Where the Trail
Welcome to Houston, Mississippi!
If you're interested in experiencing true Mississippi, along with bike trails, horseback riding, ATV trails, championship fishing, hiking, hunting and camping, then Houston is the perfect base of operations. Located near the midpoint of the Natchez Trace Parkway, thirty minutes from the commercial center of Tupelo, and a pleasant one hour drive from both Oxford and Starkville, Houston has so much to offer. We hope you'll come visit.
WHAT TO DO...
The Tanglefoot Trail
Rolling through the bucolic hills of North Mississippi, this 44-mile cycling trail (the longest in the state) was converted from an abandoned railroad. The route, which is straight and flat, courses through rolling fields and woodlands, passing through quaint hamlets and old Indian territory. The beginning of the trail is at its southern gateway, near downtown Houston’s shops and restaurants. Definitely worth a visit!
For more information: www.tanglefoottrail.com.
The Natchez Trace Parkway
Located at milepost 230, Houston is the halfway point on the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway. The Natchez Trace, which runs from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi allows for no commercial traffic and is popular with cyclists from around the world. Houston’s location near the halfway point make it the perfect place from which to explore the parkway, with many nearby points of interest, camping, hiking and other recreational opportunities. Furthermore, Houston’s designation as the southern gateway to the Tanglefoot Trail, allows cyclists easy exploration of both cycling-only and cycling-friendly routes.
For more information: www.nps.gov/natr/
Just off the Natchez Trace and only a few miles from downtown Houston, Stinkin’ Jim’s Horse camp has become famous for its southern hospitality, rustic, yet comfortable, facilities and miles and miles of horse trails. The camp, which sits on 120 shaded acres, offers both primitive and RV camping and even bunkhouses. The horses have their area, too, with 80 horse stalls and five horse paddocks. With over 19 miles of well-maintained trails, visitors spend a full day riding before heading back to camp. More adventurous riders will want to experience the “haunted” Witch Dance Trail, which consistently ranks as one of the more haunted southern destinations and has been featured on SyFy’s Ghost Hunters. The camp also has a number of gathering places where visitors can congregate to eat, dance and listen to music. Home cooked meals are offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most organized rides take place over the weekends, but Stinkin’ Jim’s Horse Camp is open seven days a week for camping and riding in the National Forest. It is an ideal place for horse people who love the outdoors, but also love a little adventure through legendary haunted trails, music, dancing and all kinds of fun. For more information about Stinkin’ Jim’s Horse Camp and its organized trail rides visit their Facebook page.
PAYMANTHA HORSE TRAILS
The Paymantha Horse trails are located within the Tombigbee National Forest off Hwy. 32 East between Houston and Okolona. The trails are free to the public and may be used for horseback riding. No vehicles are allowed. The entrance to the trails features trailer parking and a picnic pavilion. Restroom facilities are available. A day ride on the Payamatha Horse trail will take horse and rider through the natural beauty of the National Forest to the Witchdance trails of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Witchdance has a rich history of legends of paranormal activity and ghosts. The site is said to have received its name from stories of witches holding ceremonies along the Natchez Trace. According to the tales, wherever the witches’ feet touched the ground, the grass withered and never grew back. Today the trails are a popular spot for horseback riding with picnic tables and hitching posts provided at no charge.
CHICKASAW COUNTY AGRI-CENTER
The newly renovated Chickasaw County Agri-Center holds a number of popular events throughout the year at its 500-seat indoor arena, and outdoor arena, located just south of town. Events include horse shows, rodeos, team roping, barrel races and more and both arenas are set up with roping boxes, derigging shoots and return alleys. When the Center is not hosting an event, it is available for rental for personal use or for events. For more information, check out their Facebook Page.
Located just south of Houston, in the village of Woodland, Mudslangers Outdoor Off-road park offers 560 acres of rolling hills, mud and sand pits and longer trails that are open to ATVs and UTVs. The trails are well maintained and occasional night rides are hosted. When you're not riding you can visit the duck pond for a relaxing break and a chance to meet other riders or check out the concession stand which serves backyard BBQ fare and crawfish when in season. Visitors are advised to bring fuel and other necessities with them to the camp, as it's a bit of a drive to the nearest c-store. The park is open most weekends March through October, but they're sometimes not. Always best to call before you haul. Mudlangers telephone number is (662) 631-9821. Entry is $10 and primitive camping is available. Also, be sure to check out their Facebook page for general information and to learn about the special events, including concerts, that they have throughout the year.
Chickasaw ATV Trail
Located just north of town, in the Tombigbee National Forest near village of New Houlka, this public, 12-mile trail winds through a mixed pine and hardwood forest and around several scenic lakes and ponds. The smooth and hardpacked trail with light climbs is perfect for a leisurely ride. Visitors should note that the trail is only open to machines that are 48 inches or less in width. The staging area has a vault toilet, informational kiosk and a self-service pay station. The trail is open daily, sun up until sun down, and motorized use is permitted between April and October. While the trail does not have its own website, fans of the trail have built a Facebook page which includes information, videos and more.
Davis Lake covers 200 acres and provides multiple recreational opportunities. A grassy swimming beach is situated on the shore, where many anglers cast for largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, crappie, catfish and bream. The campground has 14 sites on the lake, many of them with space to anchor a boat. A 2-mile trail wanders along the north edge of the lake to several earthen fishing piers.
Visitors can also spend time birding, watching for a variety of geese and ducks that migrate through the area. Hawks, herons, bluebirds and doves are also plentiful, among many other species. Wildlife viewing is also available, as foxes and bobcats call the area home. For more information, click here.
Located within the city of Houston and only about a quarter mile from the Tanglefoot Trail, Legion Lake is a great place for a picnic or an afternoon of bank fishing with the kids. Stocked annually by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries with bass and catfish, this little lake also plays host to the city’s popular fishing rodeo held each Spring. The lake is located at 248 Dulaney Street.
Davis Lake Recreational Area
Just 12 miles north of Houston, Davis Lake Recreation Area is home to beautiful Davis Lake Campground and Day Use Area, popular for all kinds of recreational opportunities, including swimming, fishing, boating, birding and wildlife viewing. The surrounding scenic forests make Davis Lake a picturesque place to spend quality time outdoors.
The campground, which includes over two dozen sites (RV camping and tent camping) is situated in a hilly, mixed hardwood and pine forest that stretches along the eastern shore of the lake. It is located within 4 miles of the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile drive through exceptional scenery and 10,000 years of North American history. Campsites are equipped with tables, lantern posts and campfire rings with grills. Drinking water is provided. For more information, click here.
Witch Dance Cycling Campground
Famous for being one of the most “haunted” campgrounds in America, The Witch Dance Bicycle-only Campground is located just outside of Houston at milepost 234 along the Natchez Trace Parkway. This area is also the staging area for the Witch Dance horse trail on the Tombigbee National Forest. This campground has restrooms, picnic tables, and drinking water (April through October). Water is available in the restrooms during the winter months when the outdoor water may be turned off. Tent camping is allowed at the picnic tables near the restrooms. By following the sign marked for hiking and horses, you will find the horse staging area. For more information, click here.
Houston Farmers’ Market
Held on Saturday mornings throughout the summer months on Houston’s historic town square, the Houston Farmers’ Market offers the best certified “home-grown” produce and “cottage-made” products the area has to offer. From heirloom tomatoes, to snap beans and melons, local honey, preserves, homemade tamales and more…if it’s in season, you’ll find it here. And be sure to check back to this page, or the Houston Facebook page [https://bit.ly/2wmOMN2], for information about special events like Houston’s Farm to Table Dinner.
Prospect Produce Farms
Located just south of Houston, Prospect Farms is like a farmers’ market every day of the week with produce grown on site. Fresh items like black eyed peas and okra, tomatoes, peaches, squash, peppers, various melons and sweet corn are available throughout the season. Open May through August, Prospect Farms is a great place to pick up some fresh veggies for your camping feast or picnic with friends! For more information, check out their Facebook page.
662-456-6341 | 1230 Hwy 8 W.
Featuring farm-grown vegetables, homemade crafts and housemade canned items such as jams, jellies and relishes, Brooks Farm is a wonderful place to stock up on wholesomeness! As well, on weekends each fall, the farm presents "The Pumpkin Patch at Brooks Farm" which features a corn maze, superslide, games, a playground and a 'Punkin' Chunkin' pumpkin super slingshot! A great place to take the kids and make some lasting memories! You can check out their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Brookspumpkinpatch/
North Mississippi Flywheel Festival
Held in the Spring and Fall, the North Mississippi Flywheel Festival is a celebration of the implements of agriculture from bygone times. Antique flywheel machines and antique tractors and cars, old craft and music demonstrations, tractor pulls, skillet tosses, anvil shoots and a crafts market are all on tap at Joe Brigance Park in Houston twice a year. For more information, check out their Facebook Page.
Chickasaw Heritage Museum & Genealogy Center
If you’re looking to dig into the roots of western Chickasaw County History, or your family roots, the Chickasaw Heritage Museum & Genealogy Center in Houston is a great place to start. The center is comprised of two components, the museum and the genealogical research center. In the museum you can view everything from dinosaur bones and artifacts from ancient history, old farm implements, military contributions from folks who lived in the area, information on cultural icons from Chickasaw County and exhibits focusing on the way people have lived in the area throughout history. In the research center, you can look through old newspapers and records for information on relatives from the area. This area is very popular, bringing in visitors from around the country who wish to explore their Chickasaw County roots. For more information, check out their website at www.chickasawcountyhistorical.com.
Owl Creek Mounds
This archaeological site, located just a few miles north of Houston, was originally composed of five Indian mounds, a central plaza, village area and other key features. Many of these have disappeared over the years, but the central two mounds remain and are preserved in a park area that also features walkways, interpretive panels and a picnic area.
Archaeologists believe the Owl Creek Mounds were probably built 800 to 900 years ago at the height of the Mississippian era. This culture was religious, political, military and commercial in nature and spread over virtually the entire Southeast and parts of the Midwest. It thrived from around 900 A.D. until Europeans arrived on the continent in the 1500s. There is no museum at the site, but the Owl Creek Mounds can be visited in daylight hours 365 days a year. The site is protected and digging or artifact collecting is not allowed and, in fact, is a federal crime. There is no charge to visit. For more information, click here.
Among the oldest of the "Indian mounds" on the Trace are the fascinating Bynum Mounds, located about 6 miles east of Houston on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The twin mounds preserved by the National Park Service are part of a larger group of six mounds that archaeologists believe were built by people of the Woodland period over a 200-year span between 100 B.C. and 100 A.D. They served as burial mounds and fulfilled other ceremonial purposes.
The mounds serve as reminders of the important advances in civilization that swept across the South at about the time they were constructed. This was the time when early Native Americans began making fine pottery, demonstrated significant advancements in the manufacture of tools and objects of art and demonstrated growing proficiency in agriculture.
Such advances allowed them to develop highly organized societies as they were no longer dependent on roaming with the seasons in search of game animals for survival.
An interpretive kiosk at the site helps visitors understand the significance of the Bynum Mounds and provides more information on the people who lived there. A short trail leads from the kiosk to the two mounds. The site is open daily. For more information, click here.
With its own historic marker, and located just a few miles south of Houston, the Sparta Opry has been known for great music for decades. It all started in the early 1990s when a small group of men met in an abandoned house to play music. Now known as the Sparta Opry, with a nod towards country music variety show the Grand Ole Opry, it has become a weekly session of music, food and friendship that regularly brings in crowds of several hundred people. The popularity of the Opry is better understood knowing that the town of Sparta has a population in the neighborhood of 150.
The origins of the Sparta Opry are humble according to organizer Joe Eaton, “Two or three guys got together, picking and singing, and we had a chitlin supper--and it grew from that.” Now an established non-profit organization, the Opry regularly draws crowds from across North Mississippi and West Alabama with special visitors from around the country and the world not uncommon.
Each Friday evening, with only one exception during its entire existence, due to an ice storm, the Opry has taken place. The music, mostly country and bluegrass with assorted gospel tunes, begins promptly at 6:00 in the evening and continues until 9:00. On the third Saturday of each month there is a gospel showcase performance that brings different groups from all over North Mississippi. The Opry never charges an admission fee for its regular events. All musicians and volunteers donate their time and efforts out of a love for traditional music and the Opry itself. Between Friday night shows, the Saturday gospel performances and other private events, the Opry building hosts over 100 performances a year.
For more information about the ‘Opry, check out their Facebook page.
Spring Flywheel Festival
Joe Brigance Park | 635 Starkville Rd
The Spring portion of this twice-yearly festival takes place the last weekend in April. A celebration of the old flywheel machine technologies employed on farms throughout the country in the early twentieth century, the event features flywheel exhibits, an anvil shoot, skillet tosses, tractor pulls, music, old time demonstrations, crackling and soap making, an arts market and more. For more information about the event, keep up with Houston’s Facebook page, where this, and other events are listed. www.facebook.com/houstontrailandtrace
Houston Farmers Market
1 Pinson Square | Downtown Houston
Held Saturdays from mid-May until mid-August, the Houston Farmers Market features locally grown, garden fresh vegetables, legumes, fruits and melons, local honey, homemade pies, relishes and tapenades, fresh flowers, and arts and crafts. Acoustic music is on tap on occasion. It’s a great way to support local independent farmers and spend some time in the cool of the mornings. For more information about the event, keep up with Houston’s Facebook page, where this, and other events are listed. www.facebook.com/houstontrailandtrace
1 Pinson Square | Downtown Houston
Like a step back in time, this festival brings out the best in small town life with homemade ice cream, a patriotically themed kids’ bicycle parade, a recognition of veterans, and music, food and fireworks on the picturesque historic town square. This event takes place each year on the last Saturday of June. For more information about the event, keep up with Houston’s Facebook page, where this, and other events are listed. www.facebook.com/houstontrailandtrace
Fall Flywheel Festival
Joe Brigance Park | 635 Starkville Rd
The fall portion of this twice-yearly festival takes place the last weekend in September. A celebration of the old flywheel machine technologies employed on farms throughout the country in the early twentieth century, the event features flywheel exhibits, an anvil shoot, skillet tosses, tractor pulls, old time demonstrations, crackling and soap making, a four-wheeler pull, songwriters showcase, an arts market and more. For more information about the event, keep up with Houston’s Facebook page, where this, and other events are listed. www.facebook.com/houstontrailandtrace
Houston Fly In
Houston Municipal Airport (M44)
Pilots from all over the southeast fly into Houston on the third weekend of October for the annual Houston Fly In. It’s a great way to network with other pilots or learn about private aviation. Food trucks on site. And maybe a few fun surprises. For more information about the event, keep up with Houston’s Facebook page, where this, and other events are listed. www.facebook.com/houstontrailandtrace
Cruizin’ Houston Car Show & Chili Cookoff
1 Pinson Square | Downtown Houston
On the last weekend in October classic cars from around the southeast descend on the historic Houston Square for the city’s annual Cruizin’ Houston Car Show. And hungry folks come for the chili cook off, where attendees can sample homemade chili recipes from some of the areas best amateur and professional cooks. For more information about the event, keep up with Houston’s Facebook page, where this, and other events are listed. www.facebook.com/houstontrailandtrace
Houston’s Nights of Lights
1 Pinson Square | Downtown Houston
The courthouse and downtown merchants do their best to make the Houston Square a Holiday wonderland during the Christmas season. With lights and decorations, downtown Houston is the place to be to take a buggy ride, listen to carolers and enjoy the crisp nights of the Christmas season. Saturdays from Thanksgiving to Christmas. For more information about the event, keep up with Houston’s Facebook page, where this, and other events are listed. www.facebook.com/houstontrailandtrace
Where to stay...
For Camping, please visit the camping section.
Bridges Hall Manor
435 N. Jackson | 662-456-4071
With a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor, this historic bed and breakfast is located about one block from the town square and a quick five-minute bike ride from the Tanglefoot Trail. A favorite stopover for cyclists and travelers on the Natchez Trace, this bed and breakfast boasts a delightful host, delicious breakfasts and wonderful Old South charm. For more information, check out their Facebook page here. https://www.facebook.com/bridgeshallmanor/
Holiday Terrace Motel
950 E. Madison | 662-456-2522
An old-style park-in-front-of-your-room motel, the Holiday Terrace, conveniently located near the Natchez Trace, has a 4-star rating on Trip Advisor. Basic, but clean and comfy rooms with great internet included, this hotel makes an ideal place to put your head when you’re visiting Houston and exploring Chickasaw County. Pet friendly! For more information, they have a website at www.holidayterracehouston.com.
Where to eat...
Houston has a number of unique and “old school” restaurants to enjoy while you’re here.
Buffet World | Chinese
950 E. Madison | 662-456-4688
Sometimes you just crave Chinese food and when those times hit, it’s time to hit Buffet World. Open for lunch and dinner, Buffet World offers a Chinese buffet with soups, appetizers, entrees and desserts. Quick and easy good food with super friendly service. By the hospital.
The dixie dinner | lunch & breakfast
100 W. Madison | 662-567-4033
Southern breakfast and lunch with a gourmet flair! A great place to eat with a great backstory! Have you ever heard the “Secret Santa” story about the guy who, when he was down on his luck, was given some money by a stranger and then became wealthy and began randomly giving money to other strangers? That story started in Houston, Mississippi at the Dixie Diner when the down on his luck man was given a little help when a local gave him a $20 bill (a lot at the time), and said, “Here, you must have dropped this…”, an action that started a chain reaction that lives until this very day. So, stop by. The food is great (plate lunches served daily) and the people are friendly. Open for breakfast and lunch.
Jean’s Family Diner | Meat & Three
325 W. Madison | 662-456-0022
Pan fish, chitterlings, black eyed peas, pork chops, fried chicken and lima beans…Can you say, “soul food”? Jean’s Family Diner is the real deal. Open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
Kam’ Place | Drive In
693 N. Jackson | 662-456-0045
In a hurry? Call into Kam’s Place and grab a BBQ, Burger or Steak Sandwich and top it off with their world-famous sweet potato jo jo’s and some butterfinger cake! Strictly drive through, so call ahead if you can. Open Thursday through Saturday.
Moore’s Restaurant | Meat & Three + Steaks + Breakfast
910 N. Jackson | 662-456-576
This place is like a diner from years gone by. Super friendly staff, stuffed eggs and pear salad on the buffet. Some of the best steaks and burgers anywhere, a big breakfast like you’d expect at diner that’s been around for decades, and homemade desserts. Definitely worth a visit. Open 5am until 9pm Monday through Saturday.
My Friend’s Place | Meat & Three + Salads
441 W. Madison | 662-456-9021
If you like eating on old china in a place that somehow feels very “Old South”, you’ll want to have lunch at My Friend’s Place. They do have menu, but most people come for the homemade lunch specials, salads and desserts that’ll make you think you’re eating at grandma’s place (if grandma knows how to cook). Open for lunch Monday through Saturday.
No Way Jose | Mexican
117 W. Washington | 662-456-9021
Just a block of the historic Houston Square, No Way Jose offers up all the Mexican favorites. Our personal favorite is the Happy Chicken, a Mexican chicken and rice which comes doused in their famous cheese sauce! Open daily from 11 am until 10:30 pm.
The Soda Fountain at Pearson’s Drugs | Soda Fountain
101 E. Washington | 662-456-2551
Yep! It’s a real old-time drug store soda fountain! You can get a float, a shake, a pimento and cheese sandwich (ask for jalapenos if you’re feeling spicy), and all the latest gossip. It’s a great little place, like something out of movie…plus, they have taco salad on Thursdays! Open for lunch and morning coffee.
Saxon’s Drive Inn | Old School Drive In
601 W. Madison | 662-456-5400
Saxon's may not look like your typical drive-in and that's because it isn't. Located right off the Tanglefoot Trail, they offer daily lunch specials in addition to a standard drive-in fare of hamburgers and fries, Catfish and shrimp plates, hamburger steaks, and 15 different flavors of hand dipped ice cream for your sweet tooth. All of their ice creams are available in many forms but the best is an old fashioned hand spun milkshake! You can sit at one of their picnic tables and enjoy your food or take it to go, they offer a walk up window and a drive-through for your convenience. Saxons was voted one of the top 7 best drive-in restaurants for an old fashioned night out. Check them out on their Facebook page for specials and new items. They are open Tuesday 10:30 to 2:00 Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday 10:30 to 8:00 and Friday 10:30 to 9:00. Happy hour is everyday 2:00 to 4:00
Showtime BBQ | Competition-Quality Southern BBQ
117 Malcomb | 662-631-5041
You can’t come to the South without getting some BBQ! And if you’re in Houston, the place to go is Showtime. Showtime BBQ features competition-quality smoked pork and chicken. Online, people are raving about their dry-rubbed ribs, but at the office, we think the chicken is the best we’ve ever had. Open for lunch and dinner Thursday through Saturday. Grab a pack to take camping, fishing or four wheelin’.
FAST FOOD/CHAIN RESTAURANTS
444 N. Jackson | 662-456-9356
Kentucky Fried Chicken
450 N. Jackson | 662-456-9494
338 N. Jackson | 662-456-9661
702 N. Jackson | 662-456-2001
682 N. Jackson | 662-456-5400
686 N. Jackson | 662-456-0050
Grocery Store Grub
Blue Sky (Open 24 hrs)
100 S. Jackson | 662-456-0075
Pizza sticks, chicken on a stick, smoked sausage and such…
Hwy 15 North
Hamburgers, chicken on a stick, gyros, wings and more
440 W. Madison | 662-456-2787
Plate lunches, pizza, hot dogs, burgers, biscuits and BBQ to go
North Pak a Pok
704 N. Jackson | 662-456-3605
Fried Chicken and chicken snacks, jo jo potatoes, burgers…
West Pak a Pok
605 W. Madison | 662-456-2042
“Pork Belly Burgers”, steak sandwiches, pizza, salads and deli sandwiches
Part of the ancient Chickasaw Homeland, the City of Houston was founded in 1837 as the county seat of the nascent Chickasaw County which had been formed a year prior. The land for the city was donated by a Judge Joe Pinson who named the city after his childhood friend and hero of Texas, Sam Houston. Houston, Mississippi is, in fact, the first community to be named after Sam Houston.
The City of Houston, with its location on the well-traveled Natchez Trace Parkway, thrived as a trading town over the next few decades until that growth was interrupted by the American Civil War. The war brought widespread ruin and loss to the area, including an incident where Union Troops, for some reason, burned nearly all the county records as workers tried to move them to safekeeping.
The town remained a sleepy Southern town (Roberta Streeter, also known as Bobbie Gentry, was from the area and that feeling of sleepiness may have been included in Ode to Billy Joe) until the furniture boom that happened across the state in the 1970’s and 1980’s, when Houston saw a surprising growth in population and industry. However, the offshoring of much of the furniture industry in the late 1990’s saw an end to that growth and Houston reverted to its sleepy small-town status.
Then, in 2012, Houston was designated as the southern gateway to the longest bike trail in Mississippi, the 44-mile Tanglefoot Trail, a rails to trails conversion trail that runs from Houston, north to New Albany, Mississippi.
The trail adds to Houston’s already impressive list of nearby outdoor activities. There’s camping, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing and miles of off-road ATV trails nearby. Add to that a growing agritourism sector, a convenient location at the halfway point of the Natchez Trace, proximity to the commercial center of Tupelo and quick travel time to both Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and Houston is a fine base from which to explore the region and get a taste of that real Mississippi that Bobby Gentry sang about.
To get a good sense of Houston, be sure and check out our photo gallery.
To contact us with questions, please see the contact section
City of Houston government site www.houston.ms.gov
635 Starkville Rd
Houston, MS 38851