The beach is just the beginning: More ways to play.
Go ahead, kick off your shoes. A stroll along the 13-mile beachfront is a pretty cool way to start your acquaintance in what has been called one of the “coolest beach communities” in the nation. Scenic beauty and relaxed recreation go hand in hand in Hancock. So as your toes sink into the soft sand, make your recreational game plans. Hiking? Biking? Birding? Swimming? Sailing? Parks and rivers, courts and courses, Hancock County has it all. The boating and fishing are excellent—hook freshwater beauties, or on the west end beach and marshland snag saltwater trophies like speckled trout and redfish.
Or maybe you’d rather just sit on the beach and enjoy the spectacular sunset. There’s always tomorrow to fit in lots more fun under the sun with these great choices:
Parks - If you want to be closer to nature, there are two parks that will help you get there. Campers and anyone who enjoys the outdoors will want to visit McLeod Park and Buccaneer State Park. Both parks have recently undergone improvements to make them even more attractive for day visits and overnight stays.
On the beachfront in Waveland, Buccaneer State Park is one of the most visited state parks in Mississippi. The park reopened in 2013 after extensive redevelopment. The park now has 206 premium campsites with full amenities plus another 70 campsites overlooking the Gulf of Mexico that offer water and electricity. Primitive camping is available at 25 sites in a wooded area near Grand Bayou.
The Buccaneer Bay Waterpark, located on 4.5 acres overlooking the Gulf, offers summertime fun in the Pirate’s Lagoon wave pool, two giant waterslides and the kiddie pool. Three pavilions are available for family reunions, birthday parties and company outings. Buccaneer also offers an activities center, a seasonal camp store and an 18-hole disc golf course, as well as the 1.8-mile Pirate’s Alley Nature Trail, day-use picnic area and large playground.
McLeod Park is a 324-acre RV park with frontage on the Jourdan River on the Santa Rosa Scenic Byway.There are 84 campsites with electrical hookups, two pavilions available for rental, three boat launches, canoes for rent and a splash pad for children. McLeod also features a mile-and-a-half nature trail. The park hosts frequent gatherings for barbecue cook-offs and fishing tournaments. The new ranger station recently opened, giving the park new offices, a meeting room and a camp store with public restrooms.
Jourdan River and Blueway Trail: Framed by majestic hardwoods and the wild rice and floating lilies lining its edges, the Jourdan River’s shimmering waters dazzle the eyes, even as the call of the cormorant, pelican and eagle fill the skies. See, hear, touch—bring all your senses, especially your sense of wonder, to soak up the immersive experience of the 8.5 mile blueway trail along the serene river that flows into the Bay of St. Louis before mingling its waters with the Gulf of Mexico. Meander along with the flow; sandbars are perfect places for picnics and playtime. This canoe and kayaking delight is also a fisherman’s dream; cast for largemouth and striped bass and catfish. And be prepared for the alligator gar—they may stretch longer than your boat. The River is spring-fed, and the bubbling artesian source is easy to spot at low tide. A truly refreshing getaway.
Golf, tennis, volleyball and more: Gulf Coast? Golf Coast! Unwind and up your game on splendidly maintained courses graced with elegant live oaks. Or a enjoy tennis on Diamondhead’s family-friendly courts, or night-time volleyball beachside. Hancock has the Gulf Coast’s best games, including casino action at the Silver Slipper and Hollywood Casinos.