An insider’s guide to the Mississippi Gulf Coast
Visit Gulfport Community Guide

Gulfport City Guide - Visit Mississippi's Second-Largest City

As the second-largest city in Mississippi, Gulfport promises excitement, new experiences, and plenty of opportunities to celebrate the natural wealth of the Gulf Coast.  Whether you want to show off your skills in a fishing competition, explore Mississippi history, or eat your way from one end of the city to the other, Gulfport always has something to do.

Modern and chic, Gulfport is bustling with new construction and packed with everyday adventures like ziplining, tubing, and other activities that benefit from the warm weather. The streets regularly light up with seasonal festivals that bring the whole city out for food, games, and live music.

For visitors, Gulfport has hotels and luxurious seaside resorts for every price point and a thriving nightlife.  From chill local bars to popular dance clubs, your stay in this coastal MS community will be one to remember,

Gulfport Visitor Attractions

Exciting and Educational Attractions in Gulfport

Gulfport offers fun for the whole family, especially younger children. You can easily plan a trip that everyone will enjoy and learn some new things about the Gulf Coast along the way.

Fun for all at family-friendly spots

Young children will have a blast at Gulfport’s educational attractions, like the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. This highly interactive children’s museum is a kids' favorite and teaches them about art, science, and history.

The Mississippi Aquarium is another wonderful opportunity to learn about the area and a great way to escape the heat. Make an afternoon of it by visiting Pelican Pointe Cafe and picking up a stuffed souvenir of your favorite marine animal from the gift store.

If you want to get active, you won’t find a better place than the Zip'n Fun Adventure Park, where you can zipline through the trees. It’s just a hop over to the Gulf Islands Water Park next door when it’s time to cool off.

Explore Gulfport’s history through its museums

Gulfport has a rich history closely connected to the railroad, and the Historical Society of Gulfport highlights the city’s significance in the industrial development of the Gulf Coast. The museum resides in the former Union Station Depot.

Train enthusiasts will also love the Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum, which is packed with model trains, including interactive sets that kids can play with.

Voyage through the gulf to Ship Island

Make your stay an adventure with a trip to Ship Island, a barrier island that sits 11 miles off the coast. The ferry to Ship Island runs most of the year, and the hour-long trip provides an opportunity to witness dolphins and take in the beauty of the gulf.

Ship Island is uninhabited but has basic amenities and is great for picnics and swimming. History buffs can also tour Fort Massachusetts, a Civil War-era encampment and the island’s most prominent structure.

Return to the present by visiting the Gulfport Arts Center, which displays art by local artists in the historic Carnegie Library building.

Catch a show at Jones Park

For the sea-sick who don’t want to miss out on Gulfport's silky white sand beaches, take it slow at Jones Park in the Gulfport Marina.  While there, you can catch a concert or show at the amphitheater or visit the original Ship Island Lighthouse replica.

Gulfport Visitor Lodging

Comfortable and Affordable Lodging Options in Gulfport

Whether you want to stay in luxury or hit up your favorite hotel chain, Gulfport has a variety of lodging options for any budget and preference.

Top-shelf amenities at casinos and historic hotels

For the best beachside vibes, you’ll want to stay at one of Gulfport’s casinos and resorts, like the Island View Casino Resort or the Oasis Resort at Centennial Plaza. These luxe hotels feature in-house restaurants and beautiful Gulf views.

If you want your stay to be upscale and unique, the Almanett Hotel & Bistro and the Grand Centennial Hotel are elegant and historic hotels mere minutes from the beach. They offer similar amenities but a quieter, more private stay.

Mid-range hotels sit a short drive from the beach

Gulfport has many familiar hotels, like the Hampton Inn & Suites and Home2 Suites by Hilton. Since most of these lodgings are further inland, you likely get a better price than on the seafront.  They're a smart option for visitors who want to avoid the casino crowds.

Budget lodgings in Gulfport’s center

Similarly, Gulfport has options for low-cost hotels like the Best Western Seaway Inn and Comfort Inn & Suites Crystal Inn Sportsplex. These hotels are centrally located, so you only need to decide your price and desired amenities.

Gulfport Pasta Cuisine

Variety Rules Gulfport’s Food Scene

Every part of Gulfport’s food scene takes advantage of the city’s fresh-caught seafood.  From classy steakhouses to smaller joints serving regional and international cuisine, you'll have no problem finding quality Mexican, Indian, and Japanese restaurants.

Upscale seafood restaurants and steakhouses

One of Gulfport’s finest spots is Mangiamo Italian Restaurant, where Italian classics and Southern fusion dishes take the stage.  Order their Crawfish Jubilee, a rigatoni dish topped with Alfredo sauce and crawfish tails.

Island View Seaside Resort also boasts multiple restaurants, including steakhouses with menus that showcase seasonal catches from the gulf.

Smaller local restaurants for casual bites

If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience, Blowfly Bar & Grill is a burger joint with some notable seafood options, like whole stuffed flounder. Eat outside and take in the gorgeous view of Bayou Bernard.

Another standout restaurant is Chandeleur Island Brewing Company, where you can grab a pint and enjoy live music (or even take a brewery tour).  Dogs are welcome, and they have games for kids, so you don’t need to leave anyone at the hotel.

Gulfport Fishing Events

Gulfport’s Events Celebrate Nature and Culture

Fishing competitions and food fests make up some of the biggest events in Gulfport.  And with the satellite parties that accompany most celebrations, you’ll be busy for days.

Seasonal festivals light up Gulfport

Holiday season visitors can enjoy the spectacle of the Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival.  Jones Park shines with choreographed light displays, carnival rides, and a train you can ride around the area. Kids can also meet Santa, drink hot chocolate, roast marshmallows, and pick up a souvenir.

An easy way to explore Gulfport’s food scene is by voting in the Gulf Coast Beer & Bacon Festival, which recently added a chocolate competition. The entire proceeds from this festival go to the nonprofit organization Mississippi Heroes.  So you can eat your fill guilt-free.

Saltwater and freshwater fishing competitions

Gulfport hosts noteworthy fishing competitions that bring in anglers from across Mississippi, like the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo.  The rodeo kicks off around the 4th of July with fresh and saltwater fishing competitions that span the Gulf Coast. It also brings other events, including the Princess Pageant, a raffle, and live music.

A few days later, the family-oriented Croaker Classic kicks off. Kids of all ages can compete to see who can snag the largest croaker, flounder, speckled trout, and other fish from local waters.

Gulfport Nightlife Dancing

Explore Gulfport’s Spirited Nightlife

Gulfport’s nightlife spans from the vibrant downtown area to the beach, where you can step away from the crowd and watch the moon rise over the gulf.

Enjoy a night of excitement at Island View Casino

As Gulfport’s premier casino, Island View Casino & Resort is the center for gambling, partying, and a host of special events.  The Sunset Bar is an ideal spot for a cocktail and a walk along the beach.  The resort’s other lounges offer similarly relaxed vibes.

Bar hopping in quirky Fishbone Alley

Head down 26th Avenue, and you'll find yourself surrounded by colorful murals and graffiti. That’s Fishbone Alley, a beloved local spot that forms a shortcut between several downtown bars.

Start your night at any of the excellent Fishbone Alley bars, but you may end up at Murky Waters either way. This spot’s tasty barbeque and live blues every Friday night are a popular draw for Gulfport crowds.

Chances for dancing in Gulfport

If dancing’s what you crave, check out Club Thirty IV. They frequently host live DJs and special musical guests. You can also hit the dance floor at local bars like Elaine’s Lounge or Sipps Bar, which both feature house-special cocktails.

Gulfport Historic Home

Gulfport Living - Popular Home Styles

Gulfport's population is 72,100 and has been slowly rising over the last ten years (with a small spike in 2020).  While bustling in its own right, the Gulfport–Biloxi metropolitan area had a 2020 population of 420,782.  This regional population density shows the city is well-connected to the rest of the Gulf Coast.

The median home sale price in Gulfport is $187,000.  That figure is a 3.9% increase from 2022 but still nearly half the median national home sale price of $363,000.

Lower home costs could indicate that Gulfport may become a hotter market as people discover investment opportunities in the region.  People selling homes in Gulfport aren't commanding the high prices of Bay St. Lousi or Ocean Springs, but inventory is definitely higher than those regions.

Gulfport has homes for families of all sizes and needs, and new homes are going up constantly.

New developments with modern amenities

Like other coastal cities, Gulfport suffered significant damage during Hurricane Katrina. However, that also sparked renewed development.  A stroll through the town will reveal newer homes with grassy lawns, charming porches, and all the benefits of modern construction.

Gulfport also features stately mansions, double-gallery homes, and other renovated historic homes for those looking for a larger home with an older style.


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    Gulfport, Mississippi



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