True Small Town Living
Selected as one of the 100 Best Retirement Towns in America by Where to Retire magazine, Hattiesburg, Mississippi has become a top retirement community. The city has been recognized for its desirability as a place to live by well-renowned retirement writers and mentioned in national media including NBC Nightly News, NBC's Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The St. Petersburg Times, the Kiplinger Washington Newsletter, and Best Places to Retire by David Savageau.
With its hometown feel, it's somewhat surprising that this college town serves over a quarter of a million people in its immediate area with culture, industry and medical facilities. In actuality, Hattiesburg is a booming metropolitan area that has retained its small-town atmosphere.
The Greater Hattiesburg Area is home to two state-of-the-art hospitals and the state's largest multi-specialty clinic, with over 200 physicians representing every field of medicine. The superb medical facilities in the area also earned Hattiesburg the top community rating (for cities under 100,000 people) for healthcare in the Rating Guide to Life in America's Small Cities.
The Greater Hattiesburg Area provides you with many unique opportunities for entertainment, education and recreation.
If you are looking for artistic inspiration, the Saenger Theater hosts productions by the Hattiesburg Civic Light Orchestra, as well as many professional and local theater groups. William Carey College and The University of Southern Mississippi offer enough theater, concerts and exhibits to keep any culture seeker on the go. In addition, numerous art galleries feature rotating exhibits and displays of work created by Mississippi artists.
For something a little out of the ordinary, the International Checker Hall of Fame is located in nearby Petal. Watching a heated tournament on the floor-size checker board is an experience, to say the least.
The most popular educational activities for retirees come through The University of Southern Mississippi's (USM) Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, an association of retired persons who seek continued intellectual and social stimulation. Housed in a home just off campus, the OLLI offers a relaxed setting for sharing learning experiences with friends and new acquaintances without the pressure of exams or grads. The Institute, now almost 500 members, is run by the members who select course content and approve the instructors. The OLLI is coordinated through the University's College of International and Continuing Education. This office also schedules a number of special interest classes and trips throughout the year. Their content, duration, costs, and instructors depend upon the nature of each class. Retirees can audit (if space is available) on-going classes at USM as well as neighboring William Carrey (a private Baptist university). Jones County Junior College and Pearl River Community College, located within 30 miles of the city, also offer a variety of classes of interest to retirees.
In regard to recreation, Greater Hattiesburg offers lots of opportunities, whether you are interested in being a spectator or participant. Local college athletics draw football, basketball, baseball and soccer fans to the campus year round.
Tatum Park is also a great place to watch numerous regional and statewide soccer, baseball and tennis tournaments. If you are interested in participating in outdoor recreation, you can enjoy biking, walking, outdoor photography, bird watching and many other outdoor activities on 39 miles of historic railway converted into a beautiful, paved, recreational nature trail, Longleaf Trace. A 23-mile equestrian trail parallels the paved trail. The Longleaf Trace is a Rails-to-Trails conservancy project.
In addition, Black Creek Canoe Rental was recently recognized in Field and Stream Magazine. Water enthusiasts can canoe down Black Creek while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Desoto National Forrest. Black Creek also offers camping, swimming, kayaking, fishing and hiking. Just South of Hattiesburg, the Paul B. Johnson State Park boasts a 300-acre lake with cabins, camping, boat rentals and fishing. Picnic areas contain double and single shelters and six large pavilions.
Kamper Park and Zoo and the All-American Rose Garden are great destinations when you want to relax and enjoy the scenery.
If "hitting the links" is what you long for, with 12 beautiful year-round golf courses within a 30-mile radius, the Greater Hattiesburg Area is fast becoming one of the hottest golfing destinations in South Mississippi. The mild, year-round climate and warm Southern hospitality keep people coming back year after year. Avid golfers will be happy to know that our courses are open year-round, so you can "hit the links" 365 days a year! This is a terrific resource to have in a retirement community.
The Greater Hattiesburg Area also plays host to several special events throughout the year. Twice a year, crowds of 55,000 to 80,000 come to Downtown Hattiesburg and experience the food, crafts and music of the Old Time Festival and HUBfest.
The Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association also organizes several gallery walks for local residents to enjoy. The holiday season brings parades and a beautiful candlelit Victorian Christmas celebration in Hattiesburg's Historic District. Beautiful Lake Terrace Convention Center phosts several events, including, consumer fairs and trade shows. The Forrest County Multi-purpose Center is where rodeo enthusiasts will discover bucking broncs, bull riding, calf roping and barrel racing.
Performance groups Just Over The Rainbow Theater; the Hattiesburg Civic Chorus' Meistersingers Chorus; USM presents over 300 productions, concerts, recitals, art exhibits and shows each year; and William Carey University hosts a summer dinner theatre with renowned artists' exhibits. Museums include the Mississippi Military Museum located at Camp Shelby; the USO African-American Museum; and the Hattiesburg Historical Museum.
Affordable Hattiesburgs offers housing that is 25% below the national average. Over 200 restaurants offer varied cuisine, and shopping abounds with numerous antique shops, boutiques, the Hudson's Treasure Hunt, Steinmart, Trees & Trends, and our 90,000 sq. ft. Turtle Creek Mall.
Hattiesburg is also known as the "Hub City." It earned this name by its close proximity to several large metro areas. If you feel like getting out of town, just hop in the car, and in one and a half hours, you can be in New Orleans, Mobile, or Jackson, and it's no more than an hour's drive to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Make plans now to come visit us, experience the South's warmest welcome and find out why so many retirees have chosen to call Hattiesburg home.
Read what people like yourself have to say about Hattiesburg as a retirement community:
Eric Martin and his wife Jean visited Hattiesburg while on a golf outing. They quickly learned the Greater Hattiesburg Area not only had great golf courses, but also many other exciting amenities. Eric loves the fact that Hattiesburg's climate allows him to garden year-round.
Mississippi Living: How did you learn about Mississippi?
The Martins: Eric and Jean Martin visited Hattiesburg as part of a golf package in 1981. While they returned to their home in Chicago after hitting the links, they couldn't quite get Mississippi off their minds. "We liked the area, especially Timberton. We knew we wanted to retire in a college town that offered good cultural, medical and recreational opportunities. Hattiesburg has all of that and much more so we decided to buy property and build a new home here," says Eric Martin.
Mississippi Living: What did you find so appealing?
The Martins: In addition to Hattiesburg's many amenities, the Martins were attracted to the location of the city. The couple enjoys all that the Coast has to offer - casinos, live entertainment, deep sea fishing and scenic beaches. They also find it convenient to be able to catch planes out of Jackson and Mobile when they are making travel plans or going to see their son who still lives in Chicago.
Since they moved to Hattiesburg in 1998, the Martins have gotten involved in many facets of the community. Timberton has a homeowners association that sponsors golf and fishing outings, fish fries and barbecues, Mardi Gras, Easter and Christmas parades, and even a neighborhood garage sale. "I know everyone and everyone knows me. As neighbors we not only enjoy all of the activities here but we also look out for one another," adds Martin. The Martins are the envy of some of their neighbors since they both definitely have green thumbs. The couple often works in the yard together, which in Hattiesburg can be done year-round. The fruits of their labor were recently rewarded when fellow residents gave the Martins the Yard of the Season award.
Mississippi Living: So how do you feel about your retirement decision now?
The Martins: Despite moving here from the home of the Cubs and the Bears, the Martins are now loyal University of Southern Mississippi fans. The couple has purchased season tickets and is a member of the Eagles Club. When they are not cheering for Eagle athletics, the Martins often enjoy cultural opportunities the University has to offer such as a concert by legendary blues man, B. B. King.
While she enjoys playing golf and attending USM games, Jean Martin's passion is quilting. She is a member of the Pine Belt Quilting Association and also participates in a quilting group at St. John Lutheran Church. Her lovely, intricate designs are displayed in a guest room in her home.
Whether it is enjoying all that the Hub City has to offer or traveling to the Coast, Mobile or New Orleans, the Martins are happy they decided to retire in Hattiesburg. "Here we can do things all of the time. We love the climate. We love the people and most of all we love calling Hattiesburg home!"
Facts and Figures
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(under age 65): $1,452
(65 and older): $677
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Commercial passenger air service available locally.