The Mississippi Gulf Coast isn’t large in terms of mileage but provides a large portion of the region’s seafood. Centered around Biloxi, there are also smaller towns like Ocean Springs, Bay St. Louis and, Pass Christian that make up the greater coast.
People often forget just how this area was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and others, which is still prevalent when driving through. It is also popular with gamblers because of legal casinos.
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Bay St. Louis
Charming Bay St. Louis is influenced by the French colonists that settled here and feels more like New Orleans than the rest of the coast. It’s full of locally owned shops and restaurants and was the setting for the 1966 movie This Property is Condemned.
What to Do in Bay St. Louis
100 Men Hall– The Mississippi Blues Trail landmark was built in 1922 and hosted Chitlin Circuit artists amidst Segregation. The venue still hosts live music and other community events like art exhibits and fundraisers. 303 Union Street
Alice Mosley Museum– The museum devoted to the folk artist was originally located inside her former home but has since outgrown it in favor of a train depot building. The galleries include Mosley’s work as well as a collection of antiques. 1928 Depot Way
Bay St. Louis Ghost and Cemetery Walk– Learn about the area’s spooky past and mysterious figures on this guided nighttime tour. You can even bring a drink for your walk.
Waveland Ground Zero Hurricane Museum– The Gulf Coast has long been plagued by natural disasters and this museum in nearby Waveland interprets this history with art that came after Hurricane Katrina. 335 Coleman Avenue, Waveland
Where to Eat in Bay St. Louis
The Blind Tiger Bay St. Louis– If you’re looking for the ultimate beach hangout for burgers and beer, look no further. The decor is reminiscent of the tropics, so embrace the vacation vibes. 119 North Beach Boulevard, (228) 216-2600
Coffee Culture– Grab your morning jolt at this dine-in and drive-through cafe, which serves Coast Roast beans. 1113 US-90, (228) 493-4666
Field’s Steak and Oyster Bar– Make a reservation for this popular restaurant known for its local seafood and steaks. It also has an incredible wine list as well as cocktails. 111 Main Street, Unit A, (228) 231-1972
Mockingbird Cafe– Located in an old home that also has a yoga studio, this charming cafe is a popular stop for breakfast and coffee. Favorite dishes include waffles, bowls, and sandwiches. 110 South 2nd Street, (228) 467-8383
Starfish Cafe– Open on weekends for dinner and brunch, this community-focused BYOB restaurant also provides job training. The menu include salads, wraps, tacos, and bowls. 10408 MS-603, (228) 229-3503
Thorny Oyster– Located inside the Pearl Hotel, the restaurant focuses on fresh seafood. Highlights include crab claws, gulf ceviche, and local oysters.104 North Beach Boulevard, (228) 688-0401
Where to Stay in Bay St. Louis
Bay Town Inn– This adorable inn overlooks the water and oak trees. Guests enjoy daily breakfast and an outdoor pool. 208 North Beach Boulevard
Carroll House Bed & Breakfast– The comfy rooms at this home in town offer free parking, free WiFi, and full kitchens. 304 Carroll Avenue
Hollywood Casino and Resort– If you’re looking to do some gaming while in town, this casino hotel has reasonably priced rooms and multiple restaurants. There’s also an RV park, golf course, pool, and marina. 711 Hollywood Blvd
The Pearl Hotel– Inspired by the oyster industry made famous here, this boutique hotel has 53 rooms and six suites, along with an outdoor pool, restaurants, and free WiFi. 104 North Beach Boulevard
While most people know Biloxi for its casinos, there’s much more than meets the eye. The seafood industry has long been a part of the business. Downtown Biloxi is also becoming more developed with restaurants and shops.
What to Do in Biloxi
Beauvoir– The home of Jefferson Davis, Confederate president, sits on the main drag in Biloxi. Built in 1852, the antebellum mansion has a presidential library, Civil War museum, and tours, including ghost tours. Get discounted tickets here. 2244 Beach Boulevard
Biloxi Lighthouse– Built in 1848, this lighthouse protected ships coming into the harbor. It was then damaged by hurricanes but was restored in 2010. Today, it sits alongside the visitor’s center and is open to tours. U.S. 90 at Porter Avenue
Biloxi Shrimping Trip– Learn about the shrimping industry on a real boat that has been in operation for decades. The guides educate guests on the many species of shrimp and fish that live in the bay.
Ground Zero Blues Club– The famous Clarksdale blues club co-owned by Morgan Freeman recently opened a second outpost in the heart of Biloxi. You can expect the same types of touring artists as well as events like art exhibits. 814 Howard Avenue
Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum– Learn about the Gulf Coast’s significance when it comes to shipbuilding and seafood at this large waterfront museum. The collection includes a piece of a lighthouse that survived Katrina and an early oyster shucking machine. 115 East 1st Street
MGM Park– Home to Biloxi’s minor league baseball team, the Biloxi Shuckers are an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. They also host baseball competitions and other events. 105 Caillavet Street
Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art– Named for a local ceramics artist, the museum was destroyed by Katrina but a new structure was designed by famed architect Frank Gehry. It has a permanent collection and rotating exhibits. 386 Beach Boulevard
Half-Day Fishing Charter– No experience is required to enjoy a half-day in the Gulf Coast in search of marine life. The captain knows the best fishing spots around.
Biloxi Bay Pontoon Boat Rental– If you’re familiar with boating, rent your own boat to explore the waterways of Biloxi Bay. You can also go to the barrier islands.
Where to Eat in Biloxi
BR Prime– Beau Rivage has a number of excellent restaurants, but this steakhouse has a great menu that includes top-notch steaks, seafood, and cocktails. 875 Beach Boulevard, (228) 386-7111
Fillin’ Station– The local favorite has sandwiches and seafood, including seasonal crawfish. 692 Howard Avenue, (228) 435-2522
The Greenhouse– Originally opened in Ocean Springs, this cute cafe serves unique biscuits made fresh daily along with coffee and sandwiches. They also host monthly markets and events. 152 GE Ohr Street, (228) 327-0579
Le Bakery– The Vietnamese bakery away from the casinos has sweets as well as sandwiches. 280 Oak Street, (228) 436-0850
Mary Mahoney’s Old French House– This old-school restaurant in a historic home is an essential part of any visit to Biloxi with New Orleans-inspired seafood. 110 Rue Magnolia, (228) 374-0163
McElroy’s Harbor House– Set right on the water, this seafood restaurant gets its products straight from the shrimp boats below. Open since 1974, it offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 695 Beach Boulevard, (228) 435-5001
Taranto’s Crawfish– Grab fresh crawfish and seafood po boys with heaping portions at this humble Biloxi eatery. 12404 John Lee Road, (228) 392-0990
White Pillars– Expect classic Southern fare at this former historic home turned restaurant, including chicken and sausage gumbo and rabbit confit pappardelle. 1696 Beach Boulevard, (228) 207-0885
Where to Stay in Biloxi
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino– The chain of music-themed hotels has a Biloxi outpost with guitars and other memorabilia on display. There are also multiple restaurants, a music venue, an outdoor pool, nightclubs, and a spa. 777 Beach Boulevard, (877) 877-6256
Harrah’s Gulf Coast Hotel & Casino– This casino hotel has stylish rooms as well as a golf course, spa, and pool. 280 Beach Boulevard, (800) 946-2946
Hilton Garden Inn Biloxi– If you’re looking for a full-service non-casino hotel, this outpost is in a convenient location with free parking, free WiFi, beach access, and an outdoor pool. 648 Beach Boulevard, (228) 325-2900
Hotel Legends– The 132-room all-suite hotel has a hip restaurant and an outdoor pool. 674 Beach Boulevard, (228) 400-4001
Margaritaville Resort Biloxi– The Jimmy Buffet property has a great location and rooftop pool overlooking the ocean. They also have a kid-friendly pool playground and family entertainment center. 195 Beach Boulevard
The White House Hotel– The grand hotel is an 1800s landmark with ocean views and a rooftop terrace. It’s also home to Cora’s Restaurant, which serves coastal cuisine daily. 1230 Beach Boulevard
Gulfport is the second-largest city in Mississippi, with preserved historic landmarks downtown. Fishbone Alley is covered in bright murals from local artists.
What to Do in Gulfport
Lynn Meadows Children’s Discovery Center– Located in a 1915 elementary school, this museum allows children to interact with exhibits. Get your Lynn Meadows Children’s Discovery Center Admission Tickets before you go. 246 Dolan Avenue
Mississippi Aquarium– The nonprofit aquarium spans across nearly five acres of both indoor and outdoor space. Visitors can see a wide variety of creatures, including penguins, sharks, and otters. 2100 East Beach Boulevard
Ship Island Excursions– Visit one of the area’s barrier islands with this company, which has been in operation since 1926. Ferries visit Ship Island, which is home to Fort Massachusetts. 1040 23rd Avenue
Where to Eat in Gulfport
Coast Roast– This coffee roaster supplies coffee to many places along the coast. Stop by this cafe for tea, coffee, and other drinks. 1601 25th Avenue, (228) 206-2340
Patio 44 Gulfport– The restaurant has locations in Biloxi and Hattiesburg as well as Gulfport. The menu includes steaks, fresh seafood, and sandwiches. 1244 24th Avenue, (228) 265-7101
The Rack House Steak & Spirits– Named for the places where whiskey barrels are stored, this restaurant serves prime cut steaks, lamb, seafood, and, of course, plenty of bourbon and whiskey. 1301 26th Avenue, (228) 206-2744
Salute Italian Restaurant– Enjoy seafood and Italian fare at this local spot. Menu favorites include Chicken Florentine and shrimp Alfredo. 1712 15th Street, (228) 864-2500
Shaggy’s– This beachfront restaurant is full of colorful artwork and serves fresh seafood and tropical drinks. The tuna bowl and Painkiller are two highlights. 1724 East Beach Boulevard, (228) 241-1007
Where to Stay in Gulfport
Courtyard by Marriott Gulfport Beachfront– Gulfport doesn’t have as many hotel options as neighboring areas, but this beachfront hotel has an outdoor pool, free parking, and an onsite restaurant. 1600 East Beach Boulevard
The town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi was settled along the Gulf Coast in the late 1600s, but wasn’t incorporated until 1843. Also a part of French Louisiana, a resort town was established because the water was believed to have healing properties.
What to Do in Ocean Springs
Mary C O’Keefe Cultural Arts Center– This community center in a 1927 school includes the Ocean Springs Museum of History and a theater. 1600 Government Street
Tasty Tours of South Mississippi– Visit some of the area’s best restaurants with food tours of Ocean Springs and Gulfport. Both are walking tours and include large enough samples to leave you stuffed by the end!
Walter Anderson Museum of Art– Artist Walter Anderson’s work is showcased here with paintings and murals of the animals and plants of the coast. There are also ceramics by Anderson’s brothers. 510 Washington Avenue
Where to Eat in Ocean Springs
Blue Dog Bistro– The breakfast and lunch favorite appeals to every diet, including keto and vegan. The menu includes avocado toast, burgers, and flatbread. 1801 Government Street, Suite A, (228) 447-4023
Bright Eyed Brew Co.– Start your day off right at this coffee shop with nitro and other drinks. 623 Washington Avenue, (228) 297-2268
Charred: a steak & oyster bar– Oyster lovers can enjoy fresh shellfish straight from the gulf at this restaurant. Open for lunch and dinner, favorites include oysters on the half shell, aged filet, and burgers. The cocktail menu includes martinis and mojitos. 1019 Government Street A, (228) 447-3928
Government Street Grocery– The laid back restaurant and bar has New Orleans-inspired dishes like po boys and daily specials. At night, the space hosts live music. 1210 Government Street #3820, (228) 818-9410
Maison De Lu– Open for lunch and dinner, the menu is varied, featuring paninis, soups, steaks, and seafood. 626 Washington Avenue, (228) 875-0032
Mosaic Tapas & Restaurant– Share a few plates or get your own order of shrimp and grits, burgers, or quesadillas. 1010 Government Street, (228) 818-9885
The Shed Barbecue & Blues Joint– The legendary restaurant and venue north of downtown offers live music nightly, plus barbecue with all the fixings. 7501 MS-57, (228) 875-9590
Tato-Nut Donut Shop– Calling themselves the only “real” doughnuts, the sweets here are made with potato flour and icing that is a family recipe. The irregular pieces are turned into their own doughnuts called “Katrina Pieces.” 1114 Government Street, (228) 872-2076
Where to Stay in Ocean Springs
The Beatnik– The hotel is made up of four unique cabins that surround a plunge pool. They come complete with wet bars and outdoor showers. 402 Porter Avenue
Gulf Hills Hotel & Conference Center– Also in Ocean Springs, the hotel has amenities like conference facilities and a championship golf course. 13701 Paso Road
The Hemingway– These three rental rooms are inspired by the author’s loves, set in a historic bank building. Amenities include luxury toiletries and kitchenettes. 929 Washington Avenue
The Inn at Ocean Springs– This cozy spot is a small town boutique hotel with stunning rooms and a great location in town. Each room has different decor. 623 Washington Avenue
The Roost Hotel– The boutique hotel is a short walk from downtown and is covered in artwork inspired by Walter Anderson. It has an onsite bar and a plunge pool. 604 Porter Avenue
Rentals- There is no shortage of rentals if you need more room, including this funky Oceanfront Stilt House.
Named for the Native American word for “bread eater,” Pascagoula is the furthest east of the Mississippi Gulf Coast communities. It came to prominence through its rail station, now operating as an art gallery.
What to Do in Pascagoula
Pascagoula River Audubon Center– Located north of Pascagoula, this nature center has exhibits and trails, as well as kayaking rentals and programming. 5107 Arthur Street, Moss Point
La Pointe-Krebs Museum– Also known as the “Old Spanish Fort,” the home is the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley, dating back to 1762. 4602 Fort Street
Round Island Lighthouse– Just one of many lighthouses along the coast, this small lighthouse is visible from the street but also for visits. 815 Cypress Avenue
Where to Eat in Pascagoula
Bozo’s- The seafood market and restaurant is the best place in town, with fresh shrimp, crab claws, oysters, and more. 2012 Ingalls Avenue, (228) 762-3322
Edd’s Drive-In– This place looks right out of the 1950s and, in fact, has been around since then. The menu is made up of drive-in favorites like burgers, hot dogs, chili buns, and milkshakes. 3834 Market Street, (228) 762-2177
Scranton’s– The old-school restaurant in a 1920s firehouse has a little bit of everything, including gumbo, burgers, and seafood. 623 Delmas Avenue, (228) 762-1900
Where to Stay in Pascagoula
Hilton Garden Inn Pascagoula– Options are few here, but this hotel has an outdoor pool, fitness center, and a restaurant. 2703 Denny Avenue
Built in a former Native American settlement, Pass Christian was “discovered” by French-Canadian explorers in 1699. Devastated by two major hurricanes, the town has since rebuilt, with a number of restaurants and shops downtown.
What to Do in Pass Christian
Infinity Science Center– The visitors center for the NASA Stennis Space Center has interactive exhibits and artifacts that include space suits and moon rocks. 1 Discovery Circle, Pearlington
Where to Eat in Pass Christian
Bacchus On the Beach– Open for lunch, dinner, and brunch, this restaurant serves fresh oysters and Louisianan fare. 111 West Scenic Drive, (228) 222-4852
Cat Island Coffeehouse– The bookstore and coffee shop is the best spot to spend a cozy afternoon. Enjoy bagels and breakfast sandwiches, along with coffee and tea. 300 East Scenic Drive, (228) 222-4827
Fill Up with Billups– Stop for early morning or late night breakfast of chicken and waffles, hangover eggs, and more. There is a second location in Biloxi. 110 West Scenic Drive, (228) 222-4796
Sea Level– The casual walk-up eatery is perfect for a beach day, with burgers, hot dogs, tacos, and sno balls. Pass Christian Pier, 3 Hiern Avenue, (228) 493-5999
Where to Stay in Pass Christian
Hotel Pass Christian– The hotel above an office building has stylish rooms with balconies overlooking the water. Amenities include coffee makers and toiletries. 116 West Scenic Drive
Hotel Whiskey– Set above the downtown restaurants, this hotel has an onsite restaurant, free parking, free WiFi, and in-room mini fridges and microwaves. 115 Davis Avenue
Rentals- Spend the night in one of the area rentals, including this Modern Coastal Bungalow.
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This post was produced with assistance by Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast and Travel South USA.