Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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While it might not be the first place you think of when you’re about to plan a beach getaway, Mississippi has some of the best shores in the country. From relaxing places to lay out and get some sun to fun-filled spots where you can try out surfing or diving, there’s a Mississippi beach to fit your needs. No matter if you’re planning a solo trip or heading to the beach with a group, here are the top 10 beaches in Mississippi.
Map of the 10 Best Beaches in Mississippi
1. Bay St. Louis Beach
Bay St. Louis is a relatively quiet and picturesque town on the Gulf Coast. While it’s a friendly, quaint place to spend a vacation in general, its beach makes it especially worth a visit. The beach stretches for yards, with an expansive sandy plain to walk or run around on. Since the water starts shallow and gradually gets deeper, it’s a great place for families traveling with kids.
However, if you want to be a little more active than just wading in the low water, you can rent a kayak or grab a wakeboard and paddle out a little further. The smaller waves here are perfect for beginners.
There isn’t much natural shade on the shore, though, so when you’re on the sand, make sure you have sun protection or consider renting a beach umbrella for the day to keep from getting sunburned.
2. Biloxi Beach
Biloxi Beach is one of the most well-known coastal stretches in Mississippi, so it’s also one of the state’s busiest. The area is lively and almost always buzzing with people, thanks to its pier and nearby restaurant options.
You don’t have to worry about feeling too overcrowded, though. The beach is pretty large, and if you visit during the week, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a spot on the beach. This beach is a also great place to head to if you’re a bit of a history buff. The shore features a 19th-century lighthouse near the sand you can admire.Hot Tip:
While swimming in Biloxi Beach’s waters is perfectly safe, keep an eye out for the advisory flags. A green flag means it’s considered safe to go for a dip, and red means conditions are dangerous, either due to strong currents or a lack of lifeguards.
3. East Beach
Ocean Springs may be one of the most popular beach destinations in the state, but its East Beach still has places that are relatively secluded.
While this shore is mostly manicured, you’ll find a few more natural elements, like grasses growing on the sand. However, even if you feel like you’re the only one around for miles, all the amenities you might need, like restrooms and changing areas, are a short distance away.
You can do a variety of outdoor activities while you’re here, too. The water is tame and safe, so you can feel free to go swimming. If you’d prefer to stay on dry land instead, you can go for a leisurely stroll on the sand or lay out and work on your tan. Dogs are even welcome, as long as they’re leashed, so you can have a beach day with your pup.
4. Gulfport Beach
Gulfport Beach is an excellent option if you’re looking for a place you can visit with people of all ages. The beach itself is usually pretty quiet, so you can come to relax, and there’s a nice family-friendly ambiance if you’re coming with small kids. You can hunt for shells on the sand or go wading in the water since you don’t typically have to worry about strong currents.
If you’re looking for a little excitement, Gulfport can deliver on that as well. The beach is just a short walk from the city, so you can definitely find a buzzing place or restaurant to enjoy after a day of kayaking or getting a tan. If saltwater tends to irritate you, you might have some luck swimming here, too. The salt content is pretty low, so it’s similar to freshwater.
5. Horn Island
Horn Island is part of the group of barrier islands that protect part of Mississippi’s mainland shores from the open water. At just 10 miles in length and 1 mile in width, it’s a relatively small stretch of land that’s been largely left in its natural state. It’s the perfect spot in the state for outdoor lovers who want to hike or hunt for rocks or shells in relative seclusion.
Since there are no structures or lodging options on the island, there aren’t any public transit ferries to take you to and from the mainland. The island usually doesn’t get that crowded with tourists for that reason, but it also means you’ll need to charter a boat to visit. Swimming on Horn Island is allowed, but keep in mind that since there are no lifeguards, you’ll have to be extra careful.Hot Tip:
6. Lower Lake Beach
If you’re more of a freshwater person when it comes to your beach days, Lower Lake Beach is a good place to consider. It’s the most popular spot to go for a swim in Mississippi’s Sardis Lake reservoir.
Unlike many of the state’s freshwater swimming spots, Lower Lake Beach has plenty of sandy areas you can lay out on. If you plan to go for a waterfront stroll, make sure to wear comfortable shoes with traction because there are a few rocky spots as well.
Lower Lake is an ideal spot for families because the water around the shore is shallow, and there are no waves to worry about. While there are a few boats in the water, they’re not allowed in the swimming areas. The lake is also regularly tested to ensure safe water quality for visitors.
7. Old Bridge Beach
Old Bridge Beach is a popular inland beach among residents of northern Mississippi. Located on Bay Springs Lake and with soft sand lining its shore and clear water, it’s a great spot to spend a summer day.
Since Old Bridge Beach is a designated swimming area, you don’t have to worry about boats, so you can swim stress-free. There are also on-duty lifeguards to keep an eye on you and anyone you might be traveling with.
However, the beach isn’t open 24/7. The shores are typically open to the public from the beginning of March until the end of September, though the exact date changes yearly. The beach also closes in the evening from 8 p.m. until 9 a.m. the following morning. You can usually stay on the shore earlier in the morning if you want to catch the sunrise, though.
8. Pass Christian Beach
The beach in Pass Christian often flies under the radar of out-of-towners, so when you visit, you’ll feel like you’ve found a hidden gem. Covered in soft white sand and clear water, it’s pretty close to the perfect place for a secluded day at the shore.
Though the beach is beloved by locals, it’s rarely crowded, and finding parking is easy. This is especially true in the mornings and during the week. The water near the shore is shallow, but there are just enough waves to let beginners of all ages try out body-boarding without venturing too far out.
However, there’s a drawback to all of the benefits of this particular beach. There are no on-site frills. There are no restrooms, snack bars, or picnic areas. So, you’ll need to make sure you plan ahead if you want to spend the day here comfortably.
9. Ship Island
Ship Island is one of Mississippi’s most well-known barrier islands. It’s particularly popular among nature lovers since there are virtually no signs of people on its land. You can tour the old Fort Massachusetts, which was built as an outpost during the 1869s. Other than that, though, there aren’t many other buildings.
That also means there are no accommodations and camping isn’t allowed. Since there are no ferries that regularly travel between the island and the mainland, you’ll need to make arrangements to be dropped off and picked up by a private boat or charter one yourself.
Though Ship Island is one of the more popular barrier islands, you don’t have to worry about having trouble finding a spot on the sand.Hot Tip:
The currents around Ship Island are usually pretty tame, so swimming is allowed, and it’s also a great fishing area.
10. Waveland Beach
If you’re not a fan of touristy beaches, Waveland is the place for you. This little town doesn’t get too many tourists, so you’ll feel like a local when you head to its shore.
If you visit during the week, you’ll have the coast almost completely to yourself, making it a peaceful place to relax and unwind. The beach is nice and flat, so you can comfortably lay out a towel or go for a walk without exerting yourself too much. If you’d rather head for a swim, you can do so stress-free.
The water doesn’t have any sudden drop-offs, and the current near the shore is gentle, so you don’t have to worry about getting overwhelmed. The beach itself doesn’t have many amenities, but there are restaurants and shops a short walk away.
Mississippi is an often overlooked state when it comes to planning beach getaways, but it has numerous options for virtually any trip. We hope that this list has helped not only convince you to plan your own coastal vacation but also to narrow down your options so you can have the trip of your dreams.
Featured Image Credit: outdoorloverjen via Pixabay
Frequently Asked Questions
Mississippi has numerous beaches that are safe for swimmers. However, some areas of the state’s coast can be prone to deep waters or strong currents. Most of these less-safe spots will be marked, but you can always double-check with local authorities to be sure.
Mississippi’s location on the Gulf of Mexico makes it a great beach spot. The state has a few islands and around 60 miles of mainland coastline, so there’s a spot for everyone. The Gulf’s climate also means the water will be comfortably warm.
Mississippi’s coastal beaches are almost exclusively sandy in nature. There are even white-sand beaches in the state. If you decide to head to a lakeside or river beach, however, you’re much more likely to encounter rocky or pebbly shores instead.
Mississippi has both fresh and saltwater beaches all over the state, so picking a spot depends on your preferences. The state’s sandy and quintessential beaches can be found all along its southern coast. There are also inland beaches, though, if you’d prefer to steer clear of the ocean.
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