Complete Guide to Kayaking in Mississippi on the Gulf Coast

Adventurous Coastal Mississippians and Secret Coast visitors love kayaking in Mississippi on the Gulf Coast. As an honorary Coastal Mississippi local—thank you to several actual residents who have said so—I can meticulously mention three favorite Liquid Road Trip spots plus will include many more fun places to kayak in Coastal Mississippi.

Adventurous Coastal Mississippians and Secret Coast visitors love these Liquid Road Trip spots for kayaking in Mississippi on the Gulf Coast. #SecretCoast #MSCoastLife #kayaking #UStravel #thingstodo

With 62 miles of Mississippi Gulf Coast beaches and hundreds of miles of bayous and inland waterways, finding places to kayak in Mississippi Gulf Coast are not difficult. Here I will list dozens of #LiquidRoadTrip experiences for residents and visitors to Coastal Mississippi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

gorgeous Biloxi Bay sunrise from Ocean Springs Front Beach

Kayaking on Wolf River Mississippi

Wolf River kayaking is a one-way trip because, well, it is a river. Prepare and plan for someone pick you up downstream or book a trip with Wolf River Canoe & Kayak Their trips leave from their Cable Bridge Landing location in Pass Christian. Kayaking on Wolf River presents mild, fun rapids in a few sections, petrified wood in the water and along the banks (look for them!), and plenty of places to lie on some brilliant clean white sand beaches or just dip in the cool river water. Allow two to six hours, depending on your schedule, ability, and interest in exploring along the route.

McCool Travel tip: bring your own food and drinks. I picked up a loaf of fresh bread and incredible chicken salad from Serious Bread in Bay St Louis. For other places to eat along the Mississippi Gulf Coast see our guide to Coastal Mississippi restaurants. Also read this Wolf River kayaking adventure.

Wolf River Canoe and Kayak liquid road trip, Coastal Mississippi
Wolf River Canoe and Kayak liquid road trip, Coastal Mississippi

Pascagoula River Blueway Trail

Rent a kayak from the Pascagoula River Audubon Center (or bring your own!) and explore part or all of the 10 mile portion of Pascagoula River Blueway. The Pascagoula River is largest free flowing waterway in the lower 48 states and home to nearly two dozen endangered animal species. Within five minutes of setting off on my last kayak trip here, I saw a gator basking on a muddy bank. Perhaps he smelled my phenomenal shrimp and oyster po’ boy which I picked up from Bozo’s in Pascagoula—also order some Zapps and a Barqs!

kayaking from Pascagoula Audubon River Center
I spy a gator. Kayaking from Pascagoula Audubon River Center

McCool Travel tip: for a super fun guided boat tour of the Pascagoula River, try McCoy’s Swamp and River Tour from the same center. Details can be found in our guide 51+ Coastal Mississippi Hidden Gems on The Secret Coast.

Kayak to Mississippi Coast Islands

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is protected by a series of barrier islands, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Those islands absorb the Gulf of Mexico waves, those ensuring that the Mississippi Gulf Coast beaches continue to have that luscious soft sand.

Deer Island is a quick paddle across Biloxi Sound. I did an easy guided paddle with the owner of Wild Flier. We launched from a spot near Margaritaville Biloxi and the trip was only about 30 minutes each way. On Deer Island, there were no other visitors and we explored a few paths, beach areas, and a rope swing from a giant oak tree.

view of Biloxi Mississippi from Deer Island
kayaking to Deer Island from Biloxi Mississippi

Cat Island, Horn Island, and Ship Island are much further. Actually, what is called Ship Island is actually two separate islands (East Ship Island and West Ship Island) created by hurricanes. Most island visitors arrive by private boat, national park excursion, or commercial boat but kayaking there is a nice challenge. You will be rewarded with solitude, dolphins and sharks, and more solitude. Horn Island is notable for being the escape destination for famed artist and Ocean Springs resident Walter Anderson.

Kayaking in Pascagoula Mississippi

In addition to the Pascagoula River Blueway (see above) other places to kayak in Pascagoula include Escatawpa River Coastal Marsh Preserve (Moss Point) with several lakes and connecting to the Pascagoula River, Round Island, Pascagoula Bay and Pascagoula River Marsh Coastal Preserve, and several Pascagoula River arms. Longer Coastal Mississippi kayak #LiquidRoadTrip adventures can be to Horn Island, Petit Bois Island, Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, into Alabama, and along the Mississippi coast toward Ocean Springs, Biloxi, and further.

McCool Travel tip: the second opening to the west of the Pascagoula Beach fishing pier is Baptiste Bayou and immediately flows under the Jimmy Buffett Bridge.

McCool Travel note: one of our favorite Mississippi Gulf Coast places to stay is Grand Magnolia in Pascagoula. When you stay there, talk to owner Richard about his impressive #LiquidRoadTrip adventures.

Kayaking in Ocean Springs Mississippi

Realistically you can launch anywhere along Front Beach including at the west end at Ocean Springs Yacht Club. I suggest you set off from the Ocean Springs Harbor at the east end of Front Beach. Paddle around the harbor and check out the resident pelicans and amazing shrimping boats—which will set your hunger meter to #BigShrimpin (cure it with local shrimp and grits). Leave the harbor, passing Shearwater Pottery property on your starboard side (left, yo!) and then explore Biloxi Bay, around the Bilxoi Bay Bridge, and/or head the other direction to Davis Bayou and Marsh Point. Gulf Islands National Seashore headquarters is about a mile east of the harbor. Rent a kayak or SUP from Wild Flier or Paulou’s.

#BigShrimpin on a kayak in Ocean Springs Mississippi
#BigShrimpin on a kayak in Ocean Springs Mississippi

McCool Travel tip: Front Beach Cottages, one of our favorite places to stay along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, has free kayaks and bicycles for guests. McCool Travel note: in 2005, a fisherman found Al Capone’s wallet in Davis Bayou so keep your eyes open.

On my to-do list is kayaking around Fort Point—I adore the magnificent oak tres along Lover’s Lane—and into Old Fort Bayou. At the Fort Bayou Draw Bridge over Washington Avenue, sneak over to Mikey’s On the Bayou for a dozen fresh oysters. This section is the western end of the Old Fort Bayou Blueway—which meanders through Ocean Springs and into Vancleave.

Kayaking in Biloxi Mississippi

In addition to kayaking to Deer Island, Biloxi is a wonderful launching spot to explore Biloxi Bay on the Gulf of Mexico side. Deer Island protects eastern Biloxi from waves and kayaking there is very pleasant. From Biloxi Small Craft Harbor explore Deer Island, around Point Cadet, and under Biloxi Bay Bridge.

Decide among countless inland kayaking opportunities, including toward along Front Beach or into Old Fort Bayou in Ocean Springs. Or paddle along the peninsula and explore the islands and protected waterways of Biloxi Back Bay into Mullet Lake and Big Lake. Biloxi River Marshes Coastal Preserve occupies the northern end of Big Lake and the Biloxi River can be explored for days.

Kayaking in Bay St Louis Mississippi

You should be able to launch your kayak along the gorgeous Bay St Louis beaches. There is an official boat launch 1/4 mile south of the railroad crossing, a yacht club on the other side of highway 90, and a protected harbor downtown. The fishing pier next to the harbor, the railroad bridge, and the Bay St Louis bridge are nearby landmarks to paddle around. Rent a kayak or SUP from Bodega Adventure in downtown BSL.

St Louis Bay is popular especially for kayak fishing. The water is not too deep. On the east side of St Louis Bay (Pass Christian) are Bayou Portage Coastal Preserve and Wolf River Marsh Coastal Preserve. On the west side of the bay, past Hollywood Casino, access Bayou La Croix Coastal Preserve.

Other Places to Kayak in Mississippi Along the Gulf Coast

All of the following are potential #LiquidRoadTrip adventures I want to try on future Coastal Mississippi kayak trips.

Turkey Creek Blueway is just north of the airport in Gulfport.

Launching your kayak from the Long Beach Harbor looks most convenient to paddle to Cat Island. I have read at least one account of someone else doing that. Note that the eastern half of Cat Island is private while the western part is a section of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Bayou Berhard looks like a fun inland opportunity to kayak in Gulfport Mississippi. It leads into Big Lake and the Biloxi River Marshes Coastal Preserve.

The Jourdan River Blueway is north of I-10 in Kiln, the closest area day trip from New Orleans. Reward yourself post-paddle with a local craft beer at Lazy Magnolia, one of our favorite US Gulf Coast Bars, Breweries, and Beverage Spots.

See the ancient bald cypress trees in Bayou Bogue Homa Blueway, which meets the Pearl River so you can paddle along the state line (Mississippi and Louisiana).

Bayou Caddy behind Silver Slipper in Waveland.

Grand Bayou Coastal Preserve is in the top section of Buccaneer State Park. On the other side of South Street is Jackson Marsh.

 

Help McCool Travel make this the Complete Guide to Kayaking in Mississippi on the Gulf Coast. Please leave a comment with any other Coastal Mississippi hidden gems I should check out.

Helpful Coastal Mississippi Resources

Coastal Mississippi (formerly Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast): website : Facebook

Before your next Mississippi Gulf Coast trip, please read our articles about things to do in Coastal Mississippi:

Adventurous Coastal Mississippians and Secret Coast visitors love these Liquid Road Trip spots for kayaking in Mississippi on the Gulf Coast. #MSCoastLife #SecretCoast #kayaking #USTravel #thingstodo

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2 thoughts on “Complete Guide to Kayaking in Mississippi on the Gulf Coast”

  1. Way neat Charles. I never thought of kayaking going on down that way but this seems to be catching on all over, the more I travel. Good way to keep fit while enjoying nature from an authentic vantage point.

    Reply

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