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Mississippi River State Park is in Marianna, AR and was built in 2008 in the St. Francis National Forest. The park office and convention center are beautiful and have several learning stations and activities for kids and families. There is also a simple paved walking trail with identification points for local trees, birds, wildlife, etc.
The campground has only a few sites. I don’t remember exactly but I believe it’s only 18 but all have lake views. All sites are level with electricity, water, and tent pad. Some sites have tiered tent pads that might not be great for kids or “old knees”. If you bring your own kayak, canoe, or boat, you can launch directly from your camp site without any issue. Our kids just wanted to through rocks 😂. There aren’t many hikes but there is a 1.5 mile trail (video included) which was fun. We saw a few snakes but they were just king snakes.
MS River SP is a short drive from Memphis and is a great quick weekend getaway. There isn’t much for small kids to do when the swim beach and swim area are closed but most families will love the serenity and peace that MS River SP offers.
We’ve camped at Village Creek State Park a number of times and we love it! It’s a family friendly park with ball fields, tennis courts, and a first-class golf course. We have tent camped, pop-up camped and RV camped here. We normally stay in the lower campground area which is a great spot for families due to all the green space. The upper campground area is much better for RVs given the access to sewer. There is a renovated playground in the upper campground area as well.
All sites are mostly level. There are a few at the back of the lower campground with steep inclines near the trailhead entries. There is also a creek that runs behind some of the campsites on the lower campground which could be a mosquito haven in warmer months.
This is a great family park! You will enjoy your time for sure!
Oh yeah, it’s the lake. Apparently it was drained to repair the dam. Looks like and apocalyptic wasteland where the lake was. Walked out to the middle of it and some Perv was flying a drone over my head. Stayed at the tent campsite which was ok because no one else was there, but you can see the rv site and some dumb buildings and a big streetlight. With the amount of dogs barking it sounds like you are in a neighborhood. It was ok. I guess any state park is better than no state park.
We stayed at this park for one night because it was the mid-way point on our trip from Alabama to Arkansas. Additional factors in selecting this park were that it was in a fairly convenient location to I-55 (5 1/2 miles), a great price ($16/night with senior discount), and a state park with trails and plenty of green space. The state park is 1,138 acres and offers plenty of recreational activities including hiking, an Olympic-size pool, basketball court, tennis courts, ranger-led programs, picnic pavilions, a playground, and a cultural center displaying artifacts found on the property. (Note: most of these are not located in the campground but other parts of the park.)
Park roads are paved and wide enough for any size RV to navigate. Sites are paved with gravel patios containing picnic tables, BBQ grill, and fire pits. There are a mix of pull-thrus and back-in sites of varying lengths(some of which claim to be 80– 90 feet) which can be reserved on-line for up to 14 days. Many back-in sites were longer than the pull-thrus. About half of the sites are on a slight incline that we would consider unlevel. Sites have electric (30 and 50 amp) and water that are easy to reach. A dump station is located as you exit the park and is easy to navigate in and out of.
Our site (#5) was a pull-thru claiming to be 61 feet but was slightly short for our 45’ RV and tow car. Luckily, we could pull forward enough into the road so we didn’t have to unhitch. If you are towing a trailer and don’t mind backing-in there are lots of options for long sites. Check their webpage for details about each site including approximate length, width, and grade which may or may not be accurate. There are also pictures of each site online. We were able to get 20-25 channels with our antenna. Our Verizon hotspot and 4G phone worked well.
There are not too many amenities in the campground itself except a playground, restroom/showers, and laundry with free ice. When I tried to go into the laundry room around 8:30 am it was locked so I can’t attest to how clean it was. In other parts of the park are the Chucalissa museum(which you can get free tickets to when checking in), a swimming pool, hiking trails, picnic areas and tennis/basketball courts. The park is located on the south side of Memphis in a pretty run-down part of town which is very obvious if you approach from Route 61(exit 7 off I-55) where you pass pawn shops, liquor stores, and unoccupied stores. The other way to approach the park is from Paul Lowery Road(exit 9 off I-55) where you drive through an industrial part of town which leaves you with a totally different impression. While there are gas stations, restaurants, and various shops within 3-4 miles of the park, we probably would not patronize them.
The park is located just 5 miles from Graceland and 10 miles from Beale Street and the downtown action so from that perspective, the location is decent. What we liked about this park was the$16/night(with senior discount) price which was a great deal for a water/electric site for one night. What we didn’t like was the whole feel of the park and area. The surrounding neighborhood made us feel a little uncomfortable as it was a pretty shady side of town. Let’s just say the southside of Memphis does not appear to be that desirable. While there is a 14-day limit, it appeared some of the people were spending extended periods of time in the park and there were some pretty run-down RV’s, one which was covered by a tarp. We did notice one tag hanging on a site that was issued for more than 14 days so it may be possible to camp for extended periods of time. There were hiking trails but we did not go on them because we honestly did not feel comfortable hiking there, especially toward dusk. There were park rangers that lived on-site in residences nearby the campground that were armed. While we did feel a little uneasy in the campground there were no incidents that warranted that conclusion- just our own paranoia. The rangers were very nice at check in and did drive through the campground periodically. If passing through this area again, we would not stay here again.
We had a great time at this campsite. Large camping areas with fire ring, grill and picnic table.
This campsite is right by a hiking trail so it was pretty easy to get firewood. The bathrooms/ showers area are well maintained and easy to get too. All in all a great trip and will be going again real soon.
My family and I live about 25 min from the campground at Meeman-Shelby State Park. We have been several times and have camped with tents, pop-ups, and now with our Geo-Pro. We love this campground.
Pros: -49 available sites -all sites with water, 30A, fire ring, grill and picnic table -a variety of hiking/biking trails -update playground -lake with rental kayaks, canoes, boats (in season) -fully functioning bathhouse that is dated but clean
Cons: -no sewer at any sites -some sites on the back sides of the camp ground are subject to erosion and can be unlevel and not ideal for kids -large park so many of the activities outside the campground require driving -1 bathhouse which can be an issue on certain weekends -MOSQUITOS. If you go after the weather warms up, be forewarned that the mosquitos will eat you alive. We mostly camp at Meeman-Shelby in the fall/winter. We do not camp Spring/Summer.
There is a disc golf course that is very popular. There is a nature center that is under renovation that has snakes, spiders and owls to see. There are cabins to rent but we have never stayed in one. They look nice from the outside.
I’ve included several pictures of camp sites and the grounds. All in all, Meeman-Shelby is a great park and is perfect for families. Make sure to schedule a friday night dinner at the General Store. Steak and live music that sets the tone for a great camping weekend!
This place was ok, very small, however more than half the trails and park were closed due to flooding. Lots of construction in progress. There was no sewage hook ups (water electricity only), nearby dump station. Bathroom facilities were very clean. The two trails opened were nice. My kids brought there bikes and enjoyed the one bike trail. I was a little annoyed by the park staff. They came by at least 15 times each day, checking tags, checking fire pits, checking pets, etc. I get it, but it kind of ruins the whole experience when you are relaxing in your camper and see park personnel snooping around constantly. We saw them everywhere. We couldn’t even hike without seeing them. It just felt invasive.
This was our 2nd time camping here. It’s the nicest campground close to home. All of the sites are large with full hookups. They really did an excellent job with this place. The bathrooms are the best of the best (private, suite style rooms). I like that it is not a large park (only 14 RV sites and 3 tent sites) l, so even when it is full, it does not feel overcrowded. I do wish they had more hiking trails, but the bear creek look is really nice. The park office is excellent with a museum area. Fire wood can be purchased at the office as well. Very popular lake for fishing!
Not much activity in the winter other than a couple of hunters. The campground is off the beaten path, so lots of quiet solitude. Great sites for a primitive campground! Beautiful views of the lake. The visitors center is a short drive away. Mostly a gift shop with a few supplies if necessary. They do sell wood. Great Lake for fishing, but not much hiking in the area unfortunately. The bear creek loop across from the main campground is a nice 1/2 mile stroll worth taking!