By: Cynthia Calvert
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.
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!
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.
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!
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