Nestled in the Deep South is the vibrant small city of Ridgeland Mississippi that is full of fabulous surprises for those who may have preconceived notions about sleepy, little southern towns in America. Ridgeland, located on the historic Natchez Trace Parkway and just north of the state capitol of Jackson in central Mississippi, is charming no doubt; however, charm is only the half of it. Ridgeland isn’t all about sipping sweet iced tea on the front porch swing, this town is for the active traveler who desires outdoor recreational opportunities mixed with flavorful dining experiences by some of the South’s finest chefs who’ve set up shop in this luxurious town. With over 140 restaurants Ridgeland is bursting with flavor with many eateries offering patio dining making the most of Mississippi’s awesome weather.

World-renowned chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto craft a truly unique menu and fine dining experience at Seafood R’evolution located in the beautiful Renaissance at Colony Park lifestyle center. Folse and Tramonto’s award-winning cuisine pays homage to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast seafood heritage as well as that of the rich Mississippi Delta.

Chef Derek Emerson, a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Chef in the South, serves up his take on fresh local and regional ingredients at Local 463 Urban Kitchen.

As far as other good eats in Ridgeland one could go on and on about the mouth-watering steaks found at Tico’s Steakhouse, Doe’s Eat Place, Ely’s, Kathryn’s, MM Shapley’s, and Koestler Prime. Dine on the shores of the Barnett Reservoir at Cock of the Walk (for the best fried catfish) or Pelican Cove Grill, the lively local hangout for music on the covered deck and views of the boats at Main Harbor Marina. There’s the classic French bistro Anjou Restaurant led by father-daughter duo Chef Christian Amelot and Anne Amelot-Holmes. Ridgeland even boasts a drive-thru tamale restaurant, Tony’s Tamales. Their turkey tamales wrapped in corn husks are so tasty that restaurants throughout Mississippi purchase them wholesale to serve to their own guests.

But enough about food, let’s talk about Ridgeland’s reputation as a premier cycling destination for serious athletes and casual peddlers alike. Ridgeland has been recognized as a Bronze Level Bicycle Community by the League of American Cyclists – one of only 144 cities in the U.S. to hold this honor. Cycling trails like the Natchez Trace Parkway and Ridgeland’s Multi-Use Trail, competitive and pleasure special events, extreme BMX cycling, and mountain biking trails are available. Somehow, all that high-performance fun is even better knowing that crisp sheets await at the end of the day at one of Ridgeland’s modern and upscale hotels.

Water lovers will delight in the 33,000-acre Barnett Reservoir which helped Ridgeland become named one the Mississippi’s best waterfront destinations. Locally known as the Rez, the lake is a great place for sailing, boating, skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, picnicking and bird watching. Pontoon boat rentals and commercial tour boats are available to enjoy the Rez.

Ridgeland offers some of the finest shopping in Mississippi as well. The renowned Mississippi Craft Center features treasures from over 400 artisans and is located just off the Natchez Trace Parkway, making it accessible by bike. A wealth of independently owned boutiques, galleries, spas, recreational and antique shops are located from one end of the city to the other. Stroll the streets of the Old World-style Renaissance at Colony Park, The Township at Colony Park,  Trace Station and Olde Towne Ridgeland/Jackson Street District and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air while you shop.

In Ridgeland, you’ll find yourself up with the sun ready to explore the surprising array of outdoor and indoor activities. How you choose to explore – by bike or boat, in shops or on trails, through touch or taste, inside or out – well that’s entirely up to you!

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