By: Jim Graves
While Biloxi, Mississippi is certainly known for its casinos and gambling, the city has some great activities for families with minor children. I went with wife Carol, and children Claire and Shelby, ages 11 & 13. Here are some highlights.
Doubletree by Hilton, Biloxi – One of the Doubletree’s strengths is its location, across the street from the beach, giving it great views of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also conveniently located near Biloxi’s attractions. The beds were comfortable, and we had a refrigerator. Breakfast was good, although not included, and we were offered free warm cooks throughout the day. There’s also an outdoor pool.
Biloxi Shrimping Trip – This 70-minute boat tour turned out to be the unexpected highlight of our visit. Dave and Mike were our hosts, who took us on a tour of Biloxi channel and introduced us to the shrimping industry. They dropped their net and hauled up a collection of shrimp, fish, crabs and other creatures of the sea. In a scene reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, dozens of seagulls collected overhead looking for a quick meal, and passengers were invited to pose for a picture holding some of the catch. We were blessed with great weather, so it made for a fun afternoon.
Beauvoir – This is the final home of Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy’s president during the Civil War. Hurricane Katrina did much damage to its buildings in 2005, but the main house survived and makes for a nice tour. We walked the 52-acre grounds and saw such sites as the oak tree under which Davis once read and a Confederate cemetery containing the remains of nearly 800. If you want to spend the night, there is a small house on the property available for rent. Take time to tour the Confederate museum and library, which is also part of the property, and see such artifacts as Davis’ funeral bier.
Biloxi Shuckers – Biloxi is home to the Shuckers, a minor league baseball team. MGM Park is located nearby the Doubletree, and we caught an enjoyable weeknight game. Check the calendar; there are a variety of promotional nights. We went on the night visitors were welcome to bring their dogs. It was a great night of baseball, with snacks available for purchase. Enjoy great views of the Beau Rivage casino and Gulf in the background.
Mary Mahoney’s – Biloxi has many fine restaurants, but it’s hard to top Mary Mahoney’s. This historic restaurant is cozy and charming, located close to Biloxi’s attractions. It features a variety of seating choices, including a patio, garden room, casual sun room and formal dining room. As you enter, check out all the photos of celebrities who have dined there. The menu has multiple seafood specialties, premium beers, wine and cocktails, steak and prime rib, salads and a kid’s menu. I had the stuffed snapper, which included shrimp and crabmeat, one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Delicious sides include pasta, veggies and potatoes. Some of our favorite desserts were the caramel apple and key lime pies.
Half Shell Oyster House – There are two Half Shells in Biloxi, which are highly rated for their outstanding seafood choices, especially oysters. They also have terrific steaks, chicken, soup & salads, burgers and Po-Boys. I recommend the crab cake starter and any of their shrimp dishes; for dessert try the Chocolate Obsession.
Pie Five Pizza – We needed a quick lunch as we were headed out of town, so we tried Pie Five Pizza inside the Hard Rock Casino (outside of the gambling area, so you can bring the kids). It was a great choice. Have your own unique pizza made, or choose a suggested option. Multiple crust sizes are available, and there are many fresh toppings and sauces. Once assembled, it is cooked in five minutes. You can opt for a sandwich or salad instead, or try the breadsticks.
We thoroughly enjoyed Biloxi. We’ll be back soon!
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