Things to Do: Visit Ship Island

visit Ship Island

Need a quick summer getaway? Plan a fun day trip and visit Ship Island this summer! Located 12 miles off Mississippi’s coast, this barrier island was once named “the hidden gem of Mississippi” by USA Today.

About Ship Island

Ship Island is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Even though Ship Island is an island, it’s fairly easy to get to by boat, including passenger ferries operated by Ship Island Excursions. Typically, scheduled ferries depart from the Jones Park harbor in Gulfport from March to October.

The trip from Gulfport to visit Ship Island generally takes about an hour, but time flies on the open waters! Passengers are entertained with interesting sights as they travel across the Mississippi Sound. What’s more, they usually see Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins and other marine life along the way.

Things to do

When you visit Ship Island, you will find some of Mississippi’s clearest waters, the cleanest white sand beaches and a historic fort. Visitors to Ship Island can go swimming, snorkeling or surfing. They can go for a walk on the beach or explore Fort Massachusetts.

In fact, guests can download the National Park Service app for a self-guided tour of the island’s historic fort. Built in 1857, the idea for the fort came from a Mississippi senator in 1842, after the annexation of Texas. The fort was built to protect the coast, keeping the waters safe for commerce.

After you step back in time, come back to reality on Ship Island’s sandy beach, sitting under a rented umbrella! And if all that exploring and learning made you hungry, grab a snack at the island’s snack bar.

Learn more about the ferry service and book your trip before you make your way to Gulfport for departure.


When it’s time to depart from Gulfport to Ship Island by ferry, make your way to the boat dock next to the Lighthouse in Jones Park at the intersection of Highway 49 and Highway 90.


From busy days to beach days to island visits, there is truly something for everyone in beautiful Biloxi! If you are new to the area or just looking for a new place to call home, stop by Maison D’Orleans Apartment Homes at 2436 Beach Blvd. Keep reading our blogs for more local news and things to do!