By Ema Kisel
NOLA beaches, on the Louisiana's Gulf Coast, are best known for their fantastic powder-fine white sand and attract thousands of tourists every year. Some coastal towns are offering more entertainment, such as the casinos of Biloxi, while others are perfect for long strolls and quiet relaxation, such as Panama City Beach or the beaches on Ship Island. The beaches are also home to turtles that come to nest annually as well as many seashore birds. The annual bird migration is a popular event that brings tourists and bird watchers to Dauphin Island every year.
Known as the “Riviera of the South,” the Biloxi/Gulfport area has a lot to offer visitors, who mostly come to one of many casinos. However, the fantastic white sandy public beach is reason enough to visit these two Mississippi cities that are connected by Highway 90. Perfect for a long stroll, the beach is well maintained and has chairs and umbrellas to rent as well as jet skis and kayaks. The Biloxi beachfront stretches along the Mississippi Sound and a number of barrier islands are located just off the coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Besides the public beach, large expanses of beaches in the area are part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a protected area that also includes wildlife sanctuaries, small islands you can reach only by boat, scenic bayous, picnic areas, nature trails, and campgrounds.
Ship Island is a popular tourist destination about 12 miles off the Biloxi coast. The main attraction is a sparkling white sandy beach located on the south side of the island. Exploring historic Fort Massachusetts is also fun. Take advantage of the free and very knowledgeable tour guides. The fort was constructed to protect the coast after the War of 1812. The Ship Island boardwalk runs along the beach and there you can find some beach supplies you may have forgotten to bring. A ferry connects the island with the mainland docks and leaves from the north side of the island. The ferry ride takes about 1 hour and if you are lucky you might spot dolphins during the ride.
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