Gulf Islands National Seashore
Also known as American’s largest national seashore, the Gulf Islands National Seashore of Florida and Mississippi spans 160 miles from east to west. With thirteen distinct areas to visit, and six of them in Coastal Mississippi, there are several things to see and do while celebrating the natural beauty of the seashore.
Of the six barrier islands of Coastal Mississippi, Cat Island, Horn Island, Petit Bois Island, and Ship Island are included in the Gulf Islands National Seashore and each one has something unique and special to offer visitors. Cat Island contains bayous and marshes home to several species of birds and alligators. It’s unique in that all but the western half and southern tip of the island is privately owned. Petit Bois Island, translated to “little woods,” is almost 6 miles long and provides a great locale for swimming and fishing. Horn Island is a frequented favorite spot for swimming, boating, and relaxing in the sun. It features long stretches of beach and several species of flora and fauna to observe. Ship Island, which is easily accessible by ferry service with Ship Island Excursions, is home to Fort Massachusetts, a preserved brick fortification dating back to the mid-19th century. With historical roots dating back to the War of 1812, Ship Island offers fort tours for visitors with an interest in history. In addition to options for swimming, sunbathing, birding, hiking, and fishing, Ship Island also offers a boardwalk for easy trekking across the island as well as restrooms, drinking water, and covered picnic areas for visitors to enjoy a full day of activities.
In addition to these offshore locations, the Gulf Islands National Seashore Davis Bayou Area is located in Ocean Springs and offers several recreational opportunities. Visitors can enjoy fishing, hiking, biking, bird watching, and picnicking, camping, and ranger-led programs. The park also features the Davis Bayou Trail, which takes visitors through a coastal forest and over two local bayous, as well as a fishing pier and boat launch. For campers, The Davis Bayou Campground features 51 sites for camping reservations.
With wildlife to witness and waterways to explore, the Gulf Islands National Seashore is a perfect place to experience Coastal Mississippi’s natural beauty.