The Lure of the Islands in the Gulf of Mexico What is it that entices people to the sea? Poet John Masefield wrote,
Jennifer A. on Naval Live Oaks Trail
This was a nice shady trail. The trees and views of the water were great. Watch out for ticks though. We stayed on the trail and our dog still had to have several picked off of him.
It's a beach and if you're camping you are walking along the beach, the dunes, the water, the dune grass and people - for about a mile depending on how far you want to go. The Park Service requires you to hike at least a mile (I think) before they will allow camping on the beach.
Nice easy trail that follows the beach in the Naval Live Oaks Nature Preserve. A good idea is to start at the Gulf Islands National Seashore visitor's center and follow the boardwalk along the beach and back thru the woods. The trail can be an in and out or 8 mile loop by crossing the highway. The trail features some impressive Live Oaks and lots of hanging moss. The only distraction is the loud traffic with its proximity to US Highway 98 otherwise this is a real nice day hike with lots of great views and photo opportunities.
My wife and I have been here several times from 2006 through 2014. Take your sunblock! Although I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to make this trip, I do recommend it if you're in the area. Take your sunblock! Insect repellent isn't always necessary but occasionally it is appreciated. There is no shade unless you rent umbrellas from the boat company. The fort is moderately interesting. Watch for dolphins on the boat ride out to the island and occasionally swimming along the beach. The condition of the beach is variable; sometimes it's pristine with fresh white sand, other times it's black and/or covered in washed-up dried-out seaweed. Did I mention to take your sunblock?! On weekends the main beach area can be over-run with people but it isn't hard to walk up the beach far enough to get away from the crowd. You can bring a cooler on the boat ride to the island, highly recommend roller coolers as the walk across the island to the gulf-side beach is long if you're carrying a cooler.
Went there with my dad about 4pm today, so did a rushed walk to see everything before it became dark. Was a great experience! Got to see a beautiful sunset and the trails were very accessible (but looked like a hurricane hit it very recently). I was surprised that half of the trails are along side a road, but would go again to enjoy it with less time restrictions.
I live nearby and went there 7.5 miles by mountain bike. Nice area and trails are maintained after Hurricanes, etc. I suggest a morning hike here especially in fall and spring. Summer middays and afternoons can be brutal from gnats and horseflies and that famous South MS humidity. Bring your field glasses for all the birds and occasional very distant Gator.