Located in the Southern USA, Mississippi is named after the river, which flows along the western border of the state. It is a state filled with history and culture, as well as having an excellent climate. In fact, it never really get much colder than 9°C in Mississippi, making it a year-round destination.
Gambling is the main draw for tourists visiting the state, but there is also the chance to enjoy the state’s great outdoors. It is mostly made up of forested areas, but there are also swamps, mountains, bays and lakes. The Mississippi lakes are a great way to stay cool in the summer or to enjoy year-round fishing. These are the 15 best lakes in Mississippi.
1. Sardis Lake; Lafayette, Panola & Marshall Counties
Sardis Lake is considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the state, although it is the fantastic recreational activities that draw in so many visitors. In fact, thousands of visitors come to the lake each year.
The 39,870 hectare reservoir is a great place to go water skiing, sailing, fishing and picnicking. There is even a beach where you can relax and enjoy the sun.
The lake sits on the Little Tallahatchie River and is surrounded by a numerous public use areas and the John W Kyle State Park. At the southeast corner of the lake is the Sardis Lake Marina, which is home to 140 slips and a restaurant, as well as offering boat, ski, tube and wake board rentals.
2. Grenada Lake; Grenada County
This 14,000 hectare reservoir sits just northeast of the city of Grenada. It is a main attraction of the city thanks to its recreational activities and numerous fishing tournaments.
There are a total of 16 professional fishing tournaments held each year at Grenada Lake, including Bass Pro’s Crappie Masters Tournament, the Grenada Lake Crappie Classic Tournament and Magnolia Crappie Club Tournament. There is also excellent bass, catfish and bream fishing.
On the lake’s shorelines are a few day use areas, hiking trails, beaches and camping grounds. There are also 16 boat launch ramps, some of which are free and others that charge a nominal fee.
3. Ross Barnett Reservoir; Madison & Rankin Counties
This is Mississippi’s largest drinking water resource, but it is also an extremely popular recreational area. Over two million people visit the lake each year to enjoy water-skiing, boating, swimming and fishing.
Ross Barnett Reservoir is also a great place to go camping, having five campgrounds around its 169 kilometre shoreline. There are also 22 boat launches, 16 parks and a couple of multi-purpose trails.
The 13,467 hectare lake sits on the Pearl River. It was named after the 52nd Governor of Mississippi; Ross R. Barnett.
4. Clear Springs Lake; Franklin County
Clear Springs Lake is a serene lake that sits within the Homochitto National Forest. It is surrounded by pine covered hills and is a popular destination for camping and recreational activities.
It is a very small lake, at just under 5 hectare, but the area surrounding the lake is spectacular, making it well worth the visit. Swimming, fishing and picnicking area offered, and there are also multi-purpose trails.
There is a beach on the north side of Clear Springs Lake that is easily accessible on foot. From here, it is easy to get to the camping sites, the car parks and the lake’s amphitheatre.
5. Lake Washington; Washington County
This 2,000 hectare oxbow lake was once part of the Mississippi River, but it moved slightly to the east in around 1300 AD. It is a historic lake, with many historic places sitting along its shoreline.
Today, Lake Washington is a popular fishing destination thanks to its abundance of crappie, bass, bream and catfish. There are restrictions on how many fish you can catch per day to keep the lake well stocked.
Most of the land surrounding the lake is used for agricultural purposes, though there is a boat ramp on the west side of the lake.
6. Arkabutla Lake; DeSoto & Tate Counties
Over 2 million people visit Arkabutla Lake each year, and it’s not hard to see why. The lake offers an abundance of recreational activities, including swimming, boating, fishing and picnicking.
Those that wish to stay the night will find numerous camping sites surrounding the lake, some of which offer hook-ups. There are also a few great day use areas that are open throughout the entire year.
Arkabutla Lake is a reservoir that was built during the damming of the Coldwater River. It is just south of Memphis, Tennessee and is a popular escape for many of the city’s locals.
7. Little Black Creek Lake; Lamar County
This 259 hectare lake is located within the Little Black Creek Campground and Park. The park surrounds the stunning lake and is popular amongst water enthusiastics.
Little Black Creek Lake offers a wide range of recreational activities, from zip lining to kayaking. You can go for a swim in the lake or launch your boat and go on a fishing expedition.
The campground and park has both primitive and full hook-up sites, as well as bungalows and cabins. You can easily get around the area on foot, or you can hire a golf cart to zip around in.
8. Pickwick Lake; Tishomingo County
Pickwick Lake stretches across Alabama and Mississippi before making its way into Tennessee. The 17,400 hectare lake is best known for its excellent fishing opportunities.
There are two state parks on the lake’s shoreline, with the J.P. Coleman State Park being in Mississippi. Here, you can access the lake to enjoy water-skiing, boating and fishing.
The J.P. Coleman State Park is also the best place to stay to truly enjoy the lake. It offers campsites, cabins and cottages, as well as having a motel onsite.
9. Lake Bill Waller; Marion County
Although it is not a very large lake, Lake Bill Waller is a serene lake that is known for its fabulous fresh-water fishing. It is stocked with largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill and redear.
Mississippi biologists maintain the lake and ensure that it is regularly stocked with game-fish. In fact, angling is the main use of the 68 hectare lake.
The Lake Bill Waller Lake is located within a public hunting area, though a license is required to hunt here. You will also need a license to go fishing.
10. Enid Lake; Yalobusha, Panola & Lafayette Counties
Although most of Enid Lake sits within Yalobusha County, the 2,500 hectare lake also stretches into the counties of Panola and Lafayette. Interstate 55 skirts the west side of the lake, which is quite a lovely drive.
Enid Lake is best known for its camping facilities, although it is also a popular place to go fishing. There are nine recreation areas on the lake’s shoreline that offer areas to go picnicking, horseback riding and hiking.
The George P. Cossar State Park is on the southwest corner of the lake. It features 76 campsites, 13 cabins, an 18-hole disc golf course and an 18-hole miniature golf course.
11. Bay Springs Lake; Tishomingo & Prentiss Counties
Bay Springs Lake stretches for 14 kilometres and across two counties on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. It is just south of Pickwick Lake, with Mackeys Creek connecting the two lakes.
There are five different recreation areas surrounding the lake, in addition to the Crows Neck Recreation and Environmental Center and the Bay Springs Marina. The family-run marina offers pontoon rentals to visitors that want to cruise around the lake.
The Piney Grove Recreation Area has a boat ramp, as well as a sandy beach. It is the most developed recreation area at Bay Springs Lake, featuring 141 campsites, an amphitheatre, a playground, hiking trails and picnic shelters.
12. Columbus Lake; Lowndes & Clay Counties
Also part of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, Columbus Lake can be found on the northwest outskirts of the city of Columbus. The John C. Stennis Lock and Dam impounds the lake.
Columbus Lake is known for its recreational activities, which includes water skiing, tubing, boating and fishing. There is a marina and two boat ramps along the south shore of the lake that provide access to it.
In addition to water based recreation, it is also possible to go golfing nearby. There are four golf courses in the vicinity for those that want to take a break from the water.
13. Tunica Lake; Tunica County
Tunica Lake is an oxbow lake that sits just east of the Mississippi River and is shared with neighbouring Arkansas. In fact, the border of the two states follows the centre of the curved lake.
All of the communities that sit along the 1,000 hectare lake are in Mississippi. The north end features cottages, an RV park, fishing camos and bait shops.
Fishing is popular on the lake, with the only boat access being in Mississippi. Fish that can be found in the lake include channel catfish, bream, crappie, largemouth bass and green sunfish.
14. Aliceville Lake; Noxubee & Lowndes Counties
Although the majority of Aliceville Lake sits within neighbouring Alabama, part of it is located in Mississippi. The man-made lake is a navigational lake, as well as being a popular recreational spot.
Water enthusiasts can enjoy swimming, fishing and boating. Those that prefer not to get wet can go hiking, bird-watching, camping and even hunting.
There are places to go camping all around the lake, as well as a few electric hook-ups. These and most other amenities are on the Alabama side, but are just a quick drive or boat ride away.
15. Choctaw Lake; Choctaw County
Choctaw Lake is a scenic lake that is surrounded by the Tombigbee National Forest. It is a favourite amongst nature lovers that want to not only enjoy the lake, but also its magnificent surroundings.
The four kilometre Lakeside Trail encircles the lake, offering visitors the chance to enjoy the natural scenery. This trail connects with other trails that lead into the forest.
There is a campground that wraps around the southwest corner of the lake and offers plenty of recreational activities like fishing, boating, canoeing and swimming. Plus, you can enjoy the campgrounds even if you are not staying the night.