Tunica, Mississippi, was once known as the center of the cotton industry, Today those productive cotton fields and soybean fields are famous for something else – home to nine large gambling casinos. According to the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau, this is the third largest gambling site in the United States.
The influx of gambling began in 1992 when the first casino opened on the banks of the Mississippi River . There was a $5.00 charge to enter the gambling boat, but once over the gang plank, the money was returned to the customer. As the years progressed, the boats came and started to build hotels beside the casino. The casino was on water, but the hotels did not have to be. the tourists came and soon the glitzy Las Vegas resorts were challenged by those in Tunica.
It started out with smaller games and gradually moved onto bigger ones like blackjack and poker where soon Las Vegas became the hub for the best casinos around the world and today you can find everything there from situs poker online to Russian roulette.
The money generated by the “boats” has put a small farming community on the map. Not only are there gambling meccas, but these offer things for both young and old. The dining experience ranges from budget to five star. The children can be entertained in swimming pools and their own private game rooms. One casino offers guests spa treatments and a professional golf course to wile away the non-gambling hours. Another casino has the famous Paula Deen’s own buffet. It is set in the atmosphere on a down home place. The gift shop includes many items signed by Paula Deen herself. She and her husband, Michael, are known to show up from time to time to visit with the diners and visitors. Memorial Day marked the one year opening for the restaurant and both Deens appeared for the festivities.
Another “must see” is the Blues and Legends Hall of Fame museum. The memorabilia there includes concert posters, instruments of more than 20 blues legends.
The Tunica Museum is a treasure trove of history, dating from the early Indian settlement to the present time. There are trails available in the 15 acre Walter D. and Dorothy K. Wills Nature Conservancy.
There is the Tunica RiverPark to attract tourists. There is a 168 acre complex on the Mississippi river which offers nature trails along the riverfront and a paddle wheel riverboat offering cruises. This center is dedicated to the Mississippi River and its history.
For the oft times when gambling is put aside, there is a shopping mall, complete with 40 outlet stores, including Bass, OshKosh B”Gosh, and Reebok.
Since Tunica is only a short distance from Memphis, there are larger shopping areas and museums available there. Take a ride on the downtown trolley in Memphis and visit Mudd Island, where the Mississippi River Museum is housed. For more information on Memphis, see the article under Memphis Tennessee.
There are many hotels/motels in Tunica. They range in price from budget to expensive. The casinos have their own hotels, but there are many others to choose from in the immediate area.
Tunica can be reached by air or car. Arrivals by air usually come into Memphis and drive the short distance to the area via U.S. Highway 61. Automobile travel is convenient and the roads going to Tunica are in excellent condition.
The Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau can be reached at 888-488-6422 for an informative guide to the town.