Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Hattiesburg, MS

  • Published 2023/03/08

Situated primarily in the Forrest County and extending a little west into the Lamar County is the city of Hattiesburg, a prominent metro of Mississippi.

A highly developed city, it is also nicknamed “The Hub City.”

The name Hattiesburg is derived from the name of the wife of famous civil engineer William H. Hardy, who founded the city in 1882.

Due to the various economic diversities that are located here, the Hub City has a stronghold in wealth.

It has a humid subtropical climate throughout the year with very mild winters, making it a great place to visit.

Come here to explore nature trails, spot wildlife, and visit fascinating museums.

These are the best things to do in Hattiesburg, Mississippi:

Look at Animals at the Hattiesburg Zoo

Tiger in Hattiesburg zoo

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Also called the Kamper Park Zoo, this small zoo is located inside Kamper Park in Hattiesburg.

Though spread over only 12 acres of land, it has many exhibits, including a wide variety of species of plants and animals.

What’s fun is that the exhibits are divided according to themes into several sections.

For example, the area designated as Africa houses species like African tortoises, porcupines, fennec foxes, Grant’s zebras, and even ostriches.

A macaw at Hattiesburg Zoo

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Another rare species that you can spot in this area is the blue duiker, which is a small antelope endemic to Africa.

The Wallaby Walkabout is a special area where you can actually interact with emus, Kunekune pigs, and Bennett’s wallabies, which are cute little marsupials usually found in Australia.

Other than this, you can also look at various trees like oak trees, pine trees, and more.

The Asbury Discovery Center, located on-site, is also very important from an educational point of view and houses a classroom, a laboratory, and an office space where children and adults can participate in educational programs.

A llama at Hattiesburg Zoo

Woodlot, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go Waterskiing at Paul B. Johnson State Park

The grounds of Paul B Johnson State Park

Woodlot, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Paul B Johnson State Park is a beautiful state park located near Geiger Lake on Highway 49.

Waterskiing is a fun and exciting sport that you can try on the waters here.

Other than this, the lake is also open for fishing and swimming.

Fish for a variety of species like the bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, and the largemouth bass.

These are all very tasty and can then be cooked on one of the camping sites where you can light up a huge bonfire.

There are also RV camping pads that are packed with amenities like electrical hookups and sewer hookups.

Other than this, 16 vacation cabins are also located inside the park.

Fifty sites are designated as picnic areas that have grills, and there are six picnic pavilions as well.

A playground is also constructed for the little kids, along with a splash pad.

Moreover, the natural surroundings are very beautiful, and there are many tall trees like oaks, yellow pines, and dogwoods.

Learn about Fascinating Military History at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum

Exterior of Mississippi armed forces Museum

Woodlot, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located inside Camp Shelby, the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum honors the military force and its rich history.

It is a proud member of the Army Museum system and is a reminder of all the sacrifices and services of the armed forces, with a special segment dedicated to Mississippi veterans.

Started as a small gesture in 1984 by two military veterans with a personal connection today, it stands proudly over 23,000 square feet.

The museum documents the journey of these military forces in a very beautiful fashion.

With more than 17,000 artifacts and exhibits and 2,000 documents, it marks the major historical events well.

It’s divided into eight galleries, where there are various living exhibits based on themes like World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and many more.

Personal memorabilia like clothing, medals, and military weapons are also on display.

Some of the bigger artifacts include aircraft, tanks, and field artillery.

It’s thus very beautifully constructed.

Go Canoeing at Okatoma Creek

A tributary of the Boise River, Okatoma Creek is the main place to visit if you’re an adventurous soul.

The creek’s name is derived from the word “Choctaw,” which means “shining water.”

Canoeing and kayaking are carried out extensively on its waters, and several boat rental services flourish on its banks.

The best part is that the waters are not very rough, and even beginners can have a go at canoeing here.

The best time to visit would be early spring or late autumn, when the weather is clear.

You can spend almost a full day at this beautiful place.

There are picnicking and camping sites available, too, so you can even opt to spend a night here.

Moreover, the river has many flat spots, making it easier to paddle, and so boats can be ported at your convenience.

You’ll also find a few designated swimming areas.

Visit the African American Military History Museum

Exterior of African American Military Museum

Woodlot, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The African American Military History Museum is dedicated especially to the brave African American soldiers stationed at Camp Shelby.

It was opened to the public in 2009 and was added to the list of Mississippi Landmarks in 2010.

It was initially a USO building and was built primarily as a house for an African American USO when the United States entered World War II.

After that, the building served as a home for many African American soldiers who used to be stationed at Camp Shelby.

It was their relaxation spot and a great recreation place with amenities like a library, darkroom, sewing service, and more.

Welcome sign of African American Military History Museum

Woodlot, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was perfect for socialization.

Inside the main building, there is also an auditorium, a lobby meeting room, and other essential structures.

Later, the USO building was renovated and reopened to the public as a museum.

Today, it houses many important military exhibits.

The museum has been divided into various sections focusing on different themes, such as World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Revolutionary War, and more.

There is also a hall of honor for the service personnel and their sacrifices.

Memorial garden of African American Military History Museum

Woodlot, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Look at Beautiful Roses at the All-American Rose Garden

The beautiful Southern Miss Rose Garden is located on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.

It has many varieties of roses in all shapes and forms.

Since its inception in 1974, many varieties have been planted and added to this list.

Today, you can look at as many as 800 rose bushes from all over the world.

If you get to visit in the peak season, you’ll get to see the flowers blooming in full glory.

During this time, the whole park has a different aura and grandeur about it.

With a beautiful fragrance wafting in the air, take a peaceful walk in this scenic garden.

Bicycle on the Longleaf Trace Trail

A 41-mile-long trail, the Longleaf Trace Trail is a part of De Soto National Forest.

You can walk, bicycle, rollerblade, or even give it an equestrian use.

The trail passes right through the center of Hattiesburg through various green geographical features like hills, farmlands, small streams, and trees like pine and others.

It also incorporates elements like logging roads and fire roads.

Since there are tall trees covering both sides of the trail, the atmosphere remains cool and pleasant.

There is also a welcome center, which is the visitor center where the friendly staff can give you guidance and maps to help as you jog away.

Take a Walk on the Mississippi Blues Trail

Blues trail marker

Bobpalez, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Mississippi Blues Trail is especially recommended if you love the blues genre.

The trail marks the entire journey of how the blues genre came into existence and went on to become a famous and much-loved genre today.

Even if you don’t like blues but are an ardent music lover, you will have an interesting insight into the journey of this genre and also gain some tidbits of information about famous blues singers and songs.

Along the trail, you’ll also get to visit some of the houses that famous singers used to live in and the places where they created their masterpieces.

A variety of things are incorporated into this trail, including cotton fields, cemeteries, churches, clubs, and street corners.

The trail was established by the Mississippi Blues Commission in 2006 using many banners and informational banners.

Try the Beer at Southern Prohibition Brewing Company

Located on the corner street in downtown Hattiesburg, this famous brewing company makes freshly brewed delicious beers, including craft beers available on taps.

They combine elements of high tech into the traditional process of beer making to produce some of the highest quality beers.

Guided tours are available every Saturday.

While the facility itself is open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, joining one of their guided tours is highly recommended as it’s a one-of-a-kind experience where you get insights into the wonderful art of brewing and get to sample some delicious brews.

Try Your Hand at Blade Throwing at Alley Cats Axe Throwing Co.

While the concept itself sounds interesting, blade throwing is even more fascinating in real life.

The staff at Alley Cats Axe Throwing Co. will teach you how to throw that blade patiently and very well.

So don’t worry if you are a beginner, as it is a completely safe sport and all necessary precautions are taken.

Do give it a try to have some thrills.

Who knows?

You might even hit the bullseye.

It’s a really interesting game, which is not found in most places and is worth a shot.

Bring along a few of your adventurous friends or family and watch as they throw blades in the air.

Grab some drinks and snacks and enjoy a fun evening.

The sport is family-friendly, and anyone above 13 years of age can give it a try.

Sample Cajun Cuisine at the Crescent City Grill

“Aesthetically pleasing” is the phrase that best describes this grill and eatery.

With ornate bars, leather furniture, exposed brick walls, and stained glass used in its construction, it is a quaint and classic place.

The lighting is pleasant and aesthetic, too.

A wrought-iron fountain can be found gushing away in all its glory in an enclosed courtyard located inside the restaurant.

And then there’s the menu, which is extensive and boasts many tasty dishes.

All the ingredients used are locally sourced, organic, and made with various spices.

Try some bacon and fresh salsa or a dish served with spicy Cajun cheese, green onions, and jalapenos.

The seafood is delicious, too.

Pair your chosen dish with some craft beers or a glass of wine.

Exercise Your Mind at College Town Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are all the rage right now, and you will find them in almost all the major tourist cities.

They’re always fun, and they provide a great team-building experience.

Try solving a puzzle game with family or friends within a specific amount of time.

Use your brains as the clock keeps ticking, and try to get out of the rooms as fast as possible.

College Town Escape Rooms is owned by Kody Liston, who majored at the University of Southern Mississippi.

His love of puzzles and riddles inspired him to open these escape rooms.

Even if you’re on a solo trip, do not worry, since they have the necessary provisions for such cases.

Play with Your Kids at Tatum Park

Tatum Park is spread over a vast area and has excellent playgrounds and nice courts.

It also has a beautiful disc golf course with as many as 18 holes.

Your kids can have fun and frolic about.

There are also soccer and softball fields for the adults.

Picnic tables are also set in a designated Pavilion.

Pack some snacks and cold beverages, and spend a fun evening here.

Go Shopping at The Lucky Rabbit

Shop for some quaint and antique pieces at The Lucky Rabbit, located in downtown Hattiesburg.

The store sells excellent vintage items at reasonable prices.

The vendors add to their lineup of clothing and merchandise every month, which inspires shoppers to keep coming back for more great deals.

Admire Local Art at the Sarah Ellen Gillespie Museum of Art

If you’re into art, make sure to add the Sarah Ellen Gillespie Museum of Art to your Hattiesburg itinerary.

One of the Mississippians’ most complete and vast art collections in the 20th century may be found in the Sarah Gillespie Collection.

The museum is named after one of William Carey University’s most generous art donors.

At this museum, visitors may witness various artworks in various mediums, including oil and pencil drawings and works in watercolor and batik.

This museum features the work of artists like Walter Anderson, Theora Hamblett, Karle Wolfe, and Kate Freeman Clark.

Explore the City’s History at the Hattiesburg Area Historical Society Museum

If you want to learn how the city came to be, visit this museum.

The Hattiesburg Historical Museum has been preserving the city’s history and traditions since 1970, making it a great destination to come to if you want to learn more about the city’s past.

Learn more about Hattiesburg by exploring the museum’s galleries.

Visitors are sometimes startled to learn that Hattiesburg’s initial residents were the Choctaw Indians, and the museum’s Choctaw Heritage Gallery explains this in further detail.

There are other displays on the city’s river transportation, the entrance of railroads in Hattiesburg, and earlywood production in Hattiesburg.

Peek into the Miniature World at the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum

In Hattiesburg, you’ll find the state’s tiniest museum.

There’s just one issue: it’s so hard to locate!

That’s what makes the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum so fascinating.

The museum’s location was kept a mystery when it was initially announced to encourage tourists to explore the downtown area.

The museum sees a constant stream of visitors all week, so it’s reasonable to say it was a huge success.

There are rotating exhibits in the museum that include a Swiss Knife collection and tiny figurines of humans.

Go Camping at Okatoma River Resort and RV Park

With 60 acres of space, Okatoma River Resort and RV Park is a haven for both adventure and relaxation.

This resort in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is known for its fishing lakes, expansive camping grounds, bird sanctuary, and miles of hiking trails.

Long-term lodgings are offered for those who desire to detach from the commotion of daily life.

Aside from its dog park, basketball court, swimming pool, clubhouse, general store, and excellent laundry facilities, its natural beauty is enough to make your stay worthwhile.

It doesn’t matter if a cottage, a tent, or an RV along the water’s edge appeals to you; feel free to go with whichever option you like.

Play a Few Rounds of Paintball at Eagle Action Sportz

When it comes to paintball, Eagle Action Sportz is the place to be in Hattiesburg.

With three types of paintball fields to choose from, you can put your marksmanship to the test, whether you’ve never played before or have already competed in professional paintball competitions.

There is plenty of gear for rent here if you’re just starting out in the sport.

If you’re looking for the greatest paintball brands, Eagle Action Sportz is the best place to go.

Plus, if you need paintball supplies, the on-site pro store can help you out.

Go Shopping at Turtle Creek Mall

Exterior of Turtle Creek Mall

Aaron Manning, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shopping while traveling is also therapeutic, especially for mall lovers and Turtle Creek Mall doesn’t disappoint.

The 845,508-square-foot mall features many popular brands like Victoria’s Secret and Buckle, as well as known department stores like JCPenney and Dillard’s.

There are also lots of dining options to choose from as soon as you’re done with your shopping spree!

Opened in 1994, Turtle Creek Mall has more than 70 stores housing in its one-floor building.

CBL & Associates Properties owns the mall, which is located at Turtle Creek Drive.

Watch a Live Performance at the Historic Hattiesburg Saenger Theater

Exterior of the Historic Hattiesburg Saenger Theater

Dudemanfellabra, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How about witnessing a live performance at a historic theater filled with rich cultural heritage?

The historic Hattiesburg Saenger Theater was opened in 1929 and quickly became a crown jewel in the city.

Among its popular shows are live concerts, musicals, recitals, plays, and many other live performances.

On some days, it also hosts film viewings, where you can catch movies.

In 1979, the theater entered the National Register of Historic Places.

It was built in the Neoclassical Revival style and Art Deco Style with Mayan-inspired digs.

The historic Hattiesburg Saenger Theater can seat almost 1,000 guests.

You can find it off Forrest Street.

Catch a Football Game At M.M. Roberts Stadium

Home to the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles football team, M.M. Roberts Stadium is a great spot for sports enthusiasts.

Also known as The Rock, it’s where you can watch a game of the university’s team, as well as other football tournaments in the city and in the county.

Formerly named Faulkner Field, M.M. Roberts Stadium was opened in 1932, and can now seat up to 37,000 spectators.

There are also concession stands here if you need to grab a snack while watching a game.

It was then renamed for Mississippi College alumnus M. M. Roberts.

Take the Kids to Updown Trampoline Park

If you’re a traveling family with little kids in tow, enjoy a fun-filled day in Hattiesburg at Updown Trampoline Park.

The amusement center features 12,000 square feet of trampoline court; the largest in the state of Mississippi.

Kids can have their time of life at the indoor park’s jump court, dodgeball courts, dunk court, jousting court, inflatable court, trapeze, ninja warrior course, and arcade games.

And of course, parents can also join the fun!

Updown Trampoline Park is housed in 45,000 square feet building on South 41st Avenue with state-of-the-art facilities.

Spend a Day at Pep’s Point Water Park

On a hot summer day, spend it with your loved ones at Pep’s Point Water Park.

Its swimming area is spring-fed, which is perfect for beating down the summer heat; not to mention its kid-favorite water slides.

Apart from swimming opportunities, the park also features canoeing, paddle boarding, mini golf, as well as basketball and volleyball courts.

It would be more fun and memorable if you bring a picnic to share with your family, or spend a night at its campground whether you’d want tent camping or RV camping.

Include Pep’s Point Water Park on your itinerary and enjoy a fun-filled day with your family and friends!

Final Thoughts

Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is a rising tourist destination worth a visit, despite being a tiny city.

This secluded vacation spot has many fun things for you to see and do, no matter your interest.

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