Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Vicksburg National Military Park is a park that protects and preserves a significant campaign in the Civil War. This park is home to over 1,400 memorials and monuments that commemorate and teach about the brave soldiers who fought in the battle at Vicksburg during the Civil War.
Over a half million tourists each year explore this park and learn about this significant historical time. From touring actual gunboats from the Civil War to stopping in the national cemetery for a quiet moment honoring our veterans, and from ranger-led programs to living history programs, there’s no shortage of things to learn at this national military park.
How To Get to Vicksburg National Military Park
Where Is Vicksburg National Military Park?
Vicksburg National Military Park overlooks the Mississippi River and is in the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. This national military park covers 1,728 acres of protected battlefield land, including the Union and Confederate trenches. This national park is 45 miles from the state capital, Jackson, Mississippi.
Vicksburg National Military Park Opening Hours and Seasons
Vicksburg National Military Park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. The park closes for New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. The visitor center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, and the tour road is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. No vehicles may enter after 4:40 p.m.
Nearest Airports to Vicksburg National Military Park
Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN) is the closest airport to Vicksburg National Military Park. This airport is located 50 miles east of the park in Jackson.
JAN offers direct flights to many U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Washington, D.C., and many more connecting flights. This airport serves many popular airlines, such as American, Delta, Southwest, and United.
This airport is the best and closest option for those flying into the Vicksburg National Military Park area. Once arriving at the airport, you can easily rent a vehicle or arrange a way to arrive at the park.
Driving to Vicksburg National Military Park
There are a couple of routes to take to Vicksburg National Military Park, depending on which area you are coming from. Interstate 20 West can be taken to Vicksburg from the nearest airport in the east. Those coming from the north will use Interstate 55 South toward Jackson.
Taking the Train to Vicksburg National Military Park
Visiting Vicksburg National Military Park by train is a great way to enjoy the journey to the park. Amtrak provides daily service to Vicksburg once daily, making it easy to secure tickets during your visit. This train service lets someone else take over the stress of driving in an unfamiliar city.
Taking the Bus to Vicksburg National Military Park
Another great way to arrive at Vicksburg National Military Park is by bus. Bus tickets are affordable and provide an outstanding experience of taking in the scenery along the journey to the park. Greyhound does not have a station in Vicksburg, but it has a pickup point at Corner Market Shopping Center.
Getting Around Vicksburg National Military Park
The best way to get around Vicksburg National Military Park is by private vehicle. This allows you to explore the park at your own pace. Other options include taxis, the city bus, a private tour bus, walking, or bicycling through the park.
The tour road is 16 miles long, with several places to stop and explore; the best option is by personal vehicle. The park offers printable and interactive maps on its website to help you map out your adventures.
What To See and Do in Vicksburg National Military Park
From living history programs to wilderness hiking, and from national cemeteries to ranger-led programs, there’s something that will interest every visitor. Take a look at the top sights and activities at Vicksburg National Military Park to see which items you’d like to add to your itinerary.
Living History Programs
Living History Programs are a major attraction at Vicksburg National Military Park. During the summer, historians will dress in Civil War uniforms, reenact skirmishes, and lead demonstrations teaching about the artillery used during this historic time. There are cannon-firing demonstrations and special tour stops where visitors can take a step back in time and see what life was like during this monumental war.
The Living History Programs only take place during certain months, so be sure to check ahead to ensure the programs are offered during your visit.
There are several types of tours available at Vicksburg National Military Park. Self-guided driving tours, digital tours with the NPS or Vicksburg Battle apps, and CD tours are available for touring this national military park.
The best way to tour Vicksburg National Military Park is to hire a Licensed Battlefield Guide. These tours are about 2 hours long and can be planned for individuals, families, or groups of different sizes. With these tours, a guide rides along in your vehicle and shares their expert knowledge of Vicksburg and the Civil War. There is also an option of touring other areas of historic Vicksburg, should you want to continue your tour outside the park boundaries.
Vicksburg National Military Park offers a variety of ranger-led programs for visitors to participate in and enjoy. The programs teach about the campaign, siege, and occupation of the town of Vicksburg and its role during the Civil War.
The ranger-led programs are free to visitors and typically held during the summer months. These programs are great for visitors of all ages and stages in life and provide a great deal of information about this historic event in American history.
USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum
The USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum acts as another visitor center in the park. It has informative exhibits, a park film, artifacts from the USS Cairo, models, and the authentic USS Cairo that visitors can walk on. Visiting the USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum is a popular stop offering a wealth of history and an opportunity to be immersed in the Civil War.
Vicksburg National Cemetery
There are 2 cemeteries within Vicksburg National Military Park. These cemeteries are a great place to visit to reflect on the sacrifice of those brave soldiers who fought to make significant changes in our nation.
Vicksburg National Cemetery is the site where over 17,000 troops are buried. Approximately 13,000 of the soldiers and sailors are unidentified. This is the largest Union cemetery in America. This cemetery is located at Tour Stop 8 near the USS Cairo Museum.
The visitor center is a great starting point for a visit to Vicksburg National Military Park. The visitor center is staffed with park rangers who are eager to answer any questions you may have about the history of the park or programming questions. This visitor center is located near the park entrance and offers interpretive exhibits, a park film, and public restrooms.
Walking and Hiking
There are many excellent walking and hiking opportunities in Vicksburg National Military Park. These options are perfect for walking, running, biking, or even strolling with kids in a stroller.
The Tour Road is the most commonly used area for walking and hiking. This road is 16 miles long and offers special lanes for walkers and others without a motorized vehicle. The monuments and the battlefield can be viewed while walking this road. Pets and strollers are also welcome.
Wilderness hiking is another option for visitors to enjoy in Vicksburg National Military Park. The Al Scheller Hiking Trail is perfect for hiking enthusiasts as the trail is strenuous. This trail takes visitors through the interior regions of the park and allows hikers to get the perspective of obstacles soldiers experienced during the battles of the Civil War. Victors can obtain a trail booklet at the visitor center.
Best Times To Visit Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg National Military Park is a phenomenal place to visit, no matter which time of year you can. However, there are better times than others to plan a trip if you want to participate in a particular event or experience.
Best Time To Visit Vicksburg National Military Park for Ideal Weather
April is the best time to plan a trip to Vicksburg National Military Park for ideal weather. The temperatures range from the low 50s to the upper 70s, making for comfortable temperatures for walking around and enjoying the sights and attractions. There are approximately 6 days of precipitation in April, so it is wise to come prepared with a rain jacket just to be safe.
Best Time To Visit Vicksburg National Military Park To Avoid the Crowds
Any vacation without the stress of crowds is a win-win situation, which is no different when visiting Vicksburg National Military Park. If you want to explore the park without the stress of traffic and crowds, plan a trip in November. The park is at its busiest in the summer months, but once fall turns into winter, there is a decrease in visitors, making it the perfect time for visiting without crowds.
Best Time To Visit Vicksburg National Military Park for Living History Programs
There are only a few months when there are Living History Programs at Vicksburg National Military Park. The best month to visit this park for these programs is in July. The first days in July offer a variety of programs and tours, while the other months only offer cannon firing demonstrations.
Cheapest Time To Visit Vicksburg National Military Park
November is the best time to visit Vicksburg National Military Park if you want to save money. This is the cheapest month to visit because it is the least crowded time of the year. There are also cheaper rates for flights and accommodations, providing the opportunity to save hundreds when traveling.
Annual Events in Vicksburg National Military Park
There are several programs at Vicksburg National Military Park. Whether you want to brush up on your Civil War knowledge or participate in an annual run, there’s something for everyone at this national military park. Let’s look at some of the major events at Vicksburg National Military Park.
Memorial Day Weekend
The park has special ceremonies and programming offered to celebrate Memorial Day. One of the most beloved events during Memorial Day Weekend is the Memorial Day Flag Placement Event, where visitors can place American flags on the 18,000 headstones in the cemetery. Memorial Day Weekend is a beautiful time to visit and remember the brave ones who fought in the Civil War.
Run Thru History Road
The Run Thru History road race has occurred in Vicksburg National Military Park for the last 44 years. This 10K race is held yearly on the first Saturday in March, no matter the weather. There is also a 1-mile race and a 5K for those who want a shorter course.
The courses for this race are steep and hilly and take runners through the battlefield and past cannons, trenches, and fortifications from the Civil War. Along the trail, participants can view different points of interest, such as monuments and the locations of skirmishes throughout the park.
The race kicks off with a Civil War cannon replica being fired. Taking part in the Run Thru History is a great way to combine exercising and history.
Where To Stay in Vicksburg National Military Park
Planning where to stay during any vacation is one of the top things to do before setting out for a trip. Take a look at some of the best options for setting up a home away from home during your national military park vacation.
Inside the Park
There are no options for lodging within the boundaries of Vicksburg National Military Park.
Towns Near Vicksburg National Military Park
There are several towns near Vicksburg National Military Park. Whether you are looking for a quiet retreat near the river or a post-stay in a luxury hotel, the towns near this national military park offer plenty of options.
Clinton, Mississippi, is a popular town to set up a home base when visiting Vicksburg National Military Park. This suburb of Jackson is about 30 minutes from the park and is a historic town with many lodging, dining, and recreation options.
Several hotels and budget-friendly motels are available for accommodations. Another option is to reserve an Airbnb or stay in one of the many charming locally-owned bed and breakfasts around town.
Choosing a place to eat may be difficult, but it isn’t because there is a shortage of restaurants. Southern diners, authentic cultural restaurants, and seafood and Cajun spots are just some of the top places to eat in this quaint town. No matter what you crave, you can find your hunger solution in Clinton.
There is so much to do, so you can rest assured that boredom won’t be a concern. From strolling the historic brick streets in Olde Towne Clinton to checking out the Clinton Community Nature Center, and from exploring the historic Clinton Visitor Center to listening to the live music in the town center each weekend, there’s much to experience in this town.
Clinton is the perfect place to set up a base camp when visiting Vicksburg National Military Park. Its proximity to the park and the abundance of accommodations, activities, and restaurants make it an excellent choice when visiting.
Vicksburg is a historic town on the Mississippi River that had a major role in the Civil War. It has many historical attractions, accommodations, and dining options, making it an excellent home away from home during your visit to Vicksburg National Military Park.
There are various places to stay, including modern chain hotels, luxury high rises, affordable motels, privately-owned cottages, and bed and breakfasts. Whether you are looking for a quiet retreat, a lively stay, or something in between, Vicksburg has something to suit your needs.
Food enthusiasts are in for a treat — this town has everything from home-cooked southern classics and authentic cultural cuisine to Cajun dives and fresh seafood shacks.
Recreation and entertainment abound in Vicksburg. This town is filled with historical landmarks to explore, such as the antebellum and postbellum homes throughout the town. Many attractions are perfect for history buffs, such as the Old Depot Museum. For visitors who prefer a more exciting stay, there are casinos and many shopping opportunities in Vicksburg.
Where To Eat in Vicksburg National Military Park
There aren’t any places to eat inside the boundaries of Vicksburg National Military Park, but plenty of areas are nearby. Thanks to the wide variety of restaurants in the town of Vicksburg, you won’t have to worry about going hungry during your visit. Let’s explore some of the top-rated restaurants near this park to help you plan your itinerary.
10 South Rooftop Bar & Grill
10 South Rooftop Bar and Grill is a 6-minute drive from the park and is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday and brunch on Saturday. 10 South Rooftop is located on the rooftop of the First National Building and provides amazing meals with stunning views of the city of Vicksburg.
The menu features a mix of Southern staples, Cajun favorites, and a good mix of everything else. Customers rave about the cowboy ribeye, the king cake bread puddin’, and the buttermilk fried chicken with maple chili glaze.
10 South Rooftop Bar and Grill is a great place to end a day of park exploration. With a long list of signature drinks, phenomenal culinary creations, and a remarkable view of Vicksburg and the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers, you will want to ensure that 10 South Rooftop Bar and Grill makes it to your Vicksburg National Military Park itinerary.
Anchuca is a highly-rated restaurant in the town of Vicksburg, a little over a mile and a half from Vicksburg National Military Park. This casual but elegant restaurant offers award-winning Southern gourmet creations in a historic mansion and inn.
The menu offers appetizers, popular Southern entrees, homemade desserts, and an extensive selection of fine wines and signature drinks. Customer favorites include surf and turf, shrimp and grits, and fried catfish.
For a true taste of the south, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to dine at Anchuca when visiting Vicksburg National Military Park.
Rusty’s Riverfront Grill
Rusty’s Riverfront Grill is a little over 2 miles from Vicksburg National Military Park and a great place to stop when hunger strikes.
This restaurant serves a delicious selection of Cajun favorites, fresh seafood, and high-quality cuts of meat. Some of the favorite menu items of guests and locals include crab cakes, fried pickles, fried catfish, fried green tomatoes, and Mississippi mud pie.
Vicksburg National Military Park Facts
1. A Newly-Established Vicksburg National Military Park
On February 21, 1899, Vicksburg National Military Park was established. Ownership of this area was originally with the U.S. Department of War but was transferred to the U.S. Department of Interior in August 1933.
2. The Art Park of the World
Famous architects and sculptors were commissioned shortly after Vicksburg National Military Park was established to use their skills and talents to honor the soldiers and sailors who fought throughout the Vicksburg campaign. The first memorial was dedicated in 1903, and over 95% of the other monuments were constructed before 1917. A Civil War veteran called Vicksburg National Military Park the art park of the world, and the nickname stuck.
3. A Monumental Park
Today, there are over 1,400 monuments, markers, and tablets that are scattered throughout the landscape of Vicksburg National Military Park. These monuments are to commemorate the park’s purpose and the veterans whose legacy is founded on this major historical event.
4. Age is Just a Number
Vicksburg National Military Park was the fifth national military park in the National Park System. It is the eighth oldest national park in the U.S.
5. An Abundance of Animals
A wide variety of animals make their home in Vicksburg National Military Park. Turkey vultures, squirrels, and snakes are commonly seen throughout the park. While these aren’t seen often, bobcats, alligators, and beavers also make their home in this area of Mississippi. They are just more secretive in their movements and aren’t often seen by visitors.
When visiting Vicksburg National Military Park, history buffs and tourists are in for a treat. There is so much to learn and discover about this Civil War era in this park.
From hiking to museums to standing in awe of the national cemetery and ancient monuments, this park has so much to offer for an exceptional vacation. Book your trip to Vicksburg National Military Park and see what brings in so many guests from around the world each year.
Featured Image Credit: Joe Forget via Unsplash
Frequently Asked Questions
Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee when visiting Vicksburg National Military Park. A private vehicle costs $20, and those entering on foot or by bicycle will pay a fee of $10 per person.
At least 3 kinds of poisonous snakes call Vicksburg National Military Park home. The best way to avoid encounters with these snakes is to stay on the pathways, roads, and sidewalks.
Dogs are welcome to visit Vicksburg National Military Park with their owners if they agree to follow the pet regulations. Cleaning up after pet waste and keeping the pet leashed and supervised at all times are the mandatory guidelines when visiting the park with your 4-legged friends.
The weather varies throughout the year at Vicksburg National Military Park. Spring and fall are comfortable seasons with warm, sunny days and cool nights. The temperatures range from the low 40s to the high 70s during the fall and spring. The winters in Vicksburg are fairly mild, with temperatures ranging from the low 30s to the upper 50s. Summertime is hot and humid, with daytime temperatures ranging from 80 to 100 degrees and mornings in the low 70s.
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