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Named after President Grover Cleveland, Cleveland is a lively city near Mississippi’s border with Arkansas. It was established in the mid-19th century following a migration inland from the Mississippi River, with the arrival of the Louisville, New Orleans & Texas Railroad helping to stimulate growth. While the town was a focus of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Joseph S. Clark, Jr.’s “War on Poverty” during the 1960s, it’s more renowned for its associations with legendary Delta Blues musicians.
Today, Cleveland’s proximity to the wildlife refuges and state parks of Mississippi’s west make it a popular place to rent an RV. It’s home to excellent museums exploring the musical and railroad legacy of the region, as well as being just a stone’s throw from B.B. King’s hometown of Indianola.
Pick up your RV rental in Cleveland and make the short drive west to the Dahomey National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1990 by the Nature Conservancy. It encompasses the last remaining tract of bottomland hardwood wetlands in Mississippi’s northwest and provides a vital habitat for migratory birds thanks to its location along the Mississippi Flyway. Highlights include sightings of prothonotary warblers and hooded merganser, as well as the black and white marbled salamander.
Also nearby is the Great River Road State Park, which sprawls around the waters of Perry Martin Lake near the city of Rosedale. This 25-acre oxbow lake along the Mississippi River is a popular fishing destination, with a boat ramp so you can get out on the water to catch bass, white perch, and catfish. There’s also a children’s playground where the kids can let loose, as well as scenic walking trails along the water’s edge.
An hour’s drive south of Cleveland near Hollandale is the Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge, which is named after the Yazoo tribe of the Native American Tunica people. It encompasses more than 12,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods, cypress swamps, and agricultural fields that provide a nesting and feeding habitat for migratory birds along the Mississippi Flyway. Follow the Holt Collier Boardwalk that leads to an observation platform overlooking Lizard Lake where you can spot pied-billed grebes, wading birds, and American alligators or head to Alligator Pond and its observation tower for spotting purple gallinules and green herons.
Book a motorhome rental in Cleveland and head south to Willie’s Last Resort, which is situated in the city of Indianola. It’s both pet and big rig-friendly, with full hookups (30 and 50 amp service) and level concrete sites that are within walking distance of supermarkets and the city sights.
Or, drive north to the Coahoma County Expo Center RV Park, which also caters to big rigs. There’s a good selection of gravel sites with full hookups (30 and 50 amp service), and pets are welcome to stay with you.
Book an RV rental near Cleveland and head to the Grammy Museum Mississippi, which focuses on the musical legacy of the Mississippi Delta and the people who influenced the industry. There’s an impressive collection of hands-on displays that detail the evolution of American music, including interactive dance instruments and the opportunity to learn dance moves from Grammy winner Ne-Yo. Learn about the Texas Blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan and the music of legendary Mississippi-native musicians, such as B.B. King, Elvis Presley, and Robert Johnson.
Another museum not to miss is the Martin & Sue King Railroad Museum, which illustrates the railroad history of Mississippi and its impact on the development of Cleveland and the surrounding region. Browse the railroad artifacts on display that include vintage tools and old timetables while learning about the arrival of the Louisville, New Orleans & Texas Railroad in 1884. Admire what is one of the largest O-gauge model railroads in the United States’ southeast, together with a caboose dating to 1941.
If you’re interested in the region’s musical legacy, make the short drive south to Indianola where you’ll find the B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center. It occupies a restored brick cotton gin building where B.B. King worked during the 1940s, with his personal belongings and exhibits about his life now displayed. Learn about the Delta Blues music for which he was renowned, then pay your respects to King, who is buried in the museum’s memorial garden.
Cleveland is home to numerous grocery stores where you can pick up supplies, as well as a good selection of fast food restaurants and eateries for dining out. There are also gas stations if you need to fill up your campervan rental in Cleveland.
Whether you’re visiting Bolivar County for its wildlife refuges or Delta Blues music, book an RV in Cleveland and start exploring!