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Mississippi’s Magical Outdoors

Nicknamed after one of the most fragrant flowers to grace the outdoors, the Magnolia State is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Home to more than 24 state parks, 14 wildlife refuges and six national forests, there is no shortage of adventure to be had in this 48,434-square-mile state.

Mississippi’s expansive outdoor playground features everything from pristine rivers for kayaking to miles of hiking trails and tranquil lakes teeming with fish. Here are a few of our top outdoor destinations for group travel around Mississippi’s awesome acreage.



Located on the banks of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, Aberdeen basks daily in its outdoorsy spot along the river with pristine tree-lined streets, nature trails and numerous parks and campgrounds along the water’s edge.

Most groups visiting Aberdeen take to the water with fishing, boating, skiing, kayaking and even paddleboarding, but this town offers more than just space to wander. Outdoor-loving history buffs gravitate to the cycling tours of the Underground Railroad, and blues enthusiasts come out in droves for the town’s annual Bukka White Blues Festival in October, located at the boat dock, where groups enjoy a full weekend of blues music, barbecue and fun.

“As part of the lock and dam, we are also home to Blue Bluff Campground and Recreation Area,” said Tina Robbins, executive director for the Aberdeen Visitors Bureau. “In addition to 96 full-service campsites, there’s a beach area, playgrounds, basketball and volleyball courts, picnic areas with covered pavilions and a nature trail. I love grabbing lunch and heading for a picnic along the water to watch the boats and barges go by. I also enjoy the nature trail; as it winds along the bluff, you have a great view of the water.”



From canoeing to relaxing on a pontoon boat to catching massive catfish, Greenwood natives know how to enjoy the outdoors scene, and they’re more than willing to help groups hit the ground running once they set foot on Greenwood soil. The town is the last stop of the Yalobusha River Trail, and groups go there from all over to meander through bottomland forest and beautiful cypress brakes.

“Greenwood is one of the few places in the world where you can stand between two rivers flowing in opposite directions: the Yazoo and the Tallahatchie,” said Evonna Lucas, proud Greenwood native and sales and marketing coordinator for the Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Being born and raised in Greenwood, I have always loved the outdoors. I love admiring the lush greenery that fills the city in spring and watching my family fish on the banks of the Yazoo. Nature has a way of calming the spirit and invoking a great sense of tranquility, and that is what outdoor living in Greenwood is all about.”



Hiding out at the bottom of the state is one of the most outdoorsy cities in Mississippi. Biloxi’s range of coastlines, parks and causeways makes it a great spot to head outdoors with the whole gang for some water adventure.

Most groups enjoy simply walking or running along the white, sandy beach, but there’s so much more to do in this town, from kayaking and fishing to catching a baseball game at the new baseball stadium that will open in 2015.

“Our parks are beautiful and maintained as well as the beach,” said Cheryl Bell, director of parks and recreation for the city of Biloxi, who’s been with the city for more than 30 years. “We have outdoor basketball goals at several of our parks. We have a 21-hole Frisbee golf course in Hiller Park, walking tracks at various parks, and we are also building a kayak blueway path from Hiller Park to Popps Ferry Causeway, which will be completed by the end of the year.”

Kristy Alpert

Kristy Alpert has traversed more than 50 countries in her quest to uncover stories for her outlets in Food & Wine, Men's Health, Group Travel Leader, American Way, and more. When she's not on the road, you can find her teaching yoga and exploring around her new home in Germany with her husband and her Boston Terrier, Tobias.