2 Mississippi towns make list of ‘cutest small towns’ in South. One is on the MS Coast

Cute and quaint: two words that can describe almost any Mississippi town. Often characterized by historic architecture and intimate local culture, these southern towns make great day-trip destinations.

Recently, World Atlas, a site that publishes travel-related lists, included two Mississippi towns on its 2023 “12 Cutest Small Towns in the Southern United States” list.

The article encourages voyagers to explore each town’s “exclusive character and appeal.” Here’s what World Atlas had to say:

Front Beach in Ocean Springs on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022.
Front Beach in Ocean Springs on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022.

Ocean Springs

While outsiders might not know Mississippi for its beaches, Mississippi Coast residents know there are still coastal havens beyond the Mississippi mud.

World Atlas describes the town’s many “al fresco recreational activities, comprising fishing, kayaking and birdwatching in the encircling Gulf Islands National Seashore.”

The site says seafood lovers can partake in a feast in one of Ocean Spring’s restaurants, several of which provide views of the water. It also points out that Ocean Springs is most known for its thriving arts community. Tourists and residents alike enjoy strolling through the Walter Anderson Museum of Art. Anderson used the Gulf Coast as inspiration for his striking water color pieces.

Beyond the museum, various art galleries are sprinkled throughout the city’s downtown area.

Art-lovers, nature-enthusiasts and foodies can all find a plethora of options in Ocean Springs.

Rowan Oak located in Oxford, MS
Rowan Oak located in Oxford, MS


World Atlas characterizes the 12 listed towns with “generous hospitality, long-lasting past, and mesmerizing natural magnificence.”

This description fits Oxford, a town that is dipped in historical charm yet remains modern thanks to the University of Mississippi, which practically engulfs the entire town’s culture.

The historic Square that sits in the center of town is a popular stop for shopping and dining. Walking around the Square, visitors get a 360 view of the town’s city hall which sits in the center.

Beyond the lively football culture, Oxford is known for its vibrant arts scene including music and literature.

Famous Mississippi author William Faulkner called Oxford home for most of his life. Visitors can take themselves back in time as they tour his home, now museum, Rowan Oak. After, just steps beyond his home, one can immerse themselves in the same Mississippi nature that inspired Faulkner’s writing.

Oxford’s energetic music scene means there is almost always a local concert to attend at one of the Square’s bars or restaurants.

World Atlas also adds that nature lovers can travel a few miles outside of Oxford to “delve into the nearby Sardis Lake, which provides fishing, navigation, and swimming openings.”

Other towns to consider

World Atlas also recently published an article listing the “7 Cutest Small Towns in Mississippi”. Oceans Springs and Oxford reappeared on this list.

The other five towns included Bay St. Louis, Natchez, Woodville, Vicksburg and Columbus.