Goode's Mill Lake is best known to locals of the area as "Presley's Outing" or sometimes simply as "Presley's." The Presley family has run a campground and boat launch here for well over 40 years. Goode's Mill Lake is a wide bend on the Escatawpa River where Jackson Creek enters from the east. The Escatawpa is a classic southern blackwater river and is navigable by kayak or canoe for the majority of its length. A mile or so below the lake Franklin Creek also enters from the east and lends its name to one of the local roads. While this area is very popular with skiers and jetskiers in the summer and on warm spring or fall weekends, it is very quiet in cooler months and on most weekdays.
From the sandy beach near the boat ramp at Presleys Outing you can launch and paddle north across the lake and into Jackson Creek. Jackson Creek is a small creek that meanders through western Mobile County, Alabama before it crosses into Mississippi, widens a good bit and joins up with the Escatawpa River. The creek is lined with cypress and deciduous hardwoods most notably the black gum or tupelo trees. Numerous shady sloughs lead off here and there but the navigable part of the creek ends within about three-fourths of a mile. It would be possible to paddle a bit farther upstream at this point but the creek is only about 10 to 12 feet wide and maneuvering around obstacles or turning around would be very difficult.
Going south out of the lake will lead to the Escatawpa River. Turning right and going north up the Escatawpa and against the current is possible depending on water levels and recent rainfall. It appears low and swampy at first but higher sandy banks and small sandbars start to appear within one half mile or so. Swampy patches appear now and then and usually indicate a place where one of dozens of small creeks joins up with the main river. There are a couple of oxbow lakes just off the main channel so keep an eye out for small openings in the tree line that leads off to a lake. Oxbows are old channels of the river that were left behind, sometimes completely landlocked, when a major flood changes the course of the river.
Turning left and going south out of the mouth of Goodes Mill Lake and into the Escatawpa leads downriver to Interstate 10 and eventually the towns of Moss Point, Pascagoula and the Pascagoula River. As the crow flies it is only about 2 miles to the Interstate 10 bridge but the river weaves back and forth so dramatically through this section that it stretches out to become almost 5 river miles. A little over a mile downstream Franklin Creek joins the river from the east. It closely parallels the main river for a while and there are a few small wet crossovers a kayak or canoe can just squeeze through before the streams truly join. Franklin Creek is navigable for over a mile upstream and meanders through a sparsely populated residential area before crossing back into Alabama. All along this stretch of the river oxbow lakes hide just off the main channel so keep an open mind when passing what looks like a dead end slough. Several of what looks like a narrow dead end actually lead to sizeable, and mostly undisturbed, lakes.
Presley's Outing operates a large campground and has numerous sites for both RV's as well as simple tent camping. There are full bath and laundry facilities on site as well as picnic tables and grills.
Presley's Outing charges $3 for the use of their put-in and to park a vehicle for the day.
From Interstate 10: Exit I-10 at Exit #75 Franklin Creek Road and go 1/4 mile north on Franklin Creek Road. Turn right onto Independence Road and go east 1/4 mile. Turn left on Fort's Lake Road and go north 3/4 mile (passing a small convenience store and over a bridge along the way). Turn left/west onto Presley's Outing Road and go 3/4 mile. At the point where Goode's Mill Lake Road and Presley's Outing Road form a fork, bear to the right and follow the signs into Presley's Outing campground.
Presley's Outing campground operates a paved boat launch on the eastern side of Goode's Mill Lake. A wide stretch of sandy beach is just north of this ramp and is ideal for launching canoes or kayaks. A service road comes within 100 feet of the beach for an easy unloading of boats and access to the water.
"Canoeing Mississippi" by Ernest Herndon
"Mississippi Atlas & Gazetteer" by DeLorme
Google Earth mapping software (various versions)