Coastal Mississippi is the perfect destination for families, friends and couples who are interested in spending time unplugged, surrounded by natural offerings. When planning a trip to experience the unspoiled beauty of the great outdoors, camping is one of the most affordable options. Proven to help reduce stress and improve emotional and physical health, spending some time venturing outside should be on your vacation goals list! Following is our Insider's Guide to camping in Coastal Mississippi. 

Explore the Gulf Islands National Seashore

Recently named the Best Park in the State of Mississippi by Outside, the ecosystem of the Gulf Islands National Seashore ranges from bayous to white-sand barrier islands. Stop by the visitors center at Davis Bayou Area in Ocean Springs to find out more about opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, bicycling, fishing, hiking, bird watching and beach combing during your camping trip! The campground at Davis Bayou offers 51 campsites for tent and recreational vehicle campers. Each site has electric and water access, and the campground's bathhouse provides shower and restroom facilities. The campground does not take reservations, and campsites are available for a small nightly fee, first come first served. Campers may remain at the campground for 30 days each year and may only stay for 14 nights between the months of January and March. (Source: USATODAY TravelTips

Primitive camping locations are also available on four of the Gulf Islands National Seashore's barrier islands, located less than 12 miles off the mainland of Coastal Mississippi. You can use your own boat or arrange for transportation through one of the seashore's licensed boat operators. You can pitch a tent on Horn Island, Petit Bois Island and East Ship Island, as well as on the public areas of Cat Island. Pets are only permitted to camp on the Cat and East Ship Islands. Keep in mind that certain locations may be off limits during osprey nesting season. Park rules and regulations can be found here

Discover your new favorite campground

Airey Lake Recreation Area is located in the DeSoto National Forest and is operated by the United States Forest Service. The Tuxachanie Trail passes near this site and there are year-round recreation opportunities abounding for the hiker and camper. Vast expanses of national forest lands are perfect settings for bird watching and rejuvenating the spirit. The sites are unnumbered, picnic tables are available, group camping is permissible, and there is a 3-acre lake for canoeing and fishing. 

Buccaneer State Park has 206 premium campsites with full amenities including restrooms, three bathhouses, and a central dump station. In addition to the premium sites, Buccaneer has an additional 70 overflow campsites with water & electricity that are set on a grassy field overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The beach overflow sites are open on a limited basis. If you prefer primitive camping, Buccaneer offers, twenty-five primitive campsites nestled in the back of the Royal Cay camp area. A shell road will take you deep into a wooded area near Grand Bayou. These sites are completely primitive with no service, but restroom facilities are available and located within 100 yards of the primitive camping area. 

Nestled on the shores of the Jourdan River in Kiln, Mississippi, the McLeod Park Campground stands as a pristine camping destination in Coastal Mississippi. With more than 100 campsites, we have numerous locations on and off the riverfront that will accommodate your needs. All of the campsites have water, sewer, and electrical hookups. The campground features many amenities for families such as a playground, splashpad, basketball court, disc golf course, and recreational activities on the Jourdan River. The Jourdan River also contains one of only two Blue Way Trails in Hancock County with the McLeod Park Campground being one of the many stops along the trail.

Shepard State Park offers 28 sites with water and electricity. The park is located 3 miles west of Pascagoula in Gautier and is nestled on 450 acres in the heart of Singing River (Pascagoula River) country. The Pascagoula River is the largest free-flowing river in the continental U.S. and offers incredible views and endless recreational opportunities. Four sites are available by reservation; the remainder filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Primitive camping is encouraged. Grills, picnic tables, fire pits, boat launch with fishing pier, 8-10 miles of hiking & biking trails, an 18 hole disk golf course and more are just a few of the amenities Shepard State Park offers.

Going coastal in the RV? 

There are plenty of options for you to experience Coastal Mississippi in the comfort of your RV or camper! For a comprehensive list of RV parks and campgrounds, click here. Want to try the camping experience but don't own a camper? Gulf Coast Camper Rentals provides delivery and setup to the campground of your choice.

With endless choices for exploration and with summer just around the corner, spend some time disconnecting in the beautiful landscapes of Coastal Mississippi!