As the second-largest city in Mississippi, Gulfport is positioning itself to become a competitive U.S. cruise destination. In fact, Gulfport’s motto is ‘Where Your Ship Comes In.’ Welcoming small towns dot the 62-mile shoreline, allowing for visitors to explore endless outdoor attractions or spend their days winning big in the casinos. With the stunning waters of the Gulf of Mexico and white sand beaches, Gulfport is a gem not to be missed.

For those wanting to spend time on the crystal blue waters of the Gulf, visitors can take a ferry from the port to Ship Island. This island is a major part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, where the magnificent white sand beaches are protected by the U.S. Park Service. In fact, the beach here is one of the top ten beaches in the country. The ferry trip itself is something special, often giving visitors the chance to see dolphins play in its wake. Ship Island is the best spot to fully experience the beaches of Gulfport.

If you’re looking to try your hand at gaming the Island View Casino is the best in the area. This casino is hosts more chances to win big than any other casino in the area and is filled to the brim with new and up-to-date games, dining, and activities. There’s even a new smoke-free Beach Casino that offers live entertainment, a daiquiri bar, and round-the-clock food and gaming. Island View is located in the port within walking distance of the piers, making it a popular choice for cruise guests to tempt lady luck and spend time at the resort.

Gulfport is also home to many family-friendly opportunities for exploration. The Lynn Meadow’s Discovery Center is an excellent choice. This children’s museum sits in a colorful old school building that is open for children to play inside and out. In fact, Lynn Meadows is Mississippi’s original children’s museum and has received the National Medal for Museum and Library Science. Inside, visitors will find a 15,000 square foot exhibit space filled to the brim with interactive exhibits such as the Super Colossal Climbing Structure, the History Hotel, an interactive space museum, and even a TV Station set up. The outside is just as packed, featuring a real-life subdivision sized for kiddos, the On the Green Park that features Story Walks, and a Tree House Village. Right down the road and sitting on the coastline is the beautiful Mississippi Aquarium. This large aquarium sits directly on the coast and features the opportunity to explore not only coastal marine life but the life of the wetlands and Mississippi River. Visitors can also enjoy more immersive experiences such as the SeaTREK underwater experience and an Educational Dolphin Presentation.

The port of Gulfport itself is also a draw to the area, having recently undergone a major renovation in 2018. Major parts of the harbor were rebuilt to handle both cruise ships and cargo ships that come through the port daily. The port now sits on 300 acres and includes amenities for ships, including extra storm protection. With these port improvements and so many options for visitors, Gulfport is poised to assert itself as an ideal home port option or a unique destination.

Image credit: Coastal Mississippi

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