15 Best Things to Do in Tunica, MS

sunset sky Tunica, MS
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The city of Tunica is the seat of Tunica County in Mississippi, USA.

Tunica was formerly one of the poorest cities in the country until city officials legalized casino gambling in the early 1990s.

Yet despite the city's improving economic situation, Tunica's population had declined since its apex in 1970.

The city got its name from the Tunica Indians, who used to live in the region.

Tunica is Tunica County's fourth county seat, replacing its previous seats, namely Commerce, Peyton, and Austin.

Tunica became well-known due to the open sewage in its impoverished "Sugar Ditch Alley" district.

As a result of constructing a neighboring casino resort near the Mississippi River in the early 1990s, the city's fortunes have improved considerably.

While the population has grown mostly outside of Tunica, many residents work at the large casinos.

Today, Tunica is one of the top entertainment destinations in the South, just a 20-minute drive from Memphis.

Visitors come from as far away as Memphis, Tennessee, West Memphis, Arkansas, and Southeast.

Tunica Resorts, located just outside of Tunica's downtown, has taken over the city's existing casinos.

Aside from casinos, there are many more attractions that will make your getaway to this city worthwhile.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Tunica, Mississippi:

Go Back in Time at Tunica Museum

Outside View of Tunica Museum
Djpinnow, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Tunica Museum is a local history museum in Tunica, Mississippi.

Founded in 1997 by a group of passionate residents, it drew funds from casino-generated revenue.

It aims to maintain Tunic County culture, commemorate its inhabitants' accomplishments, and give the historical interpretation of significant local events.

There are 6,500 square feet of static exhibit space and transient exhibit space that's 1,600 square feet, which features historically significant aspects of the region.

Closer View of Tunica Museum
Thomas R Machnitzki, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Its exhibit showcases a wide range of topics such as the natural environment, Native American prehistory, early European discovery, and agricultural, social, institutional, military,  political, and business history from 19th and 20th century Americas.

The museum also houses Tunica County's oldest log cabin.

It is open to the public and has self-guided tours.

Sweat it Out at GW Henderson Recreation Center

In this recreation center, get fit or go home!

Here, you can get a daily pass and sweat it out in its full-court gym, or on the tennis or racquetball courts, in the indoor Olympic-size pool, or in the cardio and weight rooms, which are all of the latest technological advances in their field.

In addition to providing gym space, this facility has 21,000 square feet.

There are other facilities for individual or group use, including a computer lab, an art lab, a kitchen, and a conference room.

Additionally, the facility's softball and baseball grounds cater to sporting events in the city and the region in general organized by the facility's knowledgeable staff.

Hop Into Tunica Queen Riverboat Cruise

If you want a relaxing way to experience Tunica, you and your family may join the 400-seat cruise ship by Tunica Queen for a river tour down the Tunica River.

Guests will enjoy a 1.5-hour informative excursion along the Mississippi River on the peaceful sightseeing cruise, which has a Captain's commentary on local sites and the river's history.

Adult entry costs $15, while senior admission costs $14.

For children aged 3 to 11, entry costs $7.50.

Enjoy Arkabutla Lake's Different Activities

Located on the Coldwater River, Arkabutla Lake has an average elevation of 67 feet, thanks to its 11,500-foot dam.

The lake underwent construction following Coldwater River's Arkabutla Dam's completion in 1940.

Around 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Arkabutla, Mississippi, the dam lies on the scenic Arkabutla Dam Road.

With Sardis, Enid, and Grenada lakes, it is part of the Flood Damage Reduction System in northern Mississippi.

The Arkabutla Lake project consists of over 57,000 acres (231.7 km2) of land and water development.

Hunting, hiking, strolling, fishing, and kayaking are just a few of the activities available at the lake throughout the year.

Check Out Movie Memorabilia at Hollywood Casino

Movie Memorabilia exhibits at Hollywood Casino
Thomas R Machnitzki, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Are you a movie enthusiast?

Hollywood Casino features authentic movie artifacts, such as Michael J. Fox's DeLorean in the hit sci-fi movie Back to the Future, outfits from The Terminator and Forrest Gump, as well as an actual replica of the Titanic.

Movie Memorabilia at Hollywood Casino
Thomas R Machnitzki, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It lies in the heart of the Tunica Resorts at Casino Strip Boulevard.

It is open to the public and is entirely free.

After checking out the small museum, you may also explore the Hollywood Casino lobby and gaming floor.

Movie Memorabilia exhibits at Hollywood Casino
Thomas R Machnitzki, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Watch Live Musical Performances at River Palace Entertainment Center

A casino named Sam's Townhouses, the River Palace Entertainment Center, hosts some of the top touring performers in the country on a year-round basis.

A vast stage and comfortable seats around the venue ensure no terrible amenities here throughout the performance.

There are 1,600 seats at River Palace Arena, which hosts live music performances.

Performers ranging from top-charting singers to some of the country's most famous variety acts will be on hand for you to enjoy.

Headlining bands from folk, bluegrass, and country will perform for festivalgoers on Saturdays and Sundays.

Explore Gateway to the Blues Visitor Center and Museum

The Gateway to the Blues Visitor Center & Museum, housed in an actual 1895 railroad depot, will provide tourists with background information about the region.

This Visitor Center is a must-see for anybody traveling down the world-renowned Blues Highway 61 to the Mississippi Delta.

It is Tunica County's lone remaining railroad depot, although its operator has removed the rails it serviced 40 years ago.

The tourist center project included restoring the depot while preserving its rustic appeal.

The Gateway to the Blues Museum, a 3,800-square-foot attraction, is devoted to blues music and the region's heritage.

You're even able to create your own blues tune right here at this museum!

W.C. Handy, a bandleader, dubbed the "Father of the Blues," has performed frequently at the station, according to the Hoods.

It also features the sharecropper's cottage where Muddy Waters lived and several of his legendary guitars.

Explore the Rock & Blues Museum, which will take you on a journey through the history of blues, starting with its origins in the Delta and ending when it met rock and roll.

Go Vintage-Hunting at AnnTiques

AnnTiques buys, sells, and sources estates as well as unique collectibles.

It features antique, vintage, and mid-century decorative arts and modern furniture.

AnnTiques multi-generational collection of antique items, vintage décor, furniture, art, and jewelry sprung up in an old house full of such things.

Its jewelry varies from antique to vintage to tribal styles, which can be elegant and avant-garde for a premier event or business meeting or just plain fun to wear for fun's sake.

It also sells rugs, linens, clothes, and other textiles from the early to mid-twentieth century.

Original and historical works of art, as well as antique prints, are available.

A mix of antique and mid-century contemporary pieces fill the space; ornamental embellishments go well with any setting.

Their collections include Italian, Danish, American, English, and French styles ranging from formal to informal.

Place Your Bets at Horseshoe Tunica Hotel & Casino

View of Horseshoe Tunica Hotel & Casino
hotels.com, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Horseshoe Tunica is a state-of-the-art casino hotel about 30 minutes from Memphis.

He called it after his father's famed Binion's Horseshoe gaming hall, which inspired Jack Binion's design.

This casino is an excellent choice for avid gamblers, especially those who enjoy table games, but it also has different types of slot machines and video poker machines.

The casino is well-known for its accommodating regulations and generous comps.

Contemporary in design, each hotel room has a separate living space with a coffeemaker and a flat-screen TV.

Private bedrooms and wet bars are available in the hotel's upscale 15th-floor suites.

There are five restaurants, a gym, an outdoor pool, and a live performance space for guests to enjoy.

Hunt for Ducks With Beaver Dam Hunting Services

Are you a fan of duck hunting?

Beaver Dam Hunting Services is offering guided hunts in ideal duck habitats such as the Mississippi Flyway in South Tunica.

It started operation in 1982.

Situated between the Mississippi and Coldwater rivers, this top area and habitat are ideal for hunting deer, from ancient rivers lined with towering cypress trees to buckbrush swamps and inundated grain fields.

Every year, a significant number of ducks migrate through this area on their way south.

Tunica's nine casino resorts are all within easy driving distance, so you can enjoy a long weekend with pals when hunting season is in full swing.

Pay Respects to Fallen Heroes at Town of Tunica Veterans Memorial

If you're in proximity to Rivergate Park, you might as well pay respects at Town of Tunica Veterans Memorial.

Main Street's Veterans Memorial Plaza features a seven-foot-tall bronze statue depicting three soldiers standing guard.

Flags are flying for each branch of the armed forces, and plaques honor those who died and other casualties on September 11, 2001.

You may also relax at the park while enjoying the view of the surrounding.

Play at 1st Jackpot Casino

Tunica won't be a casino city without a bounty of gambling facilities.

Next on our list is 1st Jackpot Casino.

This casino used to be a hotel at Tunica Resorts.

Today, Gaming & Leisure Properties operates the resort.

At the casino, there are 899 slot machines and 16 table games spread over 46,535 square feet.

As of May 2017, Gaming & Leisure Properties purchased the Bally's and Resorts Tunica's properties and renamed the casino 1st Jackpot Casino Tunica in September.

Later on, the owners decided to demolish the hotel.

Timber and velvet seats, reminiscent of the opulent eras of America's past, are used to create a vintage 1800s Delta theme.

Splash at Tunica RiverPark

Outside View of Tunica RiverPark
Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The river park complex features a marina, a visitor center, and an informative nature experience.

It lies in a 168-acre property along the Mississippi River.

It also has a museum.

To learn more about the Mississippi Delta's history and the country's longest river, the Mississippi River Museum is the place to be.

View of Tunica RiverPark
Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It reopened in 2012 with various interactive displays and seasonal exhibitions highlighting different parts of Delta culture.

The owners decided to excavate the riverbank to create the harbor, providing room for huge tourist boats and smaller private ships

The 37,000 square-foot Visitors Center features an aquarium with fish from the Mississippi River.

View of Tunica RiverPark
Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Other amenities include a spacious lobby, concessions area, gift shop, classroom, and conference room.

The structure includes an observation deck with a view of the river as well. It features interpretive material about the river's wetland ecology, as well as nature paths.

They also added earth mounds and small levees as new interpretative earth elements to explain historical river levels in this region.

Take a Swing at Tunica National Golf and Tennis

A day on the golf course should be part of every vacation or getaway experience in Tunica.

However, even if you only have a few hours to spare, this convenient location provides you with a quick escape.

It is an 18-hole championship course owned by Mark McCumber, a pro tour golfer. It lies in the heart of the Tunica resort region.

The facility features a tournament-level course.

There are no other facilities like its indoor clay-court tennis in the region.

Golf and tennis coaching at a professional level is available for individual and group options.

The Pro Shop at Tunica National offers a large assortment of equipment for tennis and golf and clothes for those who don't already have them.

It's no surprise that Tunica National's clubhouse is a local favorite to gather for lunch or a drink after a round of golf.

Tunica National has a monthly trivia night at the clubhouse and special holiday activities throughout the year.

For anyone planning a professional or business event, this facility is an excellent choice for golf and tennis tournaments, as well as other sporting activities.

Try Your Luck at Gold Strike Casino

Another casino on our list, Gold Strike, is a more easygoing casino hotel in Tunica.

It is about a few miles from the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau and about 20 minutes outside of Memphis.

Curcus Circus, the resort's previous name, was debuted in 1994 under a circus tent-inspired design.

The resort has 1,133 modern and spacious rooms, including 125 suites, the conference and convention center, the Courtyard Buffet, the Atrium Café, and the award-winning Chicago Steakhouse restaurant.

It also features a Red Door nightclub, a spa, an 800-seat theater, and a 50,000-square foot gaming space with over 1,400 slot machines and 52 table games.

As one of Tunica's most distinctive structures, the resort's hotel stands 31 floors high.

Final Thoughts

Tunica is well-known for being a top casino destination.

Still, the city offers a wide range of family-friendly attractions and activities that entertain while informing, educating, and inspiring.

Tunica family getaways provide visitors of all ages the opportunity to immerse themselves in Southeastern culture, local wildlife, and the history of the region through nature trails and museums.