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No beach trip is necessary — Lake Lincoln lures in tourists and locals alike

The air is thick and warm, and the waves are gently rolling against the beach. The noise of playing children and boat engines mix together. It is finally summertime. It is finally vacation season.

Many folks covet the Coast, but for Philip Gaudet Jr., he’d rather be at Lake Lincoln than anywhere else. His family travels all the way from southern Louisiana to enjoy the water’s peace, passing four or five other state parks on their way up. He loves nothing more than sitting in his beach chair with the sun on his shoulders, the clear waves coming in long and slow at his feet.

“We’ve been coming for the peace and quiet, tranquility, and scenery for the past 10 years,” Gaudet said. “We’ve even picked the same campsite each time.”

Gaudet and his parents traveled to Lake Lincoln when he was younger, and now that he has a family of his own, he is continuing the tradition by bringing his wife and infant daughter to the park. He hopes to keep the old ways for many years.

Lake Lincoln State Park is located in the northeast corner of Lincoln County on Sunset Road Northeast, most easily accessible from Timberlane Road in Wesson, or north up Lake Lincoln Road form the airport in Brookhaven. The grounds offer a variety of activities and facilities to keep visitors busy and comfortable during the summer, including a white-sand beach and swimming area, a covered pavilion and picnic area, nature trail, playground, volleyball court and disc golf course. The park even offers non-denominational Sunday worship services during the summer months.

The park is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for day visitors, and there is a $4 per-vehicle charge at the gate, plus 50 cents for each person over 6 people in the vehicle. For overnight visitors, the park offers 71 RV sites, three cottages and one cabin.

The lake itself is manmade, 550 acres of deep water filled up by a three-quarter-mile dam on Fords Creek. Bass, bream, channel catfish and white perch live below the surface, and fishing is a year-round activity. Boating and water skiing are also popular at Lake Lincoln, which runs east and west for more than a mile.

Although there is an assortment of things to do at Lake Lincoln, some travelers simply come for the scenery. The park is nestled in the shade of towering pines trees, and the lake itself projects a feeling of serenity to anyone who visits.

While many of the park-goers who visit Lake Lincoln are local people, travelers come to the park as well. Debbie Johnson came from Arizona to visit family in Southwest Mississippi, and she was interested in checking out some of the local parks.

When she found Lake Lincoln, she knew she wanted to come visit. She brought herself and her dog to the park, and they enjoyed the day together. They spent their time exploring the wooded areas cluttered with trails, and they walked near the banks to view the waterscape.

“I like the quiet, and it seems to be very family-oriented. There’s even church in the park on Sunday morning,” Johnson said. “It’s also very clean.”

Carol Gonzales and Debbie Strain come from Louisiana to see Strain’s daughter in Brookhaven. While they are in town, they like to spend time with their family, and going to Lake Lincoln is a great way to do that. It gives them the opportunity to enjoy nature and the company of Strain’s family — the grandchildren can swim in the water near the beach, and the adults can lay out and tan, or catch up on their reading.

“There’s a great family atmosphere and there’s so much to do,” Gonzales said.

Strain enjoys being in the park as well.

“Just look at the scenery, it’s beautiful,” she said. “And there’s such a great atmosphere.”

The wind is blowing along the water, and the grass at the edge of the bank is swaying. Boat engines rumble in the distance, and silver fishing lines flash in the sun. McComb’s Adolph Holbrook has come back to Lake Lincoln, where he has fished for many years.

He brought his son, and later his grandson. Now he fishes alongside the fourth generation, his great-grandson.

“I like coming here because it’s real peaceful, and I happen to catch something every time I visit,” Holbrook said. “I brought my great-grandson for the first time today and he loves it already. The trip up here gives you an opportunity to see a lot of country, and that’s part of the fun of coming to Lake Lincoln.”

Story by Gracie Byrne