Outdoor Adventures Await in Oxford, MS
Explore Oxford-Lafayette County's green spaces and sparkling waterways.
Being outdoors is good for the body and soul. While many have become reliant on their gym membership to keep them tip-top, there is something to be said for “green exercise,” which was coined in 2003 to describe the physical and mental benefits of exercising in a natural environment.
Luckily for Oxford-Lafayette County residents, more than 200,000 acres of public parks, forests and lakes are nearby, just waiting to be explored. Outdoor enthusiasts looking for a dose of natural beauty, water sports and outdoor adventure should plan a visit to Holly Springs National Forest, John Kyle State Park and Cossar State Park, which are cost-effective ways to squeeze more green exercise into your urban lifestyle.
In This Article
Holly Springs National Forest
Holly Springs National Forest covers 155,000 acres and offers the greenery of upland habitat, the marshy uniqueness of wet bottomlands, and a unique collection of small crystalline lakes.
The forest is split into two sections — Holly Springs in the north and Yalobusha in the south. Holly Springs offers hiking, biking, camping, plus swimming and fishing in 260-acre Chewalla Lake, 96-acre Puskus Lake and 40-acre Lake Tillatoba.
Or head south to Yalobusha, which offers campgrounds and cabin rentals, hiking and fishing, and a selection of family-friendly picnic areas.
John Kyle State Park
John Kyle State Park is approximately 25 miles northwest of Oxford, located along 32,500-acre Sardis Lake, which was developed for flood control in 1940.
The lake has been touted as the cleanest lake in Mississippi and is a haven for water sports, from boating to fishing. Open year-round, the park offers a collection of nature trails, a 200-site campground complete with 20 cabins and laundry facilities, bird watching, boat ramps and fishing.
Cossar State Park
George P. Cossar State Park is located about 35 miles from Oxford along the western end of Enid Lake and is an area favorite. The park offers 15 air-conditioned cabins and 76 developed waterfront and wooded campsites.
It is ideal for those looking for an adventure, including hunting, boating, waterskiing, and fishing for largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and bream. In addition, there are places for swimming and even a disc-golf course.
Tommy Jones works in Desoto County and has been camping at Cossar State Park for 35 years. He stays active on the Mississippi Camping and RV Forum on Facebook.
“Cossar Park is a quiet park,” he says. “Most all pads are shaded. You have your choice between Yocona Ridge, which is closest to the water, and Jones Creek, which has secluded pads and is away from the openness of Yocona.”
Jones says the park is experiencing a comeback after a few years of depleted resources.
Before You Go
Before you go, be sure to visit local companies that offer outdoor products and services, which are helping to keep the area’s sense of adventure alive.
Plan a visit to CORE Cycle + Outdoor, which offers fly fishing rods and reels, outdoor apparel, hiking and camping goods, and wakeboards to demo. They also have a bike repair shop and a climbing wall, with auto-belays and top rope options for advanced to beginner climbers.
For sporting goods and specialty apparel, turn to University Sporting Goods in Oxford, especially if you are looking for Ole Miss or game-day gear.
For a true adventure on the water, check out Blackjack Sailing. This sailing school specializes in summer day camps for children from beginner to advanced but also offers lessons for adults.
“The course is designed to teach you the basics of sailing and give you the experience of rigging and sailing three different types of small sailboats,” says Joe Sabatier, Blackjack Sailing executive director.
Adult lessons are $295 a person and consist of five lessons for a total of 12 hours.
If you’d like to learn more about the Oxford, MS, area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Oxford-Lafayette County, Mississippi.