Tom Sawyer Mississippi River Park

As I ended in a previous post, we were just making our roundabout way to Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River Park. Once we got back on the right road, things were much better; however, despite the signs telling us we were on the right path, we still questioned ourselves and each other if we were or not until we were actually in the park. The way down to the park from West Memphis becomes a very narrow, single-lane gravel road as you move from higher ground down toward the banks of the river. There was no one leaving as we arrived, and no one arriving when we departed, but had there been it would have been interesting to see how two RVs might have negotiated that road without one having to back up quite a distance.

We had wanted to get to the park before dark, and we were successful in that, but try as we might, we still arrived after the office had closed. There was an envelope waiting for us with all our paperwork, a map of the park and our site was number 66. As I was coming down the steps from the office with my envelope, a lady in a golf cart came up from the park below and asked me which site we had. I told her, and she said to follow her, she would lead us in.

Park Map

Tom Sawyer Mississippi River Park is long, not surprisingly stretched along the banks of the Mississippi River.

the park is long
this is part of the section with more and larger trees

There is a section that has some large trees, and then another area beyond that (where we were) which is closer to the river but with very few trees to provide shade in the summer. When we were there in mid-February it was windy and cold, the trees bare of leaves. We were not interested in shade, so no problems there.

the row we were in. Charlie is far left 🙂

Once we got to our site, we were pleased. It was a long, level, pull through located at the southern end of a row of RVs, so we only had the one neighbor to the north. Each spacious site is angled, so you have a panoramic view of the river and the traffic thereon out your front and passenger side windows.

the panorama we had right out the window

If I have any complaints about the park, it would be the hookups. Both the electric and water hookups are very low to the ground. So low in fact that my inline water filter was hard to hook up as the bend in the neck was greater than the spring there which protects it against kinking wanted to allow. As for the electric, my EPMS box was actually on the ground.

The park was nowhere near full when we were there. I expect in the summer it is booming, but there do not appear to be too many amenities, so it is probably river lovers who stop here the most.

Since I grew up mostly in flat land without many actual “rivers,” I was astonished at the sheer power of the Mississippi here. From reading “Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” when I was younger, I had the impression of a much lazier river; it is nicknamed “the big muddy” after all. This water did not seem lazy at all. As I stood on the banks a quote that I had recently read came to me, and at that moment it made more sense than any time since I had read it.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus

I watched the river roll on and every second, the spot that I was looking at changed. Countless tons of water changed place with other equally countless tons of water second by second. It seemed as if all that water was almost anxious, rushing to the Gulf as I stood on the banks and watched. Huge barges struggled upstream, churning the water to a froth as they went. Then, some of these same barges rushed back downstream to turn around to make the same trip again.


The river here is probably close to half a mile wide, and the thought of all that water continually flowing is just hard for me to wrap my head around. The scale and power of nature are awe-inspiring, and it takes some reminding for me every once in a while because we live in such small bubbles which are so far removed from the natural world most of the time. That is one thing I am hoping to change in our travels with Charlie.

As I said, regarding amenities; there isn’t much to do at the park. You can walk of course and they do show trails on their park map though we did not take advantage of them. The park is large and just walking around it may be sufficient. Some people were walking their dogs, but I did not see a dog park anywhere around. Aside from the river, it is not that scenic, and speaking of the river, you need to pay attention to the news if you are heading that way in case of flooding. There had just been some flooding before we went there and as I write this, the park is closed due to flooding now. I am sure this is seldom a surprise so I would not let that keep you from visiting, but it is something to keep in mind.

this was the sunrise we woke up to the next morning!

We stayed here for a night before moving on. I could see staying a couple of days and use it as a base for exploring Memphis proper, Beale Street, and barbecue, but I am not a big enough fan of river traffic to stay much longer than that. It may also be that summer is very much different than when we were there. We would certainly stay here again; I can tell you that.

Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River Park

Nightly Cost $44.00 Good Sam discount
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