Small-town charm meets big city-living in Ridgeland, Mississippi—a thriving destination known for its variety of tastes, sights, activities, and landscapes. And groups looking for outdoor experiences as they travel down the Natchez Trace Parkway have plenty of outdoor-centered activities to choose from.

“Groups love Ridgeland for its abundance of outdoor entertainment, fresh-air activities, and group experiences that show off the best of what Mississippi has to offer,” says Katie Coats, director of marketing and public relations at Visit Ridgeland.

From dining on an outdoor patio to exploring pristine nature right outside their doorstep, Ridgeland’s outdoor experiences are tailored for groups of all sizes and interests. 

1. Open-air shop at the Renaissance at Colony Park

Shopping at Renaissance at Colony Park | Visit Ridgeland
Shopping at Renaissance at Colony Park
Credit: Visit Ridgeland

Groups who make a stop at Renaissance at Colony Park will find a first-class shopping experience within an unbeatable fresh-air setting. The outdoor shopping plaza hosts boutique stores, specialty shops and vendors, and well-known national brands within its over 80-store facility. Groups can also enjoy the open Green Space, which is ideal for picnicking or simply enjoying a shopping break.

Other popular shopping stops for groups in Ridgeland include the Bill Waller Craft Center, a state-of-the-art facility along the Natchez Trace Parkway featuring over 400 local artisans, and Northpark Mall, an indoor shopping destination with 120 name-brand and specialty shops.

2. Dine with a view on an outdoor patio

Outdoor dining | Visit Ridgeland
Outdoor dining
Credit: Visit Ridgeland

From steakhouses and fine dining to authentic cultural cuisines, Ridgeland is known for its diversity of flavors. The destination is also known for its alfresco dining scene which offers a safe and serene alternative for foodies wanting an outdoor experience with beautiful views, weather, and culinary wonder.

Popular dining options with a scenic outdoor setting include the French-inspired Anjou Restaurant, the Asian-inspired Red 8 Kitchen, the seafood-savvy Crabs Seafood Shack, Mexican-inspired Sombra Mexican Kitchen, and the Steak Capital staple Koestler Prime, to name a few.

Kayaking at Barnett Reservoir | Visit Ridgeland
Kayaking at Barnett Reservoir
Credit: Visit Ridgeland

3. Explore the outdoors at the Barnett Reservoir

No trip to Ridgeland is complete without a trip to Barnett Reservoir. The haven for outdoor lovers and adventure sports enthusiasts provides ample opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, kayaking, and boating along its 105 miles of shoreline and 33,000-acre reservoir.

Other outdoor trails and nature areas worth exploring for groups include the Chisha-Foka Multi-Use Trail, a 10-mile paved trail running through the historic Choctaw homelands, the Ridgeland Wildflower Field, and the more than 9 miles of single-track Ridgeland Mountain Bike Trails.

Arts, Wine, and Wheels Festival | Visit Ridgeland
Arts, Wine, and Wheels Festival
Credit: Visit Ridgeland

4. Stop for a festival off the Natchez Trace Parkway

Groups making the 444-mile road trip on the Natchez Trace Parkway will not regret a stop at a Ridgeland-area festival along the way. Ridgeland festivals dazzle and delight with food, music, art, and culture right off the Natchez Trace Parkway all year long.

During spring, groups will love the Township Jazz Festival as well as Art, Wine, and Wheels weekend featuring the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival and Sante South Wine Festival. In the summer, groups will enjoy a trip to the Mississippi Book Festival. And come fall, experience the Renaissance Euro Fest, the popular classic European auto and motorcycle show, or the annual Fall Fest at Northpark Mall.

Lead image:
Biking in Ridgeland
Credit: Visit Ridgeland