Explore Native American history on foot, a bike or a kayak.

By Travel & Leisure
July 08, 2014
Get Outdoors in Natchez, Mississippi
Credit: zerega / Alamy

Dating back to 1716, Natchez is the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River and was once a place of great wealth: Rich families built elegant mansions, many of which survived the Civil War are now open for house tours. Travelers can combine U.S. history pit stops with outdoor activities—hiking, boating, and fishing—along the slow-paced river shores.

Castle Restaurant

Refuel at this former carriage house and stables that dates back to the 1790s and shares 40 acres with a Greek revival plantation mansion. The jumbo-lump crab cake, served over leeks, is is a standout. You can also stop in the neighboring pub for a pint of Guinness; happy hour is 4:00 to 6:30 PM Monday through Thursday.

1888 Wensel House Bed & Breakfast

This restored Victorian is centrally located in Natchez’s historic district and a block from a lookout spot over the Mississippi River. Three rooms are outfitted with American Empire antiques; opt for the First Room for its four-poster canopied bed.

Natchez State Park

It may not date back to the 1700s, but this park has its piece of notable history: The largest bass in the state—an 18.15-pound largemouth—was caught in Lake Natchez in 1992. See if you can beat the record with your own fishing pole, or just enjoy the park’s swimming holes and nature trails.

Everyday Adventure

Pick up bike and kayak rentals or sign up for a guided tour of Natchez on wheels at this outdoor outfitter.

Grand Village of the Natchez Indians

Native American history in Natchez dates back to the 700s, evidenced by three mounds—believed to be used for ceremonial purposes—in this 128-acre site. The grounds also have a small Native American history museum and a replica of a Natchez Indian house.