Natchez was the was the first settlement along the Mississippi River making it full of history and culture. Gain a deeper insight into what makes Natchez unique with a few of our favorite activities! Visit Devereaux Shields House today and experience the best of Natchez.Book Now
Natchez Historical Origins
Natchez was settled by the French in 1716 and is the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River. It has been the home of vast multi-cultural influences for over 300 years! Natchez is home to the largest collection of Antebellum Homes in the United States, many of which are available to tour. It is also the starting point of the All-American Highway and the Natchez Trace National Scenic Byway. Visit Natchez provides a city timeline highlighting important events in history defining the development of the city.
There are many ways to explore Natchez, one is Walk Natchez. You can walk or bike a trail throughout the heart of historic downtown Natchez. Hikers, bikers, joggers, and strollers who use the trail will experience one of America’s most breathtaking vistas: a view of the Mississippi River that is second to none. The 5.6-mile public trail system is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also drive along part of the trail!
There are many special interest tours focusing on certain areas of Natchez history and culture that are available upon request.
Antebellum History, Architecture & Stories
Tour Antebellum Homes that survived History & Time
In a tradition dating back to 1932, Natchez welcomes “pilgrims” into its beautiful historic homes for tours by costumed hosts in 19th-century character. If you love antebellum history, Greek Revival architecture, and/or the very essence of 19th-century Southern gentility, don’t miss this wonderful celebration (4-5 weeks in spring and 2-3 weeks in fall) that includes theater performances, special presentations, and live music, all focused on our stunning antebellum homes.
Tour A Working Cotton Plantation
Frogmore Cotton Plantation & Gin offers visitors tours of a cotton plantation of the 1800s and a modern plantation with modern processing facilities. This is a 1,800-acre cotton farm and museum whose history stretches back to circa 1815. Built near Native American mounds in the fertile Mississippi Delta, Frogmore’s guides take visitors through the plantation’s wild backstory, from its heyday as a stop along the Natchez-to-Natchitoches wagon trail, through its prominence as a Civil War encampment, to its present life as a working cotton operation.
Native American Origins & History
Guided Natchez Indian Tour by Great Adventures in the Miss-Lou
Natchez has many sites important to Natchez Indian History including Fort Rosalie, Grand Village, and Emerald Mound. Take self-guided tours of each of these sites to experience the lives of our earliest settlers to the Miss-Lou, The Natchez Indians, walk on Indian Mounds, hear tales of bravery and sadness, visit an ancient Indian hut, and more.
Civil War History
Mississippi troops fought in every major theater of the Civil War with many engagements occurring along the strategically important Mississippi River. A major Union cavalry raid raced through Mississippi and Louisiana in April–May 1863, destroying railroads, telegraph lines, and Confederate weapons and supplies. This raid was depicted in John Wayne’s “Horse Soldiers” showing them encountering the military cadets of Jefferson College.
Vicksburg National Military Battlefield
Vicksburg was the site of a major engagement that saw the Union Army laid siege to Vicksburg for 47 days, finally forcing the surrender of the Confederate Army on July 4, 1863. The Vicksburg Battlefield is certainly worth a day-trip from Natchez.
Tour Jefferson College
Historic Jefferson College, the first educational institution of higher learning in Mississippi is today a historic site of the MS Dep. of Archives & History. Named in honor of Thomas Jefferson, the college was founded as an all-male college, but operated primarily as a college preparatory school and later military boarding school during most of its history.
African American Heritage & Culture
Self-Guided Tour Sites Important to Early African-American History
Take a self-guided tour of African American Culture and Heritage at some of our favorite places!
- African-American Museum of History & Culture (NAPAC)
- Fork of the Road Slave Trade Site
- William Johnson House
- Melrose Antebellum – slave quarters on site
Guided African-American History Tour by Jeremy Houston’s Miss-Lou Heritage Tours
There are many different guided tours offered each focusing on different events in African American History. Four Tours focus on African American influences on Natchez from 1716 to present. On the Civil Rights Tour, you’ll see five stops important to the 1960s-civil rights movement. The St Catherine Street Tour features Fork of the Road Slave Market, Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church, and the “Black Wall Street.” The Natchez Blues Tour displays Rhythm Night Club and the Natchez Blues Scene, including Papa George Lightfoot, Elmore Williams, and Hound Dog Taylor.
Guided African-American History Tour by Great Adventures in the Miss-Lou
Learn the great contribution of African-Americans to the development of the South and Miss-Lou. Hear stories of great trials and tribulations. Visit the National Landmark William Johnson House; see chains at Forks of the Road; visit the extraordinary Natchez Museum of African-American History and Culture, and more.
Patriotic History & Culture
Guided Patriotic Tour by Great Adventures in the Miss-Lou
Experience the Miss-Lou in an All-American way. Visit the grave of Wilson Brown, the only slave to receive the Medal of Honor. Pray for our veterans at the beautiful Veterans Memorial. Visit the Natchez National Cemetery. Participate in a solemn American Flag retirement ceremony. Hear local veteran and author G. Mark LaFrancis read from his original work, “In Their Boots,” and more.
Literary History & Culture
Guided Richard Wright Ramble Tour by Great Adventures in the Miss-Lou
Journey the same roads and streets that the internationally acclaimed author Richard Wright traveled during his early years. You will meet and travel with his cousin Charles Wright.
Guided Greg Isles Book Tour by Downtown Karla Brown
Sanctioned and endorsed by Greg Iles, enjoy a 2.5-hour tour around Natchez to see many of the places Greg mentions in his novels such as The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, The Devil’s Punchbowl and Unwritten Laws.
Book your stay at Devereaux Shields House today to experience the richness of Natchez history and culture.Book Now