Mississippi is full of incredible state parks. However, there are tons of other great parks in the Magnolia State that offer everything from outdoor fun to impromptu history lessons. So the next time you’re looking for the perfect place to spend the day, check out one of these 10 lesser known parks.
1. Shiloh National Military Park (800 N Parkway St., Corinth)
Although Shiloh National Military Park is actually located in Tennessee, it includes a separate unit in Corinth. The Corinth Battlefield Unit features 14 historic sites associated with the siege, battle, and occupation of the city during the Civil War. While there, you’ll definitely want to check out the Corinth Contraband Camp. At one time, 6,000 ex-slaves called the camp home. Today, you can walk through a preserved portion of it, which includes life size sculptures depicting the camp’s former inhabitants.
2. Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo (2272 N Coley Rd., Tupelo)
This Tupelo park is home to nearly 300 animals, and the best way to see them all is a guided tour, which will get you up-close and personal with buffalo, camels, zebras, giraffes, and more. There’s also a petting zoo, pony rides, and numerous exhibits.
3. Pascagoula River Audubon Center (5107 Arthur St., Moss Point)
The perfect place to spend the day outdoors, this Pascagoula gem features exhibits, activities, canoe rentals, boat tours, and more. There’s also a ton of signage providing information on the wildlife and plants native to the area.
4. Tunica River Park (1 RiverPark Drive, Tunica)
Perfect for everything from a family outing to a romantic sunset stroll, Tunica RiverPark features nature trails and 48’ overlook, both of which offer stunning views of the Mighty Mississippi. The park also includes a gift shop, aquarium, and museum with interactive attractions and seasonal exhibits.
5. Little Black Creek Campground and Park (2159 Little Black Creek Rd., Lumberton)
Perfectly secluded and centered around a pristine lake, Little Black Creek Campground and Park is by far one of the most beautiful places in the Magnolia State. Aside from stunning scenery, the Lumberton gem is the perfect place for some outdoor fun, offering everything from fishing to zip-lining.
6. Pat Lamar Park (Corner of College Hill Rd. and Country Club Rd., Oxford)
Between the gorgeous greenery and sparkling waters of Lake Patsy, Pat Lamar Park is the perfect place to spend some time outdoors. Soak up the idyllic surroundings with a waterfront stroll via the park’s lovely walking trails.
7. The Duck Pond (1928 Depot Way, Bay St. Louis)
A true hidden gem, the Bay St. Louis Duck Pond is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon. In addition to feeding the ducks, you can explore the area, which includes a small waterfall, swings, and more. There’s also a picnic area, so be sure to pack a lunch…and don’t forget to bring some for the ducks.
8. Grand Gulf Military Park (12006 Grand Gulf Rd., Port Gibson)
This 400-acre park features forts, a museum, campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, observation tower, and several restored buildings. Begin your visit at the museum, where you’ll find historic photos, artifacts, Civil War memorabilia and even a Mastodon bone. Then take an auto tour of the park; must see sites include a church that was transported from the ghost town Rodney, a historic cabin and an old submarine that was once used by moonshine runners during prohibition.
9. Natchez National Historical Park (210 State St., Natchez)
Natchez is full of historically significant sites and impressive architecture – a fact that hasn’t been lost on the National Park Service, which deemed it the city with "the richest history on the Mississippi River." You could easily spend an entire day at this unique park, which includes the Melrose Plantation, the William Johnson House, Fort Rosalie, and an area known as the preservation district.
10. Gulf Islands National Seashore (3500 Park Rd., Ocean Springs)
Spanning from Gulf Breeze, FL to Ocean Springs, this national seashore features white sandy beaches, pristine water, historic forts, recreational activities, and more – which means you’ll probably want to devote some time to this national park. The Davis Bayou Area in Ocean Springs is accessible by car and includes a nature trail, campground, boat launch and fishing.
So, how many of these parks have you heard of? Ever visited any of them? Know of another that should’ve been included? Tell us in the comments section!