Things to Do in Gulfport Mississippi – 2024 Ultimate Guide

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Welcome to Gulfport, Mississippi, a hidden gem on the Gulf Coast waiting to be explored! Nestled between Biloxi and Bay St. Louis, Gulfport offers a unique blend of stunning beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or foodie, Gulfport has something for everyone. Join me as we dive into the top things to do in Gulfport, Mississippi, and uncover the beauty and charm of this coastal city.

Can’t-Miss Attractions

Gulfport, Mississippi, offers a variety of captivating attractions that cater to all interests. Here are the top 5 must-see attractions in Gulfport:

1. Gulfport Harbor: The Gulfport Harbor is a bustling hub of activity, offering picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors can stroll along the harbor, watch the boats come and go, and even try their hand at fishing from the pier. The harbor is not only a scenic spot but also a significant part of Gulfport’s history as a vital port city.

2. Ship Island: Accessible by ferry, Ship Island is a pristine barrier island known for its crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches. History buffs will appreciate Fort Massachusetts, a well-preserved fortification dating back to the Civil War era. Ship Island is a perfect destination for beach lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

3. Lynn Meadows Discovery Center: Perfect for families, the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is a hands-on children’s museum that offers interactive exhibits focusing on art, history, and science. Kids can explore a replica of a Southern town, create art in the studio, and even board a pirate ship. This attraction is not only fun but also educational, making it a must-visit in Gulfport.

4. Institute for Marine Mammal Studies: Animal lovers will delight in visiting the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, where they can learn about and observe dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life up close. The institute focuses on conservation efforts and offers informative presentations and interactive experiences for visitors of all ages.

5. Jones Park: Jones Park is a beautiful waterfront park that offers stunning views of the Gulf Coast. Visitors can enjoy picnicking, walking along the promenade, or simply relaxing in the shade of the oak trees. The park often hosts events and concerts, making it a vibrant gathering place for both locals and tourists.

These top 5 attractions in Gulfport, Mississippi, showcase the city’s rich history, natural beauty, and family-friendly offerings. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply relaxing by the water, Gulfport has something for everyone.

One-day trip

Looking for exciting day trips within a 2-hour drive from Gulfport, Mississippi? Here are five fantastic destinations to consider:

1. New Orleans, Louisiana: Known as “The Big Easy,” New Orleans is a vibrant city located just 1.5 hours from Gulfport. Easily accessible via Interstate 10, this iconic city is famous for its rich history, diverse culture, and delicious cuisine. Visitors can explore the historic French Quarter, enjoy live jazz music, and indulge in beignets at Café du Monde.

2. Mobile, Alabama: Situated approximately 1 hour away from Gulfport, Mobile is a charming city with a lot to offer. Known for its beautiful waterfront, historic architecture, and vibrant arts scene, Mobile is a great destination for a day trip. Visitors can visit the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, stroll along the Mobile Bay, or explore the city’s museums and art galleries.

3. Ship Island: Just a short ferry ride away from Gulfport, Ship Island is a picturesque barrier island known for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and birdwatching. History buffs can visit Fort Massachusetts, a historic fortification dating back to the Civil War.

4. Bay St. Louis: Located only 45 minutes from Gulfport, Bay St. Louis is a charming coastal town with a laid-back vibe. Visitors can explore the town’s art galleries, boutique shops, and waterfront restaurants. Outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, and biking are popular in this scenic area.

5. De Soto National Forest: For nature lovers, a day trip to De Soto National Forest is a must. Just a short drive from Gulfport, this expansive forest offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and camping facilities. Visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of the outdoors and spot wildlife like deer, birds, and butterflies.

These five destinations offer a mix of outdoor adventures and cultural experiences, making them ideal choices for day-trippers looking to explore the Gulfport area. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply relaxing on the beach, there’s something for everyone within a short drive of Gulfport, Mississippi.

Restaurants and bars

When exploring Gulfport, Mississippi, be sure to check out these five exceptional dining spots that offer a taste of the local culinary scene:

1. The Salty Oyster Dockside Bar & Grill: Enjoy waterfront dining at its finest with fresh seafood dishes like the signature Oyster Sampler, showcasing the Gulf’s best catch. The laid-back atmosphere and stunning views make this spot a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

2. White Cap Seafood Restaurant: Indulge in Southern comfort food with a seafood twist at White Cap. Their Shrimp and Grits dish is a must-try, combining Gulf shrimp with creamy stone-ground grits for a flavorful experience. The cozy setting and friendly service add to the charm of this restaurant.

3. Half Shell Oyster House: Step into a classic Southern seafood eatery at Half Shell Oyster House, known for its award-winning Chargrilled Oysters. The combination of charbroiled oysters topped with garlic butter and Parmesan cheese is a true delight for the taste buds.

4. Darwell’s Cafe: For a taste of traditional Southern cooking, Darwell’s Cafe is the place to be. Their Fried Green Tomatoes are a local favorite, offering a crispy and tangy experience that keeps customers coming back for more. The welcoming ambiance and homestyle dishes make Darwell’s a beloved spot in Gulfport.

5. Tony’s Brick Oven Pizzeria: Craving a slice of Italy in Mississippi? Head to Tony’s for authentic brick-oven pizzas made with fresh ingredients and traditional techniques. The Margherita Pizza is a standout choice, featuring a perfect balance of flavors that transport diners to the streets of Naples.

When it comes to unwinding with a drink or a cup of coffee, Gulfport offers some unique spots that capture the local spirit:

1. Chimneys: This cozy cafe is a hidden gem in Gulfport, known for its artisanal coffee and relaxing ambiance. Locals flock to Chimneys for their expertly crafted espresso drinks and homemade pastries, making it the perfect spot for a leisurely morning or afternoon break.

2. The Project Lounge: Dive into Gulfport’s nightlife scene at The Project Lounge, a trendy bar that offers a curated selection of craft cocktails and local brews. The industrial-chic decor and live music performances create a vibrant atmosphere that appeals to both locals and out-of-town guests looking for a memorable night out.

Interesting Facts

Gulfport, Mississippi is a hidden gem on the Gulf Coast, offering visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Here are three surprising and interesting facts about Gulfport that will make you want to pack your bags and explore this charming city:

1. Gulfport is home to one of the largest man-made beaches in the world. With 26 miles of white sandy beaches along the Mississippi Sound, Gulfport offers plenty of opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Visitors can also enjoy stunning sunsets over the water, making it a perfect spot for a romantic evening or a relaxing day with family.

2. Gulfport is a haven for foodies, with a vibrant culinary scene that showcases the best of Southern cuisine. From fresh seafood caught daily in the Gulf of Mexico to mouth-watering barbecue and traditional soul food, Gulfport has something to satisfy every palate. Be sure to visit the local seafood markets and restaurants to sample the freshest catches of the day.

3. Gulfport is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with a wide range of activities to enjoy in the great outdoors. The city is home to several beautiful parks and nature reserves, where visitors can hike, bike, birdwatch, and even go kayaking or paddleboarding. With its mild climate year-round, Gulfport is the perfect destination for those looking to explore the natural beauty of the Gulf Coast.

Whether you’re a beach lover, a foodie, or an outdoor enthusiast, Gulfport, Mississippi has something for everyone. Come and discover all that this charming city has to offer, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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