School is out, the temperature is rising and vacation is top of mind. It’s officially summertime, and a visit to Coastal Mississippi’s collection of vibrant communities along 62 miles of undisturbed, scenic shoreline should be at the top of your list. Under-the-radar enough to avoid the crowds, but brimming with activities for every traveler, there’s never been a better time to visit this hidden gem—also known as The Secret Coast!
Families can enjoy the nationally acclaimed Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport or Buccaneer State Park in Waveland—featuring one of two waterparks on the Coast. Spend the day in Biloxi to visit the famed Biloxi Lighthouse, jump aboard a signature Biloxi Shrimping Trip and catch a Biloxi Shuckers game at sunset. Children will also enjoy a visit to Kewl Kites in Long Beach, followed by kite flying on the beach and cooling down with a gourmet popsicle from one of Pop Brothers’ three Coastal Mississippi locations.
From art museums, such as the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Of Art in Biloxi, and the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, to cultural touchstones like 100 Men Hall in Bay St. Louis and Waveland’s Ground Zero Hurricane Museum, The Secret Coast’s strong creative culture is alive and well. Explore quirky galleries and shops, like the Smith & Lens Gallery in historic downtown Bay St. Louis, and finish the evening in Fishbone Alley, a funky, Instagrammable destination where art, nightlife and food meet in the heart of downtown Gulfport.
Living to eat
Speaking of food, The Secret Coast’s eclectic dining scene ranges from quaint seafood and barbecue joints to James Beard-nominated farm-to-table fine dining. Start your day at The Greenhouse on Porter in Ocean Springs for life-changing biscuits in a whimsical repurposed greenhouse. Grab lunch at Mockingbird Café in Bay St. Louis where local art fills the walls, and splurge on contemporary coastal cuisine for dinner at Vestige in Ocean Springs or White Pillars in Biloxi.
Adventure-seekers and wildlife enthusiasts, get ready to explore the blueways in kayaks, jet skis, pontoons and sailboats across the Coast. Go for a hike in unspoiled nature, check parasailing off the bucket list, fish from a pier or arrange a tee time with friends at one of Coastal Mississippi’s world-class golf courses. Relaxation is easy to come by—lounging on the beach or by one of the many pools found at hotels all along The Secret Coast. For the ultimate day of sand, sun and fun, head to Biloxi or Gulfport and jump on a one-hour ferry ride to Ship Island, a barrier island with white sand beaches and clear Gulf waters.