Ship Island Excursions
About
Relaxation, recreation and history; these are the gifts offered to you on Ship Island. Here in the north central Gulf of Mexico, about 11 miles off Mississippi's Coast, are some of the last undeveloped barrier islands in America. Part of Gulf Islands National Seashore and protected by the U.S. Park Service, these exquisite sand islands offer visitors the first high quality beaches for swimming and shelling east of New Orleans. Travel to a special place where attractions include: outstanding beaches, beautiful water and clean gulf air. Locals and visitors consistently rate the 22-mile round trip to Ship Island as the coast's premier beach experience. Visit historic Fort Massachusetts on your own, or on a Park Ranger guided tour offered after passenger ferries dock at West Ship Island pier. Shrimp boats, tugs with barges and ocean-going freighters are some of the many sights you'll see as you venture across the Mississippi Sound out to the clear, green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Watch for dolphins! Atlantic Bottle-nosed Dolphins are frequently seen playing in our boats' wake and feeding near the island beaches. The finest beaches on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are located on Ship Island. Tranquil stretches of barrier island shore invite you to picnic, explore, and "decompress". Pristine gulf waters surrounding Ship Island attract swimmers and body surfers. The National Park Service provides a designated swim area with life guards in summer. Emergency assistance is available 24 hrs. on the island. Beach chair and umbrella rentals are provided. An easy one-third mile stroll along a boardwalk is required to reach the more popular Gulf of Mexico swim beach on the south side of the island. Don't expect to find condos or a shopping mall on the island. Except for the old fort, boardwalk, restrooms with showers, and a covered picnic area near a small snack bar, you'll find very little development. Food service is also available on the boats. Dress comfortably and be prepared for the sun, especially from mid-June thru August. Hats, eyewear and sunscreen are important. Small backpacks and coolers are allowed on the ferries. Be advised, glass containers are prohibited on Ship Island. Since the National Park Service does not supply waste receptacles, visitors must pack out whatever they carry on Ship Island.
Gulfport, Mississippi

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Ship Island Excursions
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Travelers talk about
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(67 reviews)
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
604 reviews
Excellent
422
Very good
119
Average
40
Poor
16
Terrible
7

Jaime D
1 contribution
Jun 2022
Visited on Saturday, June 11th! It was the first time we had been out to Ship Island, and we will definitely do it again! The boat ride out is comfortable and fun. There are concessions, clean bathrooms, and shade on the boat. There are chair and umbrella rentals on the island for a reasonable price. There is a concession stand and gift shop that also sells floaties and other things to play with while on the island. There are two nice, clean, shaded picnic areas to eat/rest with clean bathrooms. The water on the side with the umbrellas and chairs is not as clear as the water on the side where the boat docks, but it is nice and calm, so no worries about large waves or undertow. I recommend buying a float from the concession stand ($5, already inflated), and spending a large portion of time floating. :) We also saw lots of dolphins, both on the boat ride out there and while sitting on the beach. And I cannot complete my review without mentioning Fort Massachusetts! There are guided tours a few times a day, and you can walk through it on your own as well. It is quite an adventure. We bought our tickets online, caught the 9 a.m. boat out there, and returned at 5 p.m. Afterwards, we went down the road to a restaurant with a great beach view called Shaggy's, which was delicious and had a great atmosphere. It made for a really great day.
Written June 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kendredgirl
Morton, MS129 contributions
Jun 2022 β€’ Couples
Slip away from the hustle and bustle with just a quick ferry ride to an island with a wide open sand beach, where it's possible you can do a little dolphin spotting, and take in some history.
Go early to be able to get a front row chair and umbrella (2 chairs and umbrella-25$, they take cash or card). There will be a worker walking through collecting money shortly after you get there, just pick you spot and start enjoying your day. They have a snack bar with the basic food and even a few different beer (and yes you will be willing to pay whatever because it is HOT, of course it's Ms) that was good.
Personally I wish I had taken more than just water in my small cooler πŸ₯‚. You can take bigger ones and lots of stuff but remember you have to carry and or drag it down the dock and across the hot sand beach. If you have kids be sure to bring toys, water floats and a life jacket if you plan to get in the water . SUNSCREEN is the word of the day, be serious about it or you will be another in a long line of people who find out the hard way about the ship island burn.
Before heading back to reality take the quick tour of the fort. They usually have people who can show you around and give a short historical tour. Mother nature is full display from the time you exit the ferry.

The one disappointment on our visit was that the bathroom/changing rooms closest to the Beach were not in service so stop at the first set of restrooms when you get off the ferry to change clothes (if you didn't wear your swimsuit-not sure why people didn't come dressed for the situation but I saw some who didn't) and to use the restroom before you start your day of relaxation. Also pre-purchase your ticket on their website you don't have to worry if there is a lot of people when get there that morning

Written June 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Neal G
1 contribution
Apr 2022 β€’ Family
Ship and Island Park personnel work very well together and everything was professionally done with a smile. We saw many dolphins on the trip there and back, and a plethora of different gulls, pelicans, and very friendly red winged blackbirds! Once there you can walk across to the gulf side on the boardwalk for big waves and shelling, fishing, etc, or stay on the MS Sound side for swimming. On the gulf side, just go grab your chairs and umbrellas and someone will be along to help you and collect the rental fee. Nice snack bar with decent selection of food, including cold adult beverages.
The only negative is that the gulf side bathrooms were not operational on our trip, otherwise, great place to visit!

Still had one bar of cell reception also!
Written April 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

sabrinak136
New Orleans, LA665 contributions
Sep 2020 β€’ Family
Fortunately, my son and I had an opportunity to take our annual visit to Ship Island during the Labor Day weekend. I initially believed that due to COVID19 Ship Island would not return this season. Fortunately, the trips returned but were short lived due to the impact of tropical storms and hurricanes. According to a post I read on today trips to go onto Ship Island have ceased until next year. That is sad but make sure to put Ship Island on your to do list for next season before it gets too hot. The cost is $32.00 for an adult and $21.00 for a child. The rental for beach chairs and an umbrella is $25.00. I must admit the adventure is priceless and quite reasonable in comparison to traveling to the beaches of Gulf Shores or Pensacola.
On our last trip the staff did an excellent job considering COVID19. It was a requirement that all tickets be purchased online prior to departure, limitations on the amount of people on the boat, and masks were required while inside the cabin. The crew members were professional and courteous.
It was a hot day on Ship Island however, my son enjoyed finding seashells, playing in the water, and observing Hermit Crabs. I must admit it was a great way to end the uneventful summer of 2020. Special thanks to the crew of Ship Island Excursions for being the best version of a great company despite the circumstances of our times. Hoping the 2021 season will be wonderful for the guests and Ship Island Excursions as well. I have enjoyed all my visits to Ship Island. These yearly visits have allowed me to make so many beautiful memories with my son that I will be forever grateful. Thanks for the journey.
Written September 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jadin K
Schenectady, NY8 contributions
Aug 2022 β€’ Family
My family booked a trip to Ship Island on the ferry at 9 am returning at 2:30. Crew was nice, friendly, and calmed our fears that we were heading into a rainy outing. We ended up having no rain, and the skies cleared nicely. $30 got us 3 chairs and an umbrella, $5 for an inner tube float. Nothing was outrageously priced on the island, a refreshing surprise. We enjoyed the surf, saw a few crabs, even a couple of stingrays, and toured the old fort on our way back to the boat. A wonderful day!
Written August 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Leise M
5 contributions
Jun 2022 β€’ Family
Ferry trip was wonderful, saw dolphins and red winged blackirds as we docked. Beautiful flowers and cat of nine tails along the walkway to the beach. Weekday family package a great deal allowed for light packing as a chair set was included. Great waves, shells and a reasonable priced souvenir/snack bar. Only disappointment was the bathrooms closest to beach were still closed. Fort Massachusetts allowed for out of sun learning/exploring experience. Staff was extremely helpful and pleasant. A must trip.
Written June 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

BoomersMom
Haughton, Louisiana, United States153 contributions
Jul 2022 β€’ Couples
Packed light with 2 backpacks and 1 small pull cooler. Took the 9:30 ferry over, saw lots of dolphins. Bought 2 floats there but had brought own snorkels. Snorlked for hours, saw cool fish, hermit crabs and blue crabs (caught some too). Rented 3 chairs & 1 umbrella for $30 to store stuff, resting area and eating area. Bought $4 hot dogs (actually very good) to go with our chips/drinks. Walked the beach and found lots of good shells. Got an ice cold beer & popcorn on late ferry back. Highly recommend bringing lots of drinks, sunscreen, hats, coverups/shirts & sunglasses in order to stay the entire day. Best thing of all - pods of dolphins swam about 50-100 ft from us for about 30 minutes. Have NEVER had them that close - you could hear them chirp underwater. AWESOME!!!
Written July 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

chriswI65707
Miller, MO8 contributions
Jun 2022 β€’ Couples
The ferry ride was enjoyable and the crew were all very nice. The staff on the island were all very friendly and helpful. Seeing the dolphins was pretty cool too. The beaches on ship island were littered with a lot of trash however. If you moved away from the area where the beach chairs were located the amount of garbage washing up was pretty disappointing. I found the beaches in Gulfport and Ocean Springs to be much cleaner and free. Unless you want to take a ferry ride just use the local beaches and save $41/person.
Written June 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jeff T
Madison, MS88 contributions
May 2022 β€’ Family
Such an amazing day! If your looking for that Carribean island feel, close to home, then This is it! The ferry ride takes about an hr to get to the island. Get there around 30 mins or so before leaving as you can pick a good seat. Watch for dolphins along the way! Once on the island, it’s a good walk along the board walk to the south side. The south side is gorgeous with waves. The north side is just as pretty but the water is much more calm. We opted to rent beach chairs and umbrella for the day. We packed a small cooler as well. Tons of sunscreen is required. There are also 2 sets of bathrooms and a snack bar as well.

The cost was around 130.00 for 3 of us. The chair and umbrella rental was 30.00. So 160.00 for the day for 3 of us! Well worth it not to deal with Traffic, crowds, and hotels on the emerald coast to have these kinds of beaches!
Written May 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

lbutler1960
Lawrenceville, GA8 contributions
Aug 2020
Had a fantastic day at the beach!! Spent a good portion of the time in the clear blue waters off the beach!! Best swimming spot in the area. We saw a lot of dolphin swimming further out from where we were swimming. The only downside, for us, was that Fort Massachusetts was closed due to COVID-19. Completely understandable but we definitely would have loved to tour the fort. Recommend that you take the first ferry out at 9 AM to get first choice of umbrellas and chairs and to spend as much time as possible on the island. Ferry ride there and back is a nice experience as well. Very friendly crew and we saw some dolphin both ways. A must do if you are vacationing in the area!!
Written August 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Ship Island Excursions (Gulfport) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go