12 Parks in Gulfport, Mississippi

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Gulfport, Mississippi is a vibrant coastal city known for its beautiful beaches, historic neighborhoods, unique culture and fantastic year-round weather. But besides the sandy shores, Gulfport also boasts some fantastic green spaces and parks for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.

From large regional parks with acres of open space to quaint neighborhood parks dotted throughout the city, Gulfport has something for everyone when it comes to outdoor recreation.

Families will love destinations like the sprawling Jones Park—home to a local zoo and nature center—as well as other parks tailored specifically for children. Avid golfers visiting the area will want to check out the award-winning Great Southern Golf Club, while history buffs will appreciate landmarks like the Gulfport Veterans Park.

Keep reading to discover the top 12 parks in Gulfport and explore all these destinations have to offer when it comes to outdoor fun, sports facilities, wildlife encounters and more.

1. Jones Park

Spanning over 180 acres in the heart of Gulfport, Walter Anderson Jones Park is often referred to simply as Jones Park by locals. As the second-largest municipal park in the state, it’s home to plenty of attractions nestled within its sprawling green space.

The Gulfport Sportsplex features a series of baseball and softball fields, batting cages, concession stands and restrooms for players and spectators. Families with children will love the state-of-the-art Gulfport Children’s Museum and Playground located right next to the Sportsplex.

Another star attraction within Jones Park is the Gulfport Zoological and Botanical Garden. This small zoo contains over 100 animals including monkeys, lemurs, and parrots in tropical displays. Guests can also observe native wildlife in the Arkansas Creek Nature Area showcasing beavers, otters, deer, turtles and other species.

With a walking trail encircling a pond, an 18-hole disc golf course, picnic pavilions and more, Jones Park proves itself as a diverse recreation destination everyone can enjoy.

2. Great Southern Golf Club

Regarded as the best municipal golf course in the entire state of Mississippi, Great Southern Golf Club lives up to its name. This 18-hole, par-72 course stretches across over 7,000 yards of verdant landscape, offering golfers an immersive experience surrounded by nature.

Designed by acclaimed golf course architect Jerry Pate, Great Southern seamlessly incorporates different elevations, rolling terrain, and striking water features into the challenging course. The signature 13th hole in particular showcases a coastal marsh area not often seen on Mississippi golf courses.

With five sets of tees available, the course accommodates everyone from beginner golfers to seasoned experts. Amenities also include a large driving range, practice putting greens, rental equipment and PGA-qualified instructors available for lessons. The spacious clubhouse contains event space as well as a golf shop, lounge and casual restaurant.

Whether visiting Gulfport for business or pleasure, make sure to bring your clubs to play a round on Great Southern’s magnificent fairways.

3. Gulfport Beach

No list of Gulfport’s top parks would be complete without including Gulfport Beach. Stretching nearly a half mile along white sand shores, this beloved public beach gives locals and tourists alike direct access to the Gulf of Mexico’s sparkling blue-green waters.

In addition to swimming, beachgoers will find other activities like volleyball courts for pick-up games. Unique beachfront eateries like Shaggy’s serve up seafood, snacks and frozen cocktails just steps from the water. Families often build sandcastles in designated areas or let the kids play on colorful structures in the Beach Fun-Zone playground.

During peak season, the beach offers chair and umbrella rentals for extra comfort while lounging oceanside. Lifeguards also patrol the swimming areas from March through October, making Gulfport Beach a safe place to take a dip or work on your tan. With gorgeous scenery and plenty of amenities, it’s easy to while away an entire afternoon relaxing on the sand.

4. Gulfport Harbor Square

Directly north of Gulfport Beach lies Harbor Square, an open expanse showcasing swaying palm trees, local artist sculptures and striking views overlooking the Gulfport Harbor. Visitors, commuters and neighborhood residents all meet at Harbor Square which connects the harborfront to downtown Gulfport.

Several art installations grace the park space, most notably the 35-foot-tall Oak Tree Sculpture crafted by local artist Kevin O’Brien. Other sculpture displays change periodically thanks to a program allowing Gulfport residents to submit their own public art creations.

Harbor Square also hosts a weekly Fresh Market featuring local farmers selling fresh produce as well as prepared foods and handmade goods. Special community events like concerts, art festivals and holiday celebrations often take place on the Harbor Square grounds surrounding scenic Centennial Plaza.

5. Recreation Center

The Gulfport Recreation Center lives up to its name by giving both residents and visitors plenty of ways to stay active. Attractions include a spacious fitness room, full-size indoor basketball court, and outside aquatic center containing a 25-meter lap pool, vortex pool, splash pad and lazy river.

With features like zero-depth entry, water play equipment and areas reserved for younger kids, the Gulfport Municipal Pool makes swimming accessible for all ages. Complimentary recreational swim times allow the public to enjoy the pools during summer months.

Year-round recreation opportunities also exist inside the facility thanks to a game room and computer lab, plus spaces to host everything from indoor walking clubs to ballet classes and karate lessons. Special events like sports camps and nutrition programs engage local youth as well.

6. St. Stanislaus Park

Nestled along St. Stanislaus Bayou, this small waterfront park overflows with Old World charm thanks to its brick paver walkways, quaint fountains and Victorian-style lamp posts. Visitors strolling through St. Stanislaus Park will find plenty of benches for resting while admiring lovely views overlooking the bayou.

Large oak trees dotted throughout the park provide cooling shade—a welcome respite from the hot Mississippi sun. More shade comes from covered picnic areas accommodating families and small groups. The picnic spot connects to a playground on one side and a pier perfect for fishing on the other.

Leashed dogs can also join their owners to enjoy St. Stanislaus Park’s relaxing waterfront scenery. Located downtown near popular shopping and dining on historic 14th Street, it’s easy to make an afternoon of exploring Gulfport with a stop at this picturesque community park.

7. Gulfport Veterans Park

Honoring local veterans both past and present, Gulfport Veterans Park stands as a peaceful place to observe military memorials. Principal features include an impressive water display with shooting fountains encircled by benches plus brick pavers engraved with veteran’s names.

Soaring flagpoles display the American flag, Mississippi state flag, POW/MIA flag and flags representing each military branch. Veterans Park also contains the Gulfport Memorial to 20th Century Veterans, a striking concrete and granite structure etched with images and factoids commemorating those who served from the 1900s onward.

On Veterans Day and Memorial Day, the park hosts ceremonies where community members come together to celebrate national pride and pay tribute through activities like cannon firings, bagpipes and an honor walk. Whether you want to reflect or gather with patriotic neighbors, Veterans Park delivers with year-round military pride.

8. Gaston Point Community Center

As the heart and soul of Gaston Point—a historic African American neighborhood in Gulfport—the Gaston Point Community Center serves as a versatile recreation hub hosting numerous community events. Outdoor features include a large playground, walking trail, picnic pavilion, sports field and public green space available for reservation.

Inside the facility lies a technology lab with free computer usage, small library, and large hall hosting everything from neighborhood association meetings to Zumba classes. Many gather for special programing like Black History Month events, youth summits and guest speaker presentations focused on relevant community issues.

The Gaston Point Community Center also oversees an aggressive urban agriculture initiative striving to fill food gaps through neighborhood gardens and nutrition education. Whether growing fruits and veggies or growing together through impactful programming, this center nourishes the community both physically and socially.

9. Twenty-Fifth Avenue Beach

Easy to spot thanks to its candy cane-striped pier extending into Mississippi Sound, Twenty-Fifth Avenue Beach offers visitors another picturesque spot to enjoy Gulfport’s shoreline. In addition to the fishing pier, beachgoers will find picnic tables, grilling areas and restroom facilities for comfort and convenience.

During warm weather months, locals flock to Twenty-Fifth Avenue to swim, jet ski and boat in the sheltered cove created by the pier’s structure. Even in cooler temperatures, it remains a popular scenic overlook to spot seabirds or watch breathtaking sunrises and sunsets over the water.

Free parking makes this community beach easily accessible to both residents and tourists seeking sand, surf and serenity. Whether you plan to stay all afternoon or just stop by to snap a few photos at sunset, Twenty-Fifth Avenue Beach deserves a spot on your Gulfport sightseeing list.

10. Gulfport Skate Park

In a city filled with southern hospitality and coastal charm, Gulfport Skate Park offers an alternative scene celebrating skate culture through creativity and community. Designed specifically for skateboards and inline skates, the cement skate plaza contains numerous ramps, grind rails and ledges organizing into different areas based on skill level.

From curved banks and small quarter pipes perfect for new skaters to more challenging bowls and gaps better suited for experienced riders, people flock to Gulfport Skate Park to push their limits in a safe, legal environment. A street course recreating typical skate obstacles like stairs, handrails and granite ledges helps boarders practice technical tricks translated to urban settings.

Shady areas with benches give both skaters and spectators a place to take a breather and meet up with friends between runs. Whether you come to ride or simply admire the culture, Gulfport Skate Park promotes freedom, creativity and connection through wheeled sports.

11. Gazebo Arts Park

Downtown Gulfport visitors will likely stumble upon the Gazebo Arts Park, an open-air gallery displaying the works of local artists and artisans. Sculptures, mosaics, paintings and mixed media installations rotate through the space keeping the content fresh and intriguing to return visitors.

In addition to eye-catching visual art, creative individuals and groups often gather in the Gazebo Arts Park for pop-up musical performances or theater shows appealing to spontaneous crowds. The central gazebo acts as a covered stage while park trees festoon with twinkling lights and banners create a whimsical backdrop.

With artisan boutiques, hip eateries and unique shops mere steps away, relaxing at Gazebo Arts Park makes for an all-encompassing cultural experience showcasing creative talent while strolling through downtown Gulfport. Don’t forget your camera to commemorate some of the innovative works on display!

12. Small Craft Harbor

Although not a traditional park space, Gulfport’s Small Craft Harbor serves as a recreational marina full of shops and attractions for all ages. Family-friendly highlights include waterfront eateries like Sharkheads Outfitters, gift stores selling coastal souvenirs and charters offering everything from deep sea fishing to thrilling jet ski tours.

For kids, a top spot to visit is the Gulfport Aquarium housing over 30 large aquariums showcasing regional ecosystems filled with fish, stingrays, seahorses, turtles and other marine life. Budding biologists will love learning about coastal conservation through interactive exhibits and presentations.

Naturally, the best way to experience the harbor involves getting out on the water yourself by renting kayaks or stand up paddleboards directly from one of the neighboring nautical outfitters. With beautiful bay views, unique shopping opportunities and plenty of ways to play, Small Craft Harbor packs big entertainment.

Conclusion

This lineup of Gulfport’s 12 top parks provides a well-rounded overview showcasing some of the city’s best green spaces, recreation facilities and outdoor attractions. From sprawling regional parks to small neighborhood gems, visitors will find beautiful scenery, family fun and even cultural enrichment while exploring this coastal Mississippi destination.

Whether you prefer an active adventure of Gulf-side golf, skating or watersports, or simply want to relax along white sand beaches and bayfront picnic spots, Gulfport offers natural respite and revitalization through its wealth of fantastic parks.

So next time you’re seeking the sun and sand of the Magnolia State, be sure to carve out time for urban explorations as well. Gulfport’s vibrant culture, historic southern neighborhoods, unique boutiques and fantastic regional cuisine deserve as much appreciation as its beloved shoreline vistas. By mixing metro sightseeing with coastal relaxation, you’re guaranteed an authentic Gulfport getaway to remember for years to come!

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