AAA Editor Notes
Ship Island is accessible from Gulfport via Ship Island Excursions ferries. The island was a staging ground for the British during the War of 1812 and for Union troops in 1862 prior to Adm. David Farragut's successful expedition against New Orleans. Fort Massachusetts dates from 1859; it is one of many 19th-century coastal defense forts. A ranger station, covered picnic pavilions, a visitor center, a boardwalk and a pier are on West Ship Island.

Note: Trees are few and far between and there is limited shade; bring sunblock and a hat. The beach and boardwalk can become quite hot during the summer, so adequate footwear is recommended. Beach chair and umbrella rentals are available. Facilities on the island include restrooms and showers.

Picnicking is permitted. Food is available.

Fort admission free. Round-trip ferry fare $29; $27 (ages 62+ and military with ID); $19 (ages 3-10).
The island is closed to visitors at sunset. The fort closes 30 minutes prior to the last ferry departure. Tours depart Gulfport daily 9 and noon, (returns 2:30 and 5), mid-May to mid-Aug.; Wed.-Fri. 9 (returns 2:30), Sat.-Sun. 9 and noon (returns 2:30 and 5), mid-Mar. to mid-May and mid-Aug. to Oct. 30; Labor Day, 9 and noon (returns at 2:30 and 5). Phone ahead to confirm schedule. Allow 6 hours, 30 minutes minimum.
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