7 reasons to head to Oxford, MS for your fall getaway, including Square Books


Square Books in Oxford is a must see for anyone interested in literary tourism in Faulkner's hometown
Square Books has been on the historic town square in Oxford, Mississippi since 1979. Photo via Visit Oxford

Raise your hand if you’re as ready for a fall getaway as I am ✋🏽. We found seven reasons to hop in the car to visit Oxford, Mississippi, including the chance to see Ole Miss, stroll Faulkner’s old stomping grounds and visit Square Books. Less than three hours away from Birmingham, Oxford has an abundance of fun things to do to keep you and yours busy for a weekend or more.

1. Take your family or a friend on a field trip to Oxford, Mississippi

friends in Oxford, MS
Sometimes a girls’ weekend really does make it all better. Photo via Visit Oxford Mississippi

Remember how much fun field trips were when you were a kid?

Whether you’ve got a crew that’s tired of being at home, or you’re wanting a getaway with a friend, why not plan a field trip to Oxford?

Imagine how much fun your kids (if you have them) can have with some hands-on learning—since so much of school right now is virtual, and the whole fam can see some history firsthand.

Working from home? Grab a friend and hit the road for a change of scenery while you work virtually.

Download a walking tour guide to learn about historic homes and buildings in Oxford.

Even though a lot of them aren’t open for tours right now, you can visit the sites and learn all about why they matter.

2. Eat outside: Oxford’s restaurants have gotten super-creative with outdoor dining

friends eating outdoors at a restaurant
Oxford’s a perfect place to enjoy outdoor dining in the fall. Photo via Visit Oxford Mississippi

Take advantage of the cooler temps while restaurants have additional seating and sample some of Oxford’s finest culinary fare al fresco.

Just like Birmingham got creative with Eat in the Streets, Oxford also figured out ways to help restaurants get outside. When you get to Oxford, you’ll find patio space on pre-existing sidewalks and more hospitality than you can imagine.

True to Oxford / Ole Miss’s tailgating style, some restaurants and bars have gone to great lengths to make patrons feel like they’re in a legit extension of the restaurant. For example, some have added walls of greenery, decks and large-screen TVs so you never miss a moment

3. Go shopping on the Square in Oxford

shopping for necklaces in Oxford
Looking at all the pretty things in a new town is so much fun. Photo via Visit Oxford Mississippi

Have you started making your holiday shopping list? Oxford’s a great place for you and yours to spend some time browsing the offerings in the local stores while collecting the perfect gifts for everyone on your “nice” list.

No better time to shop in Oxford than when you’re gearing up for the holiday season. Hop over here today to maximize your shopping adventure.

4. Visit St. Peter’s Pumpkin Patch + celebrate fall in style

Pumpkin Patch at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Oxford
Let’s see, I think I’ll have the orange one. Photo via Visit Oxford Mississippi

Who needs to head to a pumpkin patch in the country when you can stop by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, located just off the Square, in Oxford?

For 20+ years, they’ve been regaling visitors with thousands of pumpkins. The sea of orange attracts locals and visitors starting on the first Sunday in October each year.

Pick up a coffee from one of the local shops and enjoy the fresh fall air as you stroll through the patch, and don’t forget to snap your fall pics while you’re at it.

St. Peter’s works with Pumpkin Patch USA, and all the pumpkins come from a Navajo reservation in New Mexico.

If you choose to buy a pumpkin or three, know that proceeds support the church’s youth programs.

5. Hike on the Bailey Woods trail + walk the grounds of Faulkner’s former home, Rowan Oak

Two people walking on the Bailey Woods Trail connecting the University of Mississippi with Rowan Oak, Faulkner's home
The Bailey Woods Trail connects the University of Mississippi with Rowan Oak. Photo via Visit Oxford Mississippi

While you can’t actually tour the inside of William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak, you can spend a beautiful fall day exploring the grounds and the mile-long walking trail known as Bailey Woods. Faulkner purchased this land and made a trail to short cut from his home to campus.

Since spooky season is upon us, be sure to read up on some of the ghost stories surrounding these haunting grounds.

6. Enjoy fall on the Ole Miss campus

Walk of Champions at Ole Miss
A visit to the Ole Miss campus is a must-see on any trip to Oxford. Photo via Visit Oxford Mississippi

Whether you’re at Ole Miss for a game day or another occasion, it’s worth spending some time actually seeing the historical campus.

In pre-COVID times, visiting Ole Miss and The Grove (also known for The Walk of Champions) on gameday was wild. You’d weave through a sea of tents and tens of thousands of people.

While everyone misses the tailgating scene, take advantage of this time to really see one of America’s Most Beautiful college campuses.

7. Make an appointment to visit End of All Music + Square Books

Woman reading at Square Books in Oxford
In these COVID times, you can’t really spend leisurely the hours at Square Books, but a girl can dream, right? Photo via Visit Oxford Mississippi

What visit to Oxford, Mississippi would be complete without a trip to Square Books? This nationally-renowned independent bookstore recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

John Grisham, former Oxonian, held his first book signing for A Time to Kill at Square Books.

What started as a community bookstore that focused on selling literature from Mississippi and the South is now a four-store empire including three offshoots:

  • Off Square Books
  • Square Books, Jr.
  • Rare Square Books

Of the four locations, Off Square Books is often used for events such as Thacker Mountain Radio Hour, which is normally recorded live and on-location.

A few doors down, and up the stairs, you’ll find The End of all Music—an independent record store on the Square. It’s gained national recognition for thriving on vinyl in a digital age. Fun fact: owner David Swider worked at Square Books during and after college. This gave him inspiration for his own business, and now they’re neighbors.

Taking a page from their book he found his niche by opening an independent record store. During COVID, Swider came up with a fun way to serve local customers who couldn’t access his second-story shop by using an old-fashioned dumbwaiter.

If you’re looking for a fun and unusual place to go to get away from it all this fall, Oxford has so much to offer!

Ready to plan your trip? Hop over here for all your trip-planning needs, including itineraries, maps, places to eat and more. Follow Visit Oxford Mississippi on Instagram or Facebook, too.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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