morgantown gtl banner

Mississippi’s Magical Outdoors


Kristy Alpert
Published June 02, 2014


Outdoor adventure is one of the main things groups have come to expect from Hattiesburg, with its pleasantly mild year-round temperatures. Whether it’s taking a swing at one of the championship golf courses, enjoying a peaceful river float in a canoe or a kayak, encountering a jaguar face to face or taking a bike ride under a canopy of trees, Hattiesburg has outdoor options for all four seasons.

Among the most popular options in town are stopping to smell the more than 750 award-winning rosebushes at the University of Southern Mississippi’s All-American Rose Garden, canoeing down the Okatoma River or Black Creek, and taking a hike at Paul B. Johnson State Park.

“Our most popular outdoor option for groups is a behind-the-scenes look at the Hattiesburg Zoo, one of only two zoos in Mississippi,” said Kristen Brock, sales manager for Visit Hattiesburg. “Because of its smaller size, we are able to arrange personalized tours with our zoo staff, which will have groups witnessing our American alligator munching on an afternoon snack or watching as Sampson the jaguar paints his own acrylic masterpiece.

“We also recommend a group visit to the Longleaf Trace, a Rails-to-Trails conservancy project that spans 40 miles and brings visitors back to when railroads ruled the countryside.”



Ridgeland is a family-oriented city with a wide range of outdoor options that will give visitors of all activity levels an excuse to head out into the sun. Ridgeland was recently named Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown, boasting can’t-miss recreational events like the Natchez Trace Century Ride, the Heatwave Triathlon, the Dragon Boat Regatta and a slew of year-round tennis and fishing tournaments. The town boasts more than 15 miles of multipurpose trails and has a 33,000-acre reservoir that provides year-round water entertainment.

“I love walking and cycling in Ridgeland,” said Mina Thorgeson, director of sales for the Ridgeland Tourism Commission. “Our multipurpose trails cross the city and follow along part of the picturesque Natchez Trace. It’s also dog friendly and quite a social scene on the weekends. Ridgeland is fortunate to offer locals and travelers so many outdoor options. Cyclists enjoy the Natchez Trace Parkway and the city’s multiuse trails, and the more adventurous riders enjoy the mountain bike trails and BMX cycling. But our city also offers fantastic facilities for walking and running, boating and fishing, tennis, picnicking and handicapped-accessible playgrounds.”

Pages: 1 2