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  • Writer's picturejessica wright

Well, I went down yonder to the... Tombigbee.

I intend to do a lot of different things with this blog: give camping tips, ideas on ways to get your daily dose of vitamin d, encouragement to get outside, provide essential camping product recommendations, and last but not least, review some of the parks, sites, and campgrounds we have visited on our adventures.


I understand that some of these places will not be geographically convenient for some of you, but I hope that reading the posts does a few things for you. One, I hope it just brings you joy. Flat out, I just hope you enjoy reading it. Second, I hope that it encourages you to research some of the small, hidden, or less than familiar spots that may be hanging out right by you. While we do intend to take these camping journeys much further out than the 3 hour radius we’ve been maintaining, we started small and close to home until we got our sea legs, if you will, and I thoroughly recommend the same for any new campers reading along now. And third, I hope it makes people realize that fun, exploration, and living a life of constant adventure is attainable.


More than anything, I want this life of fun that I feel like my little family is living to not come across as filtered, unrealistic, or unreachable. You can live an “instagram worthy” life without perfect photos, lots of money, and ever drinking one single sip of “fit tea” (or any other product that promises health that in all likelihood is just going to make you become well acquainted with your bathroom).


 

Nonetheless, this brings me to today’s blog post: Our very first park review. During the summer of last year, we had had enough of the covid pandemic and decided to take a mini-vacay. We drove the long and treacherous 88 miles from Hernando to Tombigbee State Park just outside of Tupelo, MS. We really chose this place rather impulsively, and as we drove the winding and very narrow two lane road to get into the park, we kind of wondered to ourselves if we had made a mistake (and also very quietly prayed we didn’t encounter another oncoming RV that would turn this journey into a travel trailer version of trying to navigate the fat man squeeze of Chattanooga’s Rock City...if you know, you know).


Then all of the sudden after the 467th turn, there she was...Tombigbee State Park. First of all, simply saying that you’re camping at Tombigbee just sounds legit, but the initial drive through the park is pretty picturesque.










 

I decided to break down the reviews into some groups for easier reading and to also help you decide whether or not this is a place that checks the boxes you need to decide if you ever want to visit. So we are going to talk accommodations, amenities, price, campsite convenience, and the D.I.R.T. situation (other wise known as Damn, It’s Raining Today... options for things to do beyond the campground). We will rate each component on the very valid and reliable 0 out of 5 smores scale.


So with that...we begin!



 

Accommodations:


I know what you’re thinking... Jessica, what the heck is a difference between an amenity and an accommodation. Well, for the purposes of my blog, I am grouping accommodations into things that the non-RV'er may need to survive at a campground.


So at Tombigbee, if you don’t want to bring your own 6000lb set of accommodations on wheels, then you have the option to rent a cabin or you can reserve one of their primitive campsites if you’re the type that likes to do things like lock up your trash so bears can’t get it or wake up with back pain from sleeping on the ground. But hey whatever... no judgement. Should that be your camping style, Tombigbee offers private primitive spots complete with your own picnic table, grills, and certain spots even come with a super cute wooden swing (nice little touch, Tombigbee).


In all seriousness, these are some of the better primitive campsite spots I’ve seen. There are also plenty of cabins to rent throughout the park with nice views and lots of privacy. And if you need a place to shower and shave (and possibly catch ringworm), Tombigbee has a bathhouse that’s available in the middle of the RV campsites. I am just going to be honest, we shower and toilet in our own RV; so, God willing, I probably won’t ever have a thorough review of any bathhouses.


Overall Tombigbee gets 4/5 smores on this one. I think they offer good options for the non-RVer, but this is also where there is the downside to being a state park... the cabins and bath houses could probably use a little love, but the primitive campsites’ beauty and appeal make up for that.


 

Amenities:


First and foremost, the first thing you see when you pull into Tombigbee is a big picturesque lake. There is a boat ramp if you want to get out on the water, and it’s a great spot to drop in a kayak as well. There’s plenty of fishing spots, and the water was clear enough that we could see many of the fish floating around just looking down over the water’s surface. There is a volleyball court, two playgrounds for the kids, and plenty of pavilions for picnics (including one very cool tree house esque spot on the edge of the lake). There are plenty of bike riding spots for children, and there is even a mountain bike trail for those of you who enjoy things like dodging giant tree roots or the occasional head injury. The best parts of this campground though are the AWESOME frisbee golf trail and the truly beautiful nature trail. We didn’t play disc golf while we were there, because we weren’t really looking to lose $250 worth of frisbees on a pretty difficult course at the hands of our (at the time) 2 and 5 year children. However, we for sure plan to come back and partake, because this trail weaves and winds through the Appalachian foothills and offers some truly beautiful views and LOTS of greenery and shade.


The tree trunk nature trail is hands down the best thing about Tombigbee State Park. We loved it so much that we did it every single day we were there. I won’t lie. It’s about as close as you’ll come to a bonafide hike in the mountains as you’ll get in Mississippi. It wasn’t difficult, but it wasn’t particularly easy (I guess that’s why they call it moderate), but there are plenty of rest stops along the way where you can post up and have a snack or a cold brew and lie to your children that the end is just around the corner. (jk jk...my kids are troopers but admittedly the one hike attempt that I decided to photograph was the time of day that Father God turned the earth’s oven temp to BROIL so it was juuuust a bit hot). This trail offers lots of scenic views, beautiful tree cover, elevation, bridges, and all the nature you could ask for on a walk through the woods. Lucy and Carlisle loved the views of the lake (we spotted big giant catfish down below), crossing the bridges over the streams (where we saw deer leap right in front of us on a morning trip), and eyeing all the creatures we could spy. There were SO MANY tiny frogs and unfortunately with a solid frog population meant a solid food source for them...TICKS. So just be prepared when you’re done to channel your inner Brad Paisley and check your partner for ticks.


All in all, I am going to give the amenities at Tombigbee a 4.5/5 smores. I really loved this part of the park.








 


Price:


Standard Campsite (this is going to be where you park your RRRVVVV, Clark) $15-22/night


Primitive: (this is where you real camping folk will pitch your tent) $15/night


Group Primitive Area: (this is for the cults who enjoy being in close proximity while they’re eaten alive by mosquitoes) $2-15/night


Cabins: (for those of you who want the CAMP LYFE experience without investing in a camper) $50-85/night


Overall Tombigbee gets 5/5 smores on this one. This is the beauty of staying at State Parks. They are much more affordable than privately owned parks and campgrounds.



 

Campsite Convenience:


The RV campground at Tombigbee offers 20 paved parking spots (this is fancy because a lot of places charge extra for that asphalt). The spots are all located in one ring around the bathhouse and are within super close walking distance to everything the park offers. We parked in spot 4, but if I were to choose again, I think spots 2 and 18 are the best, because they are easy to park in...


Yes, this is significant. I’ve only ever threatened to divorce Drew twice in my life...once in a moment of rage in my deepest darkest period post-partum where I couldn’t decide if having a new baby was joyous or actually just the end of any actual joy in life. And this was all because he told me I was being a helicopter parent. I figured I would just raise this baby on my own rather than be objected to such abusive language from my husband. Obviously, I calmed down. And the second time was trying to park our camper in a tight campsite for the first time. Honestly, I think I’d rather surf waves around a school of sharks or walk a tight rope across the Grand Canyon before I had to park a 32ft travel trailer in a precariously positioned camping spot. Trust me...if you own a camper then you understand.


Anyway...back to what I was saying...spots 2 and 18 are easy to park in, they have LOTS of shade (which is handy when you’re living in an aluminum box with one air conditioner unit running the marathon of its sweet little life in the heat of a MS summer), and they have plenty of extra green space so you can spread out, let your kids run wild, and turn up your music without feeling like your neighbor is judging your choices of CCR, Garth Brooks, Casting Crowns, and Tupac. What can I say... we are well rounded people. Each site comes with a picnic table, grill, and fire ring.

With all of that said though, I did kind of feel like they could have done a little better job at keeping up the grounds here. The grass needed a good trimming and some of the concrete picnic tables could have used the work of Tim the Toolman Taylor or Michelangelo. Whichever.



Overall Tombigee gets a 3.5/5 stars on Campsite Convenience.

 


The D.I.R.T. situation:


Let’s face it, when you are camping with small children, you need some rainy day back up plans. My kids aren’t big tv watchers, and they aren’t old enough to read on their own. So it’s always nice to stay at a campground that allows for some alternatives should the weather try to rain on your parade. (see what I did there). Tombigbee gets a great big boost in ratings for this factor.


Due to its proximity to the relatively good-sized little town of Tupelo, we were able to fill that time with some off the campsite options to appease my two smallest explorers. We even ventured a little further down to one of our favorite towns, Starkville, for a yummy BBQ lunch at the Lil Dooey before swinging back through Tupelo for coffee at Strange Brew and a little history lesson on one of my favorite artists of all time, Elvis Presley. Tupelo just so happens to be his birth place so we got to take the kids to visit his childhood home and culture them a little bit on good music and one of Mississippi’s most famous. Lucy was very shocked to venture inside of a house that had only two rooms and not one of them being a bathroom, and Carlisle enjoyed giving his mother hypertension in the gift shop. There’s also plenty of shopping and a variety of restaurants if you are just needing something else to do.


As a result, Tombigbee’s D.I.R.T. options are pretty solid thanks to the town of Tupelo; therefore, it gets a hearty 4/5 smores.



 


Overall rating for Mississippi’s Tombigbee State Park: a very mathematical 4.2/5 smores


 

While pulling ticks off your entire family of four may not sound like your idea of a good time, this trip provided some truly wonderful memories for our brood. Whether it was watching my two year old build dirt mounds with his excavator or my five year old daughter learn to shake it off after "watering the grass" in the woods like a young Bear Grylls, Tombigbee delivered fun to serve as tales all around the campfire for many years to come. Ultimately, like I have said so many times before, fun is what you make it, and Tombigee State Park in Tupelo, MS offers lots of opportunity to make a whole lot of it on the journey to raise young explorers.





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1 komentaras


hannahdillon87
2021-02-01

The scenery made me homesick, but in the best way!

Patinka
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