When compared to nearby Gulf Coast states like Florida, Texas, and Louisiana, Mississippi has a relatively small stretch of coastline, but that's still more than enough to give the Magnolia State some of the best beaches in the area.

When the sun starts to shine and the air gets warmer, there's no better way to have some fun in Mississippi than by heading down to one of the state's Gulf Coast beaches. Whether you're looking to swim, sunbathe, surf, fish, or do some wildlife watching, you'll find a lot of options all around Mississippi.

1. Gulfport Beach, Mississippi

Gulfport Beach, Mississippi
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Ask any Mississippi resident about their favorite beach and there’s a very strong chance they’ll mention Gulfport. This is one of the state’s main beach towns and has been hugely popular with both the state residents and tourists for decades now. It’s regarded as one of the cleanest and most comfortable beaches on the Gulf Coast, with a lot of good activities and water sports opportunities. You can try anything here, from fishing to jet skiing, and there’s a lot of space at Gulfport Beach so it never gets overly busy.More things to do in Gulfport

2. Beaches in Mississippi: Ship Island

Beaches in Mississippi: Ship Island
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Funnily enough, the term ‘Ship Island’ actually refers to two separate islands, known individually as East Ship Island and West Ship Island. These are a couple of the barrier islands not far from Gulfport Beach. There are plenty of things to do around the Mississippi barrier islands, with Ship Island being one of the best areas to visit. You can only get here by boat, but it’s worth the trip, with the beaches on West Ship Island being especially beautiful. There’s also a huge old fort situated on the island that can be fully explored, with guided tours running here each day.

More Places to Visit in Mississippi

3. East Beach, Mississippi

East Beach, Mississippi
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Situated in Ocean Springs, East Beach is a far cry from the flashy casinos and playgrounds of places like Biloxi Beach. You won't find too many tourists here at all, actually. Only the Mississippi locals tend to visit East Beach, meaning you can almost have the place to yourself if you come in the middle of the week. The beach runs for a long distance, with several fishing piers and simple amenities dotted out along the way. You can also find some nice guesthouses and cafes along this beach, so it's a nice spot to spend a relaxing day.

More ideas: Best Lakes in Mississippi

4. Beaches Near Me: Biloxi Beach

Beaches Near Me: Biloxi Beach
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Undoubtedly the most famous beach in all of Mississippi, Biloxi Beach is more than just a beach; it’s a full-on, all-ages entertainment area. No matter who you are or what you love, you’ll find a whole lot of fun to have at Biloxi Beach. If you’re just coming for the beach experience, Biloxi has some of the softest sand and warmest water in the area, but if you really want to make the most of your day, be sure to check out the area’s full range of activities, including steamboat tours, a trip around a lighthouse, fishing charters, casinos, restaurants, bars, resorts, kayaking, jet ski rentals, and more. Best Things to Do in Biloxi

5. Closest beach to me: Bay St. Louis Beach

Closest beach to me: Bay St. Louis Beach
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Not far from Biloxi Beach is Bay St. Louis Beach, and this is a good Mississippi coastal location for people who want to enjoy the same aesthetic beauty of Biloxi without all the crowds and attractions. It’s a quieter, simpler beach, with the local town offering a calm, relaxing atmosphere and a lot of pretty old store-lined streets to check out. The beach itself provides great views and good conditions for lots of different activities, and it’s one of the best Mississippi beaches for fishing and watching the sunset.

6. MS Beaches Near Me: Horn Island

MS Beaches Near Me: Horn Island
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Another of the barrier islands, Horn Island is found not too far from major coastal cities like Biloxi and Gulfport. You can hitch a ride on a private charter or tour boat to get over there, with some brave adventurers even choosing to make the journey by kayak. Either way, when you get to Horn Island, you'll be greeted to some of the softest, whitest sands on the entire Gulf Coast. This is a great spot for couples to visit for a romantic getaway, while also being equally well-suited for families or groups of friends planning a camping trip.

7. Beach Near Me: Old Bridge Beach

Beach Near Me: Old Bridge Beach
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On Bay Spring Lake’s southwest area, just a short drive off of MS Highway 4, is the Old Bridge Beach, a local beachfront recreational area that is typically bustling with activity as soon as the warmer months of Spring hit. At this beach, visitors can enjoy the use of a public shelter called the Old Lodge with 8 spacious tables and 8 grills for public use. Another shelter, called Lovers Leap, also has the same amenities and capacity, and may also be used by the public. Additional amenities at Old Bridge Beach include a small playground, a public shower, and a beach volleyball court.

Old Bridge Beach, Mississippi 38859

8. Beaches in Mississippi: Sardis Lake

Beaches in Mississippi: Sardis Lake
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Originally built as a flood control facility back in the 1930s, Sardis Lake was originally not intended to be a recreational destination. However, after the dam’s construction was finished, it became undeniably apparent that the area was going to be a popular destination, and recreation management soon became the lake’s priority. Today, Sardis Lake is a hotspot during the summer with various activities such as wakeboarding, picnicking, bird watching, hiking, as well as boating, being among the most popular. Sardis Lake also offers a number of amenities for day trip use such as its Paradise Point Pavilions, Lower Lake Pavilions, and more shelters along Main Beach, Engineer Point, and Clear Creek.

4235 State Park Road, Sardis, Mississippi 38666

The 8 Best Beaches in Mississippi near me today according to local experts are:

Mississippi Beach Guide

Thirty of the United States have some kind of coastline, be it on ocean coast, a gulf coast, or a coast along one of the five Great Lakes. Twenty three of them have states on the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, or Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that many Americans are never too far away from the beach. So, whenever you need to just get away from it all, embrace nature, and spend some time far from the noise, lights, and pollution of the big cities, the beach is always one of your best options, especially if you happen to be living or traveling in one of the coastal states.

Despite having a relatively small stretch of coastline, Mississippi is still home to some of the finest beaches in the Gulf Coast area, with the likes of Biloxi and Gulfport being known all around the nation. So the next time you're in Mississippi on a sunny day and want to spend some time swimming, surfing, sunbathing, or just enjoying the sand and sea with your friends and loved ones, be sure to visit one of the locations listed below. The information supplied in our Mississippi beach guide will help you learn all you need to know about the state’s best beaches.

Attraction Spotlight: Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

Located in Gulfport, Mississippi, the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is a nonprofit organization supporting research and conservation efforts related to marine mammal species, both those living in captivity and those in the wild. The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies was established in 1984 as a research and conservation facility for the protection of marine mammal species, both those currently existing in the wild and those held in captivity.

Since its inception, the Institute has been a participant in NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Stranding Network, a national network overseeing responses to marine mammal strandings and biomonitoring. As the premiere stranding organization along the United States Gulf Coast, the Institute works with local researchers, educators, and scientists from regional and national organizations including Mississippi State University, the University of Miami, the Naval Ocean Systems Center, and the Naval Research Laboratory. The Institute is the only Gulf-area facility open today able to care for sick and injured marine life, offering a veterinary preceptorship program for college seniors and a funding program for graduate student research.

Tours of the Institute are open to the public on a reservation-only basis, offering tour experiences for adults, children, and educational groups and private organizations. An interactive museum experience is offered at the Institute’s Center for Marine Education and Research, with 2,000 square feet of exhibits focusing on native Gulf Coast marine mammal species and biodiversity. A Discovery Room features touch pools for visitors to interact with sharks, stingrays, horseshoe and blue crabs, sea stars, and sea urchins. Discovery Room exhibits also offer observation of saltwater and freshwater fish, snakes, turtles, and invertebrates in aquarium habitats. A fossil dig exhibit allows young visitors to search for shark teeth, which may be kept as souvenirs. A 180-seat auditorium also presents showings of films related to nature and marine mammal topics.

Animal Adventure presentation programs are offered for tour participants, including year-round Dolphin Meet and Greet and Dolphin Encounter programs that allows visitors ages 5 and older to work with trainers and interact with the Center’s resident bottlenose dolphins, Apollo and Bo. During the summer months, a Dolphin Interaction program lets visitors ages 8 and up get directly in the water to swim with Center dolphins. Programs are also available for interactions with tropical birds and reptile species. Young program participants must be accompanied by adults during animal interaction, and payment for all programs must be made at the time of reservation.

In addition to public reserved tours, field trip opportunities are offered at the Center for elementary and secondary students, tailored to incorporate Mississippi curriculum standards. An overnight Dozing With Dolphins program is offered for student and scouting groups, including a behind-the-scenes tour opportunity, a film screening, and animal training presentations. An Ocean Expo Summer Camp is held annually for students ages 5-17, highlighting different marine science topics weekly and offering field trip opportunities to South Mississippi barrier islands and aboard shrimp and pontoon boats. For older students, a Dolphin Camp offers up-close opportunities with the Center’s dolphins, and an Angler Fishing camp for middle grades teaches basic fishing and net casting techniques. Mini-camp experiences are available for field trip groups, offering encounters with sea birds and marine mammals and highlighting topics such as industrial fishing, pollution, and climate change. Dormitory accommodations for all overnight programs are offered at the nearby Seashore United Methodist Assembly in Biloxi.

A Job Shadow training program for students ages 12 and older provides opportunities for observation of marine biologist, marine veterinarian, and animal trainer duties during three-hour weekly sessions. The Institute’s staff and educators are also available for appearances at community events upon request, presenting programs on marine mammal conservation and healthy lifestyles that protect biodiversity. Three-hour scenic excursion cruises are also presented in conjunction with the Center, offering pontoon boat cruises and birdwatching opportunities on the Mississippi Sound and Tchoutacabouffa River from April through October. A future Evening at IMMS program will bring a regular schedule of lectures and workshop programming to the Center, offering educational opportunities for public attendees. The Center for Marine Education may also be rented for private special events, including use of all museum exhibits and auditorium audiovisual equipment for meetings and presentations.

As a full marine mammal research and conservation facility, the Institute has sponsored a number of research initiatives centered on the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s native wild Atlantic bottlenose dolphin population, including assessments of population dynamics and medical and behavioral studies. Current ongoing research projects include photo-identification studies of seasonal movements and transect surveys of population abundance. A number of marine turtle research and conservation programs have been facilitated as part of the Institute’s partnership with the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network. Future Institute studies will address dolphin and turtle populations’ responses to stressors such as oil spills, hurricanes, and human interactions.

10801 Dolphin Ln, Gulfport, MS 39503, Phone: 228-896-9182