Affordable Family Vacations on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
The high cost of travel and tighter budgets have many families dreaming of a beach vacation, but considering a “staycation” instead. A visit to the Mississippi Gulf Coast could be the beach vacation your family wants with an affordable price tag to match. With 62 miles of shoreline bordering the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has something for every member of your family. From beaches and sunbathing to space exploration and children’s museums, a Gulf Coast vacation is sure to create lasting memories and keep your pocketbook happy.
For the ultimate beach experience, plan to spend a day basking in the sun at the Mississippi Barrier Islands. Located approximately 12 miles south of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and only accessible by boat, these natural playgrounds have been protected from commercial development. Vacationers have the one-of-a kind opportunity to enjoy pristine, untouched beaches that are a prime destination for sunbathing, hiking, bird watching, and fishing.
Once you’ve traveled to Mississippi’s “outer banks,” take a trip to outer space. The 72,000-square-foot Infinity Science Center is a state-of-the-art educational facility affiliated with NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center. Indoor and outdoor exhibits include a 4,000 square-foot interactive maze, a nearly six-foot revolving animated view of the solar system, a full-sized International Space Station module, and a chance to get up close to a real H-1 Rocket Engine. Visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy a free 30-minute guided bus tour of Stennis Space Center – America’s largest rocket engine test facility.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast is also home to one of the Top 50 Children’s Museums in the United States. The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center offers 15,000 square-feet of indoor exhibit space and another six acres of outdoor play space. Visitors can take a stroll down a kid-sized subdivision, buy a few groceries at a recreation of a Mississippi grocery store, work behind the scenes or in front of the camera at WLMDC-TV, or hop aboard the Outback Express. Outside, kids can play hide-and-seek in the Tree House Village or visit a rustic wood cabin.
Finally, the newly constructed Center for Marine Education and Research – located within the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport – is the first educational and research facility devoted to dolphin rescue and rehabilitation for Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. The twelve acre facility features an interactive museum and “touch pool.” The center is also home to Bo and Buster – two Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins. Through the Dolphin Encounter Program, guests have the opportunity to feed, touch, and interact with a dolphin face-to-face or swim alongside them with the Take a Dip with the Dolphin Program.