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pier extending into a lake at a state park near gulfport mississippiIf you are an outdoorsy kind of person then Mississippi is definitely your kind of state, as it is blessed with a number of sensational state parks that will give you lots of opportunities to immerse yourself in nature.

Many of these state parks are situated near the coastal city of Gulfport, which is the second biggest city in the state, and collectively offers a sensational mix of terrains for you to explore, or relax in.

This includes everything from beach, lagoons and oceans to forests, swamps and rivers. All of which are sure to stir your biophilic juices.

For those looking to escape the frenzy of a city like Gulfport, and head to a more tranquil bundu environment, there are a number of terrific state parks you can visit within a couple of hours drive.

Outlined below is a selection of five of them which make perfect destinations for camping, hiking, swimming, fishing or water sports activities.

Map of State Parks Near Gulfport MS

Here is a map of the Mississippi state parks covered in this post:

List of State Parks Near Gulfport

Showcased below is a list of five excellent state parks near Gulfport we recommend you try and visit.

1. Shepard State Park

Location: 1034 Graveline Rd, Gautier, MS 39553

Situated just off the US Highway 90, towards the south side of Gautier, lies Shepard State Park.

A stunning 395-acre park that abounds with stately trees and gorgeous wildflowers, it is known for the excellent fishing and boating opportunities it offers along the picturesque Singing River.

Accommodating 30 primitive sites which are set up for tent camping, and 28 full hook up campsites the park also features eight miles of bike and nature trails for you to explore.

In addition it has a playground, playing fields, a picnic area, a bathhouse and even an 18-hole disc golf course – known rather beguilingly, as Alligator Alley.

Just 40 miles from Gulfport, the park is dog-friendly and well maintained, while the staff who work here are very helpful and will do anything they can to make your stay a more pleasant one.

2. Buccaneer State Park

Location: 1150 S Beach Blvd, Waveland, MS 39576

Although its just 22 miles from Gulfport, the Buccaneer State Park might as well be a world away thanks to its incredible setting.
Enjoying a magnificent beachside locale at the city of Waveland, the park is framed by marshlands, massive moss-draped oak trees and the stunning waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

It also boasts a rich and colorful history as the hunting ground of pirates in the late 18th century and the site of military operations run by Andrew Jackson during the infamous battle of New Orleans. Who later built a house for himself on land that falls within the park.

The perfect spot for a weekend getaway, there are 206 premium campsites for you to choose from, that include full amenities including sewer. In terms of entertainment, one of the main attractions here is a fabulous 4.5 acre waterpark.

Other fun things to do include exploring the Pirate’s Alley Nature Trail, partaking in a game of disc golf, relaxing in its stately pavilion, and for the kids, playing in the playground.

3. Paul B. Johnson State Park

Location: 319 Geiger Lake Rd, Hattiesburg, MS 39401

Mississippi’s pine belt is a gorgeous region and for those who want to explore it in more detail the Paul B. Johnson State Park is as good a place as any to visit.

Regarded as the gateway to this incredible forest land of ancient oaks, lush dogwoods and long-leaf and loblolly pines, the landscape around this park provide a stunning backdrop for hiking, fishing, boating and water-skiing. The latter three of which take place on the shimmering waters of the 225-acre Geiger Lake.

For those wanting to stay for a couple of nights or more, the park provides a range of accommodation options. This includes 125 RV campsites and 25 additional primitive tent campsites, as well as 16 furnished cabins, 3 cottages and even a camp facility for groups.

The park is located just over 55 miles from Gulfport and less than a 20 minute drive from The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), which makes it a terrific place to visit during a football week.

If you do come here you will be able to make use of a game room, picnic pavilions, splash pad, playgrounds, nature trails and disc golf.

4. Percy Quin State Park

Location: 2036 Percy Quin Dr, McComb, MS 39648

At 143 miles the Percy Quin State Park is much further out from Gulfport than the aforementioned state parks and is actually located closer to New Orleans in terms of driving time. So if you are looking to really get away from the city this is an excellent place to go to.

Boasting a scintillating landscape of rolling hills, replete with regal magnolia trees and loblolly pines, and gorgeous wildflowers, the Percy Quin State Park was originally constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Its surroundings serve as a picturesque backdrop to a wide range of outdoor activities including fishing and boating, swimming and even golf, as there is an 18 hole course situated within the confines of the park.

In terms of accommodation the park offers 100 RV campsites and 27 cabins, as well as 4 cottages and even two golf villas. There are also nine motel rooms, and a group camp facility, most of which are nestled in woodland areas that afford terrific views of Lake Tangipahoa.

5. Clark Creek State Park

Location: 366 Ft Adams Pond Rd, Woodville, MS 39669

The furthest park on this list from Gulfport is the Clark Creek State Park, which is situated in the town of Woodville about 190 miles away.

It will take you almost a three hours to get there, but if you love waterfalls its well worth the trip because there are around 50 cascades there.

Incorporating more than 700 acres, much of which takes the form of hardwood and pine forest, this park is a great spot for hiking, bird watching and photography.

It’s also known for housing some uncommon trees like southern sugar maple, serviceberry and the wonderfully named umbrella tree.

Sadly camping is forbidden here, as is hunting, and the only amenities onsite are a washroom and water fountain. But thankfully you can bring your dog, just as long as you keep it on a lead, so that is a bonus.