Reservoir Adventures

Ridgeland is where water meets wonderful at the 33,000-acre Barnett Reservoir. Known locally as the Rez, the lake is a haven for boaters, anglers, picnickers and birdwatchers. The surface area of the Reservoir is 52 square miles so this expansive body of water is 16 miles long and 7 miles wide. If you’re looking to have some fun on the Rez, we’ve got some great things to do at one of our favorite outdoor playgrounds. The Barnett Reservoir was created and is maintained by the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District.

Wake Up

early at one of Ridgeland's 17 hotels, all located within a 10-15 minute drive to the Rez. You'll want to kick-start your morning with some fuel food, depending on where you're staying.

North Ridgeland:

South Ridgeland:

eats diner

Get Going

for a day full of adventures on the Rez! Head over to Old Trace Park. Enjoy a relaxing stroll or bike ride on the paved path along the water!

You can also fish, swim and grill at one of the covered picnic tables or large pavilion. Be sure to check out the Ridgeland Recreation Center as well for more information.

In addition, you'll notice this area features a Disc Golf course which includes 18 holes, each with a single tee location. Perhaps you'd like to play a round before before setting out on the open waters!


Head Over

to Main Harbor Store Marina and get hooked up with a pontoon boat rental along with ski and pull tubes. There's even a double-decker party pontoon with a slide for additional fun! On the weekends boaters flock to “the Cove” at the Reservoir Overlook on the Natchez Trace Parkway to float and relax in the water.

Main Harbor also has all the supplies you need for fishing. Largemouth and spotted bass are abundant in the Rez and the lake offers some of Mississippi's best crappie fishing. For the ultimate fishing experience, book an excursion with Brad Chappell Fish Guide. Brad’s passion is teaching folks how to catch trophy size crappie. He provides all the gear, tackle and bait.

You'll also always find bank fishermen casting a line at Old Trace Park, Spillway Overlook Park and the North Fishing Jetty (locally known as Red Dot Road) adjacent to Main Harbor Store Marina.


Rent A

kayak for a real close up and personal experience on the Rez. Pearl River Kayaks will bring everything you need for your expedition. They also offer a variety of themed and guided tours + kayaking lessons.

Their popular Wildlife and Bird Watching Tour offers the opportunity to see beautiful bird species like herons, egrets, eagles, ospreys and kites along with migratory species like white pelicans, prothonotary warblers and scarlet tanagers. Reservoir wildlife watching includes turtles, mussels, alligators, beavers, otters, deer, and raccoons. Other tours include Kayak Fishing, Flora Fauna & Fungi, and Environmental Citizenship & Ecology.

While on the water, notice all the beautiful sailboats at the Jackson Yacht Club. Although sailboats are available for rental by club members only, the JYC Foundation and Community Sailing on the Rez offer two First Sail Days each year. These are free and open to the public to introduce the joys of sailing to both adults and youth.


Time To

treat yourself! You deserve a good meal after a long day's adventure. Luckily, you have a ton of excellent options right on the Rez.

  • Cock of the Walk - try their famous golden fried catfish amidst a fun-filled, laid back atmosphere. The waitstaff is dressed in period costumes harking back to the old riverboat days of the 1800's, and they entertain diners by flipping cornbread out of cast-iron skillets. You'll always find families outside by the restaurant taking pictures by the water while feeding the ducks and geese
  • Crabs Seafood Shack - an established restaurant with a brand new location overlooking the Rez! This local-favorite gives all the beach vibes with tropical cocktails and a full seafood menu. Head upstairs to Blue Bar for live music every Thursday-Sunday!
  • Pelican Cove - located inside the same building as Main Harbor Store Marina, this restaurant features a lively back deck with water-front views a boating dock. With cool drinks, good eats, big screen TVs and live music, Pelican Cove is the place to be
  • Shucker's Oyster Bar - looking for raw oysters and a fun time? Head over to Shucker's where you'll find live music and sports outside on the deck or hit the indoor dance floor
pelican cove

Relax and Unwind

at the Overlook (milepost 105.6), where you'll be provided the perfect view of the Reservoir. Arrive by walking or cycling along the Chisha Foka Multi-use Trail or drive over and park your car in the available parking lot. Spread a blanket or hang a hammock among the trees, and take in the beautiful serenity as the sun sets over the Barnett Reservoir.

Looking for one more unique experience? Contact Picnics on the Rez to set up an aesthetically pleasing picnic for you and your tag-along.