20 Best Things to Do in Rankin County, MS

Rankin County, MS

Embarking on a quest to uncover the best things to do in Rankin County?

In this comprehensive guide, we've melded insights from locals and travelers to present you with a mosaic of experiences that define this remarkable place. While we've highlighted some must-visit spots, it's imperative to understand that these recommendations are shaped by personal opinions and experiences.

There are countless other wonderful places awaiting your discovery. Our goal isn't just to point you to the well-trodden paths, but to inspire you to explore and truly immerse yourself in the city's essence.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Nathan Bowman, Helen Thompson, Jeanne Davis, Mary Grant, Alayah Odom, Raul Rivera and Loretta Foster.

Experience History at Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Exterior of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
Luckiewiki, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When I first set foot in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, I was immediately engulfed by a sense of history and reverence.

This place is a journey through the struggles and triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement right here in my backyard.

It splits into two sections: one showcasing Mississippi's broader historical context and the other meticulously documenting the state's role in the Civil Rights Movement.

The whole thing amounts to an interactive experience with a wealth of information: photographs, narratives, artifacts, and more.

Sometimes, I get so engrossed in the stories that I lose track of time.

Ideally, I'd recommend setting aside at least a couple of hours to appreciate what this museum has to offer fully.

One aspect that always strikes me is the museum's attention to detail.

Each display is curated with such care and precision.

It presents facts and figures and creates empathetic, human connections to the past.

While some sections can be hard-hitting, recalling horrendous acts, it's a critical reminder of the resilience and fortitude of those who fought for civil rights.

Beyond the exhibits, the museum also boasts a restaurant and a gift shop - perfect for grabbing a bite or picking up a souvenir from your visit.

And for those worried about parking, don't be.

There's a parking garage located on the back street that is a convenient option and also usually unnoticed by many.

Whenever I visit the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, I remember our local history's significance and the human spirit's enduring power.

This place is a testament to our past and an inspiration for our future.

Feel the Thrill at Enter/Locked Escape Rooms

Recently, we decided to plunge into the mystery and adventure world with Enter/Locked Escape Rooms.

We booked 'The Rooftop' room, and I must say, the laughter, suspense, teamwork, and thrill that ensued was an experience we wouldn't forget anytime soon.

As a fan of puzzles and brain teasers, I've tried all the rooms they offer.

Each room presents a unique challenge and a fun element.

Whether you're a team of two or four, the rooms will surely keep you on your toes.

And guess what the cherry on the top was?

Whether you're looking for a fun night with friends or planning a party, Enter/Locked Escape Rooms is a place you want to check out.

After having such a blast in 'The Cleaner' room, I'm already planning my next visit!

Take an Evening Stroll At Winners Circle Park

After a busy day, there's nothing quite like lacing up my sneakers and heading out to Winners Circle Park for a peaceful walk.

My favorite evening routine is navigating the half-mile track around the park.

It's the perfect distance for a stroll or a more intense jogging session.

The scene is serene, with the tennis courts lit up as the sun sets.

I often pause during my laps to watch locals engage in friendly matches.

The sound of tennis balls bouncing on the courts and the laughter of children playing on the playground creates a wonderfully comforting soundtrack for my evenings.

What strikes me most about Winners Circle Park is the sense of community.

You'll see families picnicking under the open-air pavilions, children running around the playground, and people of all ages enjoying the amenities.

Despite being a popular location, the park is well-maintained.

The bathrooms are clean, and the drinking machines and water fountains are always in working order.

And though the park is always bustling with activity, there's plenty of parking available.

My family and I have enjoyed countless afternoons and weekends here, making precious memories while enjoying the park's tranquility and the vibrant local community.

Over the years, Winners Circle Park has remained a consistent part of our lives, offering a safe and clean environment for recreation and relaxation.

Visit Oaks House Museum

Exterior of The Oaks House Museum
Joe C Furr, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes, you just need a gentle reminder of your city's glorious past.

For me, that gentle nudge came from The Oaks House Museum.

Nestled unassumingly in our very own Jackson, this Greek Revival house dates back to 1853 and was the home of a four-term mayor.

I still remember the first time I ventured into the Oaks House.

The weathered facade of the house, the proud, standing columns, and the original furniture graced the interiors.

It was like stepping into a different era.

And, of course, there's a certain charm to the fact that this house has stood tall for over 150 years.

Our city, our people we've grown and evolved around, yet it stands as a testament to our history and roots.

Of course, don't forget to bring cash for the fee.

It's a small price to pay for a beautiful journey into our city's history.

So, if you have ever wondered about Jackson's past or wished to spend a few hours soaking in history, the Oaks House Museum is the place to be.

Discover the Outdoors at Flowood Nature Park

It's hard to describe the joy I experience when I step onto the paved and marked trails at Flowood Nature Park.

This hidden gem in our city spread over 40 acres of dense woods and a lake site, is a haven for nature lovers like me.

There are those days when the hustle and bustle of city life become too much, and I yearn for peace and tranquility.

That's when I tie up my running shoes and head out to this park.

The one-mile lap around the park is an excellent running and walking trail, and the sights and sounds of nature that accompany me during these walks are just mesmerizing.

Picnicking under the shade of mature trees is one of the park's simple pleasures.

Clean restrooms and picnic areas make it ideal for a family day out.

And I'm not alone in this thought; I've seen several homeschoolers and their parents utilizing the information signs on trees and trails for educational purposes.

The absence of a playground is hardly noticed as there is ample open space for kids to run around and expend energy.

Feeding the fish and turtles is a delightful experience and brings out the child in me.

The park is also dog-friendly, making it a perfect spot for a casual stroll with my four-legged friend.

Moreover, the trail is paved, making it easy for strollers and wheelchairs.

And let's not forget about the plethora of beautiful flowers and trees that add to the park's charm.

Flowood Nature Park is a testament to the fact that you don't have to venture far to experience the beauty of nature.

You just need to know where to look.

And as someone who has been there multiple times, I can affirmatively say it is a must-visit for anyone who appreciates nature's splendor.

Take an Intimate Stroll Through Cypress Swamp

Boardwalk at Cypress Swamp
Ben McMurtray / Shutterstock.com

As the sun pierces the thick mist hovering above the swamp every dawn, I prepare myself for my daily ritual.

A morning walk over the wooden boardwalk through the enchanting Cypress Swamp, a serene yet bold natural landscape that never ceases to mesmerize me.

This beloved spot, nestled along the Natchez Trace Parkway, is an excellent place for anyone who appreciates the raw beauty of nature.

The Cypress Swamp is adorned with towering cypress trees that stand tall and proud, their reflections dancing on the water's surface, creating a beautiful spectacle for anyone who decides to visit.

Likewise, the park doesn't just impress with its extraordinary visuals.

The symphony of sounds, from the rustling leaves to the chirping birds, adds another layer to this immersive experience.

It's a 20-minute walk that transports you into an entirely different world.

The moss-draped trees, the lush greenery, and the tranquil water are enough to make you forget your worries and let the serenity wash over you.

For those keen on photography, the park offers unique image captures that could be the envy of any professional.

Visiting during the warmer months could even grant you encounters with the swamp's residents.

It's common to spot an alligator or snake basking in the sun, adding a thrill to your trip.

Each day in the Cypress Swamp is a new adventure, a fresh painting of nature's splendor. It's a walk I wouldn't trade for anything else.

Go on Unforgettable Escapades at Bobby Cleveland Park

Do you know that feeling of discovering something incredible in your backyard?

That's the sentiment I was overcome with when I first visited Bobby Cleveland Park at Lakeshore.

The park is located just a stone's throw away from my house, yet I had never explored it until recently.

With nothing else to do, I put on my walking shoes, grabbed my dog's leash, and headed to the park.

The first thing that struck me about the park was the awe-inspiring view of the reservoir.

It was so serene, so pure. I sat there for hours, just soaking in the beauty of the place.

The Bobby Cleveland Park at Lakeshore is well-maintained, with a playground that is every child's dream.

I loved seeing the joy on the kids' faces as they ran around the playground.

There's also a dog park where my pup had the time of his life.

But the part of the park that stole my heart was the beach area.

It was a delightful surprise. The sandy beach area is ideal for picnics or a quick swim.

It also has clean bathrooms, benches, and covered pavilions.

This park is one of the reasons why I love being a part of this community.

I have also had the pleasure of attending several events at the park.

Occasionally, the park authorities organize events, and it's such a blast.

One of my fondest memories is of the fireworks display on the 4th of July.

The Bobby Cleveland Park at Lakeshore is a pearl hidden in plain sight.

It's a place for relaxation, celebration, and creating beautiful memories. I can't wait to see what other surprises this park has in store for me.

Take a Step Back in Time at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum

As a history lover, I've always wanted to explore the past.

One of my favorite haunts in my hometown is the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum.

This place is like a gateway to the 1800s-1900s, a living-history farm that takes you back to the days of the cotton-economy era.

One of the most enchanting parts of the museum is the recreated town from the 1920s.

Walking down the cobblestone streets, I often lose myself in the rustic charm of the old buildings and the plethora of local historical artifacts.

Each visit reinforces my understanding of our state's history and gives me a newfound appreciation for those who lived before us.

I spend hours there, reading every bit of information I can find, and each visit feels like a new adventure.

Moreover, when tired, I enjoy heading to the general store for light refreshments.

They have a wide variety of snacks and drinks, and I particularly enjoy sipping a cold Coke on the front porch, soaking up the nostalgic ambiance.

One must-see in this place is the Fitzgerald collection.

It's an impressive array of agricultural artifacts showcasing the evolution of farming in Mississippi.

Visiting this collection feels like walking through the pages of a rich, vibrant history book.

Whether you are a history buff or just looking for an educational outing with your family, the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum is a must-visit place.

Enjoy a Fun-filled Day at the Mississippi Children's Museum

Exterior of Mississippi Children's Museum
Chad Robertson Media / Shutterstock.com

Whenever my kiddos have a free weekend, we go straight to the Mississippi Children's Museum.

It's always a thrill for them, no matter how many times we've been.

The interactive exhibits at the museum have proven to be the perfect blend of educational and fun, keeping them both entertained and engaged.

For about three hours, we manage to explore all the exhibits.

Each focuses on a different theme, from arts to history, health, and even science.

My little ones are always particularly excited by the dinosaur trail.

They can't help but squeal and smile as they discover and learn about these prehistoric creatures.

But it's not just the exhibits that impress us repeatedly.

The museum also offers a variety of activities and programs specially designed for kids of all age groups.

My 11-year-old and 5-year-old find something entertaining every time we visit, proving that the museum truly has something for everyone.

And it's not just a hit with my kids! The first time my friend and her two-year-old son visited, it was love at first sight for the little one.

Now, they're regulars too. The fact that the museum is budget-friendly is a bonus for families like ours.

The Mississippi Children's Museum has secured a special place in our hearts.

It's our go-to spot for fun, enriching, and, most importantly, family-friendly days out. We'll keep coming back for more.

Enjoy a Tranquil Escape to Crystal Lake

It was just one of those days when the world seemed too loud, the hustle and bustle of city life becoming overwhelming.

I went to my escape, an oasis amid the concrete jungle, where serenity was not a luxury but a given.

So, I decided to visit my favorite spot, Crystal Lake.

Situated just across from Rankin Rental, Crystal Lake, a gem of Flowood, Mississippi, is my sanctuary.

I found a low incline access point leading to Neely Creek, a two-mile stretch before reaching the boat ramp of Crystal Lake.

It's not a smooth path, with a log to carry over at one point, yet that's part of the charm, the feeling of being on an adventure.

After reaching the lake, I ventured further, adding 3.4 miles en route to US 49.

The journey turned into a round trip of well over 11 miles.

When I got there, the stillness of the lake, combined with the eerie quietness of the dead rivers, was both eerie and calming.

I've always been captivated by the wildlife around Crystal Lake.

On any given day, you can spot alligators basking under the sun and birds flitting around the lake.

It's a unique sight, watching these animals coexist, far removed from the city noise.

Crystal Lake is a place for reflection, escaping the noise, and reconnecting with nature. It's my tranquil escape amid the busyness of the world.

Explore Nature at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

Exterior of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
Chad Robertson Media / Shutterstock.com

I've always deeply appreciated the great outdoors and the wonders of nature.

Living just a stone's throw away from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science has been a real treat.

It's not just the impressive aquarium, the lush greenhouse, or the interactive exhibits that keep me coming back.

There's a certain charm about this place within a state park that genuinely encapsulates the essence of Mississippi's diverse ecosystem.

A particular favorite of mine is the outdoor natural trail.

Once, I decided to venture alone, and it was like an adventure unfolding with every step.

The trail meanders through verdant foliage and ends near the Pearl River - a stunning view that never fails to take my breath away.

However, I'd advise anyone planning to take this trail to go with a group of friends or family.

That way, you can fully enjoy the beauty of the trail while ensuring your safety.

The museum is quite popular among families, too.

On one of my visits, I saw children, eyes wide with wonder, learning about the natural surroundings unique to our state.

They even had a chance to meet Peter, the resident tortoise.

The museum has succeeded in creating an engaging environment for the younger generation to learn and appreciate natural science.

One thing that struck me was that despite its vast collection, the museum seemed a touch underwhelming.

There's such a wealth of natural science in Mississippi that is yet to be showcased.

Nevertheless, it's still an excellent place for both young and old to explore and learn about the beautiful world of nature.

And at just $8 for an adult ticket, it's a small price for a day of discovery and education.

Unwind at Pelahatchie Shore Park

Whenever the stress of daily life gets too much, I know I can always find solace at Pelahatchie Shore Park.

Nestled on the sparkling shores of the Barnett Reservoir, it's a peaceful haven that offers many recreational opportunities.

There's something so calming about the gentle lapping of the waves on the small sandy beach, and the sight of the boats bobbing up and down on the water never fails to soothe my soul.

One of my favorite activities at the park is frisbee golf.

Tucked away within the verdant landscape, the extensive course provides a fun challenge that always gets my blood pumping.

Following the winding trails through the course, I can immerse myself in the tranquillity of nature, forgetting about the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

When I'm in the mood for a picnic, I can always find a quiet spot under one of the park's pavilions.

I particularly love the ones that offer panoramic views of the boating and beach areas.

And with plenty of restrooms throughout the park, I never have to worry about inconveniences.

One of the things I truly appreciate about Pelahatchie Shore Park is its inclusivity.

The small dock is handicap accessible, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the beauty of the reservoir.

And for those who love to bring their furry friends along, there are ample areas for dogs to run around and play.

Boating enthusiasts are well catered to, with a convenient boat launch ramp and a dedicated boat cleaning area to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic plants.

Whether on the water with my kayak or watching the sun rise from the shore, I always feel at home at Pelahatchie Shore Park.

Experience the Serenity at LeFleur's Bluff State Park Mayes Lake

A certain tranquility comes with being nestled within the confines of LeFleur's Bluff State Park Mayes Lake.

It is a vast expanse stretching over 305 acres and a mosaic of shimmering lakes, dense forests, and sprawling fields.

On a typical day, the park comes alive with locals and tourists indulging in various activities.

The whispers of the woods and the gentle trickling of the lake's water are the perfect backdrop to a round of golf on the park's 9-hole course.

And for those who prefer a more relaxed pastime, the lake provides ample opportunities for fishing.

The park also caters to camping enthusiasts with its expansive campsites.

Each site is equipped with water and electricity, and some even have concrete pads.

But what adds to its charm is that it's a hidden gem in the middle of the city.

And there's also a resident gator in the lake.

While quite the sight to behold, it's best to maintain a respectful distance and remember not to feed it, no matter how tempted you might be!

This one is a cut above the rest compared to other state parks in Mississippi.

So if you're ever in the area, pay a visit. Remember to pack your sense of adventure!

Visit the Smith Robertson Museum

Exterior of Smith Robertson Museum
Later try, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's a hidden gem tucked away in Jackson, Mississippi: the Smith Robertson Museum.

I've been there numerous times, and every visit feels like a fresh new journey into the heart of our African-American history.

It's nestled within a beautifully restored building, which speaks volumes about our local history.

Walking through the museum doors, it's almost as if you can feel the gentle push of history guiding you through the corridors.

With every step, there's a fascinating story held within the photos, artifacts, and art exhibits.

The richness of Mississippi's black culture, particularly in my beloved city of Jackson, is magnificently portrayed here.

Moreover, the Smith Robertson Museum is a place that's alive with the spirits of the Great Movement days - a place where you can truly understand and feel the history.

Whether you're a family looking for an enlightening day out, or someone eager to dive into the roots of Black History, I couldn't recommend a better place.

Discover Peace and Adventure at Reservoir Botanical Gardens

Whenever I need a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, I escape to the Reservoir Botanical Gardens.

A certain tranquility hangs in the air there, making it a perfect place to unwind, reflect, and appreciate the beauty of nature.

One couldn't help but fall in love with the lush greenery that caresses the eyes and the rich floral scents that fill the air.

But there is more to the gardens than just the serene environment.

It's also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly those who enjoy fishing.

I found an incredibly calm and scenic spot, a hidden gem. It has quickly become my go-to place for a relaxing fishing session.

However, it's not all peace and tranquility.

There's a hint of exhilaration too.

One day, we heard a roar coming from the trees.

It wasn't the sound you would expect from a pet dog.

We immediately picked up our small dog and ran toward the exit.

It was a little scary, but it added an unexpected element of adventure to our garden visit.

The Reservoir Botanical Gardens is an enchanting blend of peace, beauty, and a touch of adrenaline.

You can find it here if you're in the area and curious to see the place yourself.

Discover Art at the Mississippi Museum

Exterior of the Mississippi Museum of Art
Chad Robertson Media / Shutterstock.com

This morning, I strolled through downtown Jackson, headed to one of my favorite spots, the Mississippi Museum of Art.

As always, the museum greeted me with peace and tranquillity, making it an ideal spot to unwind for an hour or two.

The museum, the largest of its kind in the state, is a gem that seems to go unnoticed by many.

Every visit to the museum is a new experience, with rotating exhibits that never fail to captivate.

Today, I was enthralled by the visiting exhibition, which offered a fresh perspective on contemporary art.

The permanent gallery has a charm of its own; the carefully curated artwork, the light hitting each piece, and the silence in the room inspire a calmness that's hard to find elsewhere.

One of the highlights of the museum is the lush outdoor garden.

Whether you're an art enthusiast or a nature lover, this garden offers a sanctuary to everyone.

The park also has a performance stage that hosts many events and live outdoor music shows.

During my last visit, I was lucky enough to attend the children's art festival, an enriching, colorful spectacle set against the backdrop of this garden.

While the museum offers free admission, there's a delightful cafe that requires a small splurge.

It's a perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee while contemplating the art pieces or simply to soak in the peaceful ambiance of the place.

The museum also has free parking, which is a bonus.

In addition, the museum organizes special classroom activities designed to inspire creativity and foster a deeper connection with art.

I saw a high school field trip group thoroughly enjoying their visit, which was heartening.

The Mississippi Museum of Art is not just a place to see art but an experience that immerses you in it.

Whether you're a local or a visitor, the museum offers a peaceful retreat and a chance to appreciate the finer things in life.

Go on an Adventure at DEFY Jackson

You know, there's this hidden gem in our area that my family and I love to visit.

It's DEFY Jackson, an exhilarating trampoline park full of fun and adventure.

I remember the first time we went there.

The place has a specific energy that brings out the child in you.

My kids always have a blast there, jumping around, trying different activities like the zip-line, and making the most of their time.

It's amusing to watch them, and it gives me a sense of joy to see them enjoying themselves so much.

We've always found DEFY Jackson to be full of excitement and laughter.

Take a Walk Through History at Old Capitol Museum

Exterior of the Old Capitol Museum
NicholasGeraldinePhotos / Shutterstock.com

Nothing quite matches the thrill of stepping into the Old Capitol Museum.

Its regal architecture made more poignant by the stories it holds, is mesmerizing.

The museum is housed in a circa-1839 capitol building right in the heart of downtown Jackson and is open from Wednesdays through Fridays.

Its three floors provide a visual storyboard of the role of government and historic preservation and how these factors have shaped the state.

The stories are rich, and the history profound.

Interior of the Old Capitol Museum
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

The best part? Entry is free. Every time I walk in, I learn something new that I wouldn't have found in any history book.

The unique insights about the history of Mississippi and the impact of wars on the state's culture and opinions are enlightening.

And, of course, the art and architecture are simply stunning.

If you want to see the current political workings in Mississippi, you can also tour the new Capitol building.

A visit to the Old Capitol Museum truly is a journey through time.

Chamber in the Old Capitol Museum
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Create Unforgettable Memories at Shiloh Splash Park

There is no better way to beat the summer heat than taking a dip at Shiloh Splash Park.

Located in the heart of our town, this park has become my family's favorite summertime hangout.

It's a great place where my kids can splash around and have fun with the various water features like dump buckets, spray rings, and cannons.

The park also ensures the safety of the children with lifeguards constantly on the watch, making it a secure and enjoyable experience for parents too.

Another feature that we love about the splash park is the shaded seating areas with ceiling fans for those who prefer staying dry.

They even have two small pavilions with picnic tables, which can be used for birthday parties or just some shaded seating.

These thoughtful touches make the entire trip more comfortable and enjoyable.

During our visits, we never miss a chance to grab a quick bite or a refreshing drink from the snack bar.

They offer a variety of snacks and beverages like chips, popsicles, water, and Capri Suns - all at very reasonable prices.

For anyone looking for a fun, affordable way to cool off and spend time with their family this summer, I highly recommend visiting Shiloh Splash Park.

My family and I can't wait for our next visit!

Enjoy the Day at Pelahatchie Bay

Sunset at Pelahatchie Bay
Luke P Ferguson / Shutterstock.com

Waking up to the sounds of nature, I quickly grab my picnic basket and head off to my favorite spot - Pelahatchie Bay.

The lush greenery, the serene water, and the gentle rustle of the leaves never fail to bring a sense of calm to my mornings.

Picnic tables are scattered about, perfect for an early morning breakfast accompanied by the choir of chirping birds.

The ready-and-waiting grills are perfect for those who prefer a more hearty start to the day.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can plunge into the refreshing water for a quick swim.

But it's not always just peace and tranquility.

There's a real sense of community here.

The hum of boat activity is a constant reminder of the locals and their love for the bay.

One of the hidden treasures of Pelahatchie Bay is Goat Island.

My friend once took me out there, and I was smitten.

It evokes a sense of wonder and fascination, adding another layer of magic to the bay.

Every day spent at Pelahatchie Bay is a day well spent.

It brings together the beauty of nature, the thrill of adventure, and the warmth of community.

Moreover, it's a place that I'm proud to call home.

Final Thoughts

Rankin County, Mississippi, is a treasure trove of diverse attractions catering to various interests.

Visiting these attractions has given me a deeper appreciation for our community and the rich history and natural beauty it offers.

There's nothing like experiencing it yourself. So, go out, explore, and immerse yourself in Rankin County!

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