Relaxation, recreation and history; these are the gifts offered to you on Ship Island. Here in the north central Gulf of Mexico, about 11 miles off Mississippi’s Coast, are some of the last undeveloped barrier islands in America. Part of Gulf Islands National Seashore and protected by the U.S. Park Service, these exquisite sand islands offer visitors the first high quality beaches for swimming and shelling east of New Orleans.
Travel to a special place where attractions include: outstanding beaches, beautiful water and clean gulf air. Locals and visitors consistently rate the 22-mile round trip to Ship Island as the coast’s premier beach experience. Visit historic Fort Massachusetts on your own, or on a Park Ranger guided tour offered after passenger ferries dock at West Ship Island pier.
Shrimp boats, tugs with barges and ocean-going freighters are some of the many sights you’ll see as you venture across the Mississippi Sound out to the clear, green waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Watch for dolphins! Atlantic Bottle-nosed Dolphins are frequently seen playing in our boats’ wake and feeding near the island beaches.
The finest beaches on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are located on Ship Island. Tranquil stretches of barrier island shore invite you to picnic, explore, and “decompress”. Pristine gulf waters surrounding Ship Island attract swimmers and body surfers. The National Park Service provides a designated swim area with life guards in summer. Emergency assistance is available 24 hrs. on the island.
Beach chair and umbrella rentals are provided. An easy one-third mile stroll along a boardwalk is required to reach the more popular Gulf of Mexico swim beach on the south side of the island. Don’t expect to find condos or a shopping mall on the island. Except for the old fort, boardwalk, restrooms with showers, and a covered pick-nic area near a small snackbar, you’ll find very little developement. Food service is also available on the boats.
Dress comfortably and be prepared for the sun, especially from mid-June thru August. Hats, eyewear and sunscreen are important. Small backpacks and coolers are allowed on the ferries. Be advised, glass containers are prohibited on Ship Island. Since the National Park Service does not supply waste receptacles, visitors must pack out whatever they carry on Ship Island.
Ferry service was established in 1926 by Croatian immigrant and Biloxi fisherman Captain Pete Skrmetta. The Skrmetta maritime tradition continues in the form of a U.S. Coast Guard inspected boat company, under contract with the National Park Service. Today, Captain Pete’s son Peter and grandchildren operate the boats, snack bar, and beach services.
The Skrmetta family takes great pride in providing a safe and enjoyable travel experience for their customers. The trip, including snack bar food prices, is a true family vacation bargin. Not only are ticket prices reasonable, passengers are still allowed to bring small coolers and beach items aboard the boats. The crew only ask that you minimize what you carry since stowage space is very limited. Dobra Voyage!
“Captain Pete and Son” is a one hour video featuring stories about the first Capt Pete and a family involved in ferrying passsengers to the barrier islands since 1926. View rare photos of Ship Island and the now sunken Isle of Caprice. Learn how Captain Pete’s son Peter, helped save Fort Massachusettes along with other interesting accounts of Coast family’s life on a barrier island throughout the years. Video includes a brief history of Ship Island beginning in 1699 with the arrival of the French explorers, War of 1812, and Civil War.
Purchase the Video “Capt Pete and Son”
($16.50 includes tax & shipping)
Mail check to P.O. Box 1467 Gulfport MS 39502
Click HERE to view sample of video
Capt Pete and Sons
Louis, Mathew, Ken, Steven
Directions to Ship Island Excursions Ticket Office and Boat Dock
Questions concerning directions or weather conditions?
Call (228) 864-1014 between 8am and 12 noon.