In a lot of states, the winter season means brutally cold weather and being stuck indoors. But here in Mississippi, the mild winters provide the perfect opportunity for getting out and exploring our amazing state. Ready to channel your inner-explorer? Here are 12 great places to check out in Mississippi this winter.
1. 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 the cooler months a prime time to visit.
2. Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge, Hollandale
One of several wildlife refuges opened in order to provide for the wintering needs of ducks and geese in the Mississippi Flyway, the Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge is an ideal place for some bird-watching, especially during the winter. And thanks to two new observation areas, visitors can view wildlife like never before.
3. Nesbit Blueberry Plantation
A trip to a blueberry farm isn’t normally the first thing that comes to mind during the winter months; however, just because the cooler weather has arrived, it doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on some locally grown blueberries. Throughout the winter months, Nesbit Blueberry Plantation is open every Saturday so that patrons can stop by and purchase fresh-frozen berries.
4. Wister Gardens, Belzoni
Established in 1937, Wister Gardens is the only botanical garden located in the state’s Delta region. And while the garden is in full bloom during the warmer months, a trip to Wister this winter will definitely not disappoint as there is a year round, glassed-in garden on the property. Additionally, each December, the gardens turn into a “Winter Wonderland of Lights,” which can be viewed nightly from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.
5. The DeSoto County Greenway Trails
The DeSoto County Greenways program is made up of trails perfect for everything from walking and hiking to horseback riding and biking. Visit the area in December or January and you’ll up your chances of spotting bald eagles, waterfowl, and a variety of gulls. And be sure keep your eye on the sky since formations of ducks, geese, pelicans, gulls, herons, shorebirds, and songbirds are common sights during the fall and winter.
6. The Greenville Cypress Preserve
The beautiful 16 acre preserve offers breathtaking sights anytime of the year. Although, the cool winter weather provides a much-needed break from pesky mosquitoes, making it an ideal time of the year to visit this Greenville treasure.
7. Tishomingo State Park
Rated one of the top state parks in the nation, Tishomingo attracts visitors from all over the country, and the winter months are no exception. Aside from the swimming pool, the park’s facilities are open year-round, which means the cooler weather is a great time to enjoy all that Tishomingo has to offer.
8. The Crosby Arboretum, Picayune
Contrary to popular belief, a visit to an arboretum doesn’t have to be postponed until spring. During the winter, there is still lots to see and do at Picayune’s Crosby Arboretum. Fall foliage can still be seen on several trees and shrubs, and the venue is known for hosting seasonal events, such as the annual Holiday Open House.
9. The Vicksburg National Military Park
In Mississippi, any outdoor activity is best reserved for the fall or winter, and the Vicksburg National Military Park is no exception. The cooler winter months provide the perfect opportunity for comfortably taking in the park and all it has to offer.
10. The Natchez Trace
The scenic Natchez Trace is breathtaking at any time of the year. The longer days of summer provide extra time for exploring, the fall season brings colorful foliage, and the winter brings with it open vistas, allowing for visitors to easily see into the forests.
11. The Mississippi Gulf Coast
During the winter, the cities along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast transform from quintessential coastal communities to winter wonderlands. Bay St. Louis celebrates the season with its “Snowflakes on the Bay,” Biloxi’s annual “Christmas on the Water” and “Christmas at Beauvoir” are much-loved celebrations, and Gulfport “Harbor Lights Winter Festival” is anticipated each year – and these are just a portion of the Gulf Coast’s seasonal events.
12. Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Starkville
The 42,500-acre refuge is filled with an array of wildlife, including both year-round and seasonal residents. White-tailed deer, grey and fox squirrels, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, alligator, beaver, muskrat, nutria, and several types of birds and snakes can be seen year-round; while bald eagles, horned owls, black vultures, and red-shouldered hawks are most likely to be spotted between December and February.
What did you think? Have you visited any of the places listed? Know of another spot in Mississippi that shouldn’t be ignored this winter? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!