Gulf Islands National Seashore Hosts Candlelight Program at Fort Massachusetts on October 13, 2023

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. Gulf Islands National Seashore in partnership with Ship Island Excursions will host a special program, Darkest Before the Light: Fort Massachusetts Candlelight Tours Friday, Oct. 13.

Join us for a special evening program where you and your group will be guided by candlelight through the arches of historic Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island.

Witness the breathtaking natural darkness of Mississippi’s most visited barrier island while encountering scenes from the fort’s storied, and often dark past. Rangers will detail the struggle, perseverance, triumph, and loss of the soldiers, prisoners, and freedom seekers who occupied the island and fort over the course of the American Civil War.

Living history demonstrators in historic attire will open a window into the past by recreating the scenes from the fort’s history.

Patrons must purchase tickets in advance for the program to include transportation online at Tickets are limited and this is a one-time event.

Need to know: Visitors will depart Gulfport for a one-hour ride to the island. Once you arrive you will be split into groups with an assigned time to start a guided tour. Visitors will have a specific area to wait for their time. Restrooms will be provided onsite. Flashlights and phones are not permitted during the tour of the fort. Everyone will depart the island at the same time from the same locations. Instructions will also be provided on the ferry.

What to bring: Patrons are allowed to bring light snacks, blankets, and jackets.

About Gulf Islands National Seashore: Created in 1971, the national seashore stretches 160 miles along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Mississippi and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, historic forts, bayous, and marine habitats. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.