Sitting on an island sipping fruity drinks sounds absolutely amazing. Too bad a trip like that would cost a small fortune, or would it? Turns out it doesn’t have to, since our state is home to several islands. Perfect for everything from camping to soaking up some sun, you’ll definitely want to visit these five islands in Mississippi this summer.
1. Ship Island
Technically, Ship Island includes two islands – East Ship Island and West Ship Island. At one time, the two islands were connected but were separated by Hurricane Camille in 1969. While both portions of the island feature white sandy beaches and beautiful blue water, there are a few differences. East Ship Island is accessible only by boat (Check out Ship Island Excursions.) and allows for primitive camping. West Ship Island is a bit easier to access since there is a ferry that runs to the island; however, camping is not allowed. Additionally, West Ship Island is home to Fort Massachusetts, which is available for touring. No matter which portion of the island you visit, there’s plenty to see, including dolphins, which have been known to make an appearance near the island. The perfect way to spend a hot afternoon, a trip to Ship Island should be on everyone’s summer to-do list.
Ship Island Excursions
2. Horn Island
When it comes to the state’s barrier islands, Ship Island may be the most well-known but that doesn’t mean this tropical gem should be discounted. Horn Island was a favorite destination and somewhat of a muse to local artist Walter Anderson. The talented painter visited the island countless times, and created numerous works based on its beautiful sights. As of today, there is still no bridge or ferry running to the island (Check out Horn Island Charters to visit.), which means crowds aren’t the norm and peace and quiet is. Whether looking to spend the day on the water or hoping to find a secluded camping spot, Horn Island can deliver.
Horn Island Charters
3. Cat Island
The most western of the barrier islands, Cat Island was privately owned until 2002, at which time it became part of the Gulf Island National Seashore. Today, the island provides the perfect escape for those looking to get away from it all. Accessing the island is simple thanks to Cat Island Excursions, which offers a sightseeing boat tour, wade/kayak fishing charters, and private charters.
Cat Island Excursions
4. Petit Bois Island
Located near Pascagoula, Petit Bois Island is a barrier island and is part of the Gulf Island National Seashore. The island is home to the snowy plover and the state’s largest colony of laughing gulls, and because of such, has been designated a Wilderness Area and Mississippi Coastal Preserve. Aside from wildlife viewing, the island’s pristine beaches are ideal for an array of activities, including camping, hiking, and swimming.
5. Deer Island
Approximately a quarter mile from Biloxi, this tropical treasure is the closest island to Mississippi’s coastline, and surprisingly, many residents are unaware of its existence. The 400-acre island is home to ten different types of endangered species and not much else, making it ideal for a secluded getaway. The best part? Since Deer Island is so close, anyone with a small boat, canoe, kayak, or paddleboard can access it.