If you want to enjoy the gulf coast’s mild winters and warm summers, there may be no better place to set up your RV base camp than Buccaneer State Park. Located right on the beach of Waveland, Mississippi, Buccaneer is full of natural beauty, rich history and even a modern-day waterpark. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall. It is known as the most devastating storm to hit the US in our nation’s history. With winds exceeding 160 MPH, in concert with a tidal surge of nearly 30 feet, much of the park was destroyed by the storm. After nearly eight years of reconstruction, the park was completely restored by November of 2013.
There are a variety of nature and hiking trails in and around the park. The area is full of magnificent oaks draped in moss, marshlands, and beautiful views all along the Gulf of Mexico. Jean Lafitte and his followers were the first to make use of the region in the late 1700’s. Visitors today can still visit the old Pirate House, located just a short distance from the park, which Lafitte inhabited during his smuggling and pirating days along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You may also hear the park referred to as Jackson’s Ridge. During the Battle of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson used the site of the park as the military operations base. In his later years, he returned to build a home on the land which today is Buccaneer State Park.
RV Rentals in Buccaneer State Park
Transportation in Buccaneer State Park
Not far from U.S. Highway 90, the park entrance is easily accessible for RVs and those towing a travel trailer. The entrance to the park is located at 1150 South Beach Boulevard. If you are using GPS, be aware that many GPS systems will take you to a location on South Street, however this is NOT an entrance into Buccaneer State Park. Most of the park is accessed by foot, but the park roads can accommodate even the largest of rigs. Many of the roads are one way only, except for the main park road, and there are also some tight corners but nothing impassable.
There is ample parking located at the front of the park, near the entrance. The front parking lots are spacious and can accommodate your RV. Other than the camp sites, there are not many options further in the park to park your RV. There are small parking lots near the laundry and activity building, as well as near picnic pavilion #3.
Campgrounds and parking in Buccaneer State Park
Campsites in Buccaneer State Park
Jeanne Lafitte, Barataria Bay, Long John Silver, Pirates Cove, Blackbeard
There are five unique loops within the park that offer premium camping amenities. Each site has full service 30/50 amp service, sewer hook-up and water. Other amenities at each site include picnic tables and barbecue grills. There are also two recently-built bathhouses that are handicap accessible, with hot showers located nearby, regardless of which loop you choose. Reservations are highly recommended and available sites may be claimed with the park office upon arrival.
Perhaps the most popular campground within the park, Treasure Cove is also the most secluded area for your RV base camp. There are only 45 sites available in this area of the park, so reservations are highly recommended. If you are traveling with a caravan of RV’s you can also ask about the 4 double sites that are featured in this section. All of the sites at Treasure Cove are premium sites with water, sewer, and 30/50-amp electrical hookups, as well as a picnic table, barbecue grill, and fire pit. Also available within the loop is a handicap accessible bathhouse with hot showers.
While this campground does offer 57 premium sites with all of the essentials like water, sewer and 30/50-amp electrical hook-up, there are no picnic tables, grills, or fire pits. If you have your own tables or grill, you are allowed to set them up for use at your site. Campfires are also allowed but you must never leave them unattended and they must be contained. The greatest thing about Royal Cay is its location in the rear of the park, making it a much quieter option than some other campgrounds.
For a unique stay, arrive at the park early and claim one of the 70 sites overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. These sites are only available on a first-come, first-served basis, for guests who walk in to the park office. There are no picnic tables, grills, fire pits or sewer hookups available, but the views from the grassy field are stunning. Not far from the campground, there is a dump station available, and the colors of sunrise and sunset each day are worth the extra effort. Campfires are also permitted, just be sure to have them contained and do not leave them unattended.
Grand Bayou Primitive Camping
If you are feeling a little adventurous, leave behind the comforts of your RV site and head out into the woods near Grand Bayou. This campground offers primitive sites deep in the woods of the region. While there are restroom facilities available nearby, there are no other amenities or services. This makes a great experience for a night or two, getting you an even closer experience with nature. If you are interested in one of these sites, just contact the park office, as sites are limited.
Seasonal activities in Buccaneer State Park
Pirate's Alley Nature Trail
Hiking this 1.8-mile self-guided nature trail is a great way to connect with nature. Although much of the vegetation and trees were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, years of regrowth has changed the landscape of the trail, and the ecosystem of the forest is thriving once again. There are beautiful trees including Oaks, Magnolia, and Pines as well as a multitude of Mississippi Gulf Coast wildlife. Bird watching is popular from the Mud Bayou pier and gazebo, where you can see Egrets, Osprey, Brown and White Pelicans, or feeding Blue Crabs.
When visiting during the Summer months, before Labor Day, visitors can enjoy spending the day at Buccaneer Bay, a 4.5-acre waterpark that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. The park features two waterslides, Pirate’s Plan and Pirate’s Plunge, as well as a splashpad with tipping buckets and a water playground called Lil’ Smuggler’s Cove. Check out 6-foot waves in the Pirate’s Lagoon Wave Pool, which also simulates deep ocean swells, allowing for body surfing and beach crashing waves. Concessions and a food court are located at the Sea Dog Alley, along with lots of shade and picnic tables.
Jackson's Ridge Disc Golf
Even the most avid disc golfers will be challenged on this Par 3, 18-Hole disc golf course at Jackson’s Ridge. Set in the beauty and nature of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the course has both tight and open fairways, with a handful of natural obstacles and holes. Although it is challenging, it is also designed for the rookie in your group, making it fun for everyone! Another great thing about this is there is no extra cost for guests staying at the park!
Castaway Cove Pool and Activity Center
During the busy season of summer, guests at the park can enjoy cooling off in the Castaway Cove Pool. There is also an activities center with plenty of things to do for kids of any age, including video games, billiards, ping pong, and foosball. The pool is open from Wednesday through Sunday each week during the summer and the activity center is also only open seasonally.
Picnic and Playground
There is no question that this is a family friendly park, and what could be more fun than a relaxing day having a picnic with the family? Pavilion #3 is large and can accommodate big groups, with seating for up to 75 people. It is also conveniently located on the main park near Buccaneer Bay Waterpark and right by the park playground. The playground is great for kids of all ages from toddlers to teens, featuring a rock climber, swings, monkey-bars, slides, and a merry-go-round.
Bike Along the Beach
Biking is another popular activity during the spring and fall, as the air is crisp and light compared to the hot and humid summer months. There is a bike path that runs from the Washington St. Pier in Bay St. Louis, through Buccaneer State Park, and ends beyond the Waveland Pier. The Bay-Waveland Beach Trail is 4.5 miles long and runs along the coast parallel to S. Beach Boulevard, giving convenient and enjoyable access to local eateries, breweries, and more.
If you enjoy the quiet relaxation of the off-season, early spring or Late fall make great times to visit. Enjoy walking along the Gulf of Mexico, while taking in scenic views without the crowds. Spring and fall storms cause plenty of driftwood to wash ashore, and you can collect it as a unique souvenir, or for other use.
Just as the storms tend to wash driftwood ashore, there are a variety of other great finds waiting to be discovered in the sandy shoreline. Visitors who enjoy beach combing can find troves of seashells and sea glass, among a variety of other “treasures.” Be aware of state and national laws about what you can take from the beach, and it is highly recommended that you never take living organisms from the beach, including hermit crabs and starfish.
Having access to the Gulf of Mexico directly from the park provides lots of opportunities for fun in and on the water. Windsurfing is a popular sport along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, particularly during the off-season, when there tends to be even more coastal winds than normal. Also, you will notice that you get more time on the water, and better availability of gear rental.
Kayak the Coast
If you are visiting during the off-season and want to enjoy the water without getting in it, kayaking along the coast is a great way to enjoy the sites. Bring your own kayak, or you can rent one nearby. Either way, taking in the coastline from the water is a unique experience, and a workout too!