Summer is a great time to be outside with the family, and Mississippi and Louisiana has some resorts that provide a lot more than just fishing, though the fishing is pretty good.
In order to help launch this year's summer vacation season, We have selected the top family fishing destinations across both states on the requirement of kid friendly, with plenty of room and opportunity for young anglers to experience the joy of fishing, along with a wide variety of other activities and attractions that are sure to appeal to the entire family. Each of these locations is family oriented and a great place for a weekend get-a-way or a week-long summer vacation.
TRACE STATE PARK
Located nine miles west of Tupelo, off State Highway 6, Trace State Park Lake offers a quiet, natural retreat only minutes away from one of Mississippi's fastest growing cities and the birthplace of the "King of Rock and Roll."
Trace State Park holds a high ranking on the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks' listing of the State's Best Bream Lakes. However, don't overlook the quality largemouth bass, catfish and crappie that call this 600-acre lake home.
The fishing is productive from both on the water or perched on the shoreline. There are ramps for those who own boats, and fishing boats are available for rent for those who don't.
But don't think for a minute that great fishing is all that is available at Trace State Park. Trace offers a multitude of unique recreational opportunities that are certain to appeal to everyone in the family. Whether it's the 10 air-conditioned cabins featuring outdoor grills and back porches overlooking Trace Lake, the 76 sites available for RV camping, or the 10 shaded sites along the lake available for primitive camping, Trace State Park has camping needs covered.
Also there are the 35 miles of trails that can be utilized by ATVs, motorcycles, horses and mountain bikes. Helmets are required for ATVs and motorcycles.
Another feature that adds to the park's appeal as a family vacation destination is 25 picnic sites with tables and barbeque grills located throughout the park, many affording views of Trace Lake. Then there is Old Warrior Run, the first North Mississippi long arm course, offering 18 holes of disc golf excitement. And let's not forget the elaborate playground equipment the park built just for the little kids.
Along The Way
Those wanting to combine education with adventure, should take the short drive to Tupelo to visit the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Birthplace of Elvis Presley, the Tupelo National Battlefield or the Barnes Crossing Mall. Further out is Brice's Crossroads Civil War Museum and Battlefield near Baldwyn, while in the other direction is William Faulkner's Birthplace in New Albany.
NATCHEZ STATE PARK
Natchez State Park is located just 10 miles north of historic Natchez, the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River.
Known primarily for largemouth bass, this 230-acre lake is also well stocked with catfish and bream. And with a wide variety of structure available, from creek channels and brush piles to submerged timber and abundant shoreline vegetation, bass anglers have a vast array of cover on which to cast a lure.
Although Natchez Lake isn't very large, a boat is necessary to reach most of the prime fishing spots, and the lake has an excellent launch for anyone desiring to bring a boat. However, nice stringers of bream and catfish can be caught from the pier or along the shoreline. Besides, most young anglers would prefer a bucket of crickets and a cane pole to the finest rod and reel bass combo on the market. There is just something uniquely exciting about watching a red and white bobber disappear below the surface as a fish tries to escape with the bait.
Natchez State Park offers everything a vacationing family requires, with 10 lakeside cabins equipped with bed and bath linens and basic kitchen equipment and 50 RV sites featuring picnic tables, grills and electrical and water hook-ups. Finally, there is a wooded area near the RV campground with eight tent sites available for those who want to rough it, though picnic tables and bathhouses with showers are located near the primitive camping area.
A picturesque picnic area overlooking a stately southern pecan grove is located just one half mile from Natchez Lake, with 10 picnic sites featuring tables and grills. Not far away is a playground for the kids and a scenic nature trail for the entire family to enjoy.
Along The Way
A number of historic attractions are located a short distance from Natchez State Park, including Natchez Under-the-Hill, Emerald Mound, the Natchez Trace Parkway, Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Old South Winery, the Mississippi River, Historic Jefferson College and a multitude of antebellum homes.
ROOSEVELT STATE PARK
Conveniently located between Meridian and Jackson on I-20, Roosevelt State Park offers an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities wrapped in a picturesque setting. In fact, the park's scenic overlook provides a panoramic view of the Bienville National Forest.
However, Shadow Lake is the centerpiece of Roosevelt State Park. Although it definitely isn't one of the largest state operated lakes at 150 acres, what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in opportunities for fishing. Bass and catfish are popular, but bream are what Shadow Lake is best known. Unlike many of the state park lakes, Shadow Lake offers excellent shoreline fishing around much of the lake. However, a launch is available for those who prefer to fish by boat.
And when it comes to staying overnight, there are several options available. Roosevelt features a 20-unit Motel Lodge, one of which is handicap accessible. Then there are the 15 cabins with similar furnishings and beautiful views of Shadow Lake. Additional, the park has eight air-conditioned, dormitory-style cabins accommodating 16 persons per cabin. An amazing 109 sites are available for RV camping, featuring all amenities. Finally, a scenic wooded area on the upper end of the lake is available for tent camping.
Roosevelt also offers a number of activities that are certain to appeal to the whole family. The Visitor Center houses the park office, a video game room and a souvenir shop featuring a variety of Mississippi gift items. The adjoining swimming pool and water-slide is also available for a small fee.
Six nature trails wind through the park, providing an unobstructed view of native trees, flowers and wildlife and two lighted tennis courts and a lighted softball field are available to guests at Roosevelt. Water skiing is permitted on Shadow Lake from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, and like most state parks, playground equipment is also available.
POVERTY POINT RESERVOIR
Over in Louisiana, a short three miles north of the Delhi exit on I-20 is Poverty Point Reservoir State Park. The 2,700-acre man-made lake offers visitors a plethora of options for water sports of all types. The fish species that call this lake home include largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and channel catfish.
Anglers have an abundance of fishing opportunities from the shoreline or the modern fishing pier. However, canoes and flat-bottom boats are available for a nominal fee to anglers that want to venture out onto the lake. The North Marina Complex, off LA 17 on the northwest corner of the lake, features a beach swimming area, a boat launch, a marina with 48 covered boat slips, a concession area and a fish cleaning station.
Overnight guests can select from a dozen two-bedroom waterfront cabins (eight deluxe cabins and four standard lodges), nine improved campsites and 45 premium campsites. A water playground in the camping area provides a place for younger visitors to beat the heat.
A pristine nature trail winds along an offshoot of Bayou Macon. However, special attention should be given to the numerous black bears that call the area home, especially along the eastern edge of the park near Bayou Macon.
Along The Way
Nearby attractions include Black Bear Golf Course, Poverty Point State Historic Site, Wild Country Safari Park near Epps, The Cotton Museum and the Panola Pepper Company located in Lake Providence.
LAKE D'ARBONNE STATE PARK
Located just south of Farmerville, on Highway 33, this massive 15,250-acre lake drains a watershed over 75 times the size of the lake itself. Touted as one of the best Louisiana lakes for quality largemouth bass and crappie, Lake D'Arbonne offers quite a bit of diverse habitat with several creek channels winding through it, resulting in considerable fluctuations in the lake's level.
While the average depth of the lake is only about eight feet, there are deeper holes along Little Corney Creek and Little D'Arbonne Bayou that are over 30 feet deep. Although D'Arbonne is prone to muddy up after a big rain, it also tends to clear up quickly.
Fishing of all types is popular on Lake D'Arbonne in the spring and summer, as catfish, crappie, bream, and largemouths are plentiful.
Catfishing from bank or boat is equally productive, with nightcrawlers and cut shad as the baits of choice. Bluegill and redear sunfish can be caught by fishing the deeper water with crickets or night crawlers. Largemouth bass and crappie start moving in on the edges of the creek channels as water temperatures begin to rise, when large crankbaits, plastic worms and spinnerbaits are the most popular largemouth lures.
Over a half-dozen fishing piers and boat docks provide ample shoreline fishing, and the boat launch at the park opens up additional opportunities for anglers wanting to explore more of the lake in personal boats or one of the flat bottom boats and canoes that are available for rent. Wide open areas of the lake, about seven miles from the park, appeal to the water skiers and pleasure boaters.
Overnight visitors requiring modern amenities can choose from 16 deluxe cabins, two deluxe lodges and a group camping area. In addition Lake D'Arbonne offers 51 improved campsites and seven premium campsites for RV campers. The park also features tennis courts, a disc golf course, a swimming pool and four hiking trails for visitors looking for a little variety in their activities.
Along The Way
As far as nearby attractions, Tensas National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Chemin-A-Haut State Park are all very popular locations.
These are only a few of the hundreds of destinations available for a great family fishing vacation across the Magnolia and Bayou states. With a little research, you can find the one that best fits your family. Then all you have to do is make reservations and go have fun this summer!