By Chase Berenson
Louisiana has some unique local beaches that are undeveloped and fun to explore, but sometimes a beach weekend just needs a little something that our in-state beaches can’t provide.
When you feel the need for white sand between your toes, not to mention giant casino hotels and endless entertainment, Biloxi is your go-to spot in Mississippi. However, if you want to rid yourself of the comforts of home and enjoy the sand in a less urban and hectic environment, Gulfport is the spot for you.
Just east of Biloxi, Gulfport is located an easy couple of hours from Baton Rouge. Gulfport combines big-city amenities you won’t find in Louisiana beaches, such as hotels and restaurants, though it maintains its small-town feel.
US-90 (also known as Beach Boulevard) travels along the beach offering great views and ample opportunity to pull over when a driver spots a particularly welcoming bit of sand.
Once on the beach, there are many possibilities for spending your day. The most obvious are swimming and sunbathing, of course, but things only get more exciting from there. Beach vendors offer kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals to get out on the water under your own power, and there are also vendors renting jet skis for those who want to feel more speed on the water.
Finally, for people who don’t like being limited to the surface of our planet, there are parasailing companies that will take you out for a bird’s-eye view of the beach and of the Gulf of Mexico.
Gulfport also features a running path parallel to the coast that covers all twenty-six miles of beaches. The average beach-goer probably doesn’t want to just head out and run a full marathon, but the beach provides a beautiful backdrop for a run of any distance. Getting out there for a morning run makes spending the day sunbathing guilt-free!
Though the city does have a wide variety of restaurants for visitors, sometimes you just want to catch your dinner. Food tastes better when you’ve fought with it yourself!
Whether you prefer walking out to the end of the many fishing piers or chartering a boat into the Gulf, there are plenty of fishing options.
Over 200 species of fish live in the Gulfport region, and when you travel inland, away from the beach, you can also add freshwater and brackish water fishing to your to-do list.
Finally, if you’re really looking to get out on the water, Gulfport is the departing point for ferries to Ship Island. One of Mississippi’s barrier islands, Ship Island is located about 11 miles out into the Gulf and boasts some of the nicest and most remote beaches in the state of Mississippi. Ship Island is also part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which protects Gulf Coast beaches all the way from Gulfport to Pensacola, Florida.
No matter what kind of beach adventure you’re looking for, you can find it in Gulfport, Mississippi.