Photograph by VISITHATTIESBURG
GPS: 31°18'N 89°18'W
Hattiesburg still clings to its rich, cultural roots. You can browse the grand Tudor and Victorian homes lining the elegant, oak-edged streets; drive along the Freedom Summer Trail, a tour of 15 sites integral in the civil rights movement; and listen to tunes at the Saenger Theater, a restored 1929 art deco movie house that still plays its original Robert Morton pipe organ.
Bike the Longleaf Trace, a 41-mile (66-kilometer) park created from an abandoned railroad line (www.mylongleaftrace.com). Kayak Black Creek, a Wild and Scenic river that flows along the De Soto National Forest's Black Creek Hiking Trail; Black Creek Canoe Rental provides boats and shuttles from $32 a day (www.blackcreekcanoe.com).
The Crescent City Grill serves up gourmet Southern comfort favorites like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and the local specialty: crispy fried Mississippi Delta catfish (www.nsrg.com/crescent-city-grill).
Ash-leah Manor, an estate on the outskirts of the Timberton Golf Club greens, offers bed and breakfast for a steal (doubles from $89; www.ash-leahmanor.com).