This tiny patch of land is the perfect setting for the kind of big excitement that Tunica offers. Located on iconic Highway 61, close to all the attractions of Memphis and closer to the Mississippi River, Tunica is every ounce the South as the blues and catfish. Gradually, Tunica has proved itself as a gamblin’ town, bursting with huge casino complexes and traveling shows.
Visitors on a road trip through the South on their way to or from Memphis would be missing an important piece of the fabric without a stop at Tunica. To learn about local history, make a stop at the Tunica Visitors Center where a helpful guide will point you towards the best blues attractions in town, and show you where to find one of its many colorful roadside diners.
Photo by Kelly Ludwig via Flickr.
Housed in an original 1895 train depot, there’s a reason why the Tunica Visitors Center is called the Gateway to the Blues. See the blue marker in front? This is a major stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail, and it’s also the stop that is dedicated to helping visitors navigate the sprawling and immersive blues culture in Mississippi. Offering exhibits on Tunica and Mississippi history, these guys make sure each visitor walks away knowing something new. Beyond the blues, its staff are well informed on hotel information, directions, and news about Tunica’s nine casino complexes.
Photo via their official FB page.
This 212-acre public course is a challenge and rewarding course both beginners and pros – in part because it was exquisitely designed by leading golf course architectural firm, McCumber & Associates, featuring Champion Bermuda Greens, gentle fairways and wide landing areas, but also because of the windy climate in Tunica that lingers through every season outside of heavy summer. They offer stay-and-play packages in partnership with nearby casinos, as well as a healthy variety of classes and clinics for players looking to improve their swing.
Tunica River Park should be every visitor’s first stop in the area, even the passersby heading towards another destination, to fully experience the Mississippi River. Visitors will get an interactive learning experience to familiarize themselves with the history, nature and culture of the surrounding area. Riverboat cruises depart from the park for a totally immersive introduction to Mighty Miss, and there’s also a two-mile long nature trail snaking around the premises for a perfect view of the water.
Depending on the visitor, the outside of the Hollywood Cafe either looks like a dive that should be avoided, or a quaint, rustic eatery full of quirky character. It could be either, but the people who love it really love it. Some of the reasons why they love it so much, its deep-fried dill pickles, which the place claims to be home of, and the plates only found in the South, like the catfish, shrimp and frog Leg platter, served simply with tartar and cocktail sauces. One of Mississippi’s premier roadside attractions along the 61, those driving by with a craving for traditional Southern flare or just a cup of black coffee should definitely stop by this little diner.
Photo by Jack via Flickr.
Tunica is one of the largest gaming regions in the United States, and, as we’ve seen, there’s enough to do in the surrounding area that visitors don’t need to stay confined in windowless gaming rooms. MGM’s Gold Strike is notable for having the "Best Hotel Rooms" in Tunica for three consecutive years and offers the all the luxury of the big casinos of its parent company, MGM, but in a smaller, more hospitable town. Their casino doesn’t joke around, as it offers 50,000 square feet of gaming, and is the home of the World Poker Open.