An hour south of Memphis, nestled between the rolling hills of North Mississippi and the banks of the Tallahatchie River, is the charming town of New Albany. Here, perhaps, the only thing more alluring than the vibrant, historic downtown is the dynamic, outdoor-inspired quality of life.

Known for its impressive collection of locally-owned antique stores, specialty shops, galleries and independent clothiers, New Albany is not only bursting with unique shopping opportunities but also teeming with seasonal festivals, farmer’s markets and community events. Voted “Best Southern Small Town” by USA Today in 2017 and “Most Beautiful Small Town in Mississippi” by House Beautiful in 2020, New Albany offers visitors a brick-and-mortar experience that is second only to its environmental one.

Most notably is the Tanglefoot Trail, a 44-mile hiking and biking trail that originates in downtown New Albany and concludes in Houston, Miss. The state’s longest Rails-to-Trails corridor, the Tanglefoot Trail weaves its way through the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, while along the way winding past picturesque towns and countryside. In the late-nineteenth century, the historic trail was part of a railway constructed by author William Faulkner’s great grandfather, and prior to that, the trail was traversed by Chickasaw King Ishtehotopah and the explorers Hernando de Soto and Meriwether Lewis.

Now, the converted railroad track offers nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike the chance to discover the same flora and fauna and scenic river views as its earliest inhabitants and explorers. The 10-foot-wide asphalt trail is open 365 days a year and is free to the public. Whether jogging, walking, biking, skating or off-trail camping, visitors can experience the serenity of the woodlands, streams, creeks, fields and hollows in a multitude of ways.

The Tanglefoot Trail is just one of the many ways to enjoy New Albany and the best that it has to offer. Indian mounds, a multi-sport complex and award-winning USTA tennis courts are among the others.

The centuries-old Ingomar Indian Mounds were excavated by the Smithsonian Institute in 1885, and unearthed objects included bones, pottery, arrowheads and more. To honor the Native American legacy that runs deeply through the heart of New Albany, the Union County Heritage Museum now hosts events, such as stargazing, drum circles and interpretative programs, throughout the year at the mound, which is free and open to the public.

Disc golf, tennis and amateur baseball, soccer and softball are also a big part of the New Albany community. The New Albany Disc Golf Course is a free, medium-level difficulty course that runs alongside the Tallahatchie River. The BNA Tennis Complex is a USTA award-winning facility with the state’s second-largest pro shop. League tennis, tournaments, clinics and lessons are available for all ages, four and up. Likewise, the BNA Sportsplex is North Mississippi’s amateur sports headquarters, with field complexes available for baseball, soccer, softball and more.

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