I am always so grateful for an excuse to head out of town with the hubby for a fun weekend getaway. So I was thrilled when Coastal Mississippi invited us to come visit their charming coastline a few weekends ago. While I may say ONE Mississippi…TWO Mississippi…THREE Mississippi…any time the boys and I play hide and seek… I had actually never been to Mississippi before and was happy about the chance to explore a new destination!
If you are not familiar with Coastal Mississippi, it is 62 miles of shoreline between New Orleans, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama that includes 12 different cities. There are lots of points of interest to check out along the 62 miles, and we had a jam-packed itinerary planned for the weekend. It was a great trip and the highlights of Coastal Mississippi for me were the darling downtown Ocean Springs, it’s ease and proximity from Atlanta for a quick and easy weekend getaway (only a 1.5 hour flight!), and the boat trip along the Pascagoula River.
This post is sponsored by Coastal Mississippi, and all opinions (and excessive eating of seafood and delight in being able to refer to a river as a Bayou) are my own.
As I mentioned, the flight was short from Atlanta and the arrival into the Gulfport airport was also extremely easy. We had our rental car and were enjoying lunch on the coast in no time! While there are 12 coastal cities that make up Coastal Mississippi, we were slotted to spend most of our time in Ocean Springs, Biloxi and Pascagoula. You can see all of the various cities on this map below. The entire community is very easy to navigate as all of the cities are along Highway 90.
Upon arrival, we grabbed a quick lunch and then we were ready to start exploring. Our first stops were the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art as well as the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum, both in Biloxi. It was interesting to learn about the history of this area, particularly around segregation. The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum was also an interesting stop as it really educated us about the area’s hurricane history- obviously with Hurricane Katrina being a large piece of their recent history in 2005.
After the museums, we were ready to check into the hotel to regroup and then we were back out for more seafood and a sunset. After dinner we decided to check out the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi. We found a $10 Black Jack table and had a great time playing a few rounds.
On Saturday we were up early to visit the Pascagoula River Audubon Center where we enjoyed McCoy’s River & Marsh Tour. I love anything to do with the water, so this was such a great way to spend the morning.
Our guide, Benny McCoy, was very knowledgeable about all of the local plants, water and wildlife. We saw lots of birds, beautiful plants… and of course a gator!
On Saturday afternoon, we had the pleasure of exploring downtown Ocean Springs. I was absolutely blown away with the charm of this darling spot! Lots of great restaurants and shopping and it was bustling with a young and cute crowd.
We had been so busy all weekend that we hadn’t really had the opportunity to put our toes in the sand. So on Saturday night after a quick rain storm passed through, I made Brian pull over and we walked down to dip our toes in the water. OK, now the trip is complete! 🙂
As you can see here, the water is calm- which is how it was all along the Mississippi coast. This is because the entire area is surrounded by barrier islands- a kid’s paradise.
I feel like we were on-the-go nonstop but there was so much we didn’t even get to see! When we go back I would definitely plan to visit the Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Walter Anderson Museum of Art.
||| Where We Stayed |||
Coastal Mississippi offers a large collection of accommodations to choose from. For our visit, we stayed at the Gulf Hills Hotel. Apparently, Elvis frequented this hotel from 1951-1957 and they have a dedicated suite to honor this notable guest. And what a fun surprise that we got upgraded to it- the Love Me Tender, Love Me Suite! This room is over 2,000 square feet with 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and a parlor. We even got out own dedicated parking spot!
||| Where We Ate |||
When discussing our potential itinerary I made it very clear that we like any and all seafood! So that is exactly what we got!
- Lunch at Chimneys: Loved the fish tacos
- Drinks at The Wilbur: Cute bar tucked away in a boutique hotel. Great cocktail menu.
- Appetizers at White House Hotel: Historic hotel recently renovated. Very charming!
- Dinner at White Pillars: The Seafood Tower cannot be missed! The chef/owner came out to chat with us and we learned about their local oysters.
- Lunch at Bozo’s Seafood Market & Deli: Wow. This place was the REAL DEAL. Locals eating crawfish by the baskets. We split an oyster poboy and I can honestly say I have never had anything like it! The sign hanging here said “Money Can’t Bayou Happiness, But it Can Bayou Crawfish and that’s kind of the same thing”.
- Appetizers at RAW: The oysters were so tasty! The bartender was so fun! The music was so perfect!
- Dinner at Vestige: Farm to table fare by a James Beard finalist located in downtown Ocean Springs. The food was delish!
||| COASTAL MISSISSIPPI- BE SURE NOT TO MISS |||
- We loved popping into the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi. I always love the vibe in these hotels- great music and fun memorabilia.
- Downtown Ocean Springs is a non-negotiable! Sadly we had some rain pass through and didn’t get to spend as much time exploring this cute area as we would have liked.
- Bright Eyed Brew Co for your morning coffee stop.
- We popped in a fun dive bar called Gil’s Fish Camp right by our hotel. What a hoot!
Thank you Coastal Mississippi for a great weekend getaway.
In a Travel State of Mind,