We chose to go to ship island as part of our vacation on the coast. We had a great time! We bought tickets with ship island excursions and rode their ferry out to the island. The ride out was great. It took about 50 mins. We saw lots of seagulls and pelicans on the way to ship island and saw a couple of dolphins on the way back. The breeze was nice and the kids enjoyed watching for dolphins. There were stingrays near the pier when we docked. Be prepared to walk. I had my two boys (9 and 7) wear swim shoes and I wish I had too. It's quite a walk to the south side of the island and you have to carry everything you bring. You're allowed a small cooler. There are chairs and umbrellas to rent. Next time I would bring my own chairs and umbrellas so I could set up closer to the water. The sand where the chairs and umbrellas are is extremely hot which is where the swim shoes would have been nice to have. Flip flops were not enough. Closer to the water the sand isn't so bad. There is food at the snack bar such as burgers, nachos, chips, etc. I packed a cooler with beer and water and took along. Bring lots of sunscreen and reapply often. There is no shade except the shade of the umbrellas. It wouldn't take long to get a sunburn out there. I definitely recommend going at least once.