Say what you will about casinos, for some communities they are a blessing. Tunica, Mississippi has benefited greatly from legal casinos established in Tunica County, Mississippi, USA. When Hurricane Katrina devastated many neighboring communities, some of the businesses that would normally have gone to other communities drifted to Tunica. But it would be an error to think that this is all there is to Tunica. It is the current county seat of Tunica County. Travel down the main street, and you will see buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Inside them are boutiques, antique stores and eateries featuring southern hospitality and good dining.
Here are the best things you can do in Tunica, Mississippi:
Try Your Luck at the Casinos
If games of chance are your favorite thing, then Tunica has plenty to offer. The number and location of the casinos sometimes vary, but as of this writing, there are seven casinos listed on Tunica’s website. Four are on the strip resort area, two are at the casino center and one is located at the north end. The casinos have added jobs to the Tunica area, built roads, and added some public buildings.
Ride on the Blues Highway 61
Highway 61 begins at the Gulf of Mexico in New Orleans, runs through several towns and cities, including Tunica, working its way north all the way to Chicago and then to Canada. The first recorded song about Highway 61 is the Highway 61 Blues by Roosevelt Sykes. His song was followed by many traditional blues artists and writing about “the longest road.” A much harsher blues song is Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan. Blues is the melodic voice of those down on their luck.
Gateway to the Blues Museum
If you love blues, or if the three songs above strike a chord with you, then you won’t want to miss the Gateway to the Blues Museum. First, it is the Welcome Center for visitors to Tunica. It is tucked in an old Railroad Depot, an education in and of itself. Second, it tells the story of Blues, how it is an original creation of African Americans and a universal theme for working people everywhere. The museum displays sheet music, musical instruments, and paintings that tell the story of Blues and how it and Tunica are interrelated. You can even try your hand at recording your own blues song in the museum’s studio under the tutelage of a local bluesman, Memphis Jones.
Visit the Tunica Riverpark and Museum
Enjoy a sunset walk along the Mississippi or view the mighty river from the overlook walk. Learn about the rich history of the Mississippi delta or stroll along the Ecowalk where you can view local flora and perhaps even some shy fauna. The area’s history begins with the mound builders, progresses through family histories from plantation to prosperity, and includes the great flood of 1927. When you tire of natural history and history about people, you can take a ride on the Tunica Queen. The Riverpark is also available if you wish to book a wedding.
See the Tate House
If you are truly interested in seeing how people once lived in the Mississippi Delta area, then you should certainly see the Tate house. It is a log cabin, built in the dogtrot style. For the uninitiated, this means that the house included a breezeway between two structures – often separating the main living area and bedroom(s) from the kitchen. This helped keep the heat from the kitchen out of the main house while still allowing food to arrive at the table hot. The Tate house is the oldest structure in Tunica County.
Visit the Tunica Museum
The Tunica Museum should not be confused with the Tunica Riverpark and Museum. Started in 1997 by five individuals, it focuses on the history of Tunica from Native Americans to current day struggles to transform Tunica into a modern city with amenities, jobs, and opportunities for everyone.
Swim at the Tunica Aquatic Center
One of the newer buildings in Tunica, the Tunica Aquatic Center contains an eight-lane, indoor, Olympic sized competition swimming pool, and a wading pool for the kids complete with spray area and water slide. If you’ve spent your morning walking around, taking in the local history, this is the perfect place to cool off. The Aquatic Center is available to Health and Fitness members as part of their program package.
Try the GW Henderson Recreation Center
Whether you are toning up to wear that swimsuit or looking for a place for the kids to blow off steam during summer vacation, the GW Henderson Recreation Center has it all. It offers sports and recreation programs for all ages, Boys and Girls Club, Cultural Arts, health and wellness, senior programs, and youth development. It also houses the WIOA Mid-State Opportunity program that pays youth between the ages of 16 and 24 to learn and gain job experience, including completing a high school equivalency.
Play Golf or Tennis at the Tunica National
If you enjoy golf or tennis, or you would like to learn how to play, Tunica National has a beautiful golf course. You can schedule a time to play or you can sign up for classes. Get involved by becoming part of tournament play. If you want to perfect your tennis playing style, there are classes in that, too. Not up for sports yourself but have someone in the family who is? You can relax in the Tunica National Clubhouse at Murphy’s Bar and Grill. Or you can book the conference room for your next business meeting.
Do Guided Hunting
Hunting and fishing have long been a way of life along the Mississippi, especially when times are hard. But no one loves having a hunter turn up on their back doorstep, thinking that he is still in the National Park. Enjoy hunting the right way with guided hunting tours sponsored by one of several outdoor and hunting services near Tunica. Be sure to reserve your spot before hunting season starts.