This trip was sponsored by Coastal Mississippi. All images and opinions are my own.
Recently my family and I had a chance to visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a quick family vacation. Whether you are planning a family vacation or a romantic getaway, here is a list of some of the Best Things To Do on the Mississippi Gulf Coast!
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The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a 62-mile span filled with amazing museums, exquisite restaurants, eclectic boutiques, adventure attractions, and relaxing beaches.
Lovingly known as “The Secret Coast” Coastal Mississippi is everything you want in a vacation without the big crowds and hustle and bustle of the cities like New Orleans and Mobile which sit on either side.
Whether you are looking for a thrilling adventure or a place to unwind, Coastal Mississippi has everything you could ever want in a vacation.
Art & History Museums
The Arts have played an enormous part of history on the Gulf Coast and it is all showcased beautifully in numerous art museums and galleries.
From hand-thrown pottery to enormous mural walls to coastal photography and even sailing vessels – you can enjoy artwork from skilled artisans all along the Gulf Coast.
Walter Anderson Museum
The Walter Anderson Museum of Art was opened in 1991 to showcase the work of Master painter Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965) as well as his brothers, Peter Anderson (1901-1984), master potter and founder of Shearwater Pottery; and James McConnell Anderson (1907-1998), noted painter and ceramist.
The Museum itself is a work of art with high ceilings and sky lit interior which warmly displays a myriad of watercolors, drawings, oils, block prints, ceramics, and carvings by the three Anderson brothers.
And if you are lucky – like we were – you may catch one of the next generation of Anderson's talking about his father's work – and growing up on the coast.
The Walter Anderson Museum is located in downtown Ocean Springs and is open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-4:30 pm.
Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum
Coastal Mississippi offers some of the best seafood around – and the history of how this booming industry came to be is displayed on three stories of the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi.
Through an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits you can take a walk back in time from the first Indian settlement through generations of immigrants who built what is now the “melting pot culture” of the Gulf Coast.
I could spend hours in the room dedicated to all of the hurricanes that have come through Coastal Mississippi and the surrounding areas. The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum has a beautiful display of each and every one of them – all the way back to the 1700s.
Growing up on the Gulf Coast I have experienced my fair share of storms – and yet I am still always in awe of the power each storm has and the resiliency of local residents every time a storm hits.
The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum is open Monday-Saturday 9-4:30pm and Sunday Noon-4pm.
Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art
I have passed the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art a dozen times – and never knew what it was! This incredible museum “campus” features the ceramics of George E. Ohr (1857-1918), the self-proclaimed “Mad Potter of Biloxi,” and several other small galleries of contemporary and historic exhibitions from around the area.
Built atop of one of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Katrina, this incredible tribute really pays homage to how the human spirit can overcome absolute destruction and become something beautiful.
Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art even offers art classes and workshops and a viewing area where you can watch local potters and sculptors as they work to create some of Coastal Mississippi's most beautiful artwork.
Between all of these galleries you will find the Mississippi Sound Welcome Center which provides visitor information services and amenities, such as free WIFI, a museum store, and even a collection of art right in the welcome center.
The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art is open Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am – 5pm
One of the best parts of vacation is the food, right? So we found the best restaurants in Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and Bay St Louis.
The Greenhouse On Porter
The Greenhouse on Porter was one of my favorite stops the entire weekend we were vacationing. Nestled right in the City of Ocean Springs, this is a “must try” for Coastal Mississippi dining.
Each morning they offer two specialty biscuits – one sweet and one savory – with your choice of side and a variety of gourmet teas and coffees. We, of course, had to try one of each – and it is absolutely impossible to say which one was best.
The Greenhouse on Porter is just exactly that – a greenhouse – with beautiful flowers and whimsical decor and family style seating where you may make a new friend.
And what breakfast nook is complete without a cocktail bar? Mimosas and biscuits – the most perfect way to start your day.
Right on the main strip of Ocean Springs is where you will find Mosaic – a tapas restaurant and bar.
Mosaic Restaurant offers one of the largest selections of beer on the Gulf Coast as well as a variety of international cuisines, great cocktails and live entertainment almost every night of the week!
They even offer Hookah on their large patio dining area. Mosaic is definitely a hot spot in Ocean Springs and does a great job of blending family friendly with nightlife.
Oh, and I have to recommend the shrimp lumpia! Delish!
White Pillars is a farm-to-table fine dining experience in a beautiful historic mansion right along the coast in Biloxi.
The menu changes with the season and offers Mississippi-grown meats and seasonal local vegetables in a variety of dishes to fit every taste.
Every bite was exquisite – from the Seafood Tower to the Bone Marrow & Mushroom Burger. And those fries… worth every single carb.
Winner of numerous awards along the Gulf Coast, White Pillars is a beautiful place to celebrate all of life's best moments – from birthdays and anniversaries… or simply a beautiful Tuesday night.
Just a short drive down the coast you will find Bay St Louis – another one of Coastal Mississippi's best kept secrets. Bay St Louis was named one of the ‘Coolest Small Towns in America’ by Budget Travel and recognized as a top 10 small beach town by Coastal Living Magazine (2010).
I have to believe that The Mockingbird Cafe helped this little coastal town receive those awards as their delicious food, amazing coffees, and delightful atmosphere was the perfect way to start our final day visiting Coastal Mississippi.
Biloxi Shrimping Trip
The Biloxi Shrimping Trip is “The Living Marine Adventure Cruise” that you must try while visiting the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I was not sure what to expect for this 70 minute tour – but we were pleasantly surprised and loved every minute!
The Biloxi Shrimping Trip takes you out into the bay and drops a small shrimping net while Captains Mike and Dave tell you all about the shrimping industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
They then bring the net in – having caught everything in its path! We had a variety of shrimp, fish, blue crabs, and even the cutest little puffer fish who was NOT so thrilled about being shown off. Is he not the cutest thing ever!?
This is definitely a “hands on” adventure that is loved by all ages. Our cruise was full of families, couples, and even a bachelorette party! We had an absolute blast!
Where to Stay
There are numerous hotels and casinos along Coastal Mississippi – all of which have great amenities, gorgeous views, and easy access to all local attractions. We loved staying at the Doubletree by Hilton Biloxi which has easy access right off the interstate.
Before we even unpacked, my crew was enjoying the freshly baked cookies you receive at Doubletree check-in. I am pretty sure the cookies won over this crowd immediately. Cookies and Free Wifi = happy family.
The Doubletree by Hilton Biloxi has spacious rooms that are perfect for relaxing between excursions. It is wonderfully quiet with plenty of parking and even daily in-room breakfast & dinner service. Sadly it was too chilly to enjoy their large saltwater pool – but we will most definitely be back soon to check that out!
How To See It All
Mississippi Gulf Coast Attractions Pass
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Attractions Pass is your VIP access to seven of the most popular attractions on the coast. The pass never expires, so you can visit all seven in one day, or space out your trip over a few days – it is totally up to you!
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Attractions Pass includes admission to:
- Biloxi Lighthouse, Biloxi
- INFINITY Science Center, Pearlington
- Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Gulfport
- Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, Biloxi
- Ohr-O'keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi
- Pascagoula River Audubon Center, Moss Point
- Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs
You can pick up the Attractions Pass at all participating attractions and at the Biloxi Visitors Center.
My Gulf Coast App
Put everything Coastal Mississippi has to offer in the palm of your hand – literally! The My Gulf Coast App is free to download from iTunes or Google and lets you easily find area attractions to enjoy!
The My Gulf Coast App is organized by the numerous “Shrimp Signs” you will find scattered all along highway 90. By tapping on any of these signs in the app you can search all of the attractions near that sign!
Up for a challenge? The My Gulf Coast App has Scavenger Hunts to find the best landmarks in each city! You can even build a full itinerary right inside the app so you do not miss a thing!
The Secret Coast
I could go on and on about all of the things you can explore in Coastal Mississippi – but you should really plan a trip to see them all for yourself. Whether it is a vacation or a staycation – Coastal Mississippi has plenty to explore!