As the print ad suggests, “Oddly enough, the further we are from outlets, the faster we recharge. It’s about time.”

Another advertisement makes this pitch: “Planning your summer vacation or looking for an affordable weekend getaway? Mississippi State Parks offer something for every family or outdoor enthusiast. Whether you’re looking for a primitive campsite, a cabin to rent or an RV pad with all the necessary hook-ups, you’ll find a park that’s perfect for you and your family to explore.”

So, ask yourself the obvious question: “Hey, when was the last time we took a weekend off or even one day to visit a local state park?”

That might be a question you want to revisit soon, since there are so many options available for state parks in the Magnolia State.

State parks in Mississippi officially opened way back in 1932, which is why the state is celebrating 80 years of its parks operation. That is a bunch of years of providing quality, affordable recreational opportunities for Mississippi residents and folks from all over the country. Our state parks have a strong reputation outside the state, too. 

If you doubt that, the next time you pull into Hugh White State Park at the Grenada Reservoir or George P. Cossar State Park near Enid Reservoir, just check the license plates on all the cars, trucks, and boat trailers. At times in the spring you can hardly find a place to park a boat trailer because of anglers coming in from all over to fish the great crappie at these lakes. Lots of people have come to know the quality of these lakes and the parks that offer camping and housing right on site. 

Mississippi offers 25 state parks dotted across the state from the Tennessee border up north down to the Gulf Coast down south. Each park is truly unique, as well offering a wide variety of scenery — some with fishing lakes, campsites, cabins to rent and much more. 

Just check out this list: motels, meeting rooms, cabins, group camp, RV campgrounds, tent camps, laundries, camp stores, golf, tennis, disc golf, picnic areas, pavilions, playgrounds, playing fields, equestrian trails, mountain bike trails, nature trails, swimming pools, splash pads, fishing, boat launches, water skiing, canoe trips, golf villas, mini golf, marinas and ATV trails. 

All of the parks do not offer each and every one of these amenities, but most of them offer a lot of these facilities or activities so everyone can find things to do at a state park. At the very least, every park presents a comfortable, pleasing environment to just sit back and relax.

Plan to do absolutely nothing if that’s what you want. Lay out by the lake to get a tan, fire up the charcoal grill for steaks, take your camera along a nature trail or just watch a beautiful sunset, amd then sleep late. 

Over the past 30 years of living in Mississippi, I have had the opportunity to visit many of the state parks. The last one I visited turned out to be one of my favorites. It was the Wall Doxey State Park on Highway 7 near Holly Springs in the northern part of the state. 

Wall Doxey has quite a history. It was built in 1935 and named after Wall Doxey, a U.S. Senator from Mississippi. The park itself is contained within 20 acres, and also offers a beautiful spring-fed lake that has fishing, canoeing and a white beach swimming area.

You get a sense of the history as you drive under the stone gate arch. Several of the buildings, including the main lodge, are constructed of stone, as well, with an early American architecture. There is a motel and cabins to rent. 

While I was touring the park I noted many families down by the lake with lots of kids playing in the sand and swimming. Several canoes were on the lake, as were fishing boats on the far end. A group of teenagers was engaged in a round of disc golf.

There was plenty of parking, and people were having picnics on the grounds. Groups were using the pavilions, too. During peak seasons it is advisable to make advanced reservations at most of the parks in the state. 

Thousands of people visit Mississippi State Parks every year. The fees they pay are reasonable and help maintain the properties. Maintaining 25 parks is certainly not cheap, but the resource is of high value to the residents of the state paying the state taxes and fees to keep them open. It’s worth the investment. 

For full information, individual park details, user fees and reservation information, check out the state parks web siteat www.mdwfp.com. Our state parks are administered by the State Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Having these parks also provides great economic stimulations to the local businesses.

People visiting parks also buy gasoline, food, fishing gear and tackle, licenses, outdoor games and other supplies.

Our Mississippi State Parks are indeed a prized possession. Go visit one soon.