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Situated in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, Indianola is a small city and the seat of Sunflower County. It was established in the late 19th century as “Indian Bayou” due to its setting on a former Choctaw Indian village before changing its name to “Eureka,” “Belengate,” and eventually, “Indianola” (in honor of an Indian princess named “Ola”). It centers around a charming historic district and is renowned for its associations with early and mid-20th-century Blues musicians, such as B.B. King.
Today, Indianola’s musical legacy is celebrated at a fantastic museum and along the Mississippi Blues Trail that winds its way through the city. Its proximity to wildlife refuges and pristine bottomland hardwood forests make it an ideal place to rent an RV while exploring western Mississippi.
Pick up your RV rental in Indianola and make the short drive southwest to the Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge near Hollandale, which encompasses more than 12,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods, cypress swamps, and agricultural fields. It’s named after the Yazoo tribe of the Native American Tunica people and provides a vital resting, nesting, and feeding habitat for migratory birds along the Mississippi Flyway. There’s an observation platform along the Holt Collier Boardwalk that offers superb birdwatching, as well as a tower overlooking Alligator Pond where American alligators can be seen.
Or, you can drive southeast to the Morgan Brake National Wildlife Refuge, which forms part of the more extensive Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Aside from its bottomland habitats, it also encompasses rare loess bluffs along the east side of the refuge that attract large numbers of wintering waterfowl. Around 250 bird species have been recorded in the refuge, including numerous neotropical species, together with deer, squirrels, and raccoons.
Just over an hour’s drive south of Indianola is the Delta National Forest, a 60,898-acre protected area and the only bottomland hardwood national forest in the United States. Of particular note are the Green Ash-Overcup Oak-Sweetgum Research Natural Areas, with these pristine bottomland hardwood forests now designated as National Natural Landmarks. More than 45 miles of multi-use trails traverse its rare landscapes, including those that are accessible to ATVs.
Book a travel trailer rental in Indianola and pull into one of the level concrete sites at Willie’s Last Resort, which is situated on the eastern edge of the city. There is a range of full hookups (30 and 50 amp service) that are within walking distance of grocery stores and city sights, with pets welcome to stay with you.
Or, make the short drive west of Indianola to the Delta Village Mobile Home & RV Park in Leland where you’ll find a row of 15 RV sites with full hookups. This pet-friendly campground has numerous barbecue areas where you can mingle with other guests, as well as bathrooms with hot showers.
Park your RV rental near Indianola and enjoy a stroll through the Indianola Historic District, which has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s renowned for its Queen Anne style buildings and Tudor Revival architecture, with a highlight being the First Baptist Church with its soaring white columns. If you’re interested in the city’s musical legacy, be sure to explore the Mississippi Blues Trail, with interpretive markers detailing the significance of each location along the route.
Another musical destination not to miss is the B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center, which occupies a restored brick cotton gin building where B.B. King once worked. It houses a range of engaging exhibits that explore his life and legacy, including personal belongings and memorabilia. Aside from showcasing the people behind the Delta Blues, the museum is also home to the burial site of B.B. King in a beautiful memorial garden.
A short drive north of Indianola will take you to Cleveland, which is home to the Grammy Museum Mississippi, a sister institution to the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. It features an impressive range of interactive exhibits where you can get hands-on with instruments and even learn dance movies from Grammy award-winning artists. While the museum details the evolution of American music in general, there is a focus on the legacy of Mississippi-native musicians, such as B.B. King, Elvis Presley, and Robert Johnson.
Indianola is home to a couple of supermarkets where you can pick up groceries, as well as a handful of fast food restaurants and eateries for dining out. There are also gas stations if you need to fill up your campervan rental in Indianola.
Whether you’re visiting Sunflower County for its wildlife refuges or music museums, book an RV in Indianola and start planning your Mississippi excursion.