The Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area held a series of events to recognize the first group of nature-based tourism businesses who have qualified for the Gulf Coast Outpost program.
The Gulf Coast Outpost program recognizes those businesses that are knowledgeable about the Coast’s natural environment and takes steps to protect it by fostering environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation. The program is aimed at those companies whose primary business is dependent on the natural environment in Mississippi’s six coastal counties. This includes eco tours, locally-owned outfitters, charter boat operators, tour guides, eco-lodges and agritourism entities.
The Gulf Coast Outpost business recognition program is part of the 2016 Nature-Based Tourism Plan for Coastal Mississippi. It was developed for the Heritage Area by stakeholders in the industry.
The MS Gulf Coast National Heritage Area is a program of the National Park Service that is managed by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.
The Gulf Coast Outpost businesses include:
Betsy Ann Riverboat: betsyannriverboat.com
Among other tours, the Betsy Ann Riverboat offers a two-hour historical and ecological cruise between Deer Island and into Biloxi with a focus on our local history, the seafood industry, the Barrier Islands and wildlife that flourish in the Mississippi Sound Estuary.
Biloxi Shrimping Trip: biloxishrimpingtrip.com
During tours of the Biloxi Shrimping Trip, visitors are educated on the history and culture of the shrimping and seafood industry of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The captive audience experiences first-hand the marine life, birds and vegetation in and around the Mississippi Sound.
Fisher-man Guide Service: msfisherman.com
Fisher-man Guide Service out of Pass Christian offers guests nearshore fishing, night floundering trips and sunset cruises. Fisher-man Guide Service has a business plan to reflect environmental management and natural resource stewardship.
North Star Sailing Charters: northstarsailingcharters.com
North Star Sailing offers sailing lessons, as well as private sailing and dinner charters. An affiliate of the American Sailing Association, North Star Sailing Charters out of Gulfport is proud to share the beauty, heritage and ecology of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Eco-Tours of South Mississippi: ecotoursofsouthmississippi.com
Eco-Tours of South Mississippi offers a variety of tours, including motorboat swamp tours, kayak trips, photography trips and custom tours. The owners work tirelessly to promote our natural resources and to educate their guests about the ecosystems, wildlife, history, heritage and conservation of the Pascagoula River and the Mississippi Sound. Eco-Tours of South Mississippi gives back to the community in several ways, one of which is participation in clean-up efforts on the Pascagoula River and along the coast.
Harbor Garden House: harborgardenhouse.com
Eco-lodging is a type of tourist accommodation designed to have the least possible impact on the natural environment in which it is situated. Located on a quiet dead-end street on a hill above the inner harbor of Ocean Springs with live oaks and banana trees sits the Harbor Garden House. There is excellent bird watching, wooded walking paths and a lively garden filled with native vegetation and wildlife. Binoculars, bird guides and birdseed are provided.
Coastal Ridge Farm:
Coastal Ridge Farm is a fresh-cut flower farm in the northern part of Hancock county, close to Picayune. Big, beautiful sunflowers and zinnias are the most abundant, which they sell at fresh markets from New Orleans to Mobile. One can also find the sunflowers at local Rouses. This October, Coastal Ridge Farm offered a u-pick on the weekends, where locals and visitors spent family time picking flowers and taking pictures. Next year, u-pick will be available both in the spring and fall.
Shore Thing Charters: shorethingcharters.com
Established in 2003, Shore Thing Fishing Charters has seven licensed captains who fish in both MS and LA. In addition to inshore and nearshore fishing excursions, they offer eco-lodging on Cat Island and birding trips for nature enthusiasts. The captains are CPR certified, knowledgeable about the culture and history of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, are involved in conservation activities and a member of the MDMR Charter For-Hire Task Force.
Learn more about Gulf Coast Outpost under the Natural tab at msgulfcoastheritage.ms.gov and gulfcoastoutpost.com.
Pictured: Harrison county business recognition event.