Day Trip: Ship Island

A day on Ship Island

I’ve been dying to go to the beach.

Summer makes me restless. I love my job, I do. But when it’s hot outside and kids are out of school, I become desperate to get away and play in the water. Sand and sun are all I can think about!

Since a real vacation, or even hopping over to Florida for a couple of days, just isn’t in the cards right now, a day trip it would have to be. Luckily, from Baton Rouge, you can get a serious change of scenery with just a few hours’ drive to the Gulf Coast.

West Ship Island

I researched my options and decided on Ship Island. It’s about a 2-hour drive to Gulfport from Baton Rouge, and from there you catch a boat that takes you to the island, 11 miles off the coast.

We decided to really make a day of it, so we set our alarm for 6 a.m. and made it in time to catch the 9 a.m. boat. There was a pretty big crowd, but we had bought our tickets in advance online, so we grabbed our boarding passes and got on the boat with our cooler, beach chairs, and supplies.

Ship Island Excursions Boat

On the way, we passed another boat that had already dropped a bunch of people off on the island! We also saw a few dolphins on the trip over.

We're on a boat!

After about 45 minutes, we caught our first glimpse of Ship Island. It’s about 7 miles long but just a half mile across.

First glimpse

We pulled into port and stepped off the boat onto a boardwalk that we followed all the way across the island, to the side that faces the Gulf. Endless ocean! At the end of the boardwalk, there’s a little area with concessions and bathrooms.

Crowds

Most people stuck close to the boardwalk, but we wanted a quieter beach, so we hauled our gear a ways down the beach until we found a nice area that was practically deserted! You can rent chairs and umbrellas from the people who run the boat, but if you want a peaceful beach day, I highly recommend bringing your own chairs and getting away from the crowds.

Private beach (sort of)

We lounged in our chairs, and, boy was I glad we splurged on the little umbrellas – the sun was out in force! There was a nice breeze off the Gulf, though. It wasn’t unpleasantly hot if you had a little shade. Still, if you go, do not skimp on the sunscreen! And bring a hat. We also packed a cooler with sandwiches, fruit, and water, so we had plenty of snacks.

Perfection

We watched the waves and the people who passed us on their beach walks. We swam when it got too hot.

These are our water shoes, try not to be jealous

We took a nice long walk down the beach. We left most of our things on the beach while we walked. I took our money and keys in a small backpack, but we left the chairs and cooler. They were right where we left them when we got back.

Waves

We explored a little of the middle of the island, where there are some pretty plants and you can see Fort Massachusetts in the distance, but it did get hotter the farther you were from the water, so we headed back to the shore pretty quickly.

Fort in the distance

After our walk and a bit more swimming, we walked over to the fort and took a look around. It’s an interesting place, with a D-shaped construction and sea grass growing on the mounds at the top. It’s got fun round staircases, a huge cannon, and some cool displays about its history as a military asset. There weren’t guided tours on the day we went, but I believe they are offered.

Fort Massachusetts

We headed back to the beach and lazed around until it was time to board the 5:00 boat off the island.

Bye, Island!

With sand in our shoes (and in other places, too) and smiles on our faces, we waved goodbye to our island paradise.

It was such a good day!

Currently

Reading

I just finished  Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. I enjoyed it, and I really liked the way you got little pieces of the story from the points of view of different characters, each of whom had his or her own distinct voice. I thought it was a little hurried in its resolution, but overall I was glad I  read it, and I’ll be seeking out more of Walter’s books. This one in particular looks enticing, though wholly different from the one I just read.

Next up: Dearie. I’m just a few pages in, but I’m looking forward to the rest!

Watching

I’m loving summer sports right now! The French Open just wrapped up, and Wimbledon is right around the corner. I’ve gotten into the NBA playoffs a bit, and I’m enjoying the finals series between the Heat and the Spurs. But the big deal is that my LSU Tigers are on their way to Omaha for the College World Series! College baseball is pretty special here in Baton Rouge, so having the guys make it to the CWS always makes for an exciting summer. Geaux Tigers!

Listening

I am nothing short of obsessed with this song. Multiple times (in a row, what?) a day, dancing in the kitchen, Pandora station based on it. Obsessed.

Wondering

How to live with my boyfriend and not gain a million pounds. He moved in a few weeks ago and all is bliss, with the exception that, my god, he’s a dude. So he eats like a dude, and brings dude food into the house, and I like to cook dude food (fude?) for him. This is all fine, except I am a lady who can totally eat like a dude, but apparently cannot burn calories like a dude also. Unfair! Typically I do a good job of shopping for and eating healthy food the majority of the time. Let me tell you, though, it is way easier to exercise willpower in a single moment at the grocery store and not buy those cookies than it is to know those cookies are in the pantry and have to exercise the willpower not to eat them every. time. I  remember they are there (and I really never forget about those cookies). So, yeah. I’m gonna have to work on that.

Wearing

This dress. Lots. I got it on sale in teal (or “pollywog,” whatever old navy), and it’s comfy and summery and fun!

Currently

Reading

Code Name Verity – About halfway through and enjoying it. It took a while for me to get hooked and I was worried that after all of the great things I’ve heard about this book I’d be disappointed. But it’s slowly sucked me in and now I can’t wait to power through the rest of it. I’m into the characters and voices, the sense of intrigue and the feeling that I can’t trust what I think I know. I’m excited to see what’s in store.

Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids, and Life in a Half-Changed World – I’ve just started this one, and it has its faults, including being almost 15 years old and feeling a little too much as if the writer’s opinions are being projected onto the subjects, but oh man, every 5 pages or so there is a line that just goes zing right to the center of my anxieties and frustrations about where I am in life. It’s helping me to see that the questions I’m asking and the worries I’m (mostly) ignoring are normal and other women have the same issues. I’m at a place in my life where I’m starting to feel that I know what I want, and I think I’m doing an OK job of building the future I want to have, but I still have so many fears and worries and questions, it is comforting to read the stories of other women.

Watching

Veronica Mars – With the news of the long hoped-for movie becoming a reality, I was finally able to convince my guy that he needed to watch this series. So we’re going through it together. We’re almost done with season two and I am loving it as much as I did the first time around!

Undefeated – Over the weekend, we watched this incredible documentary of a season with a Memphis high school football team. It is so good, y’all! There are moments of absolute despair and of pure fist-pumping joy. The coach and players who get the closest attention are fascinating. I’m pretty much in the tank for most things football-related, but whether you’re a sports fan or not, this deserves a watch. It’s really about relationships, determination, and how finding something to believe in and someone who believes in you can make all the difference, no matter how stacked against you the deck seems.

I also managed to catch the new eps of Game of Thrones and Mad Men despite a busy weekend.

Today I won the lottery…

Not really…

But just for fun, as a break in the middle of a dreary afternoon as we finally near the end of a trying week, I played a little game with myself. I imagined that I’d won the lottery. And I asked myself what I’d do.

I made some rules, because I’m me, and rules give me nearly as much comfort as imaginary riches.

  1. This isn’t a quit-your-job-and-move-to-a-mansion jackpot. It’s, say… a couple hundred thousand.
  2. No being responsible. Yes, I should put 60% into a safe money-market blahblahblah… no. I’m blowing this money on fun stuff!

This fake money bought me several minutes of quality daydreaming. Here’s what I came up with:

Spruce it up! 
I’d go on a DIY binge. My house could use some fixing up. New paint and furniture, curtains, bathroom tile, the list goes on and on.

I’d also pay someone to cut my grass. I like tooling around in the garden and playing with plants, but the mowing and the weeding and the edging and the raking? No sir. (Truly, what prompted this little exercise was my dreading having to make time to do all that crap this weekend.)

Hit the road!
Vacations. A week at the beach with my boyfriend, a few days in New York with my sister, a bowl game trip with my family.

Spread the love!
Gifts all around! No specifics here, but lots of people would be getting “someone who loves me won the lottery” presents. I kinda filled up a page with ideas.

So, my spirits a good bit lifted, I can tackle the rest of this dreary afternoon.

What would you do if you won the lottery?