A part of the Gulf Island National Seashore, Ship Island is home to Fort Massachusetts (circa 1858), pristine beaches and many species of migratory birds. Sitting in the water 11 miles off the coast, Ship Island played prominent roles in the early colonization of the Gulf Coast region, as well as War of 1812 and the Civil War. Today, it serves as a recreational destination for visitors throughout the year who enjoy a day on the beach, exploring the fort and checking out the local wildlife.
When planning a trip to Ship Island, there are several things to keep in mind. Boats usually run from March through October each year, but check the website for the most up-to-date schedule. The trip to the island takes one hour each way. Departures from Gulfport generally start at 9 a.m. or 12 p.m., with return departures from the island at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. This can be a very long time for small children on the island, especially given the lack of activities.
Restrooms and showers are available on the island, and restrooms also are onboard the boat. Snack bars are available on the boat and the island. Visitors are permitted to bring small carry-on items such as 42-quart coolers, umbrella strollers and bags with towels. Larger items will be turned away. Also, only cash and travelers checks are accepted on the island.
Seasonal; check website for current schedule