Ship Island has some of the most beautiful beaches on the coast and is home to Fort Massachusetts, a preserved brick fortification completed in 1868. The National Park Service offers fort tours during the season that the Ship Island Ferries operate. In addition to history, the unspoiled island provides visitors excellent birding, shelling, sunning, and hiking opportunities.
The forts of Gulf Islands National Seashore were built between 1797 and the 1940s, their walls tell the story of constant evolution from the Spanish colonial Bateria De San Antonio to the American Battery 234. These forts represent the value placed on the anchorages at Pensacola Bay, Florida and Ship Island, Mississippi. While the national seashore preserves forts that span a long period of defense, possibly the most striking among these are the American Third System forts: Fort Pickens, Fort Massachusetts, Fort Barrancas, and the Advanced Redoubt, all of which saw action during the Civil War.
Driving Directions: From I-10: Take exit 34A, to Hwy. 49 South approx. 4.5 miles to Hwy. 90, Beach Blvd. Cross Hwy 90 at the traffic light into the Yacht Harbor. Take your first left. Drive one block. The ferry boats dock at the waters’ edge on your right. They are next to the U.S. Coast Guard facility (large building with red roof) on the south end of 23rd Ave.
From Hwy. 90: Beach Blvd., driving east or west. They are in the Gulfport Yacht Harbor next to the U.S. Coast Guard facility (large building with red roof) near the intersection of Hwy. 49, at the south end of 23rd Ave. at the water’s edge.
Fairy rides: Adult Round Trip $29, Children (3-10), $19 Seniors (62+), Military active ID $27
Umbrella and chair rentals are available on the Island: $5 per chair and $15 per umbrella.
Accessibility: Please click here, for detailed information. Ship Island is fully accessible, including accessible restrooms and the Ferry is accessible, but no accessible restrooms on Ferry.