Davis Bayou Campground – Gulf Island National Seashore – Ocean Springs, MS – February 21 – March 2, 2023

On Tuesday, February 21, 2023 we left Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park in Niceville, Florida and drove 170 miles to another bayou…the Davis Bayou Campground in Ocean Springs, Mississippi which is part of the Gulf Island National Seashore. We would be staying here for nine days as we make our way west across the U.S.

Gulf Islands National Seashore is part of the National Park Service and offers recreational opportunities such as beaches, bayous, boating, fishing, hiking, biking and swimming AND preserves natural and historic resources along the Gulf of Mexico barrier islands of two states, Florida and Mississippi. The protected regions include mainland areas and parts of seven islands. Some islands along the Alabama coast (which separates Florida and Mississippi) were originally considered for inclusion, but none are part of the National Seashore and I can only assume that the state elected not to be included since no one seems to know WHY they aren’t part of Gulf Islands National Seashore. If you happen to know why, please share in the comments.

This is one of the few National Park system campgrounds we have visited that was VERY strict in enforcing the 2pm check-in time. We had read several reviews of people being turned away until the regular check-in time if they arrived early, so we made sure that we timed our arrival for shortly after 2pm. As you can see in the photos, our site was paved but not level. The back had to hang off quite a distance from the edge of the paved portion and the ground sloped deeply. I can’t remember ever extending our stabilizer stands so far at any other campground and as such we didn’t have much stability at all in the rear section of Nomad. It was kind of wobbly, lol. There was a decent amount of space between sites and the dump station was located in a pretty centralized area. There were 52 RV sites and Cindy and I agreed that if we returned we would choose a site on the interior of the campground, as they were all much more level.

We hiked a couple of nearby trails, though the nearest one had a lot of damaged infrastructure and areas that were off limits because of boardwalk destruction. And to get to the trails you had to walk along the busy park road with minimal space to get off the road for vehicles. Because of the above, we decided against doing much on the trails and mostly just walked on the day use area road and bike trail with Bella.

The ranger program at the visitor center, about a mile from our campground, was diverse and enjoyable. We did a “Medicinal Plant Walk” with Ranger Tim. He was not only a Park Ranger but also a pharmacist and we spent about an hour learning about how Native Americans used the local flora for medicines and then shared that knowledge with arriving Spanish, French and British colonizers. Well, to clarify I should say that I learned. Cindy, who has spent years studying these kinds of things already knew it all. Whenever Ranger Tim would ask questions she “smoked” all those other tourists.

We also did a “Historical Walk” with Ranger Vic who gave us a history of the area as well as identifying plant and animal inhabitants. Ranger Vic looked like a twin to our friend Dave in Orlando who managed the Farmers Markets that Cindy was a vendor at when she ran her Mountain Creek Candles business.

We were sorry to learn we had slightly mis-timed our visit. Ferry service out to Ship Island, about 12 miles off the coast, does not start running until mid-March. The only other way to get to Ship Island and its historic Fort Massachusetts would be by private watercraft, of which we had none. If we ever do return to this area, we’ll be sure to be here after the ferries are running so we can enjoy a sojourn to Ship Island.

Thanks for following the Wandering Wetheringtons.

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