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Must-see Gulf of Mexico beaches

Stick your toes in the sand at these wonderful beaches along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Gulfport Beach
Credit: Visit Mississippi

Stick your toes in the sand at these wonderful beaches along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Mississippi.


Pass Christian-Gulfport-Biloxi

Between Pass Christian and Biloxi along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, visitors will find nearly 25 miles (40km) of sandy beaches, offering a great setting for sunbathing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing or just playing in the sand. There are several pullovers with beach access along Highway 90, and the charming coastal towns of Pass Christian, Gulfport and Biloxi offer everything from seafood restaurants with Gulf views to lively casinos and resorts.

Ship Island

Located 11 miles (18km) off of Mississippi’s coast in the Gulf of Mexico, Ship Island is one of the state’s five barrier islands and is part of Gulf Islands National Seashore. Ferries leave from Gulfport and Biloxi from mid-March through the beginning of November and offer day trips to explore Ship Island’s pristine sand beaches, where you can pick seashells, hike, or swim and snorkel in the Gulf of Mexico. The island is also home to Fort Massachusetts, which was constructed in 1868; the National Park Service offers tours of the fort during the travel season.


Grand Isle

The home to arguably the most famous of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast beaches, Grand Isle is the state’s only inhabited barrier island and one of just a handful of Gulfside beaches in Louisiana. Grand Isle State Park, which takes up the entire northeast end of Grand Isle, is a popular spot for beachgoers, birdwatchers and anglers. The town of Grand Isle is a great place to launch your kayak or find a fishing charter—and don’t miss the delectable seafood at local restaurants!

Fontainebleau State Park

Located on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, this 2,800-acre (1,100 hectares) state park offers a great mix of recreation, scenery and Louisiana. Fontainebleau State Park sits on the former site of a sugar plantation (the ruins of the plantation’s sugar mill can still be seen today) and is home to a popular sandy beach that’s perfect for kids. Visitors can also explore the park by kayak or bicycle—part of the 31-mile (50km) Tammany Trace bike path passes through the state park. Learn more about what to see and do in St. Tammany Parish.