Family Outdoor Vacations – Mississippi River Tours, Canoeing & More on the Gulf Coast
Because of its temperate climate, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is the perfect destination for vacationers that enjoy participating in family outdoor activities. While the beaches and blue water are a main attraction, you’ll soon discover that we have so much more to offer.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast has no shortage of beautiful scenery. One of the best ways to take it all in is by bicycle. The 15.5 mile, round-trip, Live Oak Bicycle Route takes riders along the seashore and across the new Biloxi Bay Bridge where one can enjoy expansive views of the Gulf of Mexico.
If two wheels aren’t your style, how about paddles? Canoeing and kayaking is a favorite past time enjoyed by many visitors and residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Experienced canoers and kayakers may want to make the 12 mile trip across the Mississippi Sound to one of the Barrier Islands. However, for occasional and recreational paddlers, a trip along one of the Gulf Coast’s many rivers and tributaries is sure to provide fun and excitement for every skill level. Glide through peaceful acres of scenic national forest, wonder in amazement at towering bluffs, and enjoy wildlife you aren’t likely to see anywhere else.
However, some people take a vacation to relax. Guided Mississippi river tours down the Pascagoula or Wolf Rivers allow you to kick back and enjoy pristine river swamps, marshes, moss draped trees, and hidden bayous all without breaking a sweat. Look closely and you could see turtle sunning on a log, a regal egret poised along the bank, or an alligator hiding in the shadows.
Finally, once you’ve enjoyed a long walk along the beach, how about a hike on one of our picturesque wilderness trails? Whether you and your family are looking to spend a couple of hours or an entire day, we’ve got everyone covered. Shepard State Park offers a five-mile round-trip hiking trail through salt marshes where you will see egrets and ibises, raccoons, and a variety of plant life. Desoto National Forest’s Tuxachanie Trail features a 22-mile hike through savannahs, swamps, and longleaf and slash pine forests. Finally, Horn Island –part of the Gulf Island National Seashore – features a varied terrain perfect for some of the best hiking in the area. The island has more than 470 acres of forest that serve as a home to more than 250 species of birds.
Sampling of Mississippi Gulf Coast Tours:
- Gulf Coast Gator Ranch & Airboat Swamp Tours, Moss Point. Open seven days a week, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Meet alligators face to face at Gator Ranch then fly through the swamp on an airboat to experience the natural habitat of swamp life. 866-954-2867.www.airboatswamptoursofmississippi.com
- Biloxi Shrimping Trip, Biloxi Small Craft Harbor. Three or four trips daily, February – November. Everything you ever wanted to know about catching, cooking and eating shrimp you’ll learn on this trip. 228-392-8645. www.biloxishrimpingtrip.com
- Biloxi Schooner Trips, Schooner Pier. Check web site for daily schedule. Day sailing or chartering on an authentic replica of a Biloxi oyster schooner—the means by which oysters were harvested prior to the introduction of marine engines. 228-435-6320 www.maritimemuseum.org/schooners/schooners.php.
- Eco-Tours of South Mississippi, Gautier. Check web site for daily schedule. Enjoy the natural wildlife and beauty of the Pascagoula River, the longest unimpeded river in the lower 48 states, as you venture through the cypress swamps and salt marshes in guided canoes. 228-297-8687. www.ecotoursofsouthmississippi.com
- McCoy’s River & Marsh Tours, Pascagoula River Audubon Center. Check web site for daily schedule. Narrated boat tours of the unique Pascagoula River conducted by Master Naturalists, maneuvering harder to reach small bayous and sloughs of the swamp and marsh. 228-219-4583.
- Ship Island Excursions, Gulfport Yacht Harbor. Check web site for departure times. Board a passenger ferry to experience some of the last undeveloped barrier islands in America, offering visitors high quality beaches for swimming and shelling. 866-466-7386. www.msshipisland.com
- Wolf River Canoe and Kayak, Long Beach. Check web site for schedule. Paddle by canoe or kayak through the waters of the Wolf River, bounded by stretches of white sand beaches and clay formations. Swim, picnic, camp or fish. 228-452-7666. www.wolfrivercanoes.com
- South Coast Paddling, Ocean Springs. Guided kayak excursions on coastal waterways, to include Deer Island, the Pascagoula River and off-the-beaten-path bayous. Overnight barrier island trips available for the more serious kayaker. 228-872-2030. www.southcoastpaddling.com
- www.airboatswamptoursofmississippi.com, Moss Point. Open seven days a week, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Meet alligators face to face at Gator Ranch then fly through the swamp on an airboat to experience the natural habitat of swamp life. www.airboatswamptoursofmississippi.com
- www.biloxishrimpingtrip.com, Biloxi Small Craft Harbor. Three or four trips daily, February – November. Everything you ever wanted to know about catching, cooking and eating shrimp you’ll learn on this trip. www.biloxishrimpingtrip.com