Summer is here, and there’s no better place to enjoy a season marked by fresh starts and time spent in the great outdoors than Ridgeland, Mississippi. Ridgeland offers endless ways to appreciate Mother Nature from the convenience of a charming Southern town. Check out these fun outdoor activities that are perfect for every type of traveler, from families and couples to solo and group adventurers.
1. Just Keep Pedaling
A cycle enthusiast’s dream and nationally recognized bicycle-friendly community, Ridgeland is home to several renowned scenic byways and mountain biking trails.
In addition to the famed Natchez Trace, explore the Chisa Foka Multi-Use Trail, running for nearly 15 miles through the Ridgeland portion of the Natchez Trace, with several offshoots to local businesses and shops.
For those seeking an adrenaline rush, head to the Ridgeland Mountain Bike Trails for 9 miles of single-track trails. Ridgeland also has a BMX track.
Didn’t bring a bike? No problem. Call Bicycle Revolution for easy pick-up, delivery, or on-site cycling service and rentals.
2. Get Familiar with The Rez
Ridgeland’s unofficial playground on the water, The Barnett Reservoir (affectionately referred to by locals as “The Rez”) is a must-visit.
At 16 miles long and 7 miles wide, the 33,000-acre Barnett Reservoir is more than equipped to host every aspect of lake living, from fishing and boating to waterskiing and swimming. With 105 miles of shoreline and several access points throughout the city, there’s no excuse to not get your feet wet at The Rez.
3. Wild Out with Watersports
When it comes to enjoying The Rez, it’s best to fully immerse yourself in the culture of lake living. Outside of diving right in, explore the lake via kayak or jet ski for an up-close-and-personal experience.
Both Pearl River Kayaks and Capital City Kayaks offer single and tandem kayak rentals for $30 per person, as well as the option to take a guided tour.
For those looking to take things up a notch, jet skis and wave runners are allowed on The Rez as well for a high-energy rush.
4. Natchez Trace Parkway
Of course, Ridgeland’s most popular attraction is the Natchez Trace Parkway. This 440-mile historic forest trail extends from Nashville to Natchez, passing directly through Ridgeland.
One of America’s most traveled National Parkways, the Natchez Trace is filled with history dating back to its origins in the late 1700s when the Mississippi Territory was established with Natchez as its capital. Check out the historic markers and trails found all along the Trace.
5. Al Fresco Dining
If you’ve worked up an appetite after a long day of outdoor adventure but can’t bear to waste a single second of a perfect spring day indoors, you’re in luck because Ridgeland offers plenty of opportunity for al fresco dining.
For casual eats and unbeatable views, head to Crabs Seafood Shack. Dock your boat nearby and enjoy the outdoor patio overlooking the Reservoir waters. For the ultimate vacation-vibes, head upstairs to the Blue Bar where live music is happening every Thursday-Sunday.
Into something a bit spicier? Take your taste buds south of the border at Sombra Mexican Kitchen. Their outdoor patio is perfectly charming, and you can’t beat $2 tacos and half-priced margaritas on Taco Tuesday.
For an upscale meal with gorgeous views of the water, head to Anjou, a charming French bistro located in the Township of Colony Park. We recommend the Crawfish Crepes for a one-of-a-kind French Creole fusion experience.
6. Bring on the Boating
There’s no better feeling than the wind in your hair as your cruise across a lake at sunset. To embrace that experience fully, you’re going to need a boat.
Several local Ridgeland businesses have you covered with rentals ranging from catamarans to pontoons. Main Harbor Marina is the mecca for all boating activity on The Rez, and it also rents pontoon boats to the public. For large groups, consider renting the Friendship II Boat, a double-decker cruise catamaran complete with kitchen, outdoor grill, bar area, and sound system perfect for getting the party started.
7. Reel It In
Whether you’re seeing The Rez from the shore or on a boat, there’s ample opportunity to reel in some fresh catch.
The reservoir’s fertile waters make it a natural fish hatchery. Its depths are teeming with healthy populations of bass, catfish, crappie, bream, sunfish, white bass, striped bass, and hybrid stripers.
Traverse the waters on your own or enlist help from expert angler Brad Chappell. Through his business Brad Chappell Guide Service, Chappell offers guided fishing sessions where he teaches beginners the secrets to catching big trophy crappie.
8. Have a Picture-Perfect Picnic
What’s more romantic than a picnic?
Local business Picnics on the Res kicks it up a couple hundred notches by offering an all-inclusive luxury picnic experience. The chic setups include colorful throw pillows, plush blankets, fresh flowers, and delectable charcuterie boards. To complete the experience, packages also include a selection of games, Bluetooth speaker, and the use of an Instax polaroid camera to document your memories.
9. Take a Walk on the Wildflower Side
Nothing screams serenity like a stroll among a field of beautiful, colorful wildflowers. The Ridgeland Wildflower Field features a paved walking trail with benches available for resting as well as hand-crafted sculptures unique to the attraction. Leashed dogs are welcome, and visitors can also access the nearby entrance to the Multi-Use Trail.
10. Rock Out at Renaissance
The Renaissance at Colony Park has proved itself far more than just an outdoor shopping center. In addition to incredible al fresco dining options and top-notch boutiques, there's an open Green Space ideal for setting up a picnic or throwing the baseball. Rock out to the music playing at the interactive Show Fountain all throughout the day, with the main finale starting every evening in correspondence with intense lighting effects.
Whether you’re into adrenaline-pumping adventure or relaxing time near the water, Ridgeland, Mississippi offers everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors.
Relax in peaceful luxury with these comfortable accommodations.