They say the “best things in life are free” and for us Mississippians, it really is true. The Magnolia State is full of natural beauty and plenty of free outdoor activities that offer the chance to take advantage of it; here are 11 of our favorites.
1. Relax on one of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast beaches.
At 26 miles long and 200’ wide, the beach along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast is actually the largest manmade beach in the entire world. Any portion of the coast’s beaches, which spans from Bay St. Louis to Ocean Springs, is sure to provide the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
2. Spend a relaxing afternoon at the Duck Pond in Bay St. Louis.
A true hidden gem, the Bay St. Louis Duck Pond is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon. In addition to feeding the ducks, you can explore the area, which includes a small waterfall. Bring along a picnic because you’ll want to spend plenty of time at this serene spot. Visit the Duck Pond at 1928 Depot Way in Bay St. Louis.
3. Hike to the highest point in Mississippi.
Mississippi isn’t known for its mountains, but if you’re going to check one out it might as well be the tallest one in the state. That’s right, at a little over 806’ Iuka’s Woodall Mountain takes the title as the highest natural point in Mississippi. The trail ascending the mountain is accessible year-round and is perfect for any skill level.
4. Do some exploring at Jeff Busby Park.
Located along the Natchez Trace Parkway, Jeff Busby Park offers a serene setting, camping, and the chance to hike to the second highest point in the state, Little Mountain. Rated "easy to moderate," the point-to-point trail will take you to the top of Little Mountain where, on a clear day, visibility spans about 20 miles.
5. Check out one of the few caves in the state.
The Natchez Trace Parkway is full of must-visit sites, and Cave Spring is definitely one of them. One of only a few caves in Mississippi, it’s not only beautiful but rare. And with a trail leading straight to it, a visit to Cave Spring makes for one unforgettable hike.
6. Visit the (little) Grand Canyon.
Sandra & Zoran Arapovic/S & Z Transportation LLC
Located along a lonely stretch of highway near Foxworth, you’ll find one of Mississippi’s most impressive wonders – a massive canyon that seems to go on forever. Officially named Red Bluff, the unbelievable site has been dubbed "Mississippi’s Little Grand Canyon." Offering one-of-a-kind views and amazing hiking opportunities, this hidden gem is worth checking out.
7. Go on a waterfront stroll in Biloxi.
One of the most popular pedestrian bridges on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, the Biloxi Bay Bridge spans 1.6 miles from Biloxi to Ocean Springs. At the foot of the bridge, you’ll find Bridge Mural Park, which, as the name implies, features a mosaic mural. Walk along the bridge at sunset, and you’ll be treated to some exceptional views.
8. Walk among famous ruins in Port Gibson.
Considered the "most imposing ruins in the United States," the Windsor Ruins are by far one of the state’s most notable sites. The incredible ruins, which are located on the Natchez Trace Parkway, include 23, 45-foot tall columns and a few pieces of cast iron balustrade.
9. Explore one of the state’s best natural treasures.
Referred to as "a natural treasure in the Mississippi Delta," the Greenville Cypress Preserve spans 16 acres and features sloughs, an area of mixed woodland, and a meadow – all of which can be viewed from an observation deck or boardwalk that navigates the preserve.
10. Visit a hidden waterfall.
Mississippi isn’t exactly known for its waterfalls, yet the state does have a few. One of the most impressive is tucked away in Warren County on Redwood Creek. According to the photographer that captured this shot, the cascading waterfall is located just off Redwood Road.
11. Go on a walking tour of Greenwood.
One great way to see Greenwood’s charming landmarks is the Main Street Walking Tour, which begins with a stroll across the river on the Keesler Bridge (pictured). The one-of-a-kind tour includes dozens of other significant sites, such as a 1906 Neoclassic Courthouse, Cotton Row, the 1912 Carnegie Library, and several blocks of retail shops that date back to the 1890s – 1930s. For a copy of the walking tour guide, click
Know of another free activity that should’ve been included? Ever been to any of the places listed above? Tell us in the comments section!