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Kayaking In Mississippi

Mark Armstrong
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With thousands of miles of rivers, bayous and around the white sand beaches of the Gulf Coast, there are plenty of exciting places to go kayaking in Mississippi. As well as that, you also have a year round paddling climate, great fishing opportunities and a variety of Southern wildlife.

To give you a better idea of where to kayak to experience the magnificence of the Magnolia State, we’ve put together a few of our favorite Mississippian paddling spots.

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5 Best Places To Kayak in Mississippi

1: Okatoma Creek

If you’re looking for some variety on your paddling trip, Okatoma Creek could be the place to go. While mostly a flat, slow moving stream, there are also some mild rapids and riffles to navigate, which can add a little bit of interest to your trip. However, the rapids are pretty mild and the creek can still be a great place to paddle for all skill levels.

There are a few put-ins and take-outs on the creek, ideal for trips of different lengths. One good spot to launch, if you’re looking for a shorter trip, is at the Seminary Bridge. There’s a take-out at the Seminary Canoe Rental and Campground but if you have your own boat there’s a $5 take-out fee (September 2020). This trip takes roughly three hours.

More: Kayaks for camping

During periods of high water, it may be dangerous for beginners to paddle. And if the water is at low levels, you may be scuffing the bottom of your yak.

2: Black Creek

Black Creek is a designated National Wild and Scenic River and the only one in Mississippi to have this designation. The slow moving river flows through the De Soto National Forest and features white sandbars and black-colored water.

It can be an easy paddle for beginners and families, with plenty of places to stop along the way. But it can sometimes get busy during the summer months.

There are a few spots where you can get yourself into your kayak, including at Janice Landing, where you’ll also find parking, camping and restrooms.

Black Creek is surrounded by overhanging trees and wildlife and can make for a peaceful paddle. Being inside the National Forest you can also camp alongside the river, so you can make your trip as long as you like if you have a few days to spare. There are also several hiking trails that pass near the river.

3: Old Fort Bayou

The Old Fort Bayou Blueway can be a relaxing way to experience the natural landscapes of Mississippi. The Blueway is a 13 mile long water trail that begins near Vancleave and ends in Biloxi Bay on the Gulf of Mexico.

This can be an ideal spot if you want to see coastal wildlife as you can paddle through the Sandhill Crane Wildlife Refuge and the Old Fort Bayou Coastal Preserve, as well as other protected areas.

There are a number of boat ramps where you can launch your kayak, making it ideal whether you’re looking for a longer or shorter trip. You can also explore Biloxi Bay where there are islands as well as the Gulf Islands National Seashore where you can launch from the beach and camp overnight.

More: Floating docks for kayaks

4: Chunky River

The Chunky River can be a great place for all levels of kayakers to paddle and can be a scenic trip through peaceful surroundings. The river is generally slow moving with mild shoals for added excitement.

You can access the river just outside the town of Chunky at Chunky River Recreation Trading Post. You can also rent kayaks and there’s a campground to spend the night.

From the trading post you can paddle downstream towards Stuckey Bridge, where there’s a take-out point. If you continue along the river you’ll come to Dunn’s Falls Park, where there’s also a kayak launch as well as good fishing. The 65 foot falls date back to the mid 19th century and power the historic water wheel.

5: Pearl River (Jackson)

Pearl River KayakingPin
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The Pearl River flows through Jackson and can be an easy trip if you’re looking for something close to the city. Good spots to explore with kids or beginners can be found to the north of the city at Leake County Water Park and Coal Bluff Park.

It can be an easy 3 hour paddle from Leake County to Coal Bluff, with plenty of sandbars along the way where you can stop for a rest or a picnic. The water is flat and slow moving, making it easy to paddle both upstream and downstream. There are lots of trees and swamps, with plenty of wildlife.

There are several additional kayak put-ins and take-outs along the river if you want to extend your trip and follow the river into the Gulf of Mexico. You’ll also find a number of campsites along the route.

What Are The Kayak Laws?

US Coast GuardPin
  • PFD must be readily accessible for each person on board a kayak. The PFD must be US Coast Guard approved, wearable and be either Type I, II or III (or Type V only if worn).
  • Children under 13 must wear a US Coast Guard approved PFD at all times while on a kayak. More: best infant jackets & best kids jackets
  • Boat Registration is not necessary for kayaks, unless your kayak has a trolling motor or is mechanically powered in any way.
  • Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is against the law in Mississippi. If your blood alcohol level is 0.08% or higher you will be considered under the influence and could face jail and a fine of up to $1000.
  • whistle or other sound producing device is required on kayaks on Mississippi waters in periods of limited visibility
  • Visual Distress Signals for night use are required only on coastal waters between the hours of sunset and sunrise.

Kayak Rentals & Tours Around Mississippi

Final Words

Mississippi is home to a whole host of rivers and streams and exploring by kayak can be one of the best ways to experience this Southern state. With flat, meandering rivers, coastal bayous and even a little whitewater, you should find there’s something to suit your paddling style.

Remember to pack your bug spray before you head out and check the water levels if you’re heading to an area that may have been affected by the weather.

Do you have a favorite kayaking spot in Mississippi? Leave us a comment. Maybe your buddies could use a few tips? Share this with them.

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