Visit Us: Explore
Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center
Visit the Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center to learn more about our “Gold” LEED Certified facility and tour our interpretive area. Our exhibit, “Living on the Edge: The Nature of Change” includes displays on resource management, cultural heritage, and coastal habitats. The Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center is the headquarters for the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Admission to the Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center is free. The interpretive center is open to the public Monday-Friday from 9:00am to 3:00pm. If your group is interested in a Green Building Tour, please call in advance and make a reservation.
The Reserve offers a variety of canoeing and kayaking experiences. Relatively calm waters exist in the bayous and tidal creeks and are well suited for recreational and touring kayaks as well as canoes. Those willing to paddle out to the Reserve’s bays and open water will experience more wave action and wind exposure. Sea or touring kayaks are better suited to the open water environments.
For access on Bayou Heron: a free public boat launch is located at the end of Bayou Heron Road. For access on Bayou Cumbest: the Point o’ Pines boat launch on Grand Battures Road is privately owned and charges a small fee to launch.
The Reserve and surrounding areas in southeastern Jackson County, Mississippi, contain a diversity of habitats that support numerous and significant bird populations. Important species include pelicans, Ospreys, marshbirds, waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and migrant landbirds. Over 250 bird species have been observed in and around the Grand Bay NERR/NWR. The Reserve is a site on the Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail. We have produced a free guide, Selected Birds of the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Vicinity, available at the Coastal Resources Center.
Public roads and trails are free and open to the public during daylight hours. Additional birds can be found on the Reserve’s outer waters; see “Boating” below for more information on access. Visit the Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center for a copy of current access regulations and to pick up a bird guide.
Nature Photography and Viewing
Beautiful, relatively pristine habitats across the Reserve offer great opportunities for landscape photography and viewing rare plants and animals. Several species of carnivorous plants and orchids occur can be observed, as well as birds, butterflies, dragonflies, turtles, and the occasional American Alligator. Please remain on public road and trails, and be aware that many Reserve habitats are sensitive to disturbance. Take only pictures, and please do not disturb or remove any plants or animals. We have produced a free guide, Selected Plants of Coastal Mississippi and Alabama to help you identify commonly occurring plant species.
Public roads and trails are free and open to the public during daylight hours. See “Boating” below for more information on water access. Visit the Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center for a copy of current access regulations and to pick up a plant guide.
Hunting is allowed by permit along with the appropriate Mississippi Hunting License during designated hunting seasons in the National Wildlife Refuge. Please visit the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge website for additional important information. Hunting within the Grand Bay Savanna Coastal Preserve portion of the Reserve is allowed with the appropriate Mississippi Hunting License during the appropriate hunting seasons.
A free public boat launch and a handicapped-accessible fishing pier are located at the end of Bayou Heron Road, about three miles south of the Coastal Resources Center, on Bayou Heron. The pier is suitable for fishing and crabbing. The waters of the reserve are shallow, especially at low tide; only boats that draft a minimal amount of water should attempt to navigate outside of Bayou Heron. The Point o’ Pines boat launch on Grand Battures Road is privately owned and charges a small fee to launch into Bayou Cumbest.
Unless you are exempt (under 16 or a Mississippi resident over 65), a Mississippi saltwater fishing license is required when fishing in the Reserve’s tidal waters.
Oak Grove Birding Trail
The Oak Grove Birding Trail is just off Bayou Heron Road, south of the Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center. This trail is a maritime, mixed hardwood forest intermingled with pines that slope down towards the marshes that border the upper reaches of Bayou Heron. Birding along this trail is most enjoyable and successful during the periods of spring and fall migration. Migrants such as Yellow Warblers, Redstarts and Scarlet Tanagers are some of the most common birds found here in the spring.
The Oak Grove Birding Trail is free and open to the public daily during daylight hours.