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25 Excellent Things to Do in Coastal Mississippi

25 Excellent Things to Do in Coastal Mississippi

Coastal Mississippi encompasses towns along the Mississippi Sound and Gulf of Mexico in the state’s southern region. With breathtaking scenery and a plethora of enjoyable experiences, destinations such as Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, Pass Christian, and Bay St. Louis beckon travelers for unforgettable vacations or weekend getaways. Discover 25 excellent things to do in Coastal Mississippi that will captivate your interest.


If you have yet to visit this captivating region of Mississippi, you might unknowingly mistake being in another state. Delve into a tranquil landscape where time seems to slow, and behold the exquisite beauty that graces the Gulf’s tranquil shores. The presence of palm trees along Mississippi’s coastline may come as a delightful surprise to many.

1. Explore the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art

Coastal Mississippi boasts a collection of Frank Gehry-designed buildings, housing the artwork of George E. Ohr, the “Mad Potter of Biloxi.” The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art features the Center for Ceramics, Beau Rivage Gallery, and rotating exhibits.

Frank Gehry, the renowned builder behind iconic structures like the Guggenheim, Biomuseo, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Museum of Pop Culture, has left an indelible mark on the architectural landscape.


George E. Our, widely regarded as America’s first art potter, crafted exquisite sculptural and abstract pieces with a distinctive aesthetic, predating the Abstract Expressionist movement by half a century.

Visitors can explore Gulf Coast cultural heritage at the interpretive center, particularly from an African-American perspective. Additional amenities include a gift shop, welcome center, and pod galleries. The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

The museum is reciprocal with NARM (North American Reciprocal) and SERM (Southeastern Museums Conference).


2. Enjoy a Fantastic Dinner at Thorny Oyster

Thorny Oyster, located in the Pearl Hotel in Bay St. Louis, is an upscale eatery renowned for its exquisite wine, craft cocktails, and mind-blowing fresh seafood. The restaurant boasts a stunning ambiance and a highly-trained waitstaff dedicated to their craft.

I had the Wedge salad and a bowl of Lobster Bisque instead of the main entree, both of which come highly recommended. The bisque features a rich, buttery broth with succulent lobster pieces. My husband indulged in the luscious Red Snapper Almandine served over garlicky baby bok choy.


We shared the peach and blueberry crisp for dessert, which proved to be the perfect finale of an exceptional dining experience. Other desserts include seasonal cobblers, key lime pie, bread pudding, and campfire, their original take on S’mores.

3. Explore Gulfport’s Children’s Museum

Gulfport’s Lynn Meadow’s Discovery Center is a 15,000-square-foot facility featuring captivating hands-on exhibits and play spaces. Adults and kids can join in for cooking classes, seasonal camps, and other events. Indoors, enjoy the Super Colossal Climbing Structure, Dolan Avenue Depot, Little Pet Vet, and To Market.


Outdoors, experience treehouse play, Kids Street, and Bear Creek. The impressive museum is open daily, with admission at $12 per person and only $5 on weekdays after 3 PM. Enjoy free admission from 5 to 8 PM on the last Friday of the month, sponsored by Hancock Whitney.

In addition, the Discovery Center offers Sensory Friendly Days on the second Sunday of each month from 10 AM to 12 PM, providing a comfortable learning experience, with light and sound reduction, for children on the autism spectrum and their families.


4. Explore the Incredible Mississippi Aquarium

One of Coastal Mississippi’s most visited attractions, the Mississippi Aquarium, is a stunning complex in Gulfport. With habitats for over 200 animal species, including salt and freshwater exhibits, the aquarium showcases native plants and offers a wide range of activities.

From engaging talks and training sessions to interactive experiences with biologists, visitors can immerse themselves in conservation efforts.

Photo by Taylor Hardy.

Among the captivating residents are North American river otters, birds, snapping turtles, crocodiles, stingrays, Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, and nurse sharks. You’ll find additional events on the online calendar, like yoga, summer camps, homeschool days, and birthday parties.


Take advantage of the latest exhibit, Changing Tides, featuring diverse biomes like kelp forests, rainforests, and coral reefs. Secure discounted tickets by purchasing them online. At the door, tickets are $29.95 for weekdays and $31.95 for weekend and holiday tickets.

Guests with sensory needs can request KultureCity® Sensory bags.


5. Eat Snowballs at Sea Level

Head to Pass Christian Harbor and discover Sea Level, a waterfront seafood shack serving the finest snowballs in town, featuring flavors like pineapple, watermelon, and Tiger’s Blood, some with a creamy condensed milk touch.

Sea Level also offers lunch options, including tacos, sandwiches, and hot dogs. It is even considered the best burger on the coast. Enjoy the complimentary outdoor games and relax at the covered picnic tables, offering unparalleled harbor views.


6. Stroll Downtown Gulfport

Explore downtown Gulfport’s bustling streets with delightful shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. Among them, Riley’s Children’s Apparel is a personal favorite, offering a curated selection for my granddaughter. Bella Grace Jewelry & Gifts also entices with scented candles, gourmet foods, and exquisite jewelry.

Fishbone Alley, nestled in an ancient fishmonger’s alley, captivates with vibrant murals and creative displays, turning it into a remarkable public art area.


7. Get Educated about Mardi Gras

Visit the Coastal Mississippi Mardi Gras Museum to explore the culture and origins of Mardi Gras, including insights into its practice in Coastal Mississippi. Marvel at exquisite hand-stitched costumes and headgear while capturing delightful moments with Mardi Gras props. Please note that the museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Adult tickets are priced at $8.


8. Sip a Great Cup of Joe

Bankhouse Coffee in Long Beach, MS, is a popular destination known for its freshly roasted coffee. Housed in an old Masonic lodge that was once a bank (check out the impressive safe in the back!), the shop exudes a charming ambiance. Bankhouse serves Coast Roast, meticulously roasted on vintage and visually stunning roasters.

With its robust and full-bodied flavor, their cold brew is simply enchanting.


In Biloxi, Jacked Up Coffee Bar on Howard Avenue is my preferred choice. They take pride in sourcing and roasting the finest coffee beans in small batches to craft your perfect cup. While pour-over is a beloved method, their NOLA iced coffee is my ideal caffeinated beverage, complemented by delightful matchas. 

I’m intrigued by their recent addition of affogato, featuring vanilla ice cream topped with espresso – an irresistible treat.


9. Stay in a Boutique Hotel in Pass Christian

Hotel Pass Christian, an exquisite upscale destination in Coastal Mississippi, offers a splendid retreat for discerning travelers. From seamless check-in to immaculate, spacious rooms adorned with tastefully designed magazine-worthy elements, every detail is meticulously curated.


Our second-floor suite, a breathtaking haven, beckoned with its picturesque furniture, complemented by captivating beaded chandeliers, whimsical prints, vibrant fabrics, and elegant accent pieces. The bedroom, featuring access to a water-view porch, housed a make-up desk and coffee maker with specialty pods.


The lavishly appointed bathroom boasted a deep soaking tub, a separate shower, and ample space. Traveling with our beloved pet, we delighted in the plush rug provided for her comfort. Without a doubt, we would eagerly revisit this glamorous hotel.


10. Discover the Incredible Walter Anderson Museum of Art

The Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs is a beloved destination for art enthusiasts. Walter Anderson, a native of Coastal Mississippi, left a profound impact through his distinctive art style characterized by earth-toned colors, nature themes, and recognizable motifs. 

The museum showcases an impressive collection, with the Community Center’s awe-inspiring mural being particularly noteworthy. Anderson’s artistic talent extended beyond watercolors and block prints to include wood carvings, ceramics, and sketches, all inspired by the exquisite natural beauty of Mississippi’s coast.


11. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry at Shaggy’s

Shaggy’s is a beloved restaurant in Coastal Mississippi with a fun and funky decor. It offers three locations with stunning Gulf of Mexico sunset views. The menu showcases seafood, gourmet burgers, sandwiches, salads, and elevated bar eats. Don’t miss the Fried Shrimp with jalapeño hush puppies, grilled veggies, and remarkable Royal Reds.

Start with the beach balls, seafood fries, or fried green tomatoes for sharing. Sip on a frozen or fruity drink to complete the experience. We’ve never had a disappointing meal at any of Shaggy’s Mississippi locations.


12. Visit Coastal Mississippi’s Casinos

During one trip to Coastal Mississippi, I had the pleasure of exploring various casino offerings. One standout among them was the Island View Casino Resort. This stylish venue boasted a pristine environment, a charming blend of classic and modern slot machines, and an upscale ambiance. 

Additionally, the resort features a 24-hour coffee shop that serves delectable pastries and satisfies even the most discerning sweet tooth.


Another highlight was the Treasure Bay Casino and Hotel. Although initially unfamiliar, it caught my attention when I glimpsed the breathtaking rainbow Dale Chihuly chandeliers through its windows. Much like Island View, Treasure Bay presented an appealing and comfortable gaming experience, and the smaller, intimate atmosphere enticed us to keep spinning the reels. 

This casino left a lasting impression with 800 slot machines, five distinctive dining options, over 25 table games, and the remarkable Chihuly pieces. Notably, they also offer an RV park for added convenience.


13. Pay Homage to Mississippi Aviators

Located in Gulfport, the Mississippi Aviation Heritage Museum is a hidden gem. This growing museum, curated with passion and contributions, offers a plethora of educational and engaging exhibits for visitors of all ages.

From STEM-interactive touch tables and flight simulators to live-action flight games and a state-of-the-art theater simulating the interior of an airplane, the museum ensures an immersive aviation experience.


Stroll through the Mississippi Aviation Hall of Fame and see several planes, flight exhibits, and photo-ops.


14. Shop Downtown Bay St. Louis

Bay St. Louis boasts a variety of unique shops nearby. 211 Main offers beach essentials such as sunscreen, sunglasses, and BSL signature clothing. Bay-Tique showcases charming ladies’ apparel and accessories. Explore the eclectic finds at Gallery 220 and discover vintage treasures at Magnolia Antiques.


Fleurty Girl is a must-visit boutique filled with irresistible curiosities, like New Orleans-inspired souvenirs, stickers, food products, and baby items. You will find this shop in New Orleans, too.

15. Lunch at the Lady May

One of Ocean Springs’ dining options, The Lady May, stands out on Washington Avenue. Its charming eatery ambiance, picturesque patio, and a menu featuring Southern favorites, classic dishes, and unique specialties have quickly become a must-visit. 

Take advantage of the mouthwatering Biscuits & Jelly Board, served piping hot with a trio of jams and jellies; my favorite is the mango habanero. Trust me, this appetizer deserves a medal!


For lunch, indulge in the refreshing and flavorful Cranberry Pecan salad, featuring chicken, goat cheese, and honey balsamic dressing, or try the delightful Mango Sriracha salad with seared tuna, avocados, and honey-lime vinaigrette.

The Lady May offers a selection of side dishes to accompany their sandwiches. The shoestring fries are tempting, but I chose the delicious baked macaroni.


17. Put Your Toes in the Sand

Enjoy a delightful day at the beach in Coastal Mississippi, boasting 62 miles of pristine shoreline accessible from Beach Boulevard on Highway 90. Engage in various activities such as swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, sunbathing, reading, or building sandcastles.

Photo by Taylor Hardy.

Enhance your beach experience by renting a boat, observing birds, paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, or embarking on a sightseeing cruise. Long Beach and Bay St. Louis exhibit particularly inviting beaches. Consider a boat excursion to Ship Island, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore managed by the National Park Service, for an engaging day trip.


18. Get Out on and in the Refreshing Water

Rent a jet ski or kayak from Life’s a Beach Rentals—the ultimate way to enjoy your time in Coastal Mississippi. Discover other options like Polaris slingshots, bikes, chairs, umbrellas, mopeds, scoot coupes, aqua cycles, and paddleboards. With two convenient Biloxi beachfront locations by the lighthouse and Sharkheads Souvenirs, they give military discounts and accept competitor’s coupons. Experience the coolest beach rentals around.


19. Catch an Amazing Coastal Mississippi Sunset

Take a moment to admire a Coastal Mississippi sunset. Restaurants are bustling during this time as patrons vie for prime tables to witness this breathtaking spectacle. I suggest Shaggy’s in Biloxi, where I captured this photo. I was among the many eagerly anticipating the grand finale along the beachfront.


20. Experience the Golden Nugget’s Pool

The Golden Nugget Biloxi Hotel and Casino stands out for its stunning appearance, exceptional casino, and captivating swimming pool and outdoor area. The H2O Pool + Bar is an alluring feature that entices guests to linger in this remarkable enclave. 

This award-winning tropical oasis offers 100 chaise lounges, a hot tub, an array of 20 daybeds and cabanas, and a swim-up bar. A piña colada, if you please.


21. Feast at Greenhouse on Porter

Way back in the day, I embarked on a Coastal Mississippi food tour. I enjoyed sampling the delectable sweet and savory biscuits crafted by Greenhouse on Porter. From that moment, I became utterly captivated. 


Their feta biscuit with roasted cherry tomatoes is an absolute delight. My husband preferred his sweet oatmeal raisin option. Although Greenhouse on Porter offers a selection of coffee, wine, beer, and other culinary delights, their biscuits truly steal the show. Every week, there are different flavors of quiche, soup, seasonal salad, and biscuits, a sweet and savory option each day.

Pro Tip: If they have anything with “fluff,” try it. Life-changing biscuits, right there. 


22. Rent Bikes

Coastal Cruzr Bike Rentals offers an excellent opportunity to explore Coastal Mississippi while incorporating exercise. As Mississippi’s first bike-share program, Coastal Cruzr provides beautiful, comfortable, convenient bike amenities. Download the MOVATIC app and follow the instructions to begin pedaling through the picturesque landscape.


23. Sip Cocktails at Mosaic

Mosaic is another trendy restaurant and beer garden in Ocean Springs. They have a spectacular outdoor patio! Indulge in delicious craft cocktails, beer, and wine while savoring tapas and small plates from the menu. The must-try Argentinian Empanadas with beef filling are a personal favorite. Complementing these handheld bites are specialty mojitos or a peach Bellini, so good you won’t be able to drink just one.

Be sure to check out the stunning indoor furnishings. Live music adds to the allure of this establishment.


24. Eat Tasty Pastries and Give to a Good Cause in Long Beach

At Dolce Bake Shop in Long Beach, you can enjoy delightful pastries and beverages and contribute to those in need through the Blessing Box. These community service ministries, known as “take what you need,” are becoming increasingly prevalent nationwide. Dolce Bake Shop offers delectable macarons, cupcakes, cookies, gourmet shakes, and edible cookie dough. 

Indulge in the yum!


25. Take an Art Class

The Gulfport Art and Cultural Center resides in the Carnegie Library, showcasing an array of locally-produced artworks for sale, including ceramics, jewelry, books, and paintings. Additionally, the center offers various art classes like pencil drawings, pottery, watercolors, children’s classes, and art camps.


Coastal Mississippi: A Destination Worth Exploring

Coastal Mississippi offers various engaging activities in its inviting and serene communities. For inquiries regarding itineraries, accommodations, or attractions, contact Coastal Mississippi’s dedicated website.


Thanks to Coastal Mississippi for hosting me on a familiarization trip and including my hotel and some meals. As always, reviews and opinions are 100% mine and unbiased.

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