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Deer Island - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Destination Report
Nearest City: Biloxi, MS
Difficulty: Moderate

Description:

Do not be intimidated by the other posting about this destination. While I have seen some rough conditions I have also made this paddle in an open canoe with no difficulties. There are two different locations that I have departed from and they are two totally different experinces. The island lies at an angle to the mainland and is long and skinny.

The first departure point is from Biloxi. The Northwest end of the island is only about two hundred yards from the Biloxi beach and is about a ten minute paddle to the long sandy spit at this end of the island. From here you can paddle around to the south side and enjoy several beach landing sites or paddle along the more protected north side. The south side is exposed to the Mississippi Sound and will generally have a little more wave action than the North side but there is more beach than the North side which only has a narrow strip of sand at this end of the island. It's also fun just to stop your paddle here and walk the beach where you'll find seashells and Indian pottery shards.

The other place to depart from is in Ocean Springs. Take Hwy 609 (Washington Ave) south until you hit the water and can't drive any further. Make a right and go about 100 ft and you will come to Fort Maurepas park. Plenty of parking, public restrooms, and a nice easy carry down to the beach. Put in next to the pier and it's about two miles across to a sandy spot in the center of the island that's easily visible. I like this spot because on the return trip the green roof over the pier and on the restrooms make an easy target to paddle for. There's also a beach shower to rinse off with.

One word of caution, I have been on this stretch of water when it was smooth as glass and then had three foot waves to contend with on the way back. Also it is a LOOOOONG way to circumnavigate the island. The southeast end is under restoration and is muddy and the gnats were pretty bad every time I've been there, so for a short distance it's not a nice place to come ashore. At the extreme tip of the south east end there is a rock wall anchoring the shore and it's impossible to land.

But the rest of the island is a great place to visit. In places it's only about 50 yard's wide, other places it's wider. There are stands of pines and some very large oaks. Tidal pools and lot's of beach. Birds of all kinds and I've seen possum tracks and alligator tracks in the sand.

Accommodations:

Plenty of nice restaurants and fast food along hwy 90 at both locations. Nothing on the uninhabited island

Fees:

None

Directions:

In Biloxi - Highway 90 close to the Biloxi Ocean springs bridge, park at the last open spot of beach before the casino's begin.

For Ocean Springs - take hwy 609 south from the Interstate, which turns into Washington Ave as it crosses Hwy 90. Go till you come to the beach and make a right to the park.


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