An Island Off This Southern State Is A Little-Known Paradise With Beautiful Beaches

When you're headed South toward Mississippi in the name of vacation fun, you'll find plenty of opportunities waiting for you in places like Biloxi. This bustling coastal city plays host to casinos, family fun centers, seafood stops, fishing charters, museums, and more that you can enjoy during a stay. However, it's good to keep in mind that when you're ready to leave the hustle behind and could go for some serious downtime instead, scenic Deer Island is within easy reach.

Sitting less than a mile off the coast, Deer Island is a decidedly remote destination to explore that takes up just 400 acres. While it might be lesser-known by the traveling masses, it's a place that's packed with stunning views to admire and beautiful beaches to experience once you know it's here. A geological and historical survey by the State of Mississippi points to the area being occupied by local tribes before European settlers arrived in 1717. Throughout the 19th century, the island was primarily used for fishing and farming, and an amusement park was established in the area in 1915.

Ultimately, Mother Nature had other plans for Deer Island, with storms wiping out any structures that were built for long-standing purposes. Today, the island remains a place where the terrain is refreshingly wild. Deer Island has been incorporated into the Coastal Preserves Program and is a unique place for visitors who are looking for a Mississippi vacation spot where they can be immersed in nature without distractions.

Boat your way to a relaxing island experience

Deer Island isn't difficult to access, but you will need a boat to reach the shoreline. If you don't have your own, you can always consider renting one through local companies, like Biloxi Boat Tours. In addition to pontoon boat rentals, they have convenient ferry services to Deer Island available upon request, as well as options to book Deer Island sunset cruises. You can also easily canoe, kayak, or paddleboard your way to Deer Island depending on your preferred mode of water transportation. South Mississippi Kayak Rentals will happily deliver gear across Biloxi while 'Sip Paddle Rental is a great option when you want to slow things down and paddle your way through a Deer Island day of fun.

Once you know how you're getting there, you can gain access to the island via the boat pier that's located on the north side. When your feet are on land again, you'll have plenty of time to leisurely roam the beautiful beaches that adorn Deer Island. If you happen to find yourself here on a particularly warm day, swimming is always an option, but you'll want to remember that this remote island doesn't have lifeguards on duty. If you're someone who enjoys casting a line, anglers tend to find the surrounding island waters are lucrative when it comes to reeling in everything from flounder and white trout to ground mullet.

Hiking and wildlife watching to enhance the journey

When you've had your fill of time on the sand soaking up the sun, there are options for further exploration across Deer Island. You'll find well-marked nature trails that give you a closer look at the terrain. As you trek along, you'll have time to notice and appreciate the towering pine trees, lush salt marshes, and island grasses that make up the scenic landscape.

If you're someone who enjoys nature photography, Deer Island is a fantastic place to explore with your camera in hand. The island's interior supports populations of great blue heron, loggerhead turtles, diamond terrapin, and osprey. The marshy areas are home to mottled ducks and American alligators. If you're setting your sights out on the surrounding waves, there's a good chance you'll spot dolphin pods.

Deer Island is a destination where you can also enjoy tent camping if you're looking to extend your scenic experience even further. It's good to note ahead of time that there aren't any facilities to be found on the island. That means you'll want to plan to bring all of the essentials with you when you boat or paddle your way over.