Camping in Mississippi offers an abundance of outdoorsmanship, sport, sightseeing, and getting back to nature. With tons of wildlife and extensive historical settings, there are surprises around every corner in this beautiful state.
If it’s history you’re after, you can’t go wrong with either the recent history of the Civil War, or the ancient history of the Paleo Indians. Fifteen miles north of Tupelo, in northern Mississippi, is this pivotal Civil War battlefield of Brices Cross Roads, where General Nathan Bedford Forrest won a major victory, but the long-term effects of the battle would prove costly for the war overall, showing that you can win the battle but lose the war. Camping here gives you access to the interpretive center, the battlefield and cemetery. In the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, Tishomingo has been named as one of the top 100 campgrounds in America. Archaeology dates Paleo Indian sites to 7000 BC, but the name of the park come from Chief Tishomingo, leader of the Chickasaw nation.
Camping in Tishomingo offers disc golf courses, hiking, playgrounds, playfields, volleyball courts, and a swimming pool. If you’re adventurous and get a permit, try technical rock climbing. Canoeing and fishing are available on Bear Creek, and Haynes Lake is also open to fishing.
If you’re in the mood for a little water recreation, and we don’t mean fishing or canoeing, go camping at one of the 200 campsites on the Gulf Coast at Buccaneer. Though this park was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, it has been carefully restored and offers the Buccaneer Bay Water Park. But while you may love the wave pool and water slides, you can still enjoy the outdoors with the large moss-draped oaks, the marshlands, and the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico. Also known as Jackson’s Ridge, the park was home to Andrew Jackson after the Civil War.
For an expedition that may either be a scenic byway on your way to somewhere else, or a destination unto itself, consider the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Natchez Trace Parkway is actually a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive that follows the historic route of American Indians, European settlers, slave traders, and soldiers. Along the way there are more than a dozen dedicated campgrounds, and many recreational opportunities. Campers can bike, walk the Parkway on foot, horseback ride, and stop for fishing in one of the many rivers and lakes it passes by (in Mississippi, try Ross Barnett Reservoir, Davis Lake, Bay Springs Lake, Tishomingo State Park, and JP Coleman State Park.)
And if you want to get down on the coast and water, visit the Gulf Coast islands: With six islands in Mississippi (Cat Island, Davis Bayou Island, Horn Island, Petit Bois Island, Ship Island, and West Petit Bois Island) there are plenty of places to pitch a tent and camp the night while admiring the beauty of the Gulf coast. Outdoors, you can bike, bird watch, fish, snorkel and dive, swim and sunbathe, and it even has some of the best stargazing in the area free from much light pollution.
Wherever you choose to camp in Mississippi, you’re bound to find something new to love and something new to enthrall you. The state is gorgeous, and the camping is so inviting.