12 Parks in Meridian, Mississippi

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Emily Johnson

As the second largest city in Mississippi and the regional hub of east Mississippi and west Alabama, Meridian has worked to preserve green spaces and create community parks even as it continues to grow economically and residentially. The city’s 12 public parks provide over 780 acres of vibrant parkland for locals and tourists to enjoy year-round.

Meridian’s city parks system originally began with Highland Park in the 1890s, one of the South’s first urban parks. Today, the parks offer playgrounds and spray grounds for children, miles of walking trails, picnic facilities, sports fields, a BMX track, disc golf course, outdoor fitness equipment, a kayak and canoe launch site, and more across their diverse locations. Several parks connect directly to the historic Jimmie Rodgers Walking Trail as well.

The natural beauty and abundance of tall pines, native wildflowers, flowing creeks, and even a lake can be found throughout Meridian’s scenic parks. From small neighborhood greenspaces to large community parks encompassing over 100 acres each, Meridian has a wealth of outdoor recreation readily accessible across the city.

1.Queen City Boulevard Park

Tucked away along Queen City Boulevard just north of the Singing Brakeman Memorial Highway, this petite .3 acre park packs plenty of shaded relaxation into a small green footprint.

Mature longleaf pine and hardwood shade trees dot the park, which contains picnic tables, benches, and a memorial plaque describing the park’s creation.

Queen City Boulevard Park connects to the Jimmie Rodgers Walking Trail, making it an ideal spot to begin or end a walk along Meridian’s famous musical heritage trail.

The urban forest of stately pines and hardwoods that shelter the park also provide habitat for native songbirds and woodland creatures, bringing nature into the heart of the city.

2.North Hills Park

One of Meridian’s newer parks, North Hills Park boasts 6.23 acres of community green space created when the Holly Hills neighborhood was developed by the city.

This park stretches along both sides of North Hills Street and provides a lush recreational space for families in northern Meridian neighborhoods.

Kids can burn off excess energy at North Hills Park’s impressive playground, complete with climbing structures, swings, and even poured rubber surfacing for safety and accessibility.

Shady pergolas with picnic tables allow parents, grandparents, and others to comfortably supervise youngsters at play. Restroom facilities and on-site parking provide added convenience as well.

3.Marion Park Recreation Complex

As Meridian’s largest city park at over 140 acres, Marion Park offers something for everyone when it comes to recreation and leisure.

Encompassing not only community park facilities but also recreation center buildings, sports fields and courts, and the impressive Sammie Davidson Sports Complex, Marion Park stretches across multiple blocks between Front Street and the train tracks along Marion Avenue.

Marion Park provides picnic pavilions with grills, children’s playground equipment, walking trails circling the park, open grassy areas for relaxation or sports, and access to jointly operated recreational facilities like the tennis courts, softball fields, and large covered picnic pavilion near the sports complex.

The crisp white columns of the Frank Cochran Center recreation building make an iconic focal point within Marion Park as well.

4.Highland Park

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, beloved Highland Park serves as a living legacy of Meridian’s early parks history. Developed beginning in 1896, the first section of Highland Park remains in use over 125 years later as the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Park along 30th Avenue.

Stately old growth pines tower over the walking trail encircling a still-running spring and the picnic gazebo honoring Meridian’s famous singing son.

Other areas of Highland Park across Highland Avenue contain additional walking trails threading through mossy ravines, open fields, pine and hardwood forests, and even the historic Lowe Lake dotted with cypress trees.

5.Bonita Lakes Park

Located beside the northernmost of West Lauderdale’s famous Bonita Lakes, this aptly named 10 acre park provides lakefront relaxation to Meridian residents on the western side of town. Paved walking trails allow visitors to stroll the park while enjoying water views and natural scenery.

Bonita Lakes Park connects directly to the Jimmie Rodgers Walking Trail as well, making it an ideal starting point for longer pedestrian explorations of Meridian’s outdoor public spaces. Picnic facilities dot the well-kept lawns along the water’s edge, which are also popular for bank fishing.

A large modern playground entertains kids with climbing structures and even musical components alongside the classic swings and slides.

6.Joe Joe Evans Water Park

Cool waters provide relief from Mississippi’s long hot summers at Joe Joe Evans Water Park, an aptly named facility for wet and wild recreation.

Spraying fountains, fun water slides, and even dumping buckets delight children of all ages at this 4 acre water park along Highway 19 North.

Shallow pools stretch across the park with interactive water features like bubblers built right into the pavement for the amusement of younger visitors.

Open grassy areas allow parents and grandparents a comfortable spot to relax while children test out the many water-based attractions. Concession and changing room facilities provide added convenience for guests.

7.Livingston Park

Set along bustling Front Street just half a mile west of downtown, Livingston Park’s 10 acres include both open recreation fields and more developed facilities focused on community gatherings and sports.

Its two lighted tennis courts cater to weekend players, while an impressive covered picnic pavilion provides welcome shade for family reunions, church socials, and other larger functions.

Livingston Park’s central location also makes it a popular spot for weekend soccer and baseball games on the open grassy expanses thanks to easy accessibility.

Trees and landscaping gracefully integrate with the urban setting, providing beauty and green space along a major Meridian thoroughfare. A large modern playground entertains kids after the games wrap up as well.

8.Otto Springs Park

Quiet relaxation awaits visitors to Otto Springs Park, a .65 acre greenspace providing a cool, shaded refuge to enjoy the natural world even on busy 20th Avenue. Encompassing the historic cold water spring long used as a local swimming hole, Otto Springs Park preserves both Meridian’s outdoor recreation heritage and essential habitat for native plants and urban wildlife.

Stonework ruins along Spring Creek stand as remnants of the bath houses and spring pool constructions built during the early 20th century to create a public park around the natural spring site. Today the crumbling masonry provides a scenic landscape feature as the flowing waters emerge from their underground source into a clear pool fringed by native vegetation.

9.Freedom Ridge Park

Perched atop a high ridge on Meridian’s far western side, Freedom Ridge Park stretches more than 100 acres alongside Interstate 20/59 to provide panoramic views, wooded wilderness, and diverse recreation options away from city center. Sweeping vistas take in farmland, forested hills, and downtown Meridian from some areas of the park.

Purpose-built mountain bike and hiking trails cut through pine and hardwood forest, with creek crossings and even challenging climbs offering hours of outdoor adventure.

More relaxing recreation can be found along the hard-surfaced walking trail encircling the park or while picnicking and playing on the playground equipment as well. A large open field provides space for pick-up soccer matches or throwing around a football too.

10.Sammie Davidson Sports Complex

Operated jointly with Marion Park Recreation Complex, Sammie Davidson Sports Complex takes youth and adult athletics to the next level within city limits. As part of an overall push by Meridian to promote amateur sports tourism, this complex contains multiple competition-quality fields and amenities tailored specifically for regional tournaments and similar events.

Its 750-seat covered stadium field with artificial turf can comfortably host large baseball and softball tournaments complete with electronic scoreboards.

Three additional ball fields etched into the landscape cater to overlapping games during weekend-long competitions, with dugouts, fencing, and bleachers on each field. Concession and restroom facilities conveniently serve both players and fans.

11.Coretta Scott King Heritage Park

Creating a contemplative and culturally-focused green space honoring Meridian’s African-American heritage, small but impactful Coretta Scott King Heritage Park occupies less than a quarter acre downtown.

Formerly housing the office for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, this historic site provides connection to Meridian’s critical role in America’s Civil Rights movement during the 1960s.

The walking paths, benches, artistic light pole banners, and interpretive signage within Coretta Scott King Heritage Park all pay tribute to this history while providing a place of quiet reflection and remembrance today. Surrounded by striking murals depicting imagery from the Civil Rights era, the park serves as hallowed public ground for residents and visitors alike even its modest size.

12.Joe Stone Park

During segregation, Joe Stone Park provided one of Meridian’s only green spaces open to African-American residents thanks to purchase of the land by prominent black businessman and parks booster Joe Stone during the early 1920s. Still operating today, this roughly one acre park now bears his name in enduring honor of Stone’s contributions to Meridian’s civic life.

Shady oak trees, paved walking paths, park benches, small memorials, and playground equipment now grace Joe Stone Park, which provides an oasis of recreation and leisure opportunities conveniently located between residential areas and businesses along 8th Avenue. Events like Art in the Park festivals also activate Joe Stone Park for continued community enjoyment.

Conclusion

From historic spring-fed swimming holes to modern spray parks, and everywhere in between, Meridian’s collection of public parks truly has something for all ages and interests when it comes time to get outdoors. Conveniently located across the city, multiple landscape types from lakeside beaches to pine forest ridges make exploring the parks even more rewarding.

Whether looking to play disc golf, cheer on young athletes, stroll along walking trails, let the kids enjoy playground equipment, relax streamside with a fishing pole, or simply find a cool spot for a picnic lunch, Meridian’s 12 parks invite locals and visitors alike to make the most of the city’s abundant natural assets through diverse recreation opportunities that continue growing to this day.

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