15 Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in Mississippi

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dog is feeling happy in a dog friendly vacation in mississippi

Located in the southern section of the United States, Mississippi is surrounded by Arkansas, Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama, and Tennessee. It has a population of 480,000 dogs and 2.9 humans and was named into the Union in 1817. If you like catfish, you can thank Mississippi because over half of the country’s catfish come from there. It is also known for its production of cotton and sweet potatoes.  

The state gets its name from the river running through it along the western border but is also known as the Magnolia State because it has the most of any state in the country. It is also the birthplace of blues music, so you can enjoy some catfish and sweet potatoes with a bouquet of magnolias while listening to some awesome blues. 

Being in the south, the state of Mississippi has warm weather all year long with highs in the 60s in January and 90s in July. This makes it the perfect state for swimming, boating, and other water sports as well as a great place to visit to get away from the cold northern winters. Here are our top 15 choices of the best dog-friendly vacation destinations in Mississippi to help you out.


As the capital and the largest city in the state, Jackson has approximately 150,000 people and 20,000 dogs so you will find lots of dog-friendly motels, restaurants, and parks around the city. One of the most pup popular is The Westin Jackson with its indoor swimming pool, free breakfast, restaurant, gym, and spa. They even provide a pet basket with bowls, treats, and doggie bags and there is no pet fee. 

If that is not enough reason to pick Jackson as your destination, you may enjoy the 305-acre LeFleur’s Bluff State Park on Mayes Lake, where you and your leashed pup can fish, camp, play golf, or disc golf, and take a walk on the nature trail. It is named after the French Canadian who opened a trading post here in the 1700s. They even have two museums.

Afterward, take Fido to play with the other fur babies at Clinton Dog Park where they can all run free without a leash holding them back. It has agility equipment, a separate small dog area, and water fountains.


If you had to guess what the most family-oriented city in Mississippi was, you might not even think of Biloxi. After all, it is popular for its jazz music and nightlife. But it is also home to Paradise Pier Fun Park. It is located on the southeastern corner of the island by the Point Cadet Marina. There are over 15 rides, including the Biloxi Tide Turner 180-foot observation wheel, the Rolling Thunder Roller Coaster, and the thrilling Storm Surge.

You will have to leave your cuddle buddy with a dog sitter while you are at the park, but you can make it up to him by taking him to Popp’s Ferry Dog Park or PIxie’s Memorial Dog Park. They both have large open spaces with benches for the pup parents and water for the pups. He may also enjoy a walk through the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum.

For something different, take everyone on a Biloxi Shrimping Trip. You get 70 minutes of trawling for shrimp or a longer trip on a fishing boat. They even clean the fish you catch!

Homochitto National Forest 

For those who like hiking, the Homochitto National Forest has some of the best dog-friendly trails in the state. To begin with, you and your pup can try the easy 1.3-mile-long Clear Springs Loop. It takes you through the pine forest along the lake and only has an elevation gain of about 50 feet. The Brushy Creek Loop is a bit more difficult at 5.7 miles long. This is a popular trail and takes about two hours to complete. 

The Richardson Creek Trail is the longest at almost nine miles long. The elevation gain of more than 830 feet can be too much for some so make sure you and your pup are in good shape before heading out. Also, be sure to bring plenty of extra water and doggie cleanup bags.

Those who play to stay a night or more reserve a spot early. Lake Lincoln State Park has 49 developed sites, and Clear Springs Park has 22 campsites with full hookups and 20 primitive sites.

Ocean Springs 

For those pet parents who are on a tight budget, Ocean Springs has some incredibly awesome deals on hotel rooms for you. They have nine dog-friendly places with rooms under $100. In fact, at Motel 6 you can stay for $56, and there is no pet fee! And the Super 8 has rooms for $87 and even has a pool, microwave, fridge, and free Wi-Fi.

After you check in and change into your swimming suit, grab some doggie bags and extra water and head to the beach on Front Street. You and your pupster can swim in Biloxi Bay for the whole day for free! Then, walk up to Fort Maurepas City Park & Nature Preserve, where they have a playground for the kiddos and a nice walking path along the bayou.

Before heading back to your room for the night, let Fido run around without a leash at Ocean Springs Dog Park. They have a special area for small dogs, covered seating, and even some agility equipment to play on.


Looking for a winter getaway? One of the most populated cities in Mississippi with 46,000 people and about 7,600 dogs, Hattiesburg is located in the southern section of the state. With Boule River running along its northern border, you can find lots of places to take your fur baby for a walk along the water. Or you can take him to Kamper Park, which boasts 40 acres of playgrounds, trails, and even a zoo. 

If you like art, you can take your pooch to Hattiesburg Pocket Museum on Front Street, where they have tiny works of art. The unique walk-through exhibit is always different, and dogs are always welcome on a leash. Then, stop by Paul B. Johnson State Park where you and your cuddly canine companion can have a picnic by the water. 

Afterward, let Fido run around off the leash at See Spot Run Dog Park on Pine Street. It features different sections for large and small dogs, lots of room for fetch, and plenty of seating for the pet parents.

Tombigbee National Forest 

In the northern section of Mississippi, you can find Holly Springs National Forest near Tupelo. It has 67,005 acres of shortleaf and loblolly pines, hardwoods, and oaks with swampland, the Wolf River, Tubby Creek, and Choctaw Lake. Anglers love this place because of how many different fishing opportunities there are, from bass to trout. Just make sure you keep your pup on a leash, and you have a Mississippi fishing license. Also, bring plenty of bags to pick up after your pup.

It gets hot in Mississippi, especially in July and August so pack extra water for both of you as well. Take a walk on the Tuxachanie National Hiking Trail to see an old railroad and historic buildings as well as wildflowers, palmettos, and plains. Other trails include the Lakeside, Chata, Cabin Lake, Beaver Lodge, Splashing Dog, and Headwaters Trails. 

If you want to camp, be sure to book your site way in advance because there are only 20 spots and they fill up fast. 


Another fun family park is in Gulfport. Take the kids or just yourself to the Gulf Islands Waterpark in Gulfport. It has something for everyone, from the thrilling Riptide Racer to the mellow Little Pelican’s Bay. It literally has miles of slides from the terrifying to the tame. Then, relax on the lazy river while the kids wear themselves out. Toddlers love the Ship Island Wreck, and so will you. 

Right next door, try the Zip’N Fun Adventure Park with its treetop adventure course and zip lines. It has eight zip lines and more than 50 games. Don’t forget about Fido! He is patiently waiting for his turn to run, so go get him and take him to Harrison County Dog Park, where he can romp around four acres of free space. 

Need to do some shopping? Take your pup to Gulfport Premium Outlets, where there are 70 shops and eateries, some that allow dogs. There is also a doggie relief area right outside.

Shepard State Park 

Ask your pooch, and he will tell you that the best thing about Shepard State Park is the Bark Park. And even though there is plenty to do outside the pup playground, you will have to admit, the dog park is pretty awesome. With its fun ramps and other play obstacles, thick green grass, and lots of space to run, your pupster will be in dog heaven. There are no separate sections so all dogs play together no matter their size, so keep that in mind. 

However, you will have plenty to keep you both busy in the rest of the 395-acre park including disc golfing, picnicking, barbecuing, hiking, fishing, and camping. There are 28 developed campsites and two campgrounds with primitive sites so you can stay for a whole weekend. The Pascagoula River is a great place to fish, swim, or go kayaking.

Be sure to pack plenty of doggie bags for picking up after your pup outside the dog park area too!


Besides being the birthplace of Elvis Presley and home of the Tupelo Buffalo Park, Tupelo is also where you can find the dog-friendly Tupelo National Battlefield. Although it is a small place with just one acre, it is important because of the commemorative wall and awesome cannons. Over 20,000 soldiers fought here on July 14th and 15th, and although nobody had a clear victory, the Union Soldiers were able to keep the Confederates away from their railroads. 

After seeing that, you and Fido can visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley where his father borrowed $180 to build a small home in the 1930s. Your pup is welcome to join you on the grounds of the home but not inside. Then, take him to Tupelo Bark Park where your pooch can romp around the large open space of the large or small dog area. There is even a pool, agility equipment, and a fire hydrant. 

Stop at the Queen’s Reward Meadery while you are in town. The dog-friendly place makes delicious honey wine that you cannot get anywhere else. It is a perfect romantic ending to a lovely weekend with your honey.

De Soto National Forest 

Located in southern Mississippi by Brooklyn, the De Soto National Forest is one of the largest and has two wilderness areas, the Leaf and Black Creek Wilderness areas. It is also home to the only wild and scenic river in the state, Black Creek, which has wide sandbars and is perfect for float trips and camping. However, the campsites are rugged and less than basic with no restrooms or other amenities. 

Other campsites can be found throughout the forest. There are seven in all, with more than 50 sites. The largest one is at Big Biloxi Recreation Area. It has 25 sites with hookups, picnic areas, hot showers, and a trail. The rest of the forest also has some great trails, including the Tuxachanie and Black Creek Trails. Combined, they have more than 60 miles of pinewood trails. There are also some ATV trails, like the Bethel Bike Trail and Big Foot Horse Trail. 

If you have the kids with you, don’t miss Splash of Fun Water Park in the southern section of the forest at Flint Creek Reservoir. It also has 152 campsites!


On the border of Louisiana in southwestern Mississippi, Natchez is a historic place on the Mississippi River. If you are feeling lucky, pack up your pup and head to Magnolia Bluffs Casino Hotel. With more than 500 slot machines, winning is easy and fun. There are also 14 table games, including poker, craps, roulette, and blackjack. If you are a sports gambler, they have a sportsbook too with 40 huge flat-screen televisions. 

The hotel also has a saltwater pool, fitness center, car for hire, bar, outdoor fireplaces, and breakfast buffet. But don’t leave your cuddly buddy in the room the whole time you are there! Take him to Natchez State Park, where you can hit the trails or do some fishing. With 14,000 people and an estimated 2,300 dogs, you will probably see some of them out and about.

Don’t miss the Natchez National Historical Park, where you can learn all about the history of Natchez from the beginning until the present. Be sure to see the William Johnson House from the 1800s.


In northwestern Mississippi, Southaven is a busy metropolis with 54,000 people who have about 9,000 fur babies and it is one of the most populated cities in the state. But you would not even know it if you stay at Jellystone Park where they have 140 tent and RV sites and 24 cabins. The tent spots are modern and comfortable with a soft tent pad, electricity, a charcoal grill, a fire pit, and a picnic table. 

Besides all that, the park also has inflatable water slides, a gaga ball pit, basketball, pool, playground, bikes, a rec room, gem mining, and even two dog parks for your pup to run off the leash. You can even take your fur baby shopping with you at Tanger Outlets Southaven. The open-air mall has over 60 shops from Abercrombie & Fitch to Zumiez.

Enjoy a lake picnic at Central Park with a gorgeous natural setting, playground, and trail. It also has a disc golf course. 

Buccaneer State Park

If you are interested in a vacation on the lake, Buccaneer State Park is right on Lake Borgne as well as the Gulf of Mexico. Besides the huge recreational space with trails, playgrounds, picnicking, camping, and a beach, the park also boasts w 4.5-acre water park called Buccaneer Bay. It has several awesome slides like the Pirate’s Plunge, which is 425 feet tall, Lil’ Smugglers Cove for the younger kids, and Pirate’s Lagoon Wave Pool. 

Your dog will have to stay with a sitter while you enjoy the water park but he is welcome on the trails and other dog-friendly areas in the state park. If you want to stay at the park for more than one night, reserve one of the 206 campsites. They have full utilities for RVs but you can use a tent as well. In fact, if you don’t have a tent, you can rent one!

If you like disc golf, take Fido with you to play a round or two. The golf course is new and challenging for everyone from beginners to experts. 


You will find Meridian in eastern Mississippi with 35,000 residents and their 3,800 pups. The city has some of the least expensive vacation rentals in the state including six hotels with rooms starting under $100. Motel 6 is just over $50 a night with no pet fee, and it even has a pool! La Quinta is $70 and has a pool and a gym. And the Red Roof Inn has a pool, restaurant, and a softball field for only $64. 

You and your cuddly canine companion will find plenty of inexpensive fun in town, as well including the free Bonita Lakes Park. It has three lakes on 3,300 acres with fishing, picnic areas, boat ramps, trails, and Long Creek Reservoir. Clarkco State Park is also nearby and only charges a two-dollar entrance fee. 

Save even more money by staying at Clarkco State Park Campground. They have 43 sites with showers, fire pits, BBQ grills, and picnic tables for just $15 per night. 

Tishomingo State Park

Tishomingo State Park has some of the oldest rock formations in the country with huge rocks and cliffs in Bear Creek Canyon. Some of the Paleo-Indian formations date back to 7000 BC! It is just northeast of Tupelo and was named after the Chickasaw leader, Chief Tishu Miko who was born there in 1735. One of the most popular activities here is floating. 

The Bear Creek Canoe Float Trip is approximately six miles long and is offered from April until October. It has class one rapids with large calm pools in between for excitement and relaxation for everyone. If you use the drop-off service from the park, they provide the canoe, life jackets, and paddles for $40 with a limit of two people per canoe not counting your fur buddy.

You can also stay overnight in the park in one of their rental tents. It is more like glamping than camping with a queen-sized memory foam bed, toilet, and canvas tent on a raised platform. 

The Final Woof

Mississippi has a lot to offer anyone who visits including those like us who have furry family members. It is nice to know there are places that welcome dogs when you are planning a trip no matter what you are thinking of doing. Couples with dogs enjoy the romance of Tupelo as well as the dog-friendly casino hotel in Natchez. Campers can choose from Southaven, De Soto National Forest, and Shepard State Park. For a fun family trip, Biloxi has the Paradise Pier Fun Park with rides, games, and water fun, or the Gulf Islands Waterpark in Gulfport. And those who are looking to get away from the cold in the winter will love any place in the state because they are all warm.

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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