20 Things To Do In Hattiesburg MS

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

Rich in history and surrounded by some of the most spectacular natural landscapes in Mississippi, Hattiesburg is a charming Southern city situated in the Magnolia State’s southwest region. The city is nicknamed “Hub City” since its located right at the crossroads of six major Southern highways which provides Hattiesburg with a vibrant arts and entertainment scene.

The city is home to the main campus of the University of Southern Mississippi and is one of the birthplaces of Blues Music in America. Hattiesburg is also the gateway to Mississippi’s thick pine forests and rolling farmlands, making it an exciting place to visit in Mississippi that truly has something for everyone to enjoy.

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

20 Things To Do In Hattiesburg

1- All American Rose Garden

pink rose
Admiring roses and relaxing in a garden is one of the things to do in Hattiesburg.

Situated right at the entrance of the Southern Mississippi University campus, the All-American Rose Garden, also commonly referred to as the Southern Miss Rose Garden, is a stunning botanical garden home to more than 36 rose varieties.

The venue was opened in 1974 and features over 800 rose bushes for visitors to tour.

It’s a scenic and peaceful spot on the Southern Miss campus, the rose garden is always a popular tourist attraction in Hattiesburg and one that’s well worth visiting the next time you’re in southeast Mississippi.

The All-American Rose Garden is at 118 College Dr, Hattiesburg, MS 39406.

2- Mississippi Blues Trail

Blue roadsign with the words "Welcome to Mississippi', birthplace of America's music
Exploring music history is one of the things to do in Hattiesburg MS.

Whisking music lovers along some of the most significant spots and moments throughout the history of Blues music, the Mississippi Blues Trail recounts the origins and rapid growth of this native Mississippian music genre that’s popular today across the world.

The trail was officially established in 2006 by the Mississippi Blues Commission and treats travellers to interpretive plaques at significant stops featuring interesting facts about Blues music.

From the clubs and churches where Blues music first took off to the cotton fields and city corners where Blues music originated, the Mississippi Blues Trail is a memorable music experience/

It’s one of the top Hattiesburg attractions, even if you’re not familiar with Blues music.

The Mississippi Blues Trail starts at 614 Mobile St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

3- University of Southern Mississippi Campus

historic building with grey dome and fountain
Admiring historic architecture is one of the things to do in Hattiesburg. Here’s a beautiful building in the University of Southern Mississippi.

West of downtown Hattiesburg, near the Hattiesburg Zoo, the University of Southern Mississippi campus is among the city’s biggest and most visited destinations.

It is home to quite a few notable landmarks.

The campus is perhaps best known as the home to the renowned All-American Rose Garden, however, the fantastic gardens aren’t the only attraction worth visiting on this flagship Mississippi campus.

Southern Miss’s 300-acre (121 ha) campus is home to leafy trails, beautiful buildings and the always-buzzing M.M. Roberts Stadium and the Reed Green Coliseum, home to the university’s Golden Eagles varsity sports teams.

The University of Southern Mississippi Campus is at 118 College Dr, Hattiesburg, MS 39406.

4- Hattiesburg Pocket Museum

metal sign and pathway
Wandering around the Downtown District is one of the things to do in Hattiesburg MS.

Officially Mississippi’s smallest museum, the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum, is a unique Hattiesburg attraction that’s purposefully hard to locate in the city’s downtown area.

The museum’s grand opening was intentionally kept off the radar by the Hattiesburg Convention Commission so that would-be visitors can discover Hattiesburg’s city centre as part of the museum experience.

While unconventional, it certainly worked.

The museum quickly became one of downtown Hattiesburg’s must-visit destinations and is home to all sorts of exhibits, such as an extensive Swiss Army knife collection and miniature figurines of famous people.

The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum is at 119 W Front St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

5- M.M. Roberts Stadium

The M.M. Roberts Stadium, also colloquially known by locals and students simply as “The Rock”, is a 36,000-seat stadium that’s the full-time home of Southern Miss University’s Golden Eagles football team.

Opened in 1932 as Faulkner Field, the stadium has undergone several major renovations and expansions throughout its history to keep it modern and fun to catch a football match on game day.

One of the liveliest venues in all of Hattiesburg whenever the Golden Eagles play at home, the M.M. Roberts Stadium is a fantastic place to stop by if you’re in the mood for competitive collegiate sports and one of the most energetic atmospheres in Mississippi.

M.M. Roberts Stadium is at 118 College Dr, Hattiesburg, MS 39406.

6- Longleaf Trace Trail

Cutting through the De Soto National Forest just southeast of Hattiesburg, the Longleaf Trace Trail is a popular 41-mile-long (66 km) recreational trail open to joggers and hikers, cyclists, skaters and even horseback riders.

The trail was opened in 2000 and connects Hattiesburg with the nearby town of Prentiss just northwest of downtown Hattiesburg.

The trail runs right through Hattiesburg and is an excellent way of discovering the city and its scenic surroundings, allowing travellers to experience the magnificent De Soto National Forest and the smaller towns dotted around Hattiesburg.

7- Sarah Gillespie Museum of Art

Showcasing over 600 splendid works of art by prominent local and international artists, the Sarah Gillespie Museum of Art and its extensive art collection is regarded as one of the most comprehensive amassed by Mississippians during the 20th century.

The museum is on the campus of William Carey University and displays various oil paintings, lithographs, block prints and more donated to the university by local art collector Sarah Gillespie.

With works on display by Kate Freeman Clark, Walter Anderson and Karle Wolfe, the museum is among the best art institutions in Mississippi and is always worth touring whenever you’re stopping by Hattiesburg.

The Sarah Gillespie Museum of Art is at 498 Tuscan Ave, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

8- African American Military History Museum

The informative and inspirational African American Military History Museum celebrates and honours the thousands of African American soldiers from Hattiesburg and beyond who have served the US Military from the Spanish-American War to the present day.

Opened in 2009 and housed inside a former 1942 USO building for African American soldiers at Camp Shelby, the museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This expansive centre feature exhibits recounting the lives of pioneering African American soldiers such as Jesse Leroy Brown and nurse Ruth Bailey Earl, as well as several war artefacts and intriguing snippets of history.

The African American Military History Museum is at 305 E 6th St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

9- Hattiesburg Zoo

hattiesburg zoo squirrel eating a snack
Visiting the zoo is one of the things to do in Hattiesburg for families.

Situated in Hattiesburg’s Kamper Park, the 12-acre (5 ha) Hattiesburg Zoo is a fun outdoor attraction in southeast Mississippi that’s a refuge for roughly 80 animal species from every continent on Earth.

The Hattiesburg Zoo was opened back in 1902 and is home to several fun attractions, such as the edZOOcation Center, the Parris Jewelers Mining Sluice, a gift shop, a petting zoo, and even a carrousel.

Surrounded by the natural beauty, thick forests, tennis courts, picnic spots and nature trails of Kamper Park, the zoo is one of Hattiesburg’s top tourist attractions and a great destination in Mississippi.

The Hattiesburg Zoo is at 107 S 17th Ave, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

10- Paul B. Johnson State Park

The scenic Paul B. Johnson State Park is an 805-acre (326 ha) outdoor recreation dream destination straddling the shores of Geiger Lake near downtown Hattiesburg.

The park was named in honour of Paul B. Johnson, the 46th Governor of Mississippi, and is situated just 10 miles (16 km) south of Hattiesburg.

Featuring over 25 camping sites, countless picnic spots and tons of lush greenery, the park is a favourite among Mississippi’s outdoorsy types thanks to its plentiful fishing opportunities and boating accessibility.

Open year-round and home to countless hiking paths and even a splash pad, the park is one of Hattiesburg’s must-visit attractions and one of the most picturesque places in Mississippi.

The Paul B. Johnson State Park is at 319 Geiger Lake Rd, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

11- Hattiesburg Saenger Theater

Hattiesburg city buildings
There are quite a few things to do in Hattiesburg to keep you busy.

The centrepiece landmark in Hattiesburg’s historic downtown area, the Hattiesburg Saenger Theater is a magnificent Neoclassical Revival and Art Deco style theatre opened to the public in 1929.

Designed by Emile Weil, a well-known architect from New Orleans, the theatre was built to showcase the popular silent films of the early 20th century.

Renovated several times throughout its storied history, the theatre hosts everything from Hollywood Blockbusters to live music performances, making it one of the leading cultural institutions in Hattiesburg and one that always treats visitors to a royal night out.

The Hattiesburg Saenger Theater is at 201 Forrest St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

12- Mississippi Armed Forces Museum

The Mississippi Armed Forces Museum is a vast centre dedicated to honouring the lives and contributions of the thousands of military veterans across Mississippi who proudly served their nation and state during wartime.

Located on Camp Shelby’s premises and near the African American Military History Museum, the centre was officially opened in 1984 with artefacts donated by two Mississippi veterans housed inside a small room.

Today, the museum is home to 8 separate galleries and more than 16,000 square feet (1,486 m2) of exhibition space and is home to some of the most important World War, Korean War and Vietnam War artefacts in America.

The Mississippi Armed Forces Museum is at Building 850, Forrest Ave, Hattiesburg, MS 39407.

13- Grand Paradise Water Park

Grand Paradise Water Park is a fun, family-friendly Hattiesburg attraction popular among locals every summer.

The 7-acre (3 ha) waterpark is situated roughly 30 minutes drive north of downtown Hattiesburg and is home to countless adrenaline-pumping rides to try out.

Some of the park’s favourite attractions include the Aqua Twist with its near-vertical drop, the zero-gravity Free Fall and the Grand Falls Racer with its four-story drop.

One of the best places to cool down during the hot Southern summers, the waterpark is one of Hattiesburg’s top tourist attractions and a great place to visit with something in store for all ages to enjoy.

The Grand Paradise Water Park is at 50 Grandview Dr, Collins, MS 39428.

14- The Lucky Rabbit

One of Hattiesburg’s most unconventional yet exciting places to visit is The Lucky Rabbit, an antique and old-school-themed shop selling some of the rarest historic items anywhere in the United States.

The shop features over 15,000 square feet (1,394 m2) of retail space and was first opened in 2013.

Everything from retro arcade machines and old soda dispensers to functioning phone booths and old-school video consoles can be found in the store, making it a must-visit destination if you’re feeling nostalgic.

The shop’s also a major tourist attraction thanks to its TV-show-themed displays and iconic 1978 Westfalia Volkswagen Bus, so be sure not to miss out on visiting this charming Hattiesburg venue the next time you’re in Mississippi.

The Lucky Rabbit is at 217 Mobile St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

15- Hattiesburg Area Historical Society Museum

hattiesburg forrest county courthouse
The Forrest County Courthouse in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

First opened in 1970, the Hattiesburg Area Historical Society Museum is dedicated to preserving and recounting Hattiesburg’s history for all who want to learn more about this fascinating Mississippi city.

The centre exhibits Hattiesburg’s past when the Choctaw still inhabited the area to the present-day Hattiesburg, recounting important moments in the city’s history, such as when Hattiesburg was an important timber producer.

With thousands of interesting displays and exhibits to tour, add a stop to the Hattiesburg Area Historical Society Museum to your Mississippi itinerary.

The Hattiesburg Area Historical Society Museum is at 723 Main St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

16- Hattiesburg Public Art Trail

metal sign and pathway
Wandering around the Downtown District is one of the things to do in Hattiesburg MS.

One of Hattiesburg’s more recent attractions, the Hattiesburg Public Art Trail, was officially launched in 2021 and has grown to become one of the city’s major downtown tourist attractions.

The trail features dozens of public art murals created by leading artists from Hattiesburg and beyond, whisking travellers on a self-guided tour of more than 30 murals across Hattiesburg.

A great way of experiencing Hattiesburg and a must if you’re interested in the arts, the trail is among the best outdoor attractions in Hattiesburg and a fantastic experience to enjoy with family and friends.

17- Turtle Creek Mall

The Turtle Creek Mall has been Hattiesburg’s major shopping destination, the city’s go-to destination for fashion, food and entertainment since the mall opened in 1994.

Over 80 stores and restaurants can be found inside the mall, making it a great place to stop if you want to buy a gift or something to take back home.

Situated just west of downtown Hattiesburg, the mall is always an interesting place to visit. It hosts annual special events, making it more than just your average shopping mall.

The Turtle Creek Mall is at 1000 Turtle Creek Dr, Hattiesburg, MS 39402.

18- De Soto National Forest

Looking for things to do in Hattiesburg MS? There’s a good balance of outdoor and indoor attractions.

Nestled in the largest ranger district in Mississippi, the De Soto National Forest and its endless rolling hills, peaceful streams, and thick pine ridges are one of the greatest outdoor attractions in the Magnolia State.

The forest lies 12 miles (19 km) south of downtown Hattiesburg.

It features excellent hiking, fishing, cycling, hunting and camping opportunities throughout its expansive and scenic 378,538 acres (153,189 ha) of untouched Mississippi nature.

Open year-round and home to the Black Leaf and Black Creek wilderness areas, the forest is a must-visit attraction in Hattiesburg if you’re a fan of the great outdoors and a fantastic destination for a day trip excursion from downtown Hattiesburg.

The Lucile Parker Gallery is another fantastic art gallery on Hattiesburg’s William Carey University campus.

It is just a stone’s throw away from the equally impressive Sarah Gillespie Museum of Art.

Opened in 1990 and named after local artist and former teacher Lucile Parker, the gallery is home to four permanent exhibits: The 190-piece Larry H. Day Collection, the 159-piece William Carey Collection, the 142-piece Lucile Parker Collection, and the Brian Blair Collection.

There are also numerous rotating exhibits on display throughout the summer every year. Be sure to head to the gallery to experience the best local art Hattiesburg has in store.

The Lucile Parker Gallery is at 512 Tuscan Ave, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

20- Chain Park at Twin Forks

Comprising over 37 acres (15 ha) of prime Mississippi land along the banks of the Leaf River, Chain Parks at Twin Forks is among the most popular outdoor recreational areas in Hattiesburg.

The park lies roughly halfway between Hattiesburg and Petal and is home to a litany of activities to partake in.

The park features several dedicated picnic spots, two playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, scenic hiking paths and some of the most spectacular riverfront views anywhere in Hattiesburg.

A hit ever since the park first opened in 2010, it’s quickly become the go-to spot in town for watching the annual 4th of July celebrations and is one of the best free-to-visit attractions in Hattiesburg.

Chain Park at Twin Forks is at 5619 Hwy 42, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

Previous article20 Things To Do In Palm Springs
Next article20 Things To Do In Tupelo MS
cropped Jessica Shaw.jpg
Jessica Shaw is a storyteller who has lived in four U.S. states - Missouri, Georgia, Ohio and Illinois - and has visited many others. She loves history and nature and is a big fan of road tripping.