Welcome to Coastal Mississippi – a 62-mile stretch of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, just a six-hour drive or one-hour flight from Houston.

While the Biloxi Indians first called this place their home, the French soon swooped in to establish Fort Maurepas, a settlement built in 1699 at the site of current-day Ocean Springs. Since then, the area has seen the influence of many occupants and many cultures. Today, Coastal Mississippi is made up of 12 cities and spans three counties. Situated between New Orleans, La. and Mobile, Ala., this little slice of the Southern U.S. offers more than meets the eye!

- Beaches, culture, food and beaches, culture, food and casinos make perfect getaway -

Once arriving in Mississippi, we checked into the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, boasting more than 1,500 rooms and 95 luxury suites. Guests can expect amenities like on-site restaurants, an arcade, a pool with private cabanas, a spa, great shopping and more. As the third largest gambling center in the nation after Vegas and Atlantic City, you’ll find approximately seven to eight casinos within a mile of one another. We spent the afternoon at the casino playing slots and perusing the premier shops, like Vera Bradley and others, before heading to dinner at BR Prime.

The pride and heritage of Biloxi comes alive aboard this unique and interesting cruise. The Biloxi Shrimping Trip exposes guests to the spectacular world of sea life caught on a real shrimping expedition. This 70-minute “Living Marine Adventure” cruise navigates in the calm, protected waters between Deer Island and the Biloxi shoreline for your comfort.
Check out the view of the rooftop pool at the fabulous Beau Rivage, a waterfront casino resort in Biloxi. The Beau Rivage hotel is the tallest building in Mississippi. The term ‘Beau Rivage’ is French for ‘beautiful shore’ which you can see from their luxurious rooftop pool and bar.

 

Located onsite, BR Prime is an American steakhouse with great food and excellent service. Choose from options like lobster tail, dry-aged prime beef, seasonal oysters and more. The best part? You don’t even have to leave the comfort of the resort and casino! The restaurant is beautifully decorated with modern touches but a cozy feel. The waitstaff was top notch and paid attention to the little details such as pulling out my chair for me.

Before leaving Biloxi, we had to stop by The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum to learn more about Coastal Mississippi. With 20,000 square feet of exhibit space, there is plenty to explore. Learn about the region’s history as you peruse exhibits on recreational fishing, wetlands, charter boats, The Biloxi Schooner and more!

Here’s the upscale version of pimento cheese at Vestige, a locally owned restaurant in beautiful and historic downtown Ocean Springs featuring a Modern American market-driven menu.
 
 
This scrumptious fried shrimp poboy may be found at Patio 44, serving classic and new Creole-style dishes utilizing only the finest ingredients available from the Delta and Gulf Coast regions.

Still not enough? Why not cruise around the Mississippi Sound with Living Marine Adventures? Put your knowledge of shrimping to good use on this real-life shrimping excursion. Watch the crew drop a 16-foot trawl as they comb the ocean floor for the tiny, delectable sea creatures. When the net gets brought in, don’t be surprised to see squid, oysters, crabs and the like!

From there we found ourselves at Bankhouse Coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up. Located in – yep, you guessed it – an old bank, Bankhouse Coffee opened its doors in 2000 as the home of Coast Roast Coffee. Since then, the company has expanded to include multiple locations in Louisiana and Mississippi. Their coffee is also available for wholesale.

Last, but certainly not least, visit Beauvoir – the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library. Spanning 52 acres, Beauvoir is dedicated to the life of Davis and tours are offered to the public.

It was onto Ocean Springs our third day of the trip, where we started with breakfast at Greenhouse. Pair a buttery, flaky biscuit with a side of fruit or spiced pecans and a cup of pour-over coffee.

Once you’ve had your fill, head over to the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. Their permanent collection features pottery by George Ohr, a Biloxi potter marked by a large mustache that wrapped at the neck. Ohr, who lived from 1857-1918, was not appreciated during his time. As such, he decided to open a Cadillac dealership and store his wares away. Fifty years later, they would be purchased by Jim Carpenter and eventually put on display. The museum contains close to 200 pieces by Ohr.

This cute shop, the Social Chair, in Bay St. Louis is just one of the many reasons to spend time here. Considered “a place apart,” this quaint seaside town has been named one of the ‘Coolest Small Towns in America’ by Budget Travel and was also recognized as a Top 10 Small Beach Town by Coastal Living Magazine. From friendly folks to historic buildings, this unique city embraces the heritage of the Coastal Mississippi region.
Walter Anderson, best known for his paintings, is an American master who called the Mississippi Gulf Coast home. You can visit the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs to see various works from his lifetime. Adjoining the museum is the Ocean Springs Community Center, built in 1950. Anderson offered to paint murals on the interior walls for $1 and spent 15 months at the task. The mural has two themes: one wall depicts the historic landing at Ocean Springs of the French colonist, Iberville, in 1699, and the others are the “seven climates,” or astrological seasons, of the coastal area – the moon, Mercury, Uranus,Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the sun, all represented by the flora and fauna of the region.

 

For dinner, consider Vestige – whose chef, Alex Perry, was a 2019 James Beard Award semifinalist! At Vestige they feel that dining should be a sensory experience and work to prove that food can be fun. Expect local, sustainable ingredients used to create well-rounded dishes full of flavor.

As the end to our coastal tour of Mississippi, we found ourselves in Bay St. Louis where we enjoyed brunch at Mockingbird Cafe before a visit to the Alice Mosely Folk Art and Antique Museum. Located in an old house and entirely plastic-free, Mockingbird makes the perfect breakfast or brunch spot. Try one of their fresh baked pastries – you won’t be disappointed. 

Use the remainder of your time to admire the art at Alice Mosely. Here you’ll find pottery, folk art paintings, art glass and antique furniture. Admission is free and the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday.

Ready to plan your trip to Coastal Mississippi? Visit coastalmississippi.com to learn more!

Cynthia Calvert
Author: Cynthia CalvertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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A trained journalist with a masters degree from Lamar University, a masters from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, as well as extensive coursework toward a masters of science in psychology from the University of New Orleans, Calvert founded the Tribune Newspapers in 2007. Her experiences as an investigative, award winning reporter (She won Journalist of the Year from the Houston Press Club among many other awards for reporting and writing), professor and chair of the journalism department for Lone Star College-Kingwood and vice president of editorial for a large group of community weeklies provides her with a triple dose of bankable skills that cover every aspect of the journalism field. Solid reporting. Careful interviews. Respect and curiosity for people and places.

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