Mississippi is a state known as part of the deep south. In this place, friendly hospitality reigns supreme, and the sun shines hot during summer. It’s also a state that many people are attracted to due to its culture, natural beauty, and affordability. Living in Mississippi is 16% less costly than the national average, with housing averaging about 34% lower. That’s a real bargain for such a beautiful place.
Nestled within Mississippi’s Pine Belt region is Hattiesburg, home to 46,846. The small town may not be as well-known as some of the more prominent places in the state, such as Jackson or Biloxi, but the locals know it as a bastion of charm and fun. Hattiesburg is home to two major colleges, the University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University. It’s also got a rich military history, about a half-hour drive to the famed Camp Shelby.
Despite its relatively smaller size, Hattiesburg has many attractions for its citizens. Many of them are highly rated for enjoyment and a lot of fun. If you’re passing through the area or already call it home, here are 22 fun things to do in Hattiesburg, MS.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Alley Cats Axe Throwing Company
- 2. Pep’s Point Water Park
- 3. Eagle Action Sportz Paintball
- 4. Hattiesburg Zoo
- 5. Longleaf Trace
- 6. Laser Mania
- 7. Painting with a Twist
- 8. Mississippi Armed Forces Museum
- 9. Lake Thoreau Environmental Center
- 10. Southern Prohibition Brewing
- 11. African American Military History Museum
- 12. Category 5 Smash Room
- 13. Hattiesburg Saenger Theater
- 14. Hattiesburg Pocket Museum
- 15. Hub Bowling Lanes
- 16. Turtle Creek Mall
- 17. Turtle Creek Theater
- 18. Updown Indoor Trampoline Park
- 19. The University of Southern Mississippi’s Medicine Wheel Garden
- 20. Town Square Park
- 21. Lake Terrace Convention Center
- 22. College Town Escape Rooms
1. Alley Cats Axe Throwing Company
From the world of lumberjacks to the mainstream, axe throwing has recently become a popular activity throughout the United States, with small businesses popping up in towns from coast to coast. Downtown Hattiesburg has Alley Cats, a fun little facility where groups can rent target bays by the hour. They can throw the axes while enjoying refreshments from the on-site bar or one of the many nearby local eateries. Alley Cats even offers mobile services to bring the axe-throwing to you!
2. Pep’s Point Water Park
Everyone knows how hot it gets down south, and Pep’s Point is one of many facilities that aims to mitigate the effects of the extreme heat. What separates Pep’s is that it’s built entirely with the existing natural landscape and the flowing spring water that comes with it. The water in the spring-fed lake is always cool to the touch, even in the midst of the hottest dog days of summer, and the amenities there are great for the whole family. For $8, you can spend the day lounging on the lakeside with a towel, and for $15, you get access to the water slides, mini golf course, game room, and much more.
3. Eagle Action Sportz Paintball
A few years ago, three military veterans with nothing to do decided to open a local place where people could have fun and get some much-needed exercise and outdoor time. A paintball facility was a perfect idea. Thus Eagle Action Sportz became a reality. Guests can bring personal gear or rent directly from the business. The multiple fields ensure players of all ages and abilities can enjoy the fun. Eagle Action even has a low-impact game for younger kids.
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4. Hattiesburg Zoo
Fantastic for family outings, dates, or any old afternoon for an animal lover, the Hattiesburg Zoo is more than just a collection of animals. It also features a mining expedition, a train ride, a high ropes adventure course, a splash pad, and a carousel ride. That’s in addition to its animals from around the world, and the attractions that come with them, such as the petting zoo, the safari walk, and the specialized bug exhibit.
5. Longleaf Trace
Longleaf Trace is known as Mississippi’s premier trail. It’s 44 miles long and only partially located in Hattiesburg. Still, it’s a tremendous nature trail for walking, jogging, hiking, or riding horses through the scenic Mississippi landscape. There’s plenty to explore along the Longleaf, so get out and get traveling, especially if you love the outdoors.
6. Laser Mania
The rush of laser tag is unlike almost any other recreational activity. You find yourself in a blacklight arena, music blasting, with a group of teammates and opponents, all trying to shoot each other with a weapon straight out of science fiction. Alright, maybe it isn’t so dramatic, but the activity is a fun way to get some competition and fun. Laser Mania also has a full arcade of video games, billiards, foosball, and a full concession stand to keep the fun rolling all day.
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7. Painting with a Twist
Artistic-minded residents of Hattiesburg will love Painting with a Twist; it’s an art studio focused on community spirit and fun. An event at Painting with a Twist consists of an entire painting lesson with all the supplies provided. You and your group will create memories with a built-in keepsake. You can even bring your own food and drinks with no limitations to ensure you’re getting the most enjoyment out of your evening. The studio also hosts birthday parties, date nights, and the occasional trivia night. So if you’re interested in creating fun artwork, this is the place to go.
8. Mississippi Armed Forces Museum
Like many states, Mississippi has a proud history of military veterans who have served their country and made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of freedom. Hattiesburg is home to the state’s armed forces museum, whose mission is to honor the unsung heroes of the past by telling their stories and preserving their artifacts. History lovers or military buffs have to stop here while in Hattiesburg as a way to learn and pay tribute to those who have come before.
9. Lake Thoreau Environmental Center
The University of Southern Mississippi maintains the Lake Thoreau Environmental Center, just a few short miles from the main campus. The University’s mission in preserving this area is to provide a model for natural preservation in Mississippi and an environment that invites exploration of the ecosystem. Recreational activities here include biking, hiking, birding, and weekend fishing. The area can help anyone relax.
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10. Southern Prohibition Brewing
Known for a top-notch taproom that’s built to look like a basement man cave, Southern Prohibition has been proudly serving local brews to the Hattiesburg locals since 2013. They typically have over a dozen beers on tap and a full bar menu. Southern Prohibition is a very comfortable place to meet up with a friend or take a date who wants to sample some Mississippi community drinks.
11. African American Military History Museum
Throughout American history, the African American soldier has been marginalized along with the larger African American community. This museum in Hattiesburg aims to honor the contributions of black soldiers from the Revolutionary War to the modern conflicts of the War in Iraq and the War on Terrorism. The museum houses hundreds of artifacts related to this proud history. It runs extensive community outreach programs educating the entire community on the service and sacrifice of African Americans in the military.
12. Category 5 Smash Room
Category 5 might be the most unique fun attraction in all of Hattiesburg. The concept is simple. People who need to release anger can show up, wear protective gear, and destroy stuff. That’s it. Guests literally take a hammer, mallet, bat, or another weapon and aggressively break things like old furniture, appliances, or computers. Customers can also bring their own property to smash, such as pictures of exes or bad holiday gifts. It sure beats snapping at your friends!
13. Hattiesburg Saenger Theater
Directly in the exciting heart of downtown Hattiesburg, the 1,000-seat Saenger Theater has entertained Mississippians since the roaring 1920s. While it screened old movies back then, today, the theater hosts a diverse array of live acts appealing to all tastes and genres. From plays to ballet shows to world-renowned musicians, the Saenger always puts on a great show.
14. Hattiesburg Pocket Museum
Looking for a little something to do on a rainy day? Walk down to the rear of the Saenger Theater to find some of the cutest tiny exhibits you’ll ever see. The museum is more of a series of pocket-sized displays made with models and toys, depicting funny, engaging, strange, and always adorable scenes. It opened during the Covid-19 pandemic back in 2020 as a way for people to break free of the constant isolation that period brought. Today, the exhibits have expanded and are ever-changing in an attempt to get people to explore the hidden gems and back alleys of downtown Hattiesburg.
15. Hub Bowling Lanes
It may not be the most glamorous facility in Hattiesburg, but Hub Bowling Lanes does the trick when the family has the itch to roll a few frames. The modest facility will appeal to old-school bowlers looking for an affordable place to compete. The prices are reasonable here and even include a pitcher of soda with admission. So put on the shoes and come down to Hub. It’s a strike!
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16. Turtle Creek Mall
Everyone loves a good shopping spree! Even if that’s not true, everyone needs to go shopping sometimes, and the most convenient way to do that is at an excellent old-fashioned mall. Turtle Creek serves the residents of Hattiesburg well. With dozens of popular retail stores as well as an extensive food court and many individual kiosks, it’s a place where you can always find whatever it is you’re looking for.
17. Turtle Creek Theater
After an afternoon of shopping, there’s no better way to unwind than catching the local blockbuster the way it was meant to be seen on the big screen. Turtle Creek Theater is located in the mall, so it’s convenient for shoppers to enjoy. With six separate theaters showing all of the latest films, there’s bound to be something for everyone.
18. Updown Indoor Trampoline Park
Looking for a place to host a birthday party? Need an air-conditioned attraction to bring the kids to on a hot southern day? Updown is here to provide hours of energetic fun. Updown has an open jumping court, a designated dodgeball area, basketball hoops for huge dunks, an arcade area, and a sweet ninja warrior course. Kids love bouncing around in places like this, but adults will secretly enjoy themselves too.
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19. The University of Southern Mississippi’s Medicine Wheel Garden
A medicine wheel garden’s purpose is typically filled with all kinds of local plant life in an environment meant for peaceful reflection and healing. This specific one, at the University of Southern Mississippi, is also meant to teach people about the Native American tribes that settled in the area and cultivated such plants for medicinal purposes. It’s a fun place for school field trips and family outings alike.
20. Town Square Park
True to its name, Town Square Park is located in downtown Hattiesburg. It’s a large park with plenty of space for picnics, lawn games, dog walking, or just enjoying the fresh air. It is also the site where the local farmers market sets up each weekend and hosts free live concerts each summer. For the community, it’s the best in town.
21. Lake Terrace Convention Center
Lake Terrace is a versatile space of over 33,000 square feet that hosts various events, from expos to conferences, beer tastings, and much more. Of course, as a convention center, you may only sometimes find something here that interests you, but there will always eventually have something for you to check out, so keep an eye on their schedule for the most up-to-date information.
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22. College Town Escape Rooms
What 21st-century city would be complete without its own escape room attraction? The College Town facility offers a half dozen puzzles, all with a unique twist. The games were designed for adults, so very young children may not have much fun here, and children under five aren’t permitted at all. Still, the attraction is fun for anyone old enough to partake in a mystery escape.
Hattiesburg, Mississippi’s southern hospitality is enough to keep the locals happy and the visitors returning. Still, the fun attractions are just the cherry on top of the sundae. There’s so much to do here for such a small city, so much that it’s almost impossible to accomplish it all. Even the most active, fun-loving person will feel overwhelmed by the amount of fun in Hattiesburg. All of it adds up to being one of Mississippi’s finest cities.
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