Gulf Islands National Seashore (Mississippi) | BACKCOUNTRY CAMPING


Primitive backcountry camping is allowed on Petit Bois, West Petit Bois (aka Sand), and Horn islands, plus on the National Park Service owned portion of Cat Island (parts remains in private hands). No camping is allowed on Ship Island. The following rules apply:

  • Groups of ten or more need a wilderness permit to camp on the wilderness island listed above. Call (850) 934-2605 for information on obtaining a permit. Groups of less than ten do not need a permit.
  • Campsites must be on level ground on the beach areas of the islands, not in the vegetation or the dunes.
  • During bird nesting season some areas of the islands will be closed. There is no camping or cooking within 300 feet of these areas. The nesting season is typically from March through late summer.
  • No campfires are allowed on the beaches.
  • Collecting driftwood for use as fuel is prohibited.
  • Portable gas and charcoal grills are allowed. All burned and unburned material from portable grills must be removed from the area. Such material may not be placed in trash receptacles or placed on the ground.
  • There are no garbage cans on the islands. You must bring all trash back with you.
  • Garbage and other non-natural materials must be packed out with you.
  • Human waste must be buried in at least six inches of sand and away from trails and fresh water sources. Toilet paper must be packed out as garbage. Groups of ten or more must keep waste in leak-proof containers and take it off the island.
  • No pets are allowed on Horn or Petit Bois Islands.
  • Those vessels arriving at the Wilderness Islands must remain outside of the mean high tide.
  • There will be no motorized or mechanical mean devices (wheeled coolers, carts, wheelbarrows, or anything else with wheels and axles, etc..) allowed in the wilderness areas of Horn and Petit Bois Islands.
  • Camping, cooking, or other activities are not allowed in areas closed for the protection of shorebirds, osprey, or eagles, including any area within 300 yards of any nest which is being used by adult or juvenile osprey or eagle.
  • The maximum time permitted for camping is fourteen (14) consecutive days. At the end of fourteen (14) days, campers must completely remove themselves and their property from the park for a minimum of 2 days (48 hours) before returning for another overnight visit. There is a 42-day maximum time frame to camp in the backcountry/wilderness areas.

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Last updated on April 29, 2022
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