A Quick Trip to the Islands

Ever since our beach vacation ended, I’ve been scheming on how to fit another one in before the end of summer.  Alas, Labor Day weekend was looking kind of full.  My husband was otherwise occupied {hunting alligators} all weekend.  No one was headed to the beach.  And yet, I was undeterred.  You know, a lesson I’ve learned over and over is that when you have little kids, there’s never a perfect time to do anything.  Might as well just plod ahead.

We only live 3 hours from a form of beach, albeit not as lovely as Florida, but still a beach.  And so I dreamed up my own little retreat to the coast of Mississippi, just Ransom and I.

The thing about the Mississippi beaches – the water is cloudy and very dark, the sand is trucked in, and there are no waves.  Actually I love the Mississippi coast, it has an atmosphere like none other, but the beach is kinda meh.  This geological condition, as I understand it, is because there is a whole chain of barrier islands that sits just about 10 miles out into the ocean and that’s where the real beach is.  You need your own boat to get to most of the islands, but one of them has a daily ferry service – Ship Island.

mapAnd so, Ransom and I embarked on a very minimalist beach vacation.  I say minimalist because I knew that going off alone with Mr. Crazy Busypants would require special considerations, otherwise there would be no ‘vacation’ in this vacation, for me anyways.  To keep things relaxed, I just put a hold of all non-essentials such as bathing, eating real food, sleeping on schedule, changing clothes… You know, all the stuff that requires endless ‘negotiation’ with a 2 yr old.  Instead, we kinda did whatever we felt like, ate whatever we wanted, and swam a lot.  It was a BLAST.

So here’s what we found on our adventure to Ship Island.

We arrived right at 8, when the office opened for the first departure.  And we were in our seats by 8:25.  Ransom selected a seat by a steering wheel which I assumed was disabled, but then someone came along and asked us to please not touch it.  ?!?  Anyway, he listened to the guy and the boat never went off course.  For style points, Ransom wore this hat and his sunglasses ALL day long.


The ride takes about 50 minutes, but we were thoroughly entertained talking about the difference between a pirate and a parrot, what the word ‘horizon’ means, etc.  There were lots of seagulls and jellyfish to spot.


The island starts coming into view about half way there, and I think we were both equally excited.  What’s not to love about an island of any size?


Ship Island is uninhabited but it has a pretty great set-up for day trippers.  (Camping is prohibited, ps.)  There’s a chair rental service and a pretty decently priced snack bar, especially considering all the food has to be boated out there.  On arrival, you have to walk to the other side of the island to get to the pretty beach, but there’s a board walk.  I bet the walk is 1/4 mile long, so I was glad that I packed only the essentials.  One backpack for each of us, with towels, sunblock, beach toys, snacks, cash, and my phone.  That’s literally all.  I knew I needed to be able to carry everything plus Ransom so there was no room for a cooler, etc.


Ransom really is growing up and he actually walked the whole way by himself.  We picked out our beach chairs and commenced with the fun.  Ransom was scared of the water due to sharks and jellyfish but we worked through it.  I would’ve loved to take a nice long walk down the beach to explore a bit, but that wasn’t in the cards.  I planned for us to leave on the first ship out at 2pm, but when the time rolled around, Ransom said he wasn’t ready.  And of course I wasn’t ready either.


We spent the entire day burying each other in the sand, playing with toys, swimming, looking for seashells, and of course no sleeping for anybody.  We ate all the snacks I brought.  And reapplied sunscreen regularly, so no one got sunburned.  I thought there might be one logistical snafu – who could put sunscreen on my back?  A stranger?? Alas, I managed pretty well using Ransom’s spray-on stuff, and got no burns.




We sampled a lot of the snack bar fare – hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, root beer.  All tasted awesome but probably because I was overdosed on too many Nutty Buddies.


We easily stayed occupied until about 4 when we started meandering our way back to the ship for the 5pm boat.  Oh yeah, there’s a pretty cool Civil War-era fort on the island that you can explore.  Its perfect for a final activity because its right by the boat dock.


Ransom crashed in my arms about 30 seconds after the boat left the dock, and slept the whole way back.  What a great day.  Definitely an adventure and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.  If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend it – with kids or not.

All in all, we had a great time.  We spent two nights in a hotel and did a lot of pool swimming too.  By the time we drove back home, I really did feel rested.  If it wasn’t so darn hot still, I think I’d be ready to say goodbye to summer.





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About Mary-Hall

loyal southerner, exceedingly frugal, compulsive DIYer

6 responses to “A Quick Trip to the Islands”

  1. Anonymous says :

    Momma Daniel says: Oh, M-H, I LOVED your trip! I mean – I feel like I was along, as it made me relive excursions to the beach from bygone years. As I always say, enjoy these preschool years to the fullest! By the way, Ransom continues to get even more adorable, if that’s possible!

  2. blossomhill says :

    I’ve loved the handful if times Sam and I have been able to sneak off on our own while driving to MS. Always an adventure when traveling with a toddler alone! But now you’re making me want to take a trip to Ship Island. I haven’t been there in forever!

    • Mary-Hall says :

      I thought about you as we were going through Gulfport! You should definitely add Ship Island to your agenda for y’all’s next home. Big hit with the nearly 3 yr old boy set.

  3. pbrowder says :

    What a fun trip and I know you both made memories to cherish for a long time.

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