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This was a super pleasant stop! We enjoyed exploring the trails and seeing the wildlife right around our campground. We had great internet for working and were close to an amazing BBQ restaurant featured on Guy Fieri’s show! We liked this park and would definitely stay again!
One of south Mississippi's best kept secrets. This is a small campground located in the National Seashore within the city limits of Ocean Springs. The diverse ecosystem of the Bayou is fascinating and chances are very high you'll be able to see at least one large gator while you tour this park. (No worries, they're not near the campsites). The campground itself has 50 reservable sites, all with 30/50 amp electric and water. Fire rings and picnic tables are at each site also. Most are well shaded and far enough apart to be comfortable. Terrific bath house and convenient dump station. Ranger programs are offered through the visitors center which is a must see. The 20 minute video about the park's history and importance is well worth your time. Make sure to save time to tour the downtown area of Ocean Springs. It's one of the USA's top rated seaside communities.
It is all in your perspective, but we prefer a bit of privacy and separation with foliage between sites, and if you do as well, I would recommend you choose a tent site. Most back up to the wooded bird sanctuary (watch out for bird poop!) However, if these sites were full they would not have much privacy, but we were the only ones for the first night and there was only one other camper in this loop the second night. The RV sites have zero privacy, however! Some of these sites back directly on to the road. It seemed to me that there are many returnee snowbirds who stay here so they don’t seem to mind. When we were there, there was a snowbird arts and crafts display. If you do choose an RV site, I would recommend Site 15-21. BUT, you do not have the option of reserving a specific site; it is assigned to you upon arrival. After reading other reviews, I dreaded the laborious check-in process, but it did not take very long. Also, driving up to the window to let them know you were leaving is all there was to the check-out process.
The bathhouse was immaculate, regardless of the time of day. There is a sign prohibiting pets from being in the bathhouse, but some disregarded this rule. In fact, there almost seemed to be as many dogs as people here! The laundry room looked nice and had a television but has limited hours(closed at 8 pm).
There is an approximately mile-long walkable beach with access directly from the campground; if you head east, you will get to Fort Gaines and if you head west, you will eventually reach private property and cannot go any further on the beach. There were nice sunsets for the two nights we were there. The Mobile Bay ferry terminal is also directly across the street from the campground; yes, you will hear the whistle!
A small town with shops and restaurants is about two miles away and there is a wide bike/pedestrian path. Although we enjoyed our time here, I likely would not return as there are nicer beaches and other places to explore!
This campground is a hidden gem for those looking for a beach campground. There were less than 10 people at anytime on the beach the 4 days we were down here. The beach is a 5 minute walk or 2 minute bike ride from the tent sights and extremely secluded. You can walk to the beach or directly into an enormous bird sanctuary that has literally hundreds of species of birds. Bathrooms and facilities were clean, well kept and plentiful. I would like to come back to this campground with our pop-up instead of roof top tent just to have some AC at night. There is also a historical battle sight/fort and aquarium all within walking or bike riding distance. There are also numerous outstanding seafood restaurants nearby. Had arguably the best crab legs I’ve ever had in my entire life down here.
I would have given this campground 5 stars except we had an experience with a creepy homeless dude that wouldn’t leave us alone. The campground did have him arrested and taken off sight. And my only other complaint would be the check-in/departure process being super slow due to paper files and no technology to expedite the process. I would most certainly recommend checking this place out if you are looking for an affordable beach getaway!
I would have given this
Dauphin Island is an amazing place! The island is not very large, but has lots to do. There are several good restaurants, ice cream shops, a great seafood market called Skinners, where you can order fresh seafood from the steamer (we ordered crab legs twice during our stay 😋), parks, bike paths across the entire island, great fishing, a bird sanctuary, an Estuarium (similar to an aquarium), and beautiful white sand beaches, just to name a few!
We stayed at the Dauphin Island Campground in the tent area on site 8. The check in process was fairly time consuming , as it is all written out by hand. Check out is the same way, and they don’t take online reservations. The people in the office are amazing though, so it was ok!
The campground map is not accurate for site selection. We were first given site 5, which looked great on the map, but was not great for our rooftop tent. Also, there is no way to see the ocean from ANY site, so don’t think you’ll have ocean view. On the map I thought we might be able to have a glimpse of the Gulf, but not so. Site 8 was perfect for us, nice shady spot with view of the trees in the bird sanctuary. All tent sites have water and electric hookups. They do not allow anything to be hung from trees, including hammocks, so bring hammock stand if you plan to use them.
The RV sites are all pretty close to each other. The row nearest the bay has water views, but is also next to the road and auto ferry. Several long time residents stay at this campground, Possibly seasonal.
The restrooms/bathhouse was immaculate! They have a designated cleaning at 9-9:30 daily, and they were in excellent shape. There’s also laundry facilities on site. There’s a camp store, and a fish cleaning station, and playground as well.
Beach access is in the back of the campground near the tent sites, we took our bikes and that was the best way to get there. It took us less than a minute to be on the beach. The beach was fairly empty and that’s what we loved the most! Like having our own private beach. Take a cart to haul your chairs, umbrella, etc, or plan on packing it on your back like we did. The people who were fishing were catching fish the whole time, so if you enjoy fishing, this is a great spot.
We absolutely LOVED Dauphin Island, and will definitely return, but if we come back in the summer, we will bring the pop up tent so we can have A/C, as it is blazing hot!