Ship Island is open to private boats to anchor offshore or small boats to land on the island, so people can enjoy the beaches. All facilities — the dock, pier, boardwalk, restrooms, pavilions, snack bar and Fort Massachusetts — on Ship Island remain closed due to damage from Zeta. Ship Island Excursions will resume once repairs are complete.
Ship Island is one of the most popular of Coastal Mississippi’s six barrier islands. Located approximately 11 miles south of Gulfport and Biloxi, its beautiful beaches are a part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. With its tranquil waters, native wildlife, and deep-rooted history, Ship Island is a favorite on itineraries of locals and visitors alike.
Ship Island easily accessible by ferry service offered by Ship Island Excursions. In operation from March 14 – November 1, and offering near-daily ferry services, the boats launch from the Gulfport Yacht Harbor and Biloxi Margaritaville Resort dock. The ferry ride takes less than an hour, and often, you’ll witness Atlantic bottlenose dolphins race the boat toward the island. All vessels employed by the ferry service offer two deck levels with a bar, dance floor, and an open-air upper deck to truly take in the scenic sights.
Arriving on the north shore of the island, you’ll witness the beautifully preserved Fort Massachusetts, a brick fortification completed in 1868. With a strategic deep-water harbor located near the island, Ship Island was used in battle as far back as the War of 1812. Rangers and volunteers lead free guided tours for those interested in learning more about its incredible history.
The north shore also features a boardwalk that extends to the more-popular south shore of the island, where you’ll find beautiful beaches, pristine waters, public restrooms, and even a snack bar – making this a perfect location for families. The island is clear of crowds, so you can find true relaxation and space to snorkel, swim, and boogie board. The unspoiled nature of the island also provides amazing opportunities to pursue birding, hiking, and observing the unique wildlife.
Ship Island is one of Coastal Mississippi’s most prized hidden gems. For optimal rest, relaxation, and even some rollicking fun, book your next trip for some island exploration.