Sun, Sand, and Southern Charm – Your Mississippi Beach Escape Awaits

Adina Keeling Avatar

Sunset at Ocean Spring Front Beach near New Orleans

Nestled along the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi is home to 62 miles of coastline. Here, visitors will find enchanting beaches backed by grassy dunes, protected forests or bustling boardwalks. Mississippi beaches have soft sand, beautiful nature and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Build castles on Gulfport Beach or take a ferry ride before relaxing on the unspoiled sands of Ship Island. Biloxi Beach is known for its lively urban waterfront while the secluded Horn island can only be accessed by boat or tour. Read more about these beaches and several more in our roundup of the 11 best beaches in the Magnolia State.

Biloxi Beach

Biloxi Beach is the perfect balance between relaxing and lively. This beautiful white sand beach runs beside Biloxi, a city in Harrison County known for its casinos, museums and historic sites.

Beachgoers can set up an umbrella and spend the day sunbathing, or rent jet skis, kayaks or paddle boards for the day. Biloxi Beach is also a popular sport fishing destination. Anglers can expect to find mackerel, snapper and redfish here. Beach parking is plentiful and easy to find.

Anyone looking to escape the sun for a bit can grab a bite to eat from one of the nearby restaurants or try their luck at the renowned casinos lining the coast. Visitors can also tour the Biloxi Lighthouse, the city’s signature landmark.

Ship Island

Mississippi is home to four offshore barrier islands. These islands are filled with marshes, woodland areas, beds of seagrass and undeveloped beaches. Ship Island is the easiest island to visit. To get there, visitors must take a ferry across the Mississippi Sound. The trip takes about 50 minutes. Keep an eye out for bottlenose dolphins, which occasionally swim alongside the ferry.

After arriving at the island, enjoy its beautiful beaches and unspoiled nature. The ferry drops visitors off on the island’s northern shore, but there is a boardwalk that leads to the more popular southern shore. Here, visitors will find a snack bar, restrooms and umbrella rentals.

The island is also home to the historic Fort Massachusetts, which dates back to 1868. History-lovers can even take a guided tour of the fortification.

Gulfport Beach

Gulfport Beach is a beautiful sandy beach located near the city of Gulfport. The beach stretches along the Gulf Coast all the way to Biloxi Beach. It is a slightly quieter alternative to other nearby beaches with soft sand, perfect for building sand castles and lounging on a beach towel.

This beach is not known for its crystal-clear water, as twigs, pine cones and pieces of driftwood are carried over from nearby barrier islands, but this doesn’t bother most beach-goers, who swim in the water nonetheless. While the beach is known for its tranquility, it still offers easy access to water sports, restaurants and shops. There is free parking near the beach.

East Beach

East Beach is another top destination for a relaxing sun-soaked vacation in a secluded spot. Located in Ocean Springs, this beach is primarily visited by locals, and is a nice contrast to the action-packed Biloxi Beach.

East Beach stretches along the coast, with the occasional fishing pier and volleyball court, as well as a children’s splash park. There are also occasional hotels and cafes along the shoreline. Lifeguards are on duty in the summer, but the water is pretty calm year-round.

Front Beach

Also in Ocean Springs, Front Beach is a more lively alternative to East Beach. The beach runs along the coastal town’s shoreline, where beach-goers can easily find parking and charming beachfront restaurants and shops.

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Front Beach is also a popular crabbing spot, as blue crabs can often be seen running across the sand. There are plenty of shaded areas on the sand.

The beach is a family-friendly option as there are restrooms and a playground nearby. Stay for sunset and sample the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants in towns.

Horn Island

Lagoons, marshes, sand dunes and lots of wildlife can be found on Horn Island. Another Mississippi barrier island, this island is several miles wide but only one mile wide, forming a long, thin strip of land. The undeveloped island can only be reached by a private boat, so it provides the ultimate secluded beach experience.

Some of the animals that dwell here include alligators, pelicans, raccoons and lots of different bird species. Remember to respect the local wildlife while hiking, birdwatching, fishing or simply lounging on the beach.

Bay St. Louis Beach

Bay St. Louis Beach sits along a charming coastal town. Here, visitors will find quaint shops, art galleries, and cozy eateries. Stay at a seaside bed and breakfast, and visit art cafes, beach boutiques and antique stores.

The beach features soft white sand and few crowds. Enjoy the area’s natural beauty by walking along the coast or paddling through water trails on a kayak. There is a fishing pier and the beach is pet-friendly. Just 51 miles from New Orleans, this beach makes for a great day trip or weekend getaway.

Pass Christian Beach

Located along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Pass Christian is an underrated beach town with a population of less than 7,000. Affectionately named “The Pass,” by locals, the town is known for its relaxing, laid-back atmosphere.

The town has everything visitors need for a restful beach getaway. A sandy beach stretches along the coastline, perfect for an afternoon of sunbathing or an evening bonfire. Visitors will have no trouble finding parking near the water.

The town also has a small shopping district, and tasty seafood restaurants. Spend a night at a cozy boutique hotel or take a walking tour to learn about the city’s history.

Waveland Pier Beach

Waveland Pier Beach is a true hidden gem along the Gulf Coast. The beach is located in Waveland, a coastal town nicknamed, “The Hospitality City,” due to its rich southern charm.

The star attraction of Waveland Pier Beach is its pier, popular among anglers and anyone looking to go for a relaxing stroll. There are beach volleyball courts and picnic tables located near the pier.

A visit to Waveland must also include a couple hours at Buccaneer State Park. This 343-acre park has a campground, a water park, a golf course and lots of nature trails. There is even a waterpark with water slides, a wave pool, a sun deck and a surf pool.

Long Beach

Long Beach is the name of a coastal town in Harrison County. A sandy beach by the same name stretches along the Gulf Coast beside the town. This no-frills beach features soft sand and clean water with few waves.

Building on the beach is prohibited, so there are no businesses directly on the beach, making it feel untouched and natural. If you get hungry or are in the mood to shop, there are plenty of restaurants and shops in town.

Harrison County Sand Beach

Harrison County Sand Beach, also known as Harrison County Public Beach, is a cozy, calm beach that receives few visitors, meaning you may have the beach all to yourself.

A short drive from Gulfport or Biloxi, the beach is well-maintained with beautiful white sand, imported from Arizona. Visitors can reserve a bonfire, or sit on the small pier that juts into the water. There is plenty of parking.

Adina Keeling Avatar
Adina Keeling is a freelance travel writer from San Diego, CA. She worked in local news for a year until her wanderlust drew her to Costa Rica, where she is now based while freelancing and traveling the world. She has lived in three different countries and traveled to 27. An avid solo traveler, Adina wants to empower other women to safely travel alone.
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