Hills Region (Fulton, Tupelo), Mississippi Travel Guide: Private Cabin Retreat
Mississippi, a state home to many rivers, lakes, and the beach, translates to “Father of Waters” in the Choctaw language. Retreat to Fulton in the Hills region in Mississippi for a peaceful cabin getaway along the historic Tennessee-Tombigbee (Tenn-Tom) Waterway and explore nearby Tupelo and surrounding areas to dive into the abundant history of the area. Trace parts of the historic Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail and the Underground Railroad, and listen to music while following parts of the blues and country music trails.
Travel Tips and Practicalities
The Hills region of Mississippi is located in the northeast part of the state. It is home to rolling hills, lakes, waterways, and small picturesque towns and cities. This itinerary has Fulton, Mississippi in Itawamba County as its base to allow for relaxation and relative seclusion in a beautiful cabin along the Tenn-Tom Waterway. This waterway played an important role in steamboat transportation and the settlement of the area in the early 1800s. The ~234-mile length of the river flows through Mississippi and Alabama and connects the South with the Gulf of Mexico in Mobile, Alabama.
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For reference, Fulton is ~30 minutes from Tupelo, Mississippi, ~4 hours west from Atlanta, Georgia, under 2 hours west from Birmingham, Alabama, 3.5 hours from Jackson, Mississippi, and 2 hours from Memphis, Tennessee.
Where to Stay
Cabins at Midway offers three wooden cabins along the Tenn-Tom Waterway overlooking the Midway Marina in Fulton, Mississippi. Its scenic remote location makes it the perfect spot to base a trip in northeast Mississippi, and for those visiting nearby Tupelo. Rustic charm and luxury are blended emanating a feeling of warmth and tranquility. The walls and ceilings are blanketed in cedarwood. The bedposts, railings, and night tables were exquisitely handcrafted by a local Itawamba resident. Each cabin has a kitchen, a family room with a sleeper sofa, a bedroom with a king-size bed, a loft with bunk beds, 1.5 bathrooms, an indoor wood-burning fireplace, an outdoor porch with rocking chairs, and a charcoal grill. The cabins share an outdoor fireplace that is shaped like a stand-alone brick chimney with water views. Search for more nearby lodging options here.
Where to Eat
Grill out on the charcoal grill or cook in the kitchen while enjoying the water views from your cabin. Food Giant and Banana Box Grocery are nearby grocery stores. Guy’s Place on Water Dining is right next door to the cabins at Midway Marina. Country Gentleman Fish and Steakhouse is a short ~12-minute drive from the cabins. Blue Canoe, in Tupelo, with live music and a large beer selection, is known to be a staple.
Things To Do in Fulton
Part of Fulton, Mississippi’s charm is its size, which is estimated to have a population of just over 4,000. Enjoying the amenities at the cabin, along with the views, is the main attraction. Right on-site, there is plenty of space for families traveling with kids for the littles to run around and explore. It’s an ideal setting for family BBQs and cuddling up to the outdoor fireplace after sunset. Summer visitors can look for seasonal rentals at Midway Marina, such as kayaks, paddleboards, floating water mats, and pontoon boats. Fishing (with a license) is also an option. Tenn-Tom Waterway Walking Trail is nearby.
The 2006.5-mile Underground Railroad bicycle route that starts in Mobile, Alabama, and ends in Owen Sound, Ontario passes through Fulton, Mississippi. In Fulton, there’s a beautiful paved bicycle path along the waterway and a 2×6’ historical marker memorializing the clandestine routes taken by many escaped slaves. This marker is located at the corner of John Rankin Highway and Camp Ground Road by a pavilion with picnic tables and tire swings. Refer to Adventure Cycling Association’s website for more information for those tracing this route.
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Magnolia is the state flower and state tree, giving Mississippi its nickname, the “Magnolia State.” Support local businesses and bring home the flowery scent of magnolias by purchasing Magnolia Soap and Bath Company’s plant-based soaps, lotions, and other products. They have at least eight locations in Mississippi, and one is right in Fulton. To ensure transparency in their ingredients, you can watch them in action making their plant-based products from their retail locations. For those unable to visit in person any time soon, you can purchase their products directly from their website or look for other stores near you that carry their products.
Things To Do in Tupelo
Tupelo, the birthplace of “the king of rock and roll,” Elvis Presley, is only ~30 minutes from Fulton. Stroll around and admire the street art, colorful murals, and the many decorative guitar-shaped artworks. Learn about the life of this music legend at the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum. There are statues, the church he attended while he was growing up, Mississippi Blues and Country Music Trails markers, and the modest 2-bedroom rectangular-shaped birth home that was built by his family. The home was constructed via a $180 loan. His family was evicted two years later when they were unable to repay the loan.
Fair Park, right in front of Tupelo City Hall, has a statue of Elvis Presley depicting the iconic photo of Elvis titled “The Hands” allowing fans to recreate the photo. The photo is of Elvis reaching down to link hands with his fans. It was on those grounds where a young Elvis won fifth place at a talent show when he was ten years old and later became the king of rock and roll.
Veterans Park has a Vietnam Memorial Replica Wall that is a replica of the wall in Washington, D.C., a pond, walking trails, and picnic tables. There’s also a playground and splash pad that families traveling with young children may enjoy. Additionally, you can visit the Tupelo Veterans Museum at Ballard Park, and Civil War sites such as the Tupelo National Battlefield, and Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield in Baldwyn.
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a historic 444-mile scenic drive through forestry that starts in Natchez, Mississippi, continues through a corner of Alabama, and ends in Nashville, Tennessee. For centuries, many Native Americans followed this trail and were later followed by European settlers, pioneers, soldiers, slave traders, and future presidents. Recognizable historic figures known to have followed this trail include Daniel Boone, Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, Aaron Burr, Washington Irving, David Crockett, and Andrew Jackson.
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Along the parkway, visitors can trace the trail with recreational activities, such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding along trails. The visitor center is in Tupelo. In the Tupelo area, there is a popular six-mile hiking trail, the Blackland Prairie section of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail. Check the National Park Service’s website for more information, hiking advisories, and any closures.
Other places in Tupelo to consider visiting include the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo, Chickasaw Village Site, Oren Dunn City Museum, Ballard Park, and the Music Bend Nature Trail. The Tupelo Hardware Company, a local family-owned business, is known for being the store where Elvis Presley’s mother bought him his first guitar for his eleventh birthday.
Mississippi Blues and Country Music Trails
Music fans can trace a portion of the Mississippi Blues and/or Country Music Trails. There are ~208 markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail across Mississippi and into Memphis, Tennessee honoring the legends of blues music. The Hills region has ~30 markers, including Fred McDowell, B.B. King, Bukka White, Magic Sam, Rufus Thomas, and Elvis Presley. Click here for a list of the Blues Trail Markers and select the Hills region on the map to see the list in the area.
The Mississippi Country Music Trail has over 30 markers across the state. The three markers in the Hills region are Elvis Country, Mae McAnally, and Tammy Wynette. Click here for the list of all the markers in Mississippi.
Mississippi Off the Beaten Path: A Guide to Unique Places (Off the Beaten Path Series) contains a wealth of information for those traveling throughout Mississippi. It has a detailed section on the Hills region for those looking for more history and suggestions.
For those conquering all or any portion of the Natchez Trace Parkway, consider riding along with the Guide to the Natchez Trace Parkway.