Cypress Swamp, Mississippi

Everything the RV Renter Needs to Know

Cypress Swamp is a hidden gem along the Natchez Trace Parkway between Jackson and Tupelo in Mississippi. Only a half mile long, this raised boardwalk trail takes visitors into the depths of a remote swamp teeming with life. But Cypress Swamp is just one amazing destination in the surrounding area along the parkway—and what better way to experience a parkway than behind the wheel of your own rented RV? A rental RV gives you the freedom to explore to your heart’s content and the comfort of camping anywhere in nature, and there’s plenty of great nature to be had around Cypress Swamp in Mississippi. Here’s everything you need to know to plan an RV getaway and see the swamp for yourself.

Why Visit Cypress Swamp in Your Rented RV?

The open road is calling: Will you answer? Only with an RV can you explore everything the United States has to offer with a guaranteed place to sleep every night. That kind of freedom makes a simple stopover like Cypress Swamp into a veritable vacation destination, from which you can build an entire getaway along the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi. Here are the top five reasons to put this spot on your list for your next family vacation.

The Hike on the Boardwalk Trail

Located at mile marker 122 along the Natchez Trace Parkway just outside Jackson, Mississippi, the boardwalk trail through Cypress Swamp is a pristine path through an otherwise rugged swamp, the kind you’ve read about or seen in movies but maybe never visited yourself. This swamp is defined by the bald cypress and tupelo trees thought to have taken root when the land was dry. Thanks to unique features like the knotty “knees” of the bald cypress that rise out above the waterline, these trees thrive even after the dry land gave way to the swamp that exists today.

The trail itself is an easy and accessible one, at a flat half mile. Even on a quick trip, you can plan to spend at least 30 minutes walking the trail—but to really get lost in the swamp, you can spend much more time enjoying the easy hike. The whole trail is in the shade of the cypress trees that give the swamp its cover, so you’ll be comfortable throughout your visit.

Flora and Fauna in the Swamp

The main attraction at the trail at Cypress Swamp is the unique plant and animal life that calls the swamp home. All manner of flora and fauna have evolved to thrive in an otherwise unforgiving landscape submerged under the still waters of the swamp. From the plant part of spectrum, those bald cypress and tupelo trees take top billing, but expect to see still waters covered in vibrant green moss.

Those green mossy coverings may hide some of the swamp’s reptilian denizens, as well. Frogs and snakes thrive in the swamp here—but don’t worry! You’ll be safe and dry raised above the water and out of reach. That’s a very good thing, considering the frequency with which visitors spot alligators resting on the logs of the bog or swimming just under the surface!

Natchez Trace Parkway

Cypress Swamp is one landmark stop along the Natchez Trace Parkway, a national scenic drive stretching 444 miles through Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. It got its name from the ancient Natchez trace, a travel route long used by the Natchez people who once called those lands home.

The stretch running from Mississippi to Tupelo is where you’ll find Cypress Swamp among many other sites worth pulling over to experience. There’s Bynum Mounds, a historic burial mound site excavated in the 1940s and restored for visitors to get a glimpse of the rich culture of the Natchez people. Another opportunity lies at the site of a historic Chickasaw village. For a great view of the Mississippi landscape, stop off at the Little Mountain Overlook, the highest point along the parkway in the area. For a complete list of stops and more info on this stretch of the parkway, visit the NPS website.

Ross R. Barnett Reservoir

One of the key highlights of the Mississippi portion of the Natchez Trace Parkway is Ross R. Barnett Reservoir, which hugs closely eight miles of the drive and offers beautiful views for anyone who makes the trip. It’s worth making a stop to take a hike around the reservoir from the West Florida Boundary, or checking out the Reservoir Overlook along the drive.

If you’d like to stay and enjoy everything the reservoir has to offer, it could make for an excellent landing zone for your entire vacation. There are several marinas and parks in the area with lake access, and if you’d like to rent a boat to do some fishing, there are outfitters available to get you ready for the water. For a closer look at the reservoir and what to do in the area, click here.

Jackson, Mississippi

Cypress Swamp is located just about a half hour drive down the Natchez Trace Parkway from Jackson, Mississippi, a true destination city with attractions the whole family will enjoy. The Mississippi Children’s Museum is a popular attraction for families. Blues music fans will love the many Mississippi Blues Trail Markers calling out important cultural spots throughout the city, like Ace Records and the Alamo Theatre. The Mississippi Freedom Trail also makes its way through Jackson, whose Mississippi Civil Rights Museum stands as a testament to the men and women who fought for their rights in Jackson.

The Mississippi Museum of Art has an excellent collection of art from around the world, with a special exhibit dedicated to the life and times of Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Edgar Degas. For a more complete list of attractions in Jackson, plus a closer look at all of these great museums and landmarks, visit the Jackson tourism website.

Campgrounds and RV Parks for Cypress Swamp

The Natchez Trace Parkway weaves through some of the most scenic portions of Mississippi. That means you’ll have the best of both worlds on your trip, with proximity to RV parks and resorts near Jackson, but also more remote options deep in nature. Here are five of the top campgrounds and RV parks to consider when planning your trip to Cypress Swamp.

MovieTown RV Park

Located in Canton, Mississippi conveniently close to the Cypress Swamp is MovieTown RV Park, a warm and welcoming RV resort. The owners live on site and offer dedicated service plus 120 RV sites with full hookups, excellent bathroom and shower facilities, and a convenient location close to I-55.

RV Park at the Multipurpose Complex

Another option in Canton proper is the no-frills RV park located at the town’s multipurpose complex. It’s a public park and offers no reservations in advance, but in an unusual twist for a city park, it does offer full RV hookups up to 50 amps. Most of the sites are pull-through size, and all of them are paved making this a simple but convenient RV camping option.

Goshen Springs Campground

Just up the road at Barnett Reservoir, there are three campgrounds operated by the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District. Goshen Springs is the first of the two, and it offers premium RV campsites with full service and water/electric options. The campground’s amenities include boat launches, fishing piers, a swimming pool, and playground—the perfect family camping destination!

Timberlake Campground

Another public campground on Barnett Reservoir is Timberlake Campground, a fantastic family campground which offers the best of both worlds: quiet camping on the lake, plus close access to shops and restaurants in Brandon. There are a variety of RV sites available, plus excellent amenities like a recreation center with a pool and tennis court, a disc golf course, and access to nearby bike trails.

Coal Bluff Campground

The last of the three public campgrounds near Barnett Reservoir, Coal Bluff Campground is located along the bluffs of the Pearl River and offers excellent views in a family-friendly setting. Of particular note here is the access to the river, where guests love to fish, water-ski, jet-ski, and boat. The on-site playground and swimming pool round this campground out as a comfortable and quaint spot.

Places to Eat Near Cypress Swamp, Mississippi

There are many places to eat nearby Cypress Swamp—though the destination itself doesn’t have anything in the way of developed facilities or restaurants. That said, whether your travels find you in Canton, up at the Barnett Reservoir, or all the way in Jackson, you won’t be far from something delicious.

Dining outside of Cypress Swamp

If you’re looking for a place to eat right near the Cypress Swamp, the most popular option in Canton is Two Rivers Restaurant and its classic American cuisine. Shaggy’s On The Rez is the top spot in Brandon on Barnett Reservoir, and is beloved by visitors and locals alike for its excellent seafood and cocktail menu. The Pig & Pint in Jackson is by far the top restaurant in the city, offering unbeatable barbecue and local brews, as the name implies.

For a complete list of restaurants in Jackson, your prime culinary destination near Cypress Swamp, visit the city’s tourism website.

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