Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Best Places to Retire in Mississippi


Hattiesburg (population 46,000) is located in the southeastern part of the state, 90 miles southeast of Jackson and about 70 miles north from the Gulf Coast. It was founded in the early 1880s and took the name “Hattie” from the wife of its founder, Captain William Hardy. Hattiesburg sprang up in the virgin yellow pine forests along the Meridian to New Orleans rail line. In 1897, the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad from Gulfport to Jackson ran through Hattiesburg and a boom in the lumber industry soon followed. Hattiesburg soon became known as the “Hub City” for the entire region. http://www.hattiesburgms.com/ The Hub City Historic District in downtown Hattiesburg, which is in the National Register of Historic Places, has preserved many of the neo-classical, art deco and Italian renaissance buildings of the early days. And though the streetcars that connected it to the residential areas are long gone, its heritage and small town charm remains. At the same time greater Hattiesburg is today a vibrant community that offers many of the amenities and advantages of a much larger city. It is home to the University of Southern Mississippi, a major university with an enrollment of 15,000 students. The university, with its outstanding arts and cultural programs, its athletic teams, student activities, its many resources and wealth of talent, is a tremendous asset to the community.

Hattiesburg offers a comfortable lifestyle with a great many amenities, including arts, culture, continuing education, excellent healthcare, and affordability. Its mild climate supports year-round golf, tennis, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities. It has been listed among the “100 Best Retirement Towns in America,” and the “Top 10 Best Budget Towns.”

Arts & Culture

Library of Hattiesburg – (601) 582-4461 Lauren Rogers Museum of Art (Laurel, Miss.) is noted for its outstanding collections of European and American art, Native American baskets, English Georgian silver, and Japanese woodblock prints, as well as an extensive art history library. http://www.lrma.org/

Hattiesburg Arts Council Gallery houses a permanent collection of art by Mississippi artists and features traveling exhibits. (601) 583-6005

Degrummond Children’s Literature Museum features more than 65,000 children’s books. http://www.lib.usm.edu/~degrum/html/collectionhl/

University of Southern Mississippi’s Art Museum –http://www.usm.edu/visualarts/museum/aboutus.php

The USM Department of Theatre and Dance produces six Mainstage Productions. http://www.usm.edu/theatre/

It also offers a repertory of three plays in the Southern Arena Theatre which operates throughout the summer term. http://www.usm.edu/theatre/sat04.php

USM’s dance concerts are held in the 744-seat Mannoni Performing Arts Center. The Southern Miss Repertory Dance Company performs frequently throughout the year and guest artists are brought to the campus regularly, both to teach and to perform. http://eventful.com/hattiesburg/venues/usm-mannoni-performing-arts-center-/V0-001-000154440-3

The Symphony Orchestra at USM has a rich history and tradition dating to 1920. The performance season includes Masterworks concerts and world renowned guest artists. http://www.usm.edu/symphony/

Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby houses memorabilia from all major wars, from the Civil War through the Persian Gulf War. http://www.ngms.state.ms.us/campshelby/

Museum/ Hattiesburg’s African American Military History Museum –http://www.usm.edu/visualarts/museum/aboutus.php

Saenger Theater is a 1000-seat Art Deco style building, built in1928-29, has been renovated by the city as a premier performing arts venue. http://www.saengeramusements.com/theatres/hattiesb/hattiesb.htm


The Parks and Recreation Department manages 20 ball fields, 12 soccer fields, 18 tennis courts, basketball courts, three swimming pools and a number of walking trails. There are adult programs in basketball, softball, tennis, swimming and golf. Community Center programs include bridge, quilting, square dancing and table tennis. http://www.hattiesburgms.com/pr.html

Longleaf Trace is a 41-mile linear park featuring a paved trailway that spans three counties. It extends from Hattiesburg and the USM campus through Sumrall, Bassfield and Carson to Prentiss. The trail is used for running, biking, hiking, and horseback riding. http://www.mylongleaftrace.com/

There are a number of excellent golf courses in the area. Timberton is one of the top 10 courses in the state. http://www.timbertongolf.com/
CaneBrake Golf Club is a Jerry Pate design. It is among the top courses in the state. http://www.canebrakegolf.com/page/263-10952.htm
Shadow Ridge Golf Club is a championship layout designed by Paul Azinger. http://www.shadowridgegolf.com/
Pine Belt National Golf Club and Resort – http://www.pinebeltgolf.com/
Pine Burr Golf Club, Wiggins – ( 601) 928-4911

Okatoma Golf Club – (601) 765-1841

University of Southern Mississippi’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA. Visit the USM Athletic Department Web site:http://www.southernmiss.com/

Hattiesburg Zoo offers free admission and features Asian, Australian and African habitats. It is in the process of implementing a seven-year renovation plan. http://www.hattiesburgms.com/przoo.html

Paul B. Johnson State Park is in the pine belt region of the state, 15 miles south of Hattiesburg The park has a visitor’s center, a 300-acre lake with swimming and water sports, a boat launching ramp, picnic area, playground, athletic fields, camping, RV sites and a self-guided nature trail. http://www.mississippi.gov/


The University of Southern Mississippi was founded by the State Legislature in 1910 as the first state supported teacher training school. Today it is a major university with enrollment of over 15,000, and in 2002 a second campus was established at Gulf Park. http://www.usm.edu/index.php

William Carey College is a private four-year liberal arts institution offering both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Enrollment is 2400 students. It has three campuses; Hattiesburg, New Orleans, and Gulfport. http://www.wmcarey.edu/

Senior Programs

The University of Southern Mississippi’s program for seniors is titled “Institute for Learning In Retirement.” The institute is an all-volunteer program and has over 400 members. http://www.usm.edu/index.php

“Retirement Connectors” are a group of retirees who recruit potential retirees to the area. They conduct area tours and publish a retiree guide and other materials. The group, which is part of the Area Development Partnership (Hattiesburg’s Chamber Of Commerce), also assists in planning events for retirees throughout the year. You can reach them at (800) 238-4288 or contact the Area Development Partnership – http://www.theadp.com/


Forrest General Hospital has 537 beds; 429-bed acute care, 88 beds for chemical dependency and psychiatric care, and 20 beds for rehabilitation. http://www.forrestgeneral.com/

Wesley Medical Center is a 211-bed facility serviced by 300 physicians that practice there. http://www.wesley.com/


Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport has a 6,500-foot paved, lighted runway. It is a transportation hub for southeastern Mississippi. Located about 10 miles from the city, it provides commercial, charter and private aviation services. http://www.airportcity.com/

Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport, about four miles from the city, is owned by the city. It has a 6,219-foot paved runway but no longer offers commercial air service. http://www.flyhbg.com/


Average high temperature for January is 60 degrees, and the low is 35 degrees. July temperature averages are a high of 91 degrees and low of 74. http://www.wunderground.com/US/MS/Hattiesburg.html


Hattiesburg American – http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/

Property Taxes

Forrest County Tax Services – http://www.co.forrest.ms.us/

State Taxes


Chamber of Commerce

The Area Development Partnership (ADP) is the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development entity for the Greater Hattiesburg Area. http://www.theadp.com/

State Aging Agency



Gulfport – 70 miles
Biloxi – 82 miles
Jackson – 90 miles
Mobile, AL – 96 miles
New Orleans, LA – 110 miles

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