Nestled along the west coast of Florida, Gulfport is a city with easy access to the beautiful Tampa Bay and its pristine beaches.
From 1868, the city underwent several name revisions until it settled on Gulfport in 1910 to incorporate it with the famous Gulf Casino.
Gulfport features a mix of small-town, historic allure with the convenience and attractions of a city.
Nature attractions, like beaches, preserves, parks, and fishing piers, are also prominent in this diverse destination.
Gulfport is a city with a unique charm and a lively, welcoming community that holds frequent events and gatherings.
These events showcase their local crafts and highlight their Gulfport style-hospitality.
Head to Gulfport for a relaxing break and stay for its diverse, entertaining attractions.
Here are the best things to do in Gulfport, FL:
Bask in Nature at Clam Bayou Nature Park
This park and preserve can connect you with nature in Gulfport.
Clam Bayou Nature Park houses diverse environments, from bountiful vegetation plains and dense mangrove forests to wetlands and waterscapes.
Lush trees also give you fresh air and ample shade for sunny mornings and afternoons.
You can also observe animal wildlife through this park; the most common types are crabs, birds, fish, and gators.
There’s a wooden boardwalk to make your walk in the park easier, though you can also go kayaking and canoeing opportunities.
Relax at Gulfport Beach Recreation Area
Pristine beaches are a staple destination for those needing a serene break.
Gulfport Beach Recreation Area is a stunning work of nature with soft light-colored sand and clear azure waters.
Facilities like kid’s playgrounds, volleyball areas, and pavilions provide you with additional activities.
Nearby is an array of restaurants and shops you can see while walking the length of the shore.
The waterfront views are also beautiful, especially during sunsets and sunrise.
Shop Local at Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market
The farmers’ market is always exciting to mingle with locals through food, artwork, and other crafts.
As its name suggests, Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market houses a large cluster of independent local sellers.
There’s always a wide selection, including fresh fruits and vegetables, handmade trinkets, and creative artworks.
All the products in this market are locally produced, locally sourced, or made by Gulfport residents.
Get a glimpse of the city’s character and taste.
Local musicians often perform live to brighten the market’s mood and atmosphere.
Stroll along the Gulfport Art Walk
The vibrant Gulfport Art Walk comes to life on the first and third Saturday of every month.
Stalls, kiosks, and galleries are within six city blocks of Beach Boulevard.
Artists and curious visitors gather to browse and showcase their dedication to arts and crafts.
It features various mediums like wood carvings, clay sculptures, watercolor paintings, sketches, and many other types of art.
The only limit is to create their own artworks.
Sometimes, they hold “themed” art walks that highlight particular advocacy and encourage guests and artists to think about specific issues critically.
Walking along the Gulfport Art Walk is a unique cultural experience that shows you the heart of the people.
Learn from Gulfport History Museum
Gulfport also has a distinct history that shaped it into the city it is today.
Gulfport History Museum provides a detailed overview of that long history with old artifacts, photographs, maps, and memorabilia.
Learn about the city’s first settlers, its prime industries, and how it became a booming town at the cost of natural resources.
This museum offers a rich learning experience, perfect for history buffs or people who want a deeper insight into the city.
There are permanent exhibits on remarkable people and significant town events.
Likewise, there are changing exhibitions offering something new to locals and guests.
Drink Handcrafted Beer at Gulfport Brewery + Eatery
Opened in 2020, Gulfport Brewery + Eatery has become a famous award-winning brewery in the city.
Their homemade brews feature primary and unique flavors with ingredients like malt, mangoes, and pineapples.
The brewery also boasts hearty, filling meals that pair well with their beers.
Sometimes, they also host live music, which you can best enjoy at open-air outdoor seats with a mini tropical garden backdrop.
Enter Beach House 5317
The city of Gulfport has a vivid art scene with many creative destinations, but Beach House 5317 deserves special mention for its bright quirky vibe.
You’ll immediately spot the store thanks to its bright red paint, a colorful sign, and a few items displayed through transparent windows.
Inside, you’ll see a vast collection of unique items and trinkets painted with creative designs like mermaids, birds, and tropical art.
Beach House 5317 is an exciting place.
See painted inspirational rocks to furniture with vivid watercolor designs.
You can purchase one-of-a-kind souvenirs to remember your trip to Gulfport or bring some dainty trinkets back home for family and friends.
Beach House 5317 offers a different experience with locally customized products.
Fish at Bert and Walter Williams Pier
With Gulfport positioned along the bay, it’s no surprise that fishing is popular in the city.
Locals have reported a variety of fish in the bay, including catfish, trout, and mullets.
Bert and Walter Williams Pier also has splendid waterfront views of Boca Ciega Bay which looks particularly radiant during sunset and sunrise hours.
You could also see adorable marine wildlife like dolphins, stingrays, and manatees.
Many shops, bars, and restaurants are also nearby.
The Bert and Walter Williams Pier has come a long way, having built its first one in 1907.
This place has become a well-visited destination, attracting travelers from the country.
Those who want to relax on this pier can find it along Shore Boulevard.
Spot the Animals at Wood Ibis Park
Wood Ibis Park is a f0ur-acre park that attracts not just people but also animals.
Certain creatures like bunnies, birds, turtles, and ducks pop in for a visit.
It’s also free and pet-friendly, making the park a casual place to drop by for a leisure walk with some animal viewing.
Wood Ibis Park also has a garden that houses several native plants and flowers and vibrant butterflies flying around the foliage.
The park offers a calming experience with nature and cute animals.
Spend the Day at the Gulfport Recreation Center
Gulfport Recreation Center offers facilities like courts, game rooms, and a skatepark, among many others.
Whether you want to learn a new skill or get active, the Gulfport Recreation Center can accommodate several activities.
They also offer classes like ballet, tennis, hip hop, and Zumba, depending on the season and availability of their instructors.
Overall, it’s family-friendly and has activities to entertain people of all ages.
Dine with a View at Neptune Grill
Neptune Grill makes a statement with its Greek theme, evident from its outdoor decor and menu.
It features a wide range of traditional Mediterranean and Greek meals.
Try the gyros and saganaki to Greek salads and spanakopita.
Aside from delicious meals, Neptune Grill has an outdoor patio with clear waterfront views of the Boca Ciega Bay.
They also have live music and entertainment to keep the atmosphere bright and lively.
It’s no wonder that Neptune Grill is one of the highest-rated restaurants in Gulfport.
Spend the Night in the Historic Peninsula Inn
Interestingly, the establishment of Peninsula Inn is connected to the vibrant art scene in Gulfport, Florida.
It started with James Lodato, who purchased the building in the 1990s.
He envisioned building a concentrated hub for art and culture in the center of Gulfport.
His vision turned into reality since Gulfport now has several art galleries and events that celebrate and showcase creativity.
Meanwhile, the Peninsula Inn has become a historic hotel that attracts many people through old-style elegance, traditional decor, and classic rooms.
When visiting this hotel, look for the vibrant mural the resident Keith Stillwagon painted.
They also have their own restaurant; you can bring pets into the hotel.
Take a restful break in the Historic Peninsula Inn, located along Beach Boulevard.
See a Show at the Catherine A Hickman Theater
The Catherine A Hickman Theater may be on the smaller side, but it does come with perks.
Small theaters like this often have the most intimate seats and the clearest sight-lines.
With 173 seating capacity, everyone can enjoy a clear look at the stage and its performers in every show.
They also hold diverse performances like musical concerts, plays, comedies, and acoustics.
The performers also work hard to master their crafts and provide an entertaining show.
Admire the Works in the Domingo Studio
The Domingo Studio is an art gallery in Gulfport with a singular theme: marine life.
This studio houses artwork created by world-renowned artist Ray Domingo.
Domingo had only planned to visit Gulfport, but its rich marine life and the tight-knit community made him stay and open his studio.
He sells various art products such as original oil paintings, printed digital art, t-shirts, etc.
The products follow Domingo’s signature sea life motif with classy, breathtaking designs.
Otherwise, you can purchase a customized oil painting with your own motif and have a picture made by a famous artist.
Shop at the Village Courtyard
The Village Courtyard is an outdoor shopping mall with a collection of old-style Florida establishments.
You can find restaurants, nail salons, flower shops, bars, and many other establishments in this district.
They also have frequent live music and entertainment from local talents, especially in the evenings.
A stroll along Village Courtyard gives you a feel for Gulfport and its welcoming community.
So, grab a bite to eat, drink a refreshing beer, and relax in the presence of live music and a friendly atmosphere.
Gulfport may be a city, but it has the heart and vibe of a small cozy town.
With endless waterfront views, nature-focused attractions, and a vivid art scene, Gulfport offers small pieces of quiet heaven to those needing relaxation.
They also have premium restaurants, museums, quirky stores, and historic destinations that show the character of Gulfport and its residents.
The city’s tight-knit community provides countless ways to connect with locals and travelers.
Start planning your Gulfport trip today!