The gorgeous scenery and varying terrain of the state’s regions creates the perfect backdrop for an array of outdoor activities. From hiking trails that lead to unforgettable places to one-of-a-kind canoe trips, here are 11 amazing activities you have to add to your bucket list.
1. Clark Creek Nature Area, Woodville
One of Mississippi’s “most beautiful outdoor treasures,” this nature area encompasses more than 700 acres, which are comprised of steeply sloping loess bluff hills, a mixed hardwood and pine forest, and more than 50 waterfalls – some of which are more than 30’ in height. The area can easily be explored by people of all ages thanks to both primitive and improved hiking trails.
2. Red Bluff, near Foxworth
Travelling to the Grand Canyon is a lot easier than you might think. Red Bluff, which is known as Mississippi’s Little Grand Canyon,” is a geologic formation created by the natural erosion of the west bank of Pearl River. Although on private property, visitors from near and far hike to the top of Red Bluff and are undoubtedly impressed with the exceptional views.
3. Tishomingo State Park, Tishomingo
Of all of Mississippi’s state parks, Tishomingo is by far one of the most popular – and for good reason. Over the years, the park has received numerous awards for everything from its impressive canoeing opportunities to amazing hiking trails. The park’s unique landscape is also a huge plus for outdoor enthusiasts. Full of massive rock formations, rare fern-filled crevices, and several waterfalls, the scenery is like nowhere else in the state.
4. Natchez Trace Parkway, Natchez to Nashville, TN
History and natural beauty abound along the Natchez Trace. The 450-mile trail was traveled by traders, missionaries, early settlers, and Indians for thousands of years. Today, visitors to the Natchez Trace can take part in everything from hiking and horseback riding to exploring historic sites, such as Indian Mounds and the ghost town of Rocky Springs.
5. J.P. Coleman State Park, Iuka
J.P. Coleman State Park sits atop a rocky bluff overlooking the Tennessee River. Venture further into the park and you’ll find the 47,500-acre Pickwick Lake. The gorgeous lake is perfect for all sorts of water activities and even features a 50’ waterfall.
6. Merit Water Park, south of D’Lo
This secluded 25-acre water park is located on Rials Creek and features a small waterfall, sand and rock creek-side beach, and old-fashioned swimming hole. And since the creek is spring-fed, the crystal clear water is nice and cold all year long.
7. Old Cove, Eupora
About as hidden as you can get, Old Cove is something that many locals don’t even know about. The 350-acre piece of land is sunken about 100’ – 150’ below the surrounding surface, making it difficult to see, especially if you don’t know what to look for. The trek down is a bit rugged but completely worth it. Those making it to the bottom of Old Cove will have the opportunity to explore the hardwood bottomland canyon, which is home to a number of rare plants and animals.
8. Logtown Scenic Byway, near Bay St. Louis
Part of the Byways to Space program, this scenic byway takes drivers through acres of pine plantation, hardwood trees, and oak-covered roadways, passing historic settlement sites and waterways. The beautiful Logtown Cemetery is one of the most popular sites along this route and contains graves that date back to the 1850s.
9. The Riverfront Trail, Natchez
The Riverfront Trail is a great way to get both panoramic and close-up views of the Mississippi River. Divided into three tiers, this one-of-a-kind trail starts at the historic bluff and follows a nearly vertical 200' descent down to the riverbank below.
10. Little Mountain Trail, Ackerman
When it comes to hiking in Mississippi, it doesn’t get much better than Little Mountain Trail at Jeff Busby Park. Located along the Natchez Trace Parkway, the park offers a serene setting, camping, and the chance to hike to the second highest point in the state, Little Mountain. The “easy to moderate” point to point trail will take you to the top of Little Mountatain where, on a clear day, visibility spans about 20 miles.
11. Pascagoula River Audubon Center, Pascagoula
The recently opened Pascagoula Audubon Center is the perfect way to explore the largest (by volume) undammed river in the contingent 48 states. Through interpretive exhibits, hands-on activities, canoe rentals, and boat tours, you’ll have a ton of fun learning about the abundance of wildlife and species of plants that inhabit the river.