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About 12 miles off the coast of Biloxi, Ship Island is a popular daytrip for families. Once there, you can relax on the beach with its glistening white sands or take a free guided tour of the tactically located Fort Massachusetts, built to defend the coast following the War of 1812.
There's also the Ship Island boardwalk, which is outfitted with basic amenities (including beach gear rentals and a concession stand). You can also pack your own supplies too, but prepare for a bit of a hike, visitors warn (tip: a cooler with wheels will come in handy). The ferry docks on the north side of the island, but the beaches for swimming and sunning lie on the south side of the island. Recent travelers said the walk from the dock to the sand is a bit strenuous, but it's very much worth it to enjoy a day on the beach splashing around in the clear Gulf waters. Many especially enjoyed the leisurely boat ride to the island and said you should keep an eye out to spot dolphins, fish and even stingrays.
You can catch a ferry at Gulfport's dock on Beach Boulevard from April to October for $29 for adults and $19 for children ages 3 to 10 round trip; schedules vary by the season. The ride to ship island takes about an hour; the boat also sells refreshments and gear can be rented on the beach. For additional information on schedules and certain items that are not allowed on board, visit the ferry's website.