Beach to Bayou - Aug/Sept 2017
Tour some of Hancock County's favorite campgrounds, offering everything from primitive tent camping in serene settings to a beachside getaway with a waterpark.
- story by LB Kovac, photos by Ellis Anderson
Buccaneer State Park
1150 S. Beach Blvd.
Buccaneer State Park is consistently ranked one of the best campgrounds in Mississippi. The park’s popularity is in no-doubt thanks to its many amenities: a fully-stocked camp store; two large, lifeguard-protected pools; a full waterpark complete with slides, a wave pool, and a splash pad; a coin-operated laundry room; and a long nature trail that takes you through some of Mississippi’s less-developed areas. Indeed, Buccaneer State Park has a little something for everyone.
The campground itself has over 200 campsites, both back-up and pull-thru spots. Campsites come with options for 30- and 50-amp connections, as well as Wi-Fi, cable, and a parking spot. There are dedicated primitive sites in the back of the campground for campers looking to pitch a tent. These sites don’t have fire circles or picnic tables, but they are spacious enough for multiple tents or extra equipment.
The best thing about the park, though, is its proximity to the gulf. Located on Beach Boulevard in Waveland, the Gulf of Mexico is quite literally across the street. If you know your travel plans ahead of time, you can reserve one of the park’s premium gulf-view spots, which give you amazing sunset views from the comfort of your camper. And white-sand beaches are just a short walk away!
The tradeoff for staying at such a big park is a bit of noise. There are dedicated quiet hours at Buccaneer State Park, but there are lots of campers, including families with young children, and some noise can't be helped.
McLeod Water Park Campground
8100 Texas Flat Rd.
If you see your visit to Hancock County as less splashing in the pool and more communing with nature, pull your camper around to McLeod Water Park Campground. Located on the banks of the Jourdan River, McLeod offers a sportsman’s paradise, with two boat ramps; plenty of water for swimming, boating, kayaking, and fishing; and two scenic nature trails.
McLeod has about 50 campsites, with back-up and pull-thru sites available. Each site comes with a parking spot and picnic table, and slide-out campers can be accommodated. There’s also an on-site bathhouse with showers, a splash pad for the kids, and a playground.
Despite this campground’s seclusion, there’s still easy access to downtown Hancock County’s conveniences. Hollywood Casino, downtown Bay St. Louis, and Mississippi’s coastline are each just a 20-minute drive away.
Bay Hideaway RV Park and Campground
8360 Lakeshore Dr.
Bay St. Louis, MS
Bay Hideaway was recently voted #1 Favorite RV Park in America during a Woodall’s competition. And if you know anything about the campgrounds, it’s easy to see why it is so well liked. In addition to the amenities offered by many other Hancock Country campgrounds — 30- and 50-amp sites, a swimming pool, and a lounge area with games, books, and movies — Bay Hideaway offers a little bit extra.
The campground park has a disc golf course for enthusiasts, the laundry rooms are free, and the staff have lots of recommendations for local eateries, bars, and family activities. During special holidays, there are free cookouts for the whole campground.
This campground is just three miles from the beach, and it’s even closer to several casinos. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars in downtown Bay St. Louis.
8012 Highway 90
Bay Saint Louis, MS
For the seasonal camper, Shady Acres RV and Cottage Community presents a calm, relaxing atmosphere with all of the amenities you need, at affordable rates. Owners Bill and Julie Berry have created a perfect base for people who are enjoying the Hancock County area during a long-term stay. In addition to spacious spots with parking for two vehicles, Shady Acres features landscaped gardens, a private fishing pond, and a pet playground. There’s even a clubhouse with large television, a library, and plenty of board games: bad weather doesn’t have to sideline your relaxation.
This campground is centrally located for those who want to enjoy all of Hancock County’s features. Silver Slipper Casino, Hollywood Casino, the Stennis Space Center, and white sand beaches are all within a ten-minute drive.
Be aware that this campground only rents by the month. If you’re in Hancock County for a shorter stay, you might want to look at one of the other facilities.
These are just a few of the campgrounds in Hancock Country. Whether you’re just visiting the area or looking to call it home for a little while, there’s a campground just for you.
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