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Summer in the ‘Sip: Budget Friendly Ideas for the Family

The school bells are no longer ringing, the temperature is rising even higher, and the kids are home all day, saying they’re bored. That can mean only one thing. It’s Summertime in ‘Sip! While the gas prices continue to rise, some people are looking for fun vacations and adventures closer to home. Consider it a Staycation in the ‘Sip. Mississippi is so fortunate that it is blessed with so many great features and locales that are definitely easy on the pocketbook but still lots of incredible fun.

If you’re looking for family-friendly activities that are budget-friendly, we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few local or easy Staycation activities in the “Magnolia State” that will please everyone in the family.

Here’s a list of some of the greatest places in the state that are family and budget-friendly and, sure to contain special memories that will last for a lifetime.

  • Make it a day at the beach —If you’re a beach lover, like me, you’ll love a visit to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Mississippi is home to 62 miles of gorgeous beachlines. Enjoy the Gulf of Mexico, splash in the water with your kids, tan on the shoreline, cruise your bike on the bike trail along the Coast, have a picnic with the family on the beach, take a sail in the gulf, visit the charming cities along the Coast, try your luck at the many casinos, and so much more! You’ll definitely find something here that the whole family will enjoy.
  • Take a hike —No, really, take a hike. It may be a corny joke, but the hiking trails and nature parks in the state are not. They are filled with lots of fun for those that love being one with nature. The state is filled with nature retreats from the Coast up to the tip-top of our wonderful state. Mississippi is filled with some of the most gorgeous nature parks and retreats. Just to name a few, the DeSoto National Forest is expansive and contains lots of nature, camping, and hiking retreats, the Gulf Islands National Seashore is home to forts and barrier islands, Chautauqua Park is a 74-acre park with wooded rolling hills, flowing springs and a 35-acre lake, explore the wetlands and all its beauty in the Sandhill Crane Refuge, the Ward Bayou Wildlife Management Area is great for hiking and fishing, the Greenville Cypress Preserve Trust is great for hikers and those that love photographing nature. These are just a few of the many wildlife parks and retreats in the state. I’m sure you’ll find one not too far from where you live.   Whether you love to photograph nature and enjoy the beauty, explore the wetlands, view ancient trees, do a little rock climbing, kayaking, or fishing, there is sure to be a park in the ‘Sip that will meet your needs.
  • Explore the many art museums around the state that will inspire your creative side. Mississippi is home to some of the top art museums in the country, including the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, the Mississippi Museum of Art, and so many more. Many of the museums are free on some days so check their websites before you go.
  • Learn more about the history of our state and its people at the many historical sites and museums, including the Vicksburg National Military Park and Museum which will give you a little background on the struggles of the Civil War, the Museum of Mississippi History, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby, the Grammy Museum, the Grand Village of Natchez Indians and the Emerald Mound, and so many more.
  • Explore the many trails through the state, such as the Civil Rights Tour in Hattiesburg and Jackson to learn of the struggles during the Civil Rights Movement. For music lovers, follow the Blues Trail that honors the home of musical legends of the state and sites of great musical significance. Mississippi has so much to explore for the history buff.
  • Be a tourist in your own hometown. View the sights and locales that may be residing right in your own hometown, but you’ve never taken the time to explore the. Take stroll through your own downtown area or historical districts. You’ll see the city like never before. If you’d like to get out of town and make new adventures, the ‘Sip is filled with many charming cities that each have their very own unique features and treasures to behold. Visit Tupelo and see the humble beginnings of the King of Rock and Roll. If you’re a fan of HGTV’s “HomeTown,” travel to Laurel and explore the many sights visited on this wildly popular home renovation show. See where acclaimed Mississippi authors, such as William Faulkner and Eudora Welty, lived and created timeless pieces of literature. Explore Catfish Alley in Gulfport. Search for the tiniest museum ever in Hattiesburg, the Pocket Museum, and enjoy the city’s great food and music. You don’t have to go too far to find something interesting to see or do in Mississippi.
  •  Have a “selfie” tour. No, you don’t have to go by yourself but it’s fun with your family or friends or by your own “selfie.” Many cities in the state have gorgeous murals painted on the walls of buildings and unique spots. Take a pic at any of these places and show the world all Mississippi has to offer.

These are just a few ideas to spark your imagination for some summer fun that is family-friendly, fun, and won’t break the bank. Pick a map dot and enjoy the adventure, but always remember that life is just as fun along the journey as it is when you meet your destination. Summer in the ‘Sip is here so make a few memories that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

We’ve featured just a few of the budget and family-friendly locales and summer fun for you. Let us know where you’re going this summer in Mississippi or if you’re spending your staycation at home and what have planned. Summer in the ‘Sip is always filled with sweet Southern memories and adventures.

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Written by Judy Smith

Judy Smith has been a freelance writer and photographer for several magazines and publications around the South, including Social South Magazine, Our Mississippi Magazine, DeSoto Magazine, Deep South Magazine, Country Roads Magazine, among others. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Paralegal Studies, Master’s of Science in Mass Communications, and PhD in Communications at the University of Southern Mississippi. And Judy Smith is proud to forever be a Mississippi Girl.

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