The second largest city in Mississippi benefits from a favorable climate and coastal location to offer first-rate beaches and memorable wildlife experiences.
Gulfport is all about outdoor activities spread across more than 30 parks and water recreation areas. Spend a family day out at the Gulf Islands Water Park, featuring rides, slides and pools. Enjoy more family adventures on the beaches along the Mississippi Gulf Coast's 62 miles (100 kilometers) of shoreline. The city on the Gulf of Mexico enjoys a warm subtropical climate, with hot and humid summers and short, warm winters.
Gulfport has bounced back strongly after Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the area in 2005. Following an intensive planning and revitalization program, visitors are once again enjoying its sandy beaches, museums, wildlife and scenery.
One of the largest populations of dolphins in the United States can be found off the coasts of Mississippi and Louisiana. Learn about their behavior as you watch Atlantic bottlenose dolphins play with their trainers at the Center for Marine Education and Research. Interact with stingrays, sharks, crabs and sea urchins in the center's touch pools. Reservations are required to visit the center. For details and prices check out the website of The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.
Spot marine life during the one-hour ferry ride over to Ship Island. Look out for dolphins playing in the boat’s wake. The island is situated approximately 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) south of the city and is home to the 19th century Fort Massachusetts and long stretches of beach. Visit the fort, swim and snorkel in the sea and take a hiking trail across the island.
On your return to the city head for the downtown area. Pop into the Gulfport Galleria of Fine Art for an original piece of artwork and dine in one of the restaurants. There are more dining options at the Island View Casino Complex. The resort has several restaurants, live entertainment and gaming facilities.
To get around Gulfport, use the Coast Transit Authority (CTA). This is the city’s public transport provider. Rent a car to hit the highway and head to New Orleans, 80 miles (129 kilometers) south of Gulfport.