D’Lo Water Park Blues Trail Marker at Piney Woods School Juke Joint Guitars Simpson County Lake Simpson County Courthouse
Nearby Attractions
Blues Trail Marker at Piney Woods School thumb

Blues Trail Marker at Piney Woods School

A sign of the times—4/4 time, that is, the beat of the blues. Some of the nation’s greatest blues musicians came out of Piney Woods School. Discover their stories and the school that launched them…


rofessor Laurence C. Jones founded his school in 1909, on forty acres and an abandoned sheep’s shed donated by a former slave.  The surroundings weren’t grand, but the mission was:  to provide much needed educational opportunities for African American youths in all subjects, including music. 

Jones’ dedication bore fruit, as Piney Woods alumni like bluesman Sam Myers, the original members of the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, and the trail-blazing International Sweethearts of Rhythm, all went on to make great music and musical history.  The Piney Woods commemorative marker, part of the Mississippi Blues Trail, shares the remarkable stories of the musicians and their school through informative text and an assortment of historic images.

The Mississippi Blues Trail, a project of the Mississippi Blues Commission, extends throughout the state of Mississippi and to significant sites beyond, but for the Piney Woods marker, you won’t have to go far—it’s just outside the Braxton city limits.

5096 Highway 49 South, Piney Woods, MS 39148, 601.845.2214

Grand Paradise Water Park thumb

Grand Paradise Water Park

Soaked up the stunning natural wonders of the D’Lo Water Park? Then try the ups and downs of man-made water wonders at Grand Paradise. Choose your speed, choose your altitude; prepare to get wet.


ith soaring palms decorating the perimeter and candy-colored water slides criss-crossing each other three and four stories in the air, Grand Paradise spreads out over seven acres like an oasis crossed with a crazy concoction for fun, with the fun designed for all ages and temperaments.  Those looking for the slow lane will enjoy Paradise River, but the more adventurous can aim higher on slides like the Wipeout, Tropical Splash, Grand Falls and Blue Typhoon.  The small set can splash down at a kiddie playground and a water fort.

To get to Grand Paradise from Simpson County, just slide on down I-49 to Collins.

50 Grandview Dr., Collins, MS 39428, 601.765.8118

Lake Mike Conner thumb

Lake Mike Conner

Once you’ve fished your fill at Simpson County Lake, you may want to wander south, to another Mississippi-owned lake, where there are opportunities to be snagged by boat or bank at Lake Mike Conner…


hile Lake Mike Conner has a reputation for large blue gill and shell crackers, those in the know say large mouth bass are well represented in this lake as well. Records are healthy—bass, 13 lbs., 2 ounces; red ear, 2 lbs., 14 ounces, while daily creel limits are generous—largemouth bass and catfish, 10 per day; bluegill and red ear, 100.  The lake’s two handicapped-accessible piers make bank fishing, particularly for the bream, a popular choice.  This 79-acre lake is also excellent for boating; skiing is allowed Wednesday through Sunday, noon until sunset.  The boat ramps here will accommodate any size boat.

Named for a popular Depression-era governor (who, as sports fans may know, served as the first ever commissioner of the Southeastern Conference), the lake is located 8 miles west of Collins.

8 mi. W of Collins off Hwy 84, 601.765.4024

Lake Prentiss Walker thumb

Lake Prentiss Walker

An old favorite with a new name, Lake Prentiss Walker offers a day at the beach for skiers and swimmers, but fishing is the real draw. And for at least one angler 13 proved no unlucky number…


t Lake Prentiss Walker, a black salty baitfish snagged the record bass at 13 pounds, 13 ounces.  Obviously, the bass fishing is fine here, but the blue gill, red ear and channel catfish are also plentiful in the lake, where sunken Christmas trees and other habitat enhancements make for good bream fishing.  And speaking of enhancements, a sandy beach has been created on one side of the lake for swimmers and sunbathers; between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the lake is open to swimming, with a life guard present, and skiing is allowed on Fridays and Sundays.

Located in Mize, the lake was formerly known as Lake Ross Barnett, but was renamed in 2010 for a former Congressman and board member for the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Parks.

4 mi. SW of Mize off Hwy 35, 601.733.2611

Longleaf Trace Trail thumb

Longleaf Trace Trail

Where the Iron Horse once ran, now real horses and riders—along with bikers and hikers—find a path to wooded bliss in this rails-to-trails project that draws visitors from all over the nation. Saddle up…


t’s the ultimate reclamation:  abandoned railroad tracks replaced by a trail where bikers, hikers and equestrian enthusiasts can reclaim old-fashioned peace and serenity.  Named a National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Longleaf Trace offers 41 gorgeous miles of trail through pastoral woodlands, from Prentiss all the way to Hattiesburg, with a 25-mile horse and mountain bike trail running alongside it for 25 miles, from Carson to Eply.

Longleaf offers just the right amount of modern amenities:  an asphalt surface, mile markers, maps, and restrooms along the way, with several B&Bs as well as a tent camping site.  But the abundantly natural beauty of the trail feels untouched— shaded by pines, and with embankments and cuts where scenic overlooks offer striking views.  One particular highlight:  Beaver Pond, where a multi-tiered deck takes you down to a water retreat overhung with trees and gilded with lily pads.

Longleaf Trace Trail P.O. Box 15187 Hattiesburg, MS 39404, 601-450-2453

Okatoma Outdoor Post & Canoe Rental thumb

Okatoma Outdoor Post & Canoe Rental

For nearly 30 years, this family-run establishment has been helping folks go gently down the pristine stream of the Okatoma Creek, where lush scenery meets Class I ease. Ready to go with the flow?


all it a Huck of a day, the kind Huck Finn would envy:  Lazy clouds floating above while you’re floating along on the Okatoma, meandering for miles over gentle waterfalls and past sandbars and shoals, with high banks around you canopied by birches and maples.  Take as much or a little time as you want; float trips can range from as short as a couple of hours to an entire day or more.

Located near Seminary, Ronnie and Lisa Robinson’s Okatoma Outdoor Post & Canoe Rental has been in operation for nearly 30 years, catering to nature lovers of all ages with facilities and services that include canoe and kayak rentals, and lodging options that range from RV hookup and primitive camping to cabins to a bunkhouse that can be reserved for groups from 20 to 50.  While there are novelties aplenty in the rustic gift shop festooned with old-timey décor, another novelty can be seen roaming the Robinsons’ 700-acre farm:  real Watusi cattle.

550 Walter Lott Road, Seminary, MS 39479, 1.888.OKATOMA

Roosevelt State Park thumb

Roosevelt State Park

Camp by the side of a glimmering lake; enjoy spectacular views of a national forest. This is eye candy that nourishes the soul. Sights that satisfy—and plenty of activities to keep you hooked…


state park named after a famous American president and a national forest named after a French explorer.  Together, it’s a good combination for an experience visitors tend to remember long after they’ve gone.  And it isn’t just the views of Bienville National Forest that linger with campers and day-trippers to Roosevelt State Park.  It’s also the hospitality and easy mix of modern amenities and recreational attractions.

For water lovers, there’s the 150-acre Shadow Lake offering excellent boating, fishing and water skiing;  there’s also a large swimming pool with water slide.  Four nature trails give hikers plenty to enjoy, while tennis courts and rental disc golf are available for those who like games with their outdoor fun.  Overnight choices are equally diverse:  RV and tent camping, as well as heated and air-conditioned cabins, and even “group camping” in dormitory-style cabins housing as many as 128. 

The park is perched at the western edge of the Forest, in Morton.

2149 Highway 13 South, Morton MS 39117, 601.732.6316

Annual Events Interactive Map Heritage Trail