My family and I have always loved the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My brother has lived there for over 25 years and now my youngest sister has moved there as well. It’s a good thing that the Mississippi Gulf Coast is just a short drive for my family. As I do when I travel throughout the U.S, the first thing I do when planning our upcoming family trip is search for free or low cost attractions in the area.
So what kind of family fun can you expect for free?
Please check with each location directly just in case they have started charging an admission rate. Also, other locations might offer free admission on specific days of the week or certain times throughout the year. It’s always best to check all attractions in case they are running a special promotion.
1. Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches
From Waveland to Biloxi, the beach is always free! Normally we hit the beach closest to other free attractions we are looking to explore and plan from there.
2. Alice Moseley Folk Art & Antique Museum – Bay St. Louis
Located in the Bay St. Louis Visitor Center, you can find the Alice Moseley Folk Art & Antique Museum on the 2nd floor. Admission is free of charge but you might be interested in purchasing some art while you are there. Also explore their selection of antiques. Also, no photography is allowed.
3. Mardi Gras Museum – Bay St. Louis
Located just below the Alice Moseley Folk Art & Antique Museum within the Hancock County Tourism Development Bureau, the small, yet colorful Mardi Gras Museum will capture your eye. You can see several Mardi Gras costumes and experience the detail and design each costume showcases.
4. Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center – Pascagoula
If you are looking to widen your imagination and explore while learning, you can visit the Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center. The venue hosts various events throughout the year including Super Saturday events where their hands-on interaction includes things like flight aviation simulation, Wii sports software, a planetarium with laser light show, iMac computer lab and more.
5. Gulf Islands National Seashore Visitor Center & Campground – Oceans Springs
Located in Oceans Springs, Mississippi the Gulf Islands National Seashore Visitor Center & Campground offers a fun-filled stay and play opportunity. The campground is open but you can spend the day if camping is not an option. Visitors can enjoy fishing, hiking, biking, bird watching, and ranger-led programs. The William M. Colmer Visitor Center is where visitors can view the park oriented film and exhibits and enjoy ranger-led program on most weekends.
6. Biloxi Fire Museum
Spending the day at the beach? You can visit the Biloxi Fire Museum for FREE before soaking up the sun. Operated by volunteers, the museum features various exhibits which feature Biloxi’s 120 year history. The musem is open on Saturdays from 9-3p.m
7. Biloxi Visitor Center
Located across the street from the Biloxi Lighthouse, the Biloxi Visitor Center is a $11 million state of the art facility which includes a 67-seat movie theater, dozen of multi-media exhibits and a gift shops just steps from the beach. The 24,000 square-foot center bears a striking resemblance to the Dantzler House and was built in 2011.
8. Busted Wrench Garage, Museum & Gift Shop – Gulfport
Are you a car lover? Does your favorite car lover plan on visiting Gulfport, Mississippi anytime soon? Pop into the Busted Wrench Garage, Museum & Gift Shop Mon-Saturday and visit the 6,000 square foot exhibit hall which includes Classic cars, motorcycles, and even boats PLUS enjoy plaques, antique posters, and other nostalgic mementos. Think Christmas! They have an extensive automotive gift shop that any car enthusiast would love!
9. GI Museum – Ocean Springs/Gautier, MS
Open every Wednesday and the first and third Sunday of each month, the GI Museum in Ocean Springs/Gautier, MS is a non-profit organization which offers no charge to their visitors. They do however accept donations which allows them to preserve memorabilia representing the generations of Americans who have served our country. Visitors can learn through displays and their educational programs to preserve the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
10. Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve – Moss Point
Established in 1999, the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is comprised of approximately 18,000 acres and open to the Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center Interpretative Area is open to the public. The Grand Bay NERR is one of 28 reserves within the National Estuarine Research Reserve system and hosts various events throughout the year. Visiotrs can hunt, fish, bird watch, explore the trails and more!
11. Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge
hit the outdoors and learn more about Mississippi’s eco system, hike, bird watch and more! Named for the Mississippi sandhill cranes, one of the rarest bird populations on earth, the wildlife refuge was formed in 1975 to provide protection and management under the authority of the Endangered Species Act. Admission and all programs, even the Fall/Winter Crane Tours are free and no charge to the public. Don’t forget to explore the Visitor Center which is open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
12. NEW Pascagoula River Audubon Center – Moss Point
Get excited about nature! The NEW Pascagoula River Audubon Center will open this fall (possibly October 2015) and returns new and improved! The 100 year old non-profit organization promotes the conservation and education about birds, wildlife and their habitats. The new $2.3 million dollar facility & grounds are being set up as a native botanical garden, so you can learn about the native plants and learn to interpret everything on river, the birds, the fish, the wildlife which makes this river special.
13. Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Oceans Springs
If you have a few minutes, use it to pay respects and honor the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The grounds are well kept with various monuments, displays of photographs and a few relics. Points of interest include a helicopter, torpedo and a walkway with signs detailing service men’s lives.
14.Roadside Attractions, Splash pads, Walking trails and More
Want to see the World’s Largest Rocking Chair, the Magnolia State Rocker or the Marshall Jesus Sculpture in Gulfport? How about the Friendship Oak in Long Beach? You can also stretch your legs at the Bay St. Louis Historical walking, bike or driving trail OR get wet at various Splash pads in Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Long Beach and Ocean Springs.
Know additional free family fun in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Area? Let us know in the comment section!