Our recent visit to Hattiesburg, Mississippi is proof that you can learn a lot about a place in just 24 hours, eat a lot of great food in 24 hours, and leave wanting MORE than 24 hours.
My main assignment for the visit was to do a restaurant roundup for TravelAwaits.com. Here is the link to that story. https://www.travelawaits.com/2756296/best-restaurants-in-hattiesburg-ms/ I believe you'll be enticed to start planning a trip as soon as you read it.
Food and restaurants are definitely a huge part of Hattiesburg's appeal, but there is much more to enjoy.
Colorful, whimsical murals are popping up all over town. In fact, there are more than 44 stops on the HBURG Public Art Trail, and I didn't even get to HALF of them. Reason #1 to return soon.
My first introduction was at Longleaf Trace, a running/hiking/biking linear park that extends for 44 miles beginning in downtown Hattiesburg and extending all the way to Prentiss. It's paved and perfect for exercise and getting outdoors. The Longleaf Trace Mural, on both ends and all the way through the Stone D. Barefield Tunnel, features wildlife and plants that are native to the Pinebelt region. It was painted by Ivan Roque of Miami.
Since the restaurant article didn't include a photo of a steak, I thought I'd include it here. Steaks are menu headliners. Sully's has live music every evening and was named for John Sullivan, a world champion bare-knuckle heavyweight fighter in the late 1880's.
POCKET MUSEUM, THEATER, AND GALLERY
Hattiesburg's Pocket Alley came about during the pandemic when creative people took their talents to an alley in town and started creating art for others to see in an outdoor, socially-distanced setting. It continues to entertain with themes changing monthly. Look for it at 119 W. Front Street. When Steve and I were there, Legos were featured. A surefire hit with kids.
BREAKFAST AT THE DEPOT KITCHEN, LUNCH AT THE BIRDHOUSE CAFE
The Depot Kitchen & Market is a perfect place to get yourself fueled up for the day with what is considered by many to be the best coffee in Hattiesburg. The atmosphere is friendly, and the breakfast dishes are cooked to order.
Katie Dixon is the absolutely delightful and enthusiastic owner and chef at The Birdhouse Cafe. If you are lucky enough to have a chat with her, you'll be thoroughly impressed. The food she serves is both healthy AND delicious, and she caters to all types of food allergies.
And one more tip -- while you have eating on your mind. The Kitchen Table is a great store in the same shopping center where Ed's Burger Joint, Crescent City Grill, and El Rayo Tex Mex are located. Check it out.
MISSISSIPPI ARMED FORCES MUSEUM
The Mississippi Armed Forces Museum located on the Camp Shelby military base contains seven exhibit areas sharing the personal stories of heroes who are from Mississippi and/or received their training in Mississippi. This is an inspiring place and will renew your sense of patriotism and pride in America.
As I've said, we barely scratched the surface of attractions in Hattiesburg. We had hoped to visit the Hattiesburg Zoo, particularly to see the family of sloths and the giraffes, but stormy weather caused the zoo to close for the day. Reason #2 to return. Plus, as the restaurant article mentioned, there are more than 200 locally-owned eateries in town, and I only talked about 11 of them. That adds another 200+ reasons to go back.
Many people have been making their way to Laurel, MS because of the popularity of the HGTV show "Home Town" and its Laurel residents Ben and Erin Napier, who have put their town on the map. Hattiesburg is only 30 miles from Laurel. My suggestion is that you find a way to see both towns.