Mississippi offers several beautiful campgrounds within an easy drive of Baton Rouge.
All of my tent camping experience in Mississippi has been in the southern part of the state. It’s a reasonably short drive from my home in Baton Rouge.
Clear Springs campground is a hidden gem. Forest camping is terrific here surrounding this beautiful reservoir and facilities constructed during the Works Progress Administration. Paddling in the small lake is fun and sheltered; while the 3-mile hiking trail around the lake gives you a workout. Clear Springs is situated in the middle of the Homochitto National Forest, so night skies here are dark on moonless nights. The stars sparkle so I try to bring a telescope and reserve a campsite close to the lake. This is also advantageous for launching my canoe. But even if I’m not successful in securing a lakefront site, I simply carry my telescope down to the picnic table closest to the lakeshore where a majority of the southern sky is open to view. Tall pines block the northern sky here, so viewing that area would require repositioning to a different area around the lake. The park has clean facilities with hot showers.
Clear Springs album March 2018
I camped alone here for one night, in pursuit of finding another dark sky site. The free (as in absolutely no fees) campground is quite sparse, offering cold potable water at a spigot but only pit toilets. I was the only overnight camper in the park the night I was there which felt a bit odd as it is immediately adjacent to the highway and locals(?) would periodically pull in and drive around the campgrounds loop drive. The main attraction here is for paddlesports enthusiasts on Black Creek, and there were a few parked cars at the launch where kayakers eventually exited the creek, packed their gear, and went home.
That hight the skies were indeed dark on the moonless night, but the forest canopy was pretty thick. There was a clearing in the middle of the campground loop road, but the canopy of the tall trees don’t allow you views to the horizon. I had to keep moving my telescope around to view different parts of the sky.
Janice Landing photo album
During a visit to the Gulf beaches several while still in college at LSU I spent the night at Buccaneer State Park. This was years before Katrina so the tree canopy I recall likely no longer exists. Since the main point of my trip was beach time down the road in Gulfport or Biloxi, I didn’t spend much time at Buccaneer, took no photos (this was before cell phones), and have limited memory of it. I know that the park has been rebuilt after Katrina so perhaps it is again time for another visit.