Roosevelt State Park, located in southwest Mississippi, stretches across 550 beautiful acres of water and woods, providing visitors with scenic views and plenty of recreation opportunities. At the park's heart is Shadow Lake, while just to the east of the park lies the expansive Bienville National Forest.
This quaint park was one of the many state parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, and it has drawn visitors from all across the country since. Ambling nature trails weave their way through the park's thick forests, which put on a dazzling display of color during the fall months. Shadow Lake presents a peaceful setting for boating and angling. The park also boasts an 18-hole disc golf course, a pool with a 34-foot waterslide, picnic areas, sports fields, and a stately lodge with a Visitor Center and gift shop.
Roosevelt State Park offers multiple camping options, including over 100 RV camping sites, many of which have full hookups. There are also 15 cabins and a charming lakeside motel. Reservations are taken for all of these, and it's a good idea to do so if you plan on visiting between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Whether you rough it in a tent, bring your RV, or spend your time relaxing in a cabin, camping in Roosevelt State Park is sure to be an experience you won't soon forget.
Roosevelt State Park is located right off of I-20, just about 35 minutes to the east of Jackson, MS. Visitors should find the park easy to get to, and the roads leading to it are flat and well-maintained. However, since the park being built in the 1930s, some roads within the park are very old. They have been improved since first being built, but it's been a while since they've been renovated, so there are some bumpy and uneven areas that might be difficult to maneuver in a big rig. There are some narrow sections and a couple of sharp turns as well, so remember to take things slow.
The area rarely sees snow, but ice on the roads is a possibility during the winter months. Wet leaves coating the road can also make for slippery driving and may obscure some of the road's sharper turns.
All of the sites at both of Roosevelt's campsites are back-in. With some spots, especially at the more tightly-packed CCC Campground, maneuvering in may require some patience. As long as you're under the 40-foot park limit, you shouldn't have much of a problem.
Parking at the CCC Campground puts you within walking distance of Shadow Lake's western shore. Parking at the R.O. Hannah Campground will put you closer to the park's main amenities and attractions, including the picnic area, the swimming pool, the beach and the Livingston Performing Arts Center.
The R.O. Hannah Campground sits on the eastern side of Shadow Lake and features 42 RV-friendly campsites, all of which support full hookups (some have 30-amp service, others have 50-amp service). All sites are back-in, with a length limit of 40 feet.
The sites at R.O. Hannah here are set under a thick green canopy of pines, hickories, and oaks. About half the sites have great views of the shore, while the remaining sites are tucked farther back in the woods. Regardless of which site you're at, though, you'll be no more than a brief stroll from the lake.
The campground also has two modern restrooms with showers, plus a laundry facility. Just a short walk to the south, visitors will find the park's lovely picnic area, which features several large picnic shelters, and the Shadow Lake beach. The R.O. Hannah Campground also offers easy access to the park's swimming pool, a huge water slide, and a playground area, making it a favorite among families.
Reservations at R.O. Hannah can be made up to two years in advance (and while a full two-year-ahead booking may be unnecessary, scooping up your spot a few months in advance is advised during the busy summer season).
The CCC Campground is located on the west side of Shadow Lake and offers 67 RV-suitable campgrounds. Of these, 22 are listed as "premium," meaning they offer full-hookups (that's 50-amp electric plus water and sewage). The remaining 45 sites just have electric hookups. All premium and non-premium sites are back-in and have a 40-foot length limit.
Offering great views and easy access to the water, the CCC Campground is, understandably, popular. While spot can get busy, and some sites are packed pretty close to each other, the campground is also well-forested, meaning each site still maintains a good degree of privacy.
All sites come equipped with picnic tables and grills. There are also modern restrooms with showers and a laundry facility, all within easy walking distance of any of the sites. The CCC Campground is open year-round, and reservations can be made up to two years in advance.
No sites here are specifically first-come, first-served. They tend to fill up fast when reservations are available, especially during the summer season.
However, you can call ahead and try to make a day-of reservation. If there are any spots available, you can book one over the phone before you arrive. That's as close as first-come, first-served as you get at this campground.
None of the sites at this campground are first-come, first-served. Same-day reservations are available, but you have to call the park to make them. Without a reservation, there is no guarantee that a site will be available for you.
Roosevelt State Park also sports 15 charming vacation cabins. Set along two short spur roads at the southern end of the park, these cabins sit under a thick canopy and offer great views of Shadow Lake just to the north. With just a quick walk, you can find yourself casting a line or watching the sunrise over the water.
Though their appearances may be rustic, the cabins' amenities are modern. Each comes equipped with heating and AC, a television, furnished queen-sized beds, and some bathroom sundries. The cabins also have screened-in porches, great for enjoying warm summer evenings while staying clear of merciless mosquitoes.
Cabins can be booked via the same website as the campsites. There are a few extra rules and stipulations about booking cabins at Roosevelt that you may want to glance over first, though.
The aptly named Lakefront Motel can be found right near the much larger Alfreda-Harris Lodge. The motel has 20 lovely furnished rooms, each offering the same amenities as the park's cabins. While the motel does not have any laundry facilities, guests are welcome to use either of the campgrounds' laundry rooms. Like the park's cabins, rooms at the lakefront motel can be reserved via the park's reservation page.
With the beautiful, and well-stocked, Shadow Lake at its heart, it's not surprising that boating and fishing are both popular activities at Roosevelt State Park. There are plenty of quiet and easily accessible spots along the shore to cast your line, or you can take a boat and head out to deeper waters. Anglers can expect to catch bass, crappie, bream, and catfish. Fishing is available year-round, although any fisherman over 16 must have a Mississippi fishing license before casting their line. Water sports such as skiing and leisure boating are also permitted on the lake from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Swimming isn't allowed in Shadow Lake since it's a popular boating and fishing destination, but that doesn't mean you can't go for a dip while staying at Roosevelt State Park. A large, 2,600 square foot pool overlooks Shadow Lake, providing plenty of fun for the whole family. The pool varies in depth and even includes a zero-depth splash pad that is ideal for small children. Beside the swimming pool is a 36-foot high water slide with plenty of twists. Given the hot, muggy weather the park experiences during the summer, it's not hard to see why the pool and water slide are popular attractions. You can expect them to be busy while they're open, which is from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend.
Roosevelt State Park features an 18-hole disc golf course that takes players through a large chunk of the park. The shots vary in difficulty and setting, with some holes placed in open meadows and others in thickly wooded areas. The disc golf course can be used by anyone in the park, free of charge. Whether you're a seasoned competitor or just playing to learn, the course provides a great way to get out and get moving during your visit to Roosevelt.
If you play tennis, be sure to pack your rackets in your rig if you're heading to Roosevelt. The park has two tennis courts that are available for use both day and night. The courts are open year-round and lighted when the sun sets. It's not every day you get to play tennis in such a picturesque setting, so if you play, you definitely won't want to miss this opportunity. A small fee is charged to use the courts, but given the view, you'll surely find it worth the money!
Several nature trails throughout the park provide a great way to explore the area. The trails are especially good for beginners since they lack any rugged terrain and are mostly less than a mile long. The longest trail in the park is the Civil War Hill Trail, which is popular with both nature lovers and history buffs. The trails provide an easy way to immerse yourself in nature and get around the park without having to move the camper.
Fall is a particularly excellent time to go hiking here. There are far fewer bugs, and the canopy bursts with oranges, yellows, and reds. Daytime temps are usually warm but rarely stifling.
The park is home to an abundance of fauna, including dozens of species of birds. Herons, egrets, ducks, geese, and osprey can be found in and around Shadow Lake, while many colorful species of warblers can be found flitting across the pine and oak branches of Roosevelt's woodlands. If you visit during spring or early summer, you'll be sure to hear the chorusing of frogs, and, if you head out on a rainy night, you may even see salamanders crawling across the forest floor. Coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and white-tailed deer also frequent the park's forests. Whether you're hitting the trail or heading out on the lake, be sure to keep your eyes peeled.