The Mississippi Department of Transportation is the port authority for Biloxi Port. The State controls two of the 16 public ports: fourteen are owned and operated locally. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Biloxi Port is one of the State's four seaports. Six river ports are located in western Mississippi on the Mississippi River, and six ports are located on the Tombigbee and Tennessee River Waterway.
The City of Biloxi's Port Division is located in the new Small Craft Harbor and is open from 8am to 5pm on weekdays. All harbors and docks in Biloxi Port are open 24 hours a day. The vast majority (98%) of the cargo handled comes to Biloxi Port, with only 2% leaving Biloxi Port. Biloxi Port is three miles from the nearest Interstate Highway, US 90. It has no rail service.
In 2008, Biloxi Port handled a total of 3.5 million tons of primarily domestic cargo. Biloxi Port received more than 3.4 million tons and shipped 71.2 thousand tons. By commodity, Biloxi Port cargoes included coal and lignite (77% of total); sand, soil, gravel, rock, and stone (21%); and miscellaneous cargoes (2%).
The Biloxi Port channel has a depth of 3.7 meters (12 feet). The average depth at berth in Biloxi Port is from 2.4 to 3.7 meters (8 to 12 feet). The largest vessel that Biloxi Port can accommodate is 52.4 meters (172 feet). Biloxi Port covers about two acres, and it has about 1.8 thousand square meters (20 thousand square feet) of warehouse off-site. The port has a hoist for small commercial craft and a fixed-structure laundry as well as restrooms and showers for the Marinas. Facilities and services for passengers in Biloxi Port include charter yachts and fishing boats, marinas, casinos, and dinner cruises. Biloxi Port offers services to customers that include mooring assistance, fresh water at berths, repairs, supplies and equipment, fuel, divers, and sales and service of marine electronics.
The Biloxi Port Small Craft Harbor is located in "Ole Biloxi," or downtown. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the original building and was rebuilt and re-opened in 2010. The Biloxi Port Small Craft Harbor's administrative offices have showers and restrooms on the second floor. A boat ramp is provided for local fishermen. There are 41 berths at the Biloxi Port Small Craft Harbor with berth sizes from 7.6 to 18.3 meters (25 to 60 feet).
The Commercial Docking Facility in Biloxi Port is used for berthing the local shrimping fleet. In the summer, some of the boats sell their catch at the docks. There are 51 berths at this facility with berth sizes from 10.7 to 18.3 meters (35 to 60 feet), and fresh water is available.
The Point Cadet Marina is Biloxi Port's biggest marina. With restrooms, showers, and a fuel dock, the newly renovated Point Cadet Marina is located on the East Point. There are public boat launching ramps at Parker's Creek Boat Launch, the Forrest Avenue Pier, Kuhn Street Pier, and at Popp's Ferry Causeway Park.
The ramp at Kuhn Street Pier is currently awaiting repairs and, while the ramp is usable, the pier is not. The ramp and pier at Forrest Avenue are awaiting repair. The Boat Launch at Popp's Ferry is currently being built. The public boat launching ramp at Lee Street is also under construction. Public piers available in Biloxi Port include the Coliseum Pier, Lighthouse Pier, Old Ice Wharf, and Porter Avenue North Pier. The Old Biloxi/Ocean Springs Fishing Bridge is also awaiting repairs.
The causeway is currently being developed at Popp's Ferry Causeway Park in Biloxi Port. The park includes a boardwalk and a pavilion. The park also offers opportunities for jogging, walking, cycling, crabbing, and fishing.
Cruising and Travel
Biloxi Port celebrated its 300th anniversary in 1999. Not only does it boast the world's longest man-made beach, Biloxi Port is also the birthplace of Barq's Root Beer. In addition to the Gulf of Mexico, Biloxi Port offers much for vacationers and visitors. Activities range from fishing and outdoor recreation, and include fine dining, entertainment, tours, and casino gambling. Biloxi Port was the birthplace of the first Mardi Gras celebration. Billed as the "Playground of the South," Biloxi Port offers great attractions, accommodations, white sand beaches, and several luxurious casinos. Biloxi Port also has a strong heritage, and there are a number of cultural and historical sites throughout the area.
Biloxi Port has a subtropical climate influenced by the proximity of the Gulf of Mexico. Summers are humid and hot and can bring heavy tropical storms in the late fall and early summer. Winters are wet and mild. Temperatures in Biloxi Port range from an average high of 32°C (90°F) in July and August . Rainfall is common, with the heaviest rains coming from June to August, and humidity levels range from just over 90% in August to about 82% in February.
Biloxi Port's Beauvoir was the last home of the Confederate States' President Jefferson Davis. Built in 1848, Davis retired here from 1976 to 1889. Covering over 240 hectares when Davis lived there, Beauvoir is about 52 acres today. The compound contains a cottage-style plantation house, a botanical garden, an old Confederate veterans' home, a gift shop, the Confederate Soldier Museum, a Confederate cemetery, and the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum. Unfortunately, five of the buildings were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and are being rebuilt. Natural artesian springs on the grounds of Beauvoir feed Oyster Bay, a bayhead swamp and freshwater impoundment that runs across the property. The northeastern part of the estate is covered with primitive hardware forest similar to its condition in the 1800s, although it was seriously damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Beauvoir in Biloxi Port is open from 9am until 5pm seven days a week every day but Christmas and New Year's. Admission to this Biloxi Port attraction is $9 for adults and $5 for children.
The popular Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art highlights the pottery works of Biloxi Port's "Mad Potter," George Ohr. While it is in the process of being rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, the museum features Ohr's artwork, life, and workplace. Biloxi Port's Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 10am until 5pm. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and free to children five and below. Permanent exhibits include the works and life of George Edgar Ohr, the Pleasant Reed Interpretive Center telling the story of African American slaves and features a Photographic History of Ship Island's African American Resident.
The Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi Port is Mississippi's tallest building. The hotel has 1740 rooms and a variety of restaurants offering cuisines from steak to Asian to barbeque and seafood. The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino includes a 318-room hotel, seven restaurants, a full-service spa, a nightclub, a swim-up bar, and rock memorabilia including items from Elvis Presley, BB King, Johnny Cash, Kiss, Steve Tyler, Elton John, and Ted Nugent. The Hard Rock casino has 56 table games, a poker room, and more than 1400 slot machines. The IP Casino Resort & Spa was the first casino to re-open after Hurricane Katrina. In 2008, it became the only casino on the Gulf Coast with Rapid Roulette, an electronic game played on touch-screen terminals. During the recovery period after Katrina, the IP's hotel housed many disaster relief organizations including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).