Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore

In A Nutshell

Getting Around

Visitors get around the park by private vehicle (except at Fort Pickens and the Santa Rosa Area), private boat, bicycle, or foot. Water taxi service is available to the Fort Pickens Area. It is approximately 2 miles one way to the fort and 1 mile one way to the Loop A Campground from the drop off area. Please contact Chulamar Charters, Captain "Bubba" Thorsen, 850-492-1099 for information and reservations.

Passenger ferry service is available if you would like to explore West Ship Island in the MS District. Ferries have on-board amenities such as restrooms and snack bars. Watch for dolphins gliding alongside the boat! To arrange transportation to East Ship, Horn, Petit Bois, and Cat Islands contact a National Park Service licensed boat operator.

 

Things To Know Before You Come

Although Gulf Islands National Seashore is 80% submerged lands, the islands and mainland sites attract millions of visitors each year.

In Florida, all areas are accessible by car, except for the Fort Pickens and Santa Rosa Areas located on Santa Rosa Island. These roads remain closed due to hurricane damage.

In Mississippi, only the Davis Bayou Area located in Ocean Springs is accessible by car. Visitors may use the passenger ferry to reach West Ship Island, use their own vessels, or hire a National Park Service licensed boat operator for transportation to the islands. National Park Service licensed boat operators can take visitors to the barrier islands. Island camping groups need to request a free permit 7 days in advance.

By Public Transportation

Florida District

The Escambia County Area Transit (ECAT) operates 7 days a week in the community. It does not stop inside the Seashore. For more information please call 850-595-3228 or visit their website at http://www.goecat.com.

Coast Transit Authority (CTA) buses stop at the Ocean Springs Wal-Mart, approximately 2 1/2 miles from the entrance to Davis Bayou and 4 1/2 miles from the visitor center and campground areas. Visit www.coasttransit.com or call (228) 896-8080 for schedule information.

Transportation to West Ship Island, Mississippi

Passenger ferry service, "Pan Isles," located in Gulfport, MS south of the intersection of U. S. Highways 90 and 49, runs to West Ship Island from March to October. Although facilities on West Ship Island were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, restrooms and a snack bar are on the ferry. For information about the ferry service call 228-864-1014 or visit www.msshipisland.com.

Plane

Airport service is available through regional and international airports. Please check the following websites for more information.

Pensacola Regional Airport, Pensacola, FL

Okaloosa Regional Airport, Fort Walton Beach, FL

Mobile Regional Airport, Mobile, AL

Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, Gulfport-Biloxi, MS

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, New Orleans, LA

 

Directions

Gulf Islands National Seashore is in Florida and Mississippi and both districts are south of Interstate 10. In Mississippi use Exit 57 or 50 to US Highway 90 to Ocean Springs. In Florida use Exit 12 to I-110 or Exit 22 to the Garcon Point Bridge to US Highway 98.

Bus

There are Greyhound Bus Terminals in Biloxi, MS, and Pensacola, FL.

For schedule and bus-stop information please check the Greyhound Bus Service website at http://www.greyhound.com.

Buses do not stop in the Seashore.

Mississippi District

The Mississippi District is open year-round. With over 400 acres, visitors have a variety of activities to choose from in the Davis Bayou Area including fishing, hiking, biking, boating, attending a ranger-led program, and group camping. The Davis Bayou Visitor Contact Station is open daily from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. For more information please call (228) 875-9057, extension 100.

Public Transportation

Florida District

The Escambia County Area Transit (ECAT) operates 7 days a week in the community. It does not stop inside the Seashore. For more information please call 850-595-3228 or visit their website at http://www.goecat.com.


Mississippi District

Coast Transit Authority (CTA) buses stop at the Ocean Springs Wal-Mart, approximately 2 1/2 miles from the entrance to Davis Bayou and 4 1/2 miles from the visitor center and campground areas. Visit www.coasttransit.com or call (228) 896-8080 for schedule information.

Transportation to West Ship Island, Mississippi

Passenger ferry service, "Pan Isles," located in Gulfport, MS south of the intersection of U. S. Highways 90 and 49, runs to West Ship Island from March to October. Although facilities on West Ship Island were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, restrooms and a snack bar are on the ferry. For information about the ferry service call 228-864-1014 or visit www.msshipisland.com.