Look no further than Mississippi when planning your upcoming lake trip. Most Mississippi vacation rentals are never more than 30 minutes away from a prime fishing spot or swimming hole. Whether you’re into tournament fishing, kayaking, or water skiing, most of the lakes in this Southern state feature boat launches, as well as swimming beaches. Temperate weather, fun activities, and stunning surroundings help make these the 10 best lakes in Mississippi.

1. Lake Washington, Greenville

In a well-known delta just 20 minutes south of Greenville, get in some great fishing in Lake Washington’s shallow water. Look for the best bass fishing around the flooded cypress trees or the west side of the lake, or near the docks on the east side. The bass lie on the lake bed, waiting to strike plastic worms, jigs, or other lures. Anglers from all over the country come here for the crappie, bream, and catfish, too. Farm lands surround the lake, but there is a boat ramp on the west side.

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2. Bonita Reservoir, Meridian

Situated on the northern border of the 1,700-acre Bonita Lakes Park, Bonita Reservoir features boat ramps and is a popular fishing spot. The Bonita Lakes Trail is a 6-mile loop around the lake that includes some a lot of elevation changes, ranking as a moderate hiking route. The beautiful park also includes nature trails, a track for walking and jogging, horseback riding, and picnic facilities. Visitors who like a more challenging hike and different scenery sometimes walk the horse trails. The lake sits just around the corner from Bonita Lakes Mall, less than a mile from the park’s primitive setting that feels miles away from it all.

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3. Ross Barnett Reservoir, Ridgeland

Most of Mississippi’s drinking water comes from the 33,000-acre Ross Barnett Reservoir, which sits on the Pearl River. With more than 105 miles of shoreline, the lake includes many opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, and water skiing. Called the “Rez” by locals, it’s a destination that combines vacationing, dining, entertainment, and shopping. Complementing its popularity, the lake features 22 boat launches, hiking trails, 16 parks, and it borders the famous Natchez Trace on the west side.

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4. Little Black Creek Lake, Lumberton

Nestled within the Little Black Creek Park, the 640-acre Little Black Creek Lake is a stunning attraction for water enthusiasts. Take a refreshing swim, launch a rowboat, or embark on an epic fishing expedition. There’s plenty to do out of the water, including walking, biking, picnicking, and zip lining. If you choose to cover more ground for sightseeing, the park office rents golf carts.

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5. Pickwick Lake

Pickwick Lake’s 42,996 acres sprawl across Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, where it’s known for excellent fishing. Anglers come her for large mouth bass, small mouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, and blue catfish. It’s a great lake for sightseeing by boat to take in the scenic shoreline and historic landmarks. The lake borders J.P. Coleman State Park, where fishing, boating, and water skiing draw locals and vacationers. The smooth waters of the lake make it perfect for wakeboarding and stand up paddle boarding.

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6. Grenada Lake, Grenada

Fishing tournaments and recreational pursuits make Grenada Lake a favorite spot for locals and visitors. The 16 annual professional competitions on this 34,594-acre reservoir include Bass Pro’s Crappie Masters Tournament, the Grenada Lake Crappie Classic Tournament, and the Magnolia Crappie Club Tournament. The lake also draws anglers year-round to fish for bass, catfish, and bream. Day use areas dot the shoreline around the lake with swimming beaches, hiking trails, and picnic facilities.

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7. Lake Bogue Homa, Laurel

Delightful Lake Bogue Homa in Mississippi’s coastal region invites you to come on in; the water’s fine for fishing, boating, waterskiing, and swimming. Get your pole and cast a line for catfish, bass, crappie, or bream in this scenic 882-acre lake. Spend a casual afternoon exploring the lake in your boat, and find a secluded cove for a picnic, swimming, and relaxing. Following a warm day of lounging on the water or hiking around the lake to enjoy the wildlife, kick back and catch the last rays of the evening sun as it slips out of sight over the lake.

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8. Sardis Lake

Considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the state, 98,520-acre Sardis Lake is a reservoir that sits on Little Tallahatchie River. This huge lake draws anglers, water skiers, and boaters year-round. At the southeast corner of the lake, Sardis Lake Marina features fuel docks, a restaurant, and rentals, including boats, skis, tubes, and wake boards. In warm months, there’s a nice beach for relaxing in the sun, water sports, and swimming in the smooth, inviting waters. This hot spot is about an hour away from Memphis, Tennessee, where you find any variety of nightlife, entertainment, and restaurant that suits your needs.

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9. Airey Lake, Saucier

Surrounded by the southern half of the DeSoto National Forest, the Airey Lake Recreation Area includes the 3-acre Airey Lake. This pretty, little forest gem is ideal for fishing, picnicking, and hiking. It’s a great place to take Fido besides a dog park, as long as he stays on his leash. The site includes picnic tables, fire pits, and access to the Tuxachunie Trail, a popular hiking spot. This is where you want to go to get away from it all to enjoy nature.

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10. Shadow Lake, Morton

Go fishing year round for bass, crappie, bream, and catfish in 150-acre Shadow Lake, situated near the western border of Roosevelt State Park. Biologists check the lake annually, gauging the restocking of fish species at the appropriate levels. Use the boat launch at the southeast end of the lake for your fishing expeditions. The park allows recreational boating, skiing, tubing, and jet skis during the summer months. The park amenities include picnic facilities, playgrounds, disc golf, nature trails, and courts for tennis and basketball. In case the fish don’t bite and you need a back-up plan for dinner, stash the fishing tackle in your Morton vacation rental and head out to Sam’s Diner for American eats, Asadore’s Diner for Mexican cuisine, or Kismet’s, a sandwich shop for gyros and po’ boys.

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