Easy Road Trips: Why you should head for Pascagoula

POSTED 6:38 PM, JUNE 8, 2016, BY 

Watch our Beaches & Towns series all this week on News with a Twist at 6pm and 10pm!

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Summer is the season for beach road trips and as we make our way along the Gulf Coast, we’re exploring towns and sandy shores with unique personalities. News with a Twist’s Travel Girl, Stephanie Oswald is our guide.

Just under a two-hour drive from New Orleans there’s a place where you’ll find a lighthouse greeting you along Highway 90. It's a town filled with pleasant surprises, where ecotourism and family-friendly fun are priorities. The relocated Round Island Lighthouse is the welcoming beacon for the City of Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Fun fact: Pascagoula is the home of Ingalls Shipbuilding, an economic powerhouse that’s responsible for building 65 percent of the fleet for the U.S. Navy and the Coast Guard. The city is working on building up tourism as well.

There’s a nature center where you can hold a snake, or chase a peacock across the yard. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to keep them busy: biking, hiking and kayaking all are popular Pascagoula pastimes.

Sit for a meal at the quirky and historic Scranton’s Restaurant, where a former fire station and city offices are now filled with dining tables.

Business owner Richard Chenoweth, who is a partner at Scranton’s Restaurant and The Grand Magnolia Suites and Ballroom (the city’s only bed and breakfast), explains, “This section of the town used to be called Scranton Mississippi. We're one of the few buildings, original buildings, left in the city.”

Beach Park overlooks the Mississippi Sound and that’s where you’ll find some white sand to relax on, a public pier to fish on (24 hours a day!) and a splash pad for little ones to jump around on.

There’s a stunning Katrina Memorial at the park as well. To see a photo of the memorial, check out: 10 Things to do on a Pascagoula getaway.

The Grand Magnolia Suites and Ballroom is Pascagoula’s only bed and breakfast. It’s popular with brides, who often fill all seven suites. Jimmy Buffett spent some time there as well, in September of 2015, when it performed a free concert on the beach that was dubbed, “Buffett Beach.” There’s a Buffett Bridge at the shore too — and it bears the musician’s signature, alongside an “X” and an arrow, with the words “Start here.”

“His grandfather said, ‘You can start right here and go out into that Gulf and go anywhere in the world from here,’” explains Chenoweth.

Smart visitors will find a way to go out into “that Gulf” as well — there’s nothing like being on the water to help you appreciate the maritime atmosphere of Pascagoula. The News with a Twist crew (Reporter Stephanie Oswald and Photographer Derek Felton) had the good fortune to go out on the water aboard the We Did It. Thanks very much to John and Toni Lindgren for their generous hospitality!

“It's a wonderful escape to just kind of getaway from life and just really enjoy all these beautiful amenities that God created,” says Suzanne Steinberger, the city’s Community Events Coordinator.