As the second-largest city in Mississippi, Gulfport is a thriving waterfront city that gently hugs the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a place where you can enjoy the sunny weather, soak up the southern hospitality, and experience all that the city offers.
Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, there’s plenty to do in this Mississippi town. With beaches, resorts, museums, gardens, waterparks, and more, you’ll never run out of things to do here. In this post, we’ll explore some of the top things to do in Gulfport MS that you just can’t miss!
LYNN MEADOWS DISCOVERY CENTER
Let’s start with some culture. The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is a must-see for anyone visiting Gulfport. This hands-on museum is designed for children and families, and it offers a variety of interactive exhibits.
Some of the most popular exhibits at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center include the Space exhibit, allowing children to explore different planets; the Animal Exhibit, where kids can learn about other animals and habitats; and the Arts Exhibit, where children can express their creativity through art. This center is one of the best children’s museums in the country.
The building itself is also quite interesting, as it was built before 1920 (circa. 1916), and is one of the oldest buildings in Gulfport. It was originally a school, and is still dedicated to education today.
If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Gulfport, the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is a great option.
ISLAND VIEW CASINO
Next on our Gulfport bucket list is the Island View Casino. When people think of Gulfport, casinos usually don’t come to mind, but the Island View Casino is definitely worth a visit.
This casino is one of the largest in the state of Mississippi, and it offers an impressive variety of gaming options, including slots, table games, and poker. There’s also a hotel on-site if you want to make a weekend out of it.
In addition to the casino, the Island View Casino also has a few restaurants, the Blue Shell spa, and Windance Golf Club. Everybody with you must be 21 years or older to enter the resort.
Entertainment is a priority at the Island View Casino, and they offer live music on the weekends, including some fairly famous acts. They also have a movie theater and an arcade if you need a break from the gambling.
The amenities here are hard to match, and the Island View Casino is one of the most exclusive things to do in Gulfport MS.
GULF ISLANDS WATERPARK
Mississippi summers can be pretty hot, so what better way to cool off than at a waterpark? Gulf Islands Waterpark is an establishment that allows you to do just that.
This waterpark has a little bit of everything, including a lazy river, wave pool, and slides. They also have a few special events, such as concerts and holiday-themed celebrations.
One thing that separates this waterpark from others is the Zip’n Fun Adventure Challenge. This obstacle course is designed for people of all ages and consists of zip lines, monkey bars, cargo nets, etc.
Don’t forget to book your private cabanas in advance, so you don’t lose your spot in the shade by the pool!
Keeping with the water theme, Gulfport Beach is one of Gulfport’s most popular things to do. This beach has over six miles of shoreline and is where locals go to relax, swim, sunbathe, or take a mindful walk.
Gulfport Beach is also a great place for fishing, as there’s a pier where you can cast your line and try to catch some of the local fish. If you don’t have your equipment, no worries – you can rent it from one of the many businesses near the beach.
And when you get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby where you can grab a bite to eat.
If you want to feel the thrills of high-speed water sports, jet ski rentals offer you just that. You can find several companies around offering rentals.
Nearby Biloxi also offers beaches that you’ll want to check out! Biloxi Beach is a family-friendly beach that offers sandy waters and plenty of fun in the sun.
An activity for the whole family, this nonprofit aquarium is one of the newest additions to Gulfport. The Mississippi Aquarium cares for over 200 species of animals across 12 different habitats.
Alligators and crocodiles are the stars of the show at the Mississippi Aquarium. You can see them up close in the swamp habitat, where they live alongside turtles, snakes, and fish. In addition to the alligators, there are also otters, stingrays, sharks, penguins, and more.
There are also a few educational shows and demonstrations throughout the day. The Mississippi Aquarium is a great place to learn about the local wildlife and ecosystem.
One of the essential parts of healthy living is to get enough exercise, and the Bike-To-Beach Trail in Gulfport is one of the best ways to do that. This seven-mile trail runs along the coast and provides stunning views of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The trail is open to both cyclists and pedestrians, and you can use it to explore Gulfport’s beaches, parks, and restaurants. You can also rent bikes from a few different businesses if you don’t own one.
The Bike-To-Beach Trail gives you a new perspective of Gulfport and allows you to appreciate the city at a moderate pace. Since the beach is the endpoint of this route, many people like to end their journey with a refreshing swim in the Gulf.
Driving south on Highway 49, you’ll eventually come across Jones Park. The 50-acre park is home to various birds, and you’re likely to see some ducks swimming in the ponds as you walk by. There’s also a playground for the kids and a few picnic tables.
Jones Park is also home to a marina, where you can go fishing, kayaking, or sailing. If you don’t have your boat, you can always rent one from the marina or enjoy the boardwalk that runs along the coast.
As for entertainment, the amphitheater at Jones Park hosts various events throughout the year. Concerts, festivals, and plays are just some things you can enjoy at this beautiful park.
INSTITUTE FOR MARINE MAMMAL STUDIES
Science and marine life come together at the Institute For Marine Mammal Studies. This facility is dedicated to the research, education, and conservation of dolphins and other marine mammals.
You can take a dolphin tour where you’ll learn all about these amazing animals, and even get a chance to interact with them. There are also plenty of educational exhibits to check out and a gift shop.
The Institute For Marine Mammal Studies rescues injured or sick dolphins and other marine mammals to rehabilitate and release them back into the wild. They also have a breeding program to help ensure the survival of these species.
Another fun thing to try here is the Stingray Swim, where you can get up close and personal with these gentle yet odd creatures.
MISSISSIPPI COAST MODEL RAILDROAD MUSEUM
The Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum is a must-see for anyone who loves trains. The Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum has over 4,000 feet of track, making it one of the largest model railroad layouts in the country.
The museum also has an extensive collection of model trains and railroad memorabilia. You can learn about the history of the railroads in Mississippi and see how they operate today.
A day at The Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum is interesting for both kids and adults. They also have a huge LEGO railroad and LEGO car racing track that are very popular with the kids.
It’s a fun way to learn about the state’s rich railroad history and see how model trains work.
Do you have a car that you love and want to test its limits? Then you need to check out the Gulfport Dragway.
The Gulfport Dragway is a quarter-mile dragstrip that hosts various events throughout the year. You can race your car, watch races, or just look around at all the cars on display.
There’s also a flea market held every weekend, where you can find all sorts of car-related items. Gearheads and car lovers can spend a whole day here and never get bored.
If you plan on racing, familiarize yourself with the track and the rules before you go. That way, you can focus on having fun and not worry about getting disqualified.
Ready to set sail? Since Gulfport is so conveniently located, it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity to go sailing. There are a few different ways to go about this. You can either rent a boat or take a sailing excursion.
Most inexperienced sailors opt for the latter, as it’s a great way to learn the ropes (literally) and enjoy the scenery.
There are a few different companies that offer sailing excursions in Gulfport. They typically last around 2-3 hours and include a lesson on how to sail, as well as plenty of time to relax and take in the sights.
For a movie-like, picturesque backdrop, book a sunset cruise. You’ll sail along the coast as the sun sets, making for some beautiful photos. The colors reflecting off the water are simply stunning.
CHANDELEUR ISLAND BREWING COMPANY
Chandeleur Island Brewing Company is a must-visit for anyone who loves craft beer. This brewery offers a wide variety of different beers, all of which are brewed on-site. The taproom is spacious and has a relaxed yet industrial feel to it.
There’s plenty of seating, both indoors and out. And since it’s located right on the water, you can enjoy some fantastic views.
Chandeleur also offers a brewery tour, which is a great way to learn about the brewing process and try some samples. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, it’s still worth checking out this local gem.
DAY TRIP TP SHIP ISLAND
One of the Five Barrier Islands that makeup Mississippi’s Gulf Islands National Seashore, Ship Island is only a short ferry ride from Gulfport. The 22-mile round-trip journey takes about an hour, and once you’re there, you can enjoy the island’s pristine beaches, nature trails, and Fort Massachusetts.
Ship Island is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic, beach day, or even just a leisurely walk. And since it’s only a short ferry ride away, it’s very convenient.
Unspoiled nature like this is hard to come by, so be sure to take advantage of it while you can. Also, don’t forget to be on the lookout for wild dolphins. They’re often seen swimming near the ferry.
DAY TRIP TO BILOXI
Biloxi is a city located just east of Gulfport. It’s best known for its casinos, beaches, and seafood. There are a few different ways to get to Biloxi from Gulfport. You can either drive, take the bus, or ride the Biloxi Shuttles.
Once you arrive in town, you’ll notice that there’s no shortage of things to do. In addition to the casinos and beaches, Biloxi is home to various museums, shops, and restaurants. And if you’re looking for some adrenaline-pumping fun, you can always go zip-lining or parasailing.
Biloxi was the equivalent of Vegas back in the day. It was once known as the world’s gambling capital and attracted celebrities, dignitaries, and mobsters from all over. Nowadays, it’s a bit more family-friendly, but still retains its charm. So whether you’re looking to gamble, eat some seafood, or soak up some sun, Biloxi is the place.
Read More: 17 BEST THINGS TO DO IN BILOXI MS FOR COASTAL FUN
DAY TRIP TO BAY ST LOUIS
Last but not least, we have Bay St Louis. This charming town is located just west of Gulfport, and is known for its quaint shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Like Biloxi, Bay St Louis is also home to a few casinos.
But unlike Biloxi, it’s not as built-up or commercialized. This gives it a more small-town feel, which can be refreshing. There’s also a lot of history here. Bay St Louis was one of the first settlements in Mississippi, and it played a vital role in the Civil War.
The beaches in Bay St Louis are some of the best in the area. They’re wide and sandy, and there’s plenty of room to spread out. Finally, the town is located on a bay, making for some beautiful sunsets.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO MISSISSIPPI
- YOUR MISSISSIPPI VACATION
- GREENWOOD: Why This Little Gem Is An Ideal Adult Getaway
- GULF COAST: Unique Adventures Beyond The Beach
- OXFORD: 23 Riveting Reasons To Escape Here For A Weekend
- JACKSON: 16 Outstanding Things To Do In Jackson MS
- HATTIESBURG: 17 Things To Do In Hattiesburg MS You’ll Love
WHERE TO STAY IN GULFPORT MS
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