GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Good Friday is always one of the best excursion days for the captains that set sail to Ship Island. The Spring season kicked off almost a month ago, and from the crowds they've seen so far, the folks at Ship Island Excursions are already expecting to surpass their tourism numbers from last year.
"Ship Island is really the gem of the Gulf Coast and it's just something that the tourists love and we love taking them out to the island," said Kevin Buckle, Director of Marketing for Ship Island Excursions.
With tourism numbers up, and fuel prices down, Buckle believes this season of excursions to Ship Island will be a success.
"We're expecting another successful season. We had a great season last year and we're expecting this season to exceed last season," he said.
Buckle said the majority of the guests that visit Ship Island are from out of state, like John Coleman and Linda Gaspard from Louisiana. They said the island is the perfect definition of a good time that's close to home.
"You don't have to go all the way to Florida. You can just go out here to Ship Island and it's like being in Florida, you know. And you don't have that extra drive and where we're from it's just a few hours over here," John said.
John has been to the island many times, but it's Linda's first.
"He just told me it was very, very nice and he thought I would enjoy it," Linda said with a smile.
Other first timers say what ever they see or find will be an experience they know they'll enjoy.
"I just expect anything! I didn't know there was ever anything out there, so I'll be very surprised with whatever I see. I'm just looking forward to being out in the fresh air and having a good day," Mary Suitter said.
"That's about it. Just having a good day with family and friends. That's what it's about," Michael Hardy said.
Two boats go out to the island Wednesday though Friday at 9 a.m, and twice on the weekend at 9 a.m and noon. The Spring season runs through May 10.