I've lived on the Gulf Coast for 35 years but had never made the trip to Ship Island until this past weekend. It was well worth it! We loved the boat ride to and from the island (about a 1 hour trip). We saw many dolphins, pelicans, and sea gulls along the way. When we arrived at Ship Island, we saw three sting rays gliding through the water as we got off the boat. The island itself is pretty much in its natural state aside from a boardwalk and a few small buildings for restrooms and a snack bar. No loud music, jet skis, or "spring breakers" on the island. Plenty of room to spread out from the other visitors.
I was impressed with the restroom/shower facilities--very clean, well stocked, and they had running water (including hot water). I didn't try the snack bar, but I heard it was quite good. Just be sure to bring cash or traveler's checks.
I had hoped to find nice shells on the island, but didn't find the quantity I hoped for. Most of the shells are broken, but we had a good time looking for whole ones, regardless.
The boat itself is quite comfortable and clean and has restrooms available. I was very impressed with the crew's professionalism and courtesy. As we were returning to the mainland, a storm was approaching. The crew took the time to come around to the guests and speak with them about what to expect of the impending storm (it didn't rain until we reached land). Even though there were no special instructions for them to give, they proactively shared info about the weather concerns and answered guests' questions.
I definitely recommend the Ship Island excursion, especially if you're looking to get away from the commercialism of the mainland beaches.
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