Spending the day outside may seem good in theory but if you’re not an avid outdoors-man, the options are pretty limited – or so you thought. Mississippi’s diverse terrain, fishing opportunities, abundant wildlife, and natural beauty actually make it the perfect destination for “outdoor adventure seekers” – both experienced and inexperienced. From up close encounters with wildlife to walking among the tree tops, here are 15 outdoorsy things in Mississippi that are suitable for people of all ages.
1. Wolf Howl Animal Preserve, Etta
As the name implies, the Wolf Howl Animal Preserve is home to wolves and wolf pups. The preserve offers guided tours allowing visitors to view the wolves as well as learn about their habitat, behaviors, and more.
2. The Petrified Forest, Flora
The only one of its kind in this part of the country, Flora’s Petrified Forest has been 36 million years in the making, and offers visitors the chance to view fossils that exhibit perfectly preserved details. Exploring this natural wonder is a breeze thanks to a self-guided nature trail, which includes many points of interest and informative markers.
3. The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS), Gulfport
Perfect for people of all ages, the IMMS offers several opportunities for visitors to get up close and personal with dolphins. Meet an Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin face to face from the dock by taking part in the Dolphin Encounter Program. Want to get a bit closer? The hour-long Dolphin Interaction Program allows participants to feed, touch, interact, and swim with the dolphins.
4. Little Black Creek Campground, Lumberton
When it comes to things to see and do at Little Black Creek Campground the options are virtually endless, and among those options, you’ll find zip-lining. Zipping down the 500’ line is only $20 per person and is perfect for people of all ages. Keep in mind that reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (601) 794-2957.
5. McCarty Pottery Studio and Gardens, Merigold
This family owned pottery studio and gardens has become a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The internationally acclaimed garden is filled with beautiful plants, trees, and flowers and features several terraces, cypress fences, and fountains. When planning a trip to this Merigold gem, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to stroll through the gardens because there is a lot to see and you don’t want to miss any of it.
6. The Crosby Arboretum, Picayune
Displaying plants native to the Pearl River Drainage Basin ecosystem, this 104-acre arboretum includes a Savanna exhibit, Woodland exhibit, and Aquatic exhibit. The interpretive site aims to educate visitors on the local environment and does so through informative signage, events, and educational programs.
7. Chautauqua Park, Crystal Springs
This historic park is made up of 74 acres of rolling hills, flowing springs, spring-fed creeks, and a 35-acre lake. Home to wading birds, waterfowl, hawks, owls, deer, turkey, and foxes, this park is perfect for wildlife viewing. And just to be sure visitors are able to take everything in, there’s an elevated boardwalk, which offers a “squirrel’s eye” view of the beautiful surroundings.
8. Everyday Adventure, Natchez
This Natchez-based company assists people of all ages and skill levels with personal fitness goals. Aside from personalized programs, Everyday Adventure offers kayak trips, which range in time from a couple of hours to all day excursions. You can even turn a kayaking trip into a unique date night thanks to the company’s Sunset Kayak Trips, which are promised to be both “adventurous and relaxing.”
9. The Tanglefoot Trail, Houston to New Albany
The longest of the state’s Rails to Trails’ conversions, the Tanglefoot Trail spans 43.6 miles, and takes adventure seekers on a history-filled journey through fields, forests, meadows, and wetlands, navigating the same paths as the Chickasaws and Meriwether Lewis. This trail’s even terrain and numerous stopping points make it easily navigable for people of any age.
10. Thacker Mountain Trail, Oxford
Located in Oxford, this Rail to Trail path totals about six miles. This trail’s skill level is classified as simple since there is minimal elevation gain, making it perfect for everything from strolling to biking. Several trails splinter from the main path, offering endless options for those adventure-seekers out there.
11. Greenville Cypress Preserve, Greenville
Referred to as “a natural treasure in the Mississippi Delta,” the Greenville Cypress Preserve spans 16 acres and features a diverse terrain that includes sloughs, an area of mixed woodland, and a meadow, all of which can easily be viewed from the boardwalk that navigates the preserve or the on-site observation deck.
12. Possum Walk Trail, Pearlington
The perfect combination of nature and history, the Possum Walk Trail guides visitors through the deserted communities of Possum Walk and Logtown. Interpretive signs fill the area, giving hikers information on the towns of yesteryear as well as plants and animals native to the area. Since the terrain is relatively flat, this trail is considered fairly easy and should be able to be completed by people of all ages.
13. Natchez Corridor Birding Trail, several locations
Encompassing six state parks and a natural area, the Natchez Trace Corridor Birding Trail offers a ton of bird-watching opportunities. The trail begins in Iuka’s J.P. Colman Park and then continues through Tishomingo State Park, Trace State Park, Tombigbee State Park, LeFleur’s Bluff State Park, Natchez State Park, and then ends in the Clark Creek Natural Area in Woodville.
14. St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Adams County
At over 24,000 acres, this refuge is perfect for fishing, hunting, photography, hiking, and bird-watching. And thanks to extensive management programs, the refuge provides an excellent winter habitat for waterfowl, making even the cooler months a great time to visit.
15. Natchez Trace, Natchez to Nashville, TN
No list of outdoor destinations in Mississippi would be complete without the Natchez Trace. The 444-mile parkway spans three states and includes a ton of must-see sites, such as historic structures, Native American ceremonial mounds, a cypress swamp, ghost town, and hiking trails.