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Tupelo, Mississippi
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Biloxi, Mississippi


Discover the town that taught Elvis how to shake his hips

Tupelo’s roots trace back to a Native American nation that altered the path of a legendary Spanish explorer. The northeastern Mississippi town also played a role in the Civil War and is recognized the world over as the birthplace of the man best known as “The King of Rock ’n’ Roll.”


The Gum Tree City

The modern city of Tupelo stands upon ancient, hallowed ground. When Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto passed through this area in 1540, he encountered an established Chickasaw Indian civilization nestled in the wooded hills and valleys. The Chickasaw people, reputed to be fierce fighters, ultimately drove De Soto westward—where he would eventually discover the Mississippi River.

The historic Natchez Trace, a forest trail, linked the Tupelo area to the outside world. It was established as a route of commerce by the Chickasaws, who traded regularly with the Natchez Indians to the south. By the 18th century, the British were using the Natchez Trace, and it became an important route of travel for new settlers. The Natchez Trace Parkway is today a scenic drive that passes through Tupelo and stretches for 444 miles. Visit the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center in Tupelo for more information about this compelling motorway.

In 1864, the Civil War found its way into Tupelo, pitting Union troops against the Confederate Army for control of the railroad lines feeding supplies to Union soldiers fighting to take down Atlanta. Tour the Tupelo National Battlefield to learn more about the conflict.

Just as it helped to shape the outcome of the Civil War, the railroad industry’s convergence of lines into Tupelo in 1887 helped to transform the city into a modern-day manufacturing, retail and distribution center. Because of its infrastructure advantages, it became the first city in the U.S. to bring in cheap but dependable electric power for its residents. Today, Tupelo boasts of generating a different kind of energy, using its diversity to propel it into a leadership role in the tourism and hospitality industries.


Blue Suede Shoes

Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo in 1935, and every year, nearly 100,000 people flock there to see the tiny, shotgun house that was the first home of the pioneering rock ’n’ roll singer. The Elvis Presley Museum and a memorial chapel are the centerpieces of Tupelo’s multimillion-dollar tourism and hospitality industry. In addition the homestead, museum and chapel, The Elvis Presley Birthplace Park also includes a gift shop, a statue of Presley when he was 13 years old and other exhibits for visitors to enjoy.

The Oren Dunn City Museum houses permanent exhibits of prehistoric fossils discovered in the Tupelo region. In addition, there are exhibits dedicated to early European settlement, memorabilia of Mississippi’s early years of statehood and its role in the Civil War. Guests will also discover a working model railroad depicting Tupelo during the 1940s.

With more than 260 animals to visit, you may want to hop aboard the Monster Bison Bus to tour the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo. A guided tour takes visitors face to face with buffalo, zebra, giraffe, yak and Mississippi’s official reptile, the American alligator. There is also an open-air trolley, pony rides, a petting zoo and guided, horseback riding trails.

The Tupelo Aquatic Center is a public facility offering water activities for the whole family. There are semiprivate and private pools available. Check for times and schedules with the Tupelo Department of Parks and Recreation.

More than 100 cars are on display at the Tupelo Automobile Museum. Home to classics, antiques and collectibles, the museum displays the cars in chronological order to illustrate the evolution of auto design and engineering that occurred over more than a century. The collection, valued at more than $6 million, includes an 1886 model Mercedes-Benz and a Lincoln once owned by Elvis Presley.

For More Information

Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau




Mississippi Tourism