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Winter Wanderings Day #13, Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, AL, Ocean Springs Beach, Davis Bayou Campground, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Ocean Springs, MS

Saturday, it was rainy and 34 degrees in Gulf Shores. The weather on the Gulf Coast had, certainly, not been our friend, except for our one 60 degree day at Gulf State Park for which, we were so grateful. We left the park, making a stop at the fabulous Gulf Coast owned, Rouses Grocery, where we bought groceries for the week and a king cake, because we could not resist the festive display. We hit the road west toward the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Mississippi would be our 20th state to have camped in. We were excited to be adding a state sticker to our travel map in the van.

We used, as we often do, to find a dog friendly beach near our campground destination in Ocean Springs, MS. We parked Happy right on Ocean Springs’ Front Beach Dr. close to the yacht club. There were beautiful historic and newer homes, overlooking the beach. There was heavy use along the really nice Front Beach Walking Path, used by walkers, runners, dogs, and cyclists, but we walked in the sand by the shore. We had great views of the Biloxi Bay Bridge, Deer Island, and the Mississippi Sound. There were fun, concrete, bonfire pits along the beach, every so often, as we walked. Halfway down the beach was a fishing pier. Across the street was Fort Marpaus Park with shade covered playground, splash pad, and nature preserve. The whole stretch of beach was an impressive, city enhancement project. What we saw of Ocean Springs, we liked. The charming, historic, beach downtown had quaint cottages, restaurants, galleries, and shops. I looked forward to exploring more in the next few days.

We drove, just down the road to the Davis Bayou Campground in the Mississippi portion of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The campground was in the oaks. Our site #16 backed up to the marsh, but had no buffer between campsites or privacy. We parked then went for a hike to explore park. We hiked along the road on the 1mi Davis Bayou Trail to the Nature’s Way Trail 1/2 mi loop. The Nature Trail was beautiful through the woods and along the marsh/bayou with boardwalk overlooks with great views. We headed back to the campground as the sun went down.

It turned out that there was only 1.75mi worth of trails in the park, mostly along the road, which we had already hiked the majority of that evening. Then we discovered, we had very poor cell coverage and internet, which would not be conducive to work, the first half of the week while we were supposed to camp there. I convinced Wiley, being less than 2hrs from Ashe in New Orleans, I had to go visit her. I could not be that close and not before we had to turn around to head back east then north to be in Greenville, SC for meetings February 10th. I did some research and found that Fountainbleau State Park in Mandeville, just over Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, had plenty of walk up availability. Who hoo! We were going to NOLA to see Ashe, the following day. I was so excited, as was she. Could not wait!