Writer: Dr. Mariah Smith Morgan, MSU Extension Service
Mississippi is going "app" when it comes to attracting tourists to our state's historical and cultural treasures.
Many Mississippians are choosing to stay close to home and explore, while others from outside the state are choosing to visit for our natural resources and literary heritage, as well as to discover the birthplace of America’s music. It is easy in the hustle and bustle to forget the hidden gems just up the road from us.
Perhaps our most beloved and well-known app is Mississippi Blues Trail, which can be found at http://www.msbluestrail.org/app. It is available for download on either an Android or Apple iOS smart phone. This app puts faces and fun facts with the Mississippi Blues Trail markers that have popped up all across the state and beyond. Make it a goal to visit and take a picture with each marker across the state. There are more than 100 stops, so that should keep you busy for at least one hot Mississippi summer.
If you are planning a visit to our state capital, consider the Jackson NOW app, which links you to everything happening from live music to upcoming events. The Mississippi Children's Museum has my favorite kind of mobile app. Their app lets you work toward a child's free admission and a free cookie. Additionally, this app offers a 15-percent-off coupon at the trading post and free coffee at the Red Rocket Cafe.
If you are planning on catching a baseball game with the Mississippi Braves, go ahead and download their app. It lets you purchase tickets, see the schedule and view the team roster. The most exciting feature of the app is that it allows you to record yourself announcing the game. If they choose your announcement, you get a trip to the announcers' booth.
Mississippi has four national parks spread throughout the state. While the National Park Service does not yet offer mobile apps for our parks, the city of Vicksburg has an app called Visit Vicksburg that offers a driving tour and walking map of the downtown area.
Other cities getting in on the mobile app action include Tupelo, Oxford, Bay St. Louis and Starkville. Tupelo's mobile app, Let's Go to Tupelo, includes the Elvis driving tour and tours of other notable stops in Tupelo. The whatshappen.in app for Starkville gives updates on upcoming events and band information. DeSoto County has its very own app called the DeSoto Don, which includes events from arthritis exercise classes to happy hours.
If the great outdoors is your playground, Mississippi certainly has plenty to offer. Everytrail is an app that lets you find hiking trails near you, map your hikes and plan your next adventure. There is also an app for fishermen called Mississippi Fishing Maps ($1.99) developed by ifishy.com, which gives information on more than 9,000 fishing holes in Mississippi.
Many of Mississippi's casinos, like the Beau Rivage and Pearl River Resort, have apps that link to their golf courses, spa amenities and daily events.
Mississippi has a great literary heritage, and the Deep South Literary Trail app ($2.99) offers a chance to follow your favorite authors through their favorite haunts and hangouts.
The definitive app for traveling Mississippi is the True South MS app, which is offered by the Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division. With more than 400 things to see and do, this app is sure to help you discover our great state.
With spring break right around the corner and summer not far behind, it’s never too early to start planning your next adventure right here at home.