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Gulf Islands National Seashore

Not all parks are freezing in December. Parks like the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi can be a perfect way to get outdoors during the winter.

The Gulf Islands National Seashore created in 1971 to protect the long, narrow barrier islands along the Gulf of Mexico. These islands contain salt marshes, wildlife, historic forts and archaeological sites. Most this National Park Service is offshore, and over 80% of the park is actually submerged lands.

Although the islands in the Florida District are always accessible, the pristine beaches, maritime ecology and old Fort Massachusetts found on the islands about 10 miles off the Mississippi Coast are only available to travelers who have their own boats, or wish to charter one locally (a good option for tour groups), or, from Gulfport to West Ship Island during the public tour boat season, from late March through late October.

However, a hidden gem of the Seashore is the unspoiled Davis Bayou Area, in Ocean Springs. Davis Bayou offers exhibits and video presentations in the William M. Colmer Visitor Center, extensive picnic facilities, plus easy-to-negotiate nature trails and boardwalks along the bayou. These trails offer wonderful opportunities to experience the fascinating plants, animals and birds that have adapted to life in this sometimes harsh, yet beautiful subtropical landscape.

Don’t fail to save some time (but no money, as admission is free) to include this nearby showcase of Southern Mississippi’s natural beauty during your group’s next trip to the Biloxi casinos!

Hundreds of winged sumac berries

Mama heron and her young ones

They don’t call this the ‘Gator Pond’ for nothing!