Imagine a journey on a highway so scenic that you marvel at every turn. Now imagine there are no neon signs, billboards, motels, restaurants, or any other commercial enterprises on this highway--nothing but the sheer natural beauty of our great nation.
Could such a highway exist? If it did, wouldn’t you want to add this great American RV road trip to your bucket list? Well, it does exist. It’s 444 miles long and right in the heartland of America.
Introducing the Natchez Trace Parkway
The Natchez Trace Parkway begins in Natchez, MS and winds its way north to Nashville, TN. It is a two-lane highway with a 50 mph speed limit, and it is perfect for RVing.
The history behind this road goes back to before the steam engine was invented. Back then, traders would take their goods by boat down the Mississippi River to Natchez, which was the cultural and commercial capital of the Old South.
But the traders couldn’t travel back upstream because there were no powered boats. Instead, they sold everything they had, including what was left of their boats, and took a land route back to Nashville. The trail they traveled was called the Old Natchez Trace. Today, the Natchez Trace Parkway follows the Old Natchez Trace all the way from Natchez to Nashville.
Top Things to See and Do on the Natchez Trace Parkway
The beauty of the Trace is stunning. The serenity of the drive will mesmerize you. We did the full trip from Natchez to Nashville, so our list is in that order. If you are heading south from Nashville, just reverse the order. (Note that MP = mile post)
- MP 0: Walk along the mighty Mississippi River in Natchez, MS. (Free)
- MP 10.3: Climb the Native American Emerald Mound. (Free)
- MP 15.5: Visit Mount Locust, the only historic inn still standing from the Old Natchez Trace. (Free)
- MP 30: Try the most amazing fried chicken you’ll ever have at Old Country Store in Lorman, MS. (It’s not on the Trace. Exit at MP 30; it’s a quick drive there and back and you won't want to miss it!)
- MP 41.5: Walk along the original Natchez Trace at Sunken Trace, one of the most photographed stops along the way. (Free)
- MP 60: If you are adventurous (which of course you are), take a quick detour over to Vicksburg, MS and find out why Abraham Lincoln called Vicksburg the key to victory during the Civil War. Make sure you drive through Vicksburg National Military Park.
- MP 122: Stroll through Cypress Swamp. Just the name makes you want to stop, doesn’t it? This is a short walk over flat terrain and one you won’t regret. (Free)
- MP 180.7: Stretch your legs at French Camp, a historic area with a cute little gift shop and café a stone’s throw from the Trace.
- MP 260: You’re in Tupelo, MS, the birthplace of Elvis! So stop by his childhood home and the associated museum.
- MP 303: Exit here toward Red Bay, AL if you want to visit Tiffin Motorhomes World Headquarters. Tiffin manufactures some of the best RVs on the market, and the tour of the factory is free (about 17 miles off the Trace).
- MP 308.9: Be sure to stop and stay at Tishomingo State Park in your RV. The park is stunning, and don’t miss the swinging bridge! You’ll thank me for this later.
- MP 385.9: Pay your respects to Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame, who is buried here. We named our RV “Meriwether” after him. This is a must-see for any history buff. (Free)
- MP 391.9: Marvel at Fall Hollow Waterfall. Don’t miss this stop. It is gorgeous and it takes just a few minutes to walk down for the best view of the falls. (Free)
- MP 428: Make your way to Leiper’s Fork. It’s a small town that should be on everyone’s must-see list while driving up the Trace. Stop at Puckett’s Grocery for a country style meal.
Things You Need to Know About Driving an RV on the Natchez Trace Parkway
We drove the entirety of the Trace in a 32,000-pound, 40-foot Tiffin Phaeton that is 12 feet 9 inches high. You should double-check the following before you travel:
- Maximum length is 55 feet, including the vehicle you are towing.
- Maximum height on your RV is 14 feet. Most RVs should be fine with this height restriction. If you think you are close, check!
- Maximum weight of your RV is 40,000 pounds. If you exceed this weight, we’d be shocked. But be safe and double check.
- Most stops along the Trace are RV-friendly, with a few exceptions. Any stop with a sign that says “No Circular Drive” is not for RVs.
Free Places to Stay in Your RV on the Natchez Trace Parkway
There are no hookups and no reservations at these campgrounds, but they are free! All spots are first come, first served.
- Rocky Springs at Milepost 54.8 (22 sites, pull through and back in, water fountain, hiking)
- Jeff Busby at Milepost 193.1 (18 sites, pull through and back in, water fountain, hiking)
- Meriwether Lewis at Milepost 385 (32 sites, pull through and back in, water fountain, hiking)
Final Thoughts on the Natchez Trace Parkway
This is one of America’s last great roads. It is difficult to comprehend how beautiful and peaceful this route is until you’ve driven it. We can’t recommend this adventure highly enough.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you. And, of course, contact your Trusted Choice® independent agent for your RV insurance needs.