One of the reasons I appreciate this island is that it's a place secluded from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. The ferry ride is about an hour long but the boats are very nice. One of them, the Capt. Pete, even has a handy water fountain. They all have concessions and bathrooms equipped. Fort Massachusetts is not very far from the landing pier and is a very intriguing place. I am under the impression that guided tours are available at certain times, but they're not needed unless you want to know the extensive history (which is fairly interesting- the island was sight of a civil war battle and was a confederate prison),
The beach is on the other side of the island. Thankfully, umbrellas as shade are available for rent. But unfortunately the walk to the other side of the island, across a long boardwalk, is very far. On the other side of the island is also a concession area with food and drinks (nachos, hot dogs, that type of thing). The eating area is under a shaded pavilion. The staff there were very polite. That being said, make sure you bring money with you. You're going to need food and drink, because the island is hot and barren. Of course, there are also bathrooms.
The beach is kind of crowded because its umbrella rentals are only available in a small area. But you don't have to walk to far to get away from the people- once you walk a little way up the beach, it's as if you've left civilization. The beach is pretty nice compared to Mississippi mainland- don't expect perfect water, but at least you can expect nice, natural sand and some OK shelling for the area. I highly suggest visiting- just don't visit in the hottest part of summer, like me. You'll get cooked.
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