Outdoor Activities in Mississippi
By: K Gregg Elliott
The cradle of the blues and known for its southern charm, Civil War history, and verdant countryside, Mississippi offers outdoor recreation for all tastes. Mississippi culture is very outdoor oriented, heavily influenced by agriculture and hunting.
A great place for the outdoor enthusiast to begin is with the Mississippi Outdoor Club, a completely volunteer-run organization dedicated to supporting, preserving and advancing the outdoor sports of paddling, hiking, climbing, cycling and snow skiing/boarding. The Mississippi Outdoor Club welcomes veterans and newbies alike, and visitors and guests are invited to take part in trips and workshops.
Water and Trails
Water-oriented outdoor adventures are popular in the subtropical climate of this state, including fishing and boating on lakes throughout the state. For those who prefer a self-propelled form of locomotion, Quapaw Canoe company offers guided trips on the Mississippi River, and Wolf River Canoes offers guided kayak trips on the Wolf River near the Gulf coast. Then there is always the beautiful Gulf Coast.
Camping is available at many state parks and private sites. Mountain bikers will appreciate the remote and scenic Conecuh Trail through the gentle terrain of longleaf pine and hardwood bottomlands. Audubon’s Great River Birding Trail provides an interactive map with detailed tips on state parks, national wildlife refuges, boat ramps and other places to find specific habitats and birds along the Mississippi River. For horseback riders, there are also plenty of equestrian trails.
Golf and Agritourism
If you prefer to sight see from the comfort of your car, be sure to take in Mississippi’s scenic byways, which include the historic Natchez Trace Parkway. Golfers will be happy to learn that Mississippi offers the perfect Southern golf vacation, from resorts to stay-and-play destinations.
Agritourism is also a growing industry, and Mississippi has created a series of Agri Tours “Trails” (connected by roads) that showcase the state’s agrarian culture. They include:
- historic plantations
- old country stores
- pottery studios
- hay and corn mazes
- pumpkin patches
- petting zoos
- shrimping tours
- u-pick farms
- catfish farm tours
- Christmas tree farms
- barn dances
- fairs and festivals
If wildlife and natural history are your interests, check out the wildlife viewing areas provided in Mississippi’s National Wildlife Refuges. Visit the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, which hosts a variety of educational workshops and tours along with public trails open throughout the year. Don’t miss the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson, which includes extensive outdoor exhibits.
Whatever your interests, if you want to experience the Southern outdoors, wild or manicured, visit Mississippi.