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5 Fun Day Trips to the Mississippi Gulf Coast

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Are you looking for something interesting and fun to do along the Mississippi Gulf Coast? There are 62 miles of coastline that include beaches, restaurants, hotels, casinos, landmarks, shopping, as well as museums, so you are likely to find something! If you don’t currently have the budget to take a longer vacation, fun day trips can still offer adventure, fun, and relaxation.

1. Ship Island Excursions

Ship Island is a barrier island 11 miles off the coast of Mississippi. It offers beautiful, natural beaches for relaxation and swimming. The ferry to Ship Island leaves from Gulfport Yacht Harbor in Jones Park, and these excursions typically run from March through October. In addition, the ferry ride is one hour (you might spot some dolphins or marine life along the way), and there is food service offered on the boat and on the island. If you love history, you’ll also love exploring Fort Massachusetts, a civil war fort on Ship Island. For more historical information regarding Ship Island, check out this video.


2. Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is a non-profit organization that focuses on public education, conservation, and research of marine mammals. They have several adventurous and fun programs such as dolphin, stingray, and sea lion encounters, as well as camps and snorkeling. They also have a general admission where you can see the dolphins and sea lions interact with their trainers, as well as touch the stingrays in the ray pool. On top of all of that, they have parrot shows and an aviary where you can feed the parakeets. This is one place that you don’t want to miss on your next day trip!


3. Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis House

Beauvoir is definitely a place for those who love history! Your visit to Beauvoir includes a tour led by a trained guide through the mansion. Admission also includes access to the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library, the historical cottages, Beauvoir museum, and the Beauvoir Memorial Cemetery. If you like spooky adventures, you can try their paranormal tour, which is guided by a paranormal investigator who provides all the “ghost” equipment for a night of fun! There is also a multitude of other events that occur such as Fall Muster at Beauvoir, Laying of the Wreaths, and Living History at Beauvoir.


4. Go Fishing with Captain Ron’s Charters

Captain Ron started working on family-owned fishing vessels at a very young age. In 1996, he started chartering his own fishing vessels. No matter your experience and expertise, anyone can go enjoy fishing on Captain Ron’s Charters. If you’re interested in what fish species you might be likely to come across each month when you fish, check out this page.


5. Margaritaville Resort and Family Entertainment Center

Well, this place could actually be a good place for a short vacation, but it does make a great place for a day trip too! The water park and playground are only for hotel guests, but there is a family entertainment center open to both hotel guests and the public that could make a great place to go on a rainy day or during a day off from school. The family entertainment center is part arcade and part amusement park, so there is plenty of fun games and activities for everyone! In addition, there are plenty of food options available to you whether you need something sweet, a snack, or a meal. You can also find live entertainment at Margaritaville!



There are definitely some fun activities to do on the Mississippi Gulf Coast! Aside from the ideas discussed in the article, are there any other activities that you would suggest? Tell us in the comments on Facebook!


Written by Tamra Cater

I am married, and I also have a 4-year-old daughter. I earned my Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi, and I have been teaching psychology classes over the past 10 years. As a professor and as a parent, I grew to love learning anything about child development. I recently turned that into a passion for helping other parents by starting my own blog at


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