-bathrooms may have to offer. Here are some things you can expect to find in most Mississippi Welcome Centers and rest areas:

1. Attractions you probably didn’t know about

Unless you’ve traveled to all of the different nooks and crannies of Mississippi, you’re bound to discover something new at a welcome center or rest stop. It’s easy to settle into a comfortable routine, going to the same places and doing the same things, but there is always room for a local adventure. Like those eco-tours that I mentioned earlier, there could be something exciting happening near you that’s worth checking out.

The Moss Point Welcome Center along I-10 features a variety of shopping, entertainment, and sightseeing brochures.

2. History, but make it decor.

Mississippi is known for its beautiful magnolia trees and southern charm, so it’s no surprise that its welcome centers have plenty of both. In addition to informational Civil War hand-outs, museum contact cards, and historical (and maybe haunted) home brochures, the rest stops themselves are decorated with artifacts and paintings that are relevant to the area.

This portrait of Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto, the first European documented to have discovered the Mississippi River, hangs in the I-55 De Soto Welcome Center in Hernando.

3. Places for an impromptu weekend getaway.

If you’re someone who needs to disconnect in order to feel at peace, welcome centers have an abundance of vacation spots to fit your needs. Not only do Mississippi welcome centers have casino and hotel information, but they also feature an array of affordable campgrounds that welcome activities such as fishing and swimming.

Reconnecting with nature will be a breeze in Mississippi campsites.

There’s truly something for everybody in the Magnolia State. Next time you stop at a Mississippi welcome center or rest stop, take a look at the different posters, brochures, and magazines that are available. You never know what local treasures you may find. Who knows? Your next vacation could be in your own city!

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Written by Stephanie Huynh

A recent graduate and Valedictorian of Gautier High School in Gautier, MS, Stephanie has joined the Our MS Home team as a Summer 2021 intern. This year, she was named an All-Mississippi High School Journalist by the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association. Outside of writing, her interests include painting, design, and baking.

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