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  • Writer's picturejessica wright

Tomato, Tamahto, Lake Tia-O'Khata

Late last summer, we decided to squeeze in one more camping trip and visit a place that’s always been high on my list to check out, Lake Tia-O'Khata.


Located in Louisville, MS, about 30 miles from Starkville, this campground is situated on the beautiful Lake Tia-O'Khata and comes complete with a water park and a buffet that’s talked about in a tri-county area. I mean what’s not to love, right?!




 


Accommodations: 2.5/5 smores


On paper, I feel like this score should be 5/5. Lake Tia-O'Khata offers multiple accommodation options. And that’s pretty much where the 2.5 smores earn all their credit…options. They have a “hotel” with multiple rooms as well as several cabins situated around the lake. In theory, these are great, but just based on the condition of the buildings, I’ve seen more luxury at a state park (which if you’ve been to a Mississippi State Park then you know…) They also offer a true campground for trailers and RV’s…again…great in theory. But I will have more to say about this in the campsite convenience section.


 

Amenities: 3.5/5 smores


The actual lake itself at this resort is genuinely beautiful, and they offered several great pergolas and patios for sitting and soaking in the view. There’s a beach area with diving boards and water slides that my kids enjoyed over and over (and over and over and over) again. Fishing was aplenty. Volleyball and tennis courts were available, and the snack bar/sno-cone window was convenient.


Pedal boats, kayaks, and paddle boards were available for rental, and the highlight of our stay was renting a duck boat to pedal around the lake. My kids loved it, and after my quads quit burning, I had to admit I enjoyed it, too. Also, there really is a buffet that is talked about all over, but we did not get to try it unfortunately bc covid…


So, I know what you’re thinking, Jessica with all these great options then why did you not give it more smores?


Well, I am glad you asked. Unfortunately for Lake Tia-O'Khata, they have lots of nice little geese friends. And with lots of geese, comes lots of geese poop. I don’t fault them for the geese, but literally all of the kayaks, boats, and rentals were covveeerreeddd (fortunately our pedal boat was unscathed thanks to a morning downpour just before we took it for a spin). As much as I love nature and the outdoors, I guess I just feel like if you’re going to offer a service and charge people money then perhaps you should try your best to keep the equipment in the best shape you can (or at least minimize the risk of contracting e.coli).


Also, we love a good nature trail, and we had planned one whole morning around a nice long walk through the woods. However, we literally could. Not. Find. The. Trail. To rub salt in the wounds, there was plenty of signage but the signs literally just led you to a final sign that said private property: do not enter accompanied with some no trespassing signs and men with guns (okay maybe I am exaggerating about the last part. Or am I?!)


Ultimately, all of these things make Lake Tia-O'Khata great day trip if you just want a place to cool off in a hot Mississippi summer!






 

Price: 4/5 smores


The nightly RV hook up price at Lake Tia-O'Khata is $25.00. I can’t really complain about that. It compares to any state park (maybe just a touch more), but overall, it’s a very affordable place to stay.


 

Campsite Convenience: 1/5 smores


I am not an experienced camper, and I hate to keep drowning this post with negativity, but this was truly one of the worst actual campgrounds I’ve ever stayed in. First of all, you have to make a reservation before you arrive. Okay sure…makes sense right? Well that reservation doesn’t really do you any actual good, because when you show up, you’re told to just go pick from the empty spots. I get that some parks operate this way, but the kicker here is that all of the spots are not the same size. So literally, if your camper doesn’t fit in one of the above spots then you’re basically just screwed. The first one we tried to park in, because it offered a tiny bit of shade, we literally could not use, because the trees were too tight to allow for our slide to be opened.

Second, the upkeep of the hook ups is just plain terrible. The few spots that did have grass (as opposed to red dirt and sand) were not mowed, and the grass was physically knee high. That’s always a lot of fun in a hot and humid Mississippi summer…never mind the snakes, mosquitos, and ticks that the tall grass like that just makes GREAAAAAT cover for. Anyway, I digress…


Aside from the grass, it just felt like no one who actually worked for Lake Tia-O'Khata had stepped foot on the RV park, because there was trash that needed to be picked up, spots with amps that didn’t work, and broken picnic tables and grills at virtually every single spot. Not to mention that the actual roads themselves were so narrow that it made for VERY difficult parking for each RV and travel trailer that was brave enough to take on the challenge.


And last but not least, my personal favorite part of the whole stay…the new friends we made…and by friends, I mean ANTS!!! SO. MANY. ANTS! They were like the ashes of Pompeii creating a covering over our camper. Okay maybe not that bad, but they started off marching their little armies all over the ground we were parked on, and it was not long before they were trekking the terrain up the side of our camper and all over our counter tops inside. I always thought I had to worry about bears invading my camp space. I never knew what a formidable opponent an tiny ant army would be.


 

The DIRT situation: 3/5


Louisville is a cute enough little town, but if you’re looking for things to do beyond the campground then you’re going to have to commute. However, if you’re willing, there are definitely some good options nearby. Roughly 15 minutes away is the town of Ackerman which offers the world famous (used loosely) Pap’s Place. While it may not be world-renowned, it is legitimately popular and offers some delicious fried MS catfish. If you are willing to go a little further then you can get to one of my favorite places in the whole world, Starkville, MS, in about 30 minutes. Also, if you head south, the town of Philadelphia is nearby which is home of the famous Neshoba County Fair, and also neighbors the Pearl River Resort which offers fine dining, gambling, two hotels, two truly beautiful golf courses, and a fantastic water park complete with a Hard Rock Café.


 

Overall score: 2.75/5 smores


Ultimately, Lake Tia-O'Khata is not ALL bad. Kind of like that friend who mostly gets on your nerves but does have some redeeming qualities that keep you from completely cutting them off, Lake Tia-O'Khata offers some natural beauty and good old fashioned family fun (for like one single day). But if you’re looking for a prolonged stay or a great place to camp, then you Tia-O-Khata go somewhere else. I’ll see myself out…



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