An insider’s guide to the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Explore the MS Gulf Coast - Top Attractions & Things to Do

Things to do on MS Gulf Coast

Updated: May 23rd, 2024

As a lifelong Gulf Coast resident, I've had the unique opportunity to personally explore what makes Coastal Mississippi not just a place to both live and experience. Our region offers many activities perfect for anyone looking to engage with nature or experience the thrill of outdoor sports.

Whether seeking peaceful encounters with the scenic environment or the excitement of a challenge, our coastal communities are an ideal setting for anyone to enjoy their passions.

Gear Up for Adventure: A Sportsman's Dream

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of land and water-based sporting activities. Whether you're a fierce competitor or watching from the sidelines, there's something for everyone.

1. The Thrill of Deep-Sea Fishing

There's nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. I've been on countless charters (especially as a kid), and each trip is a memorable experience.

Deep-sea fishing is vastly different from dropping your line off the sea wall. When going on a charter, you engage in a sport where the opponents are massive marlin, tuna, and snapper.

Long Beach Fishing Charters
Fishing charter docks in Long Beach, MS

Sport fishing is a thrilling way to connect with nature, test your angler skills, and experience the primitive nature of capturing your food.

If you're considering heading out on the water, take a drive down Highway 90 and check the docks in Gulfport, Pass Christian, and Long Beach.

2. Golfing with a View

Mississippi golf courses offer more than just a game- they feature views that make every round unforgettable. The courses here are challenging due to their layout and the coastal winds, but they offer stunning panoramas that make it all worthwhile.

Weather plays a big part as well, with our summers being especially hot. But the mild winters mean there's year-round golfing fun. And courses can get busy, especially during peak seasons (January through March).

Lets Go Golf Trips has a great list of the best places to golf, and you can even schedule a tee time.

3. Shrimping: A Gulf Coast Tradition

Shrimping isn't just an activity; it's a deep dive into a generations-old Mississippi staple. As a kid growing up in a fishing family, shrimping wasn't just a pastime—it was a rite of passage.

I remember casting a net as a kid and the excitement of hauling it back in. It's more than catching shrimp; it's about experiencing the Gulf's bounty firsthand and understanding the rhythm of coastal life.

Shrimp Boats in Biloxi MS

Consider riding along on a shrimping expedition with the folks from Biloxi Shrimping Trip. They've been in business for over 50 years.

4. Paddle to Deer Island

Visiting the Gulf islands is my go-to activity when I need quiet time to recharge. I just paddle away, not too far from the Coast's buzz. But it feels like a different world.

One of my favorite outings is a simple kayak paddle to Deer Island.  The distance from shore to the island is between .25 and 3 miles (depending on your launch point in Biloxi or Ocean Springs). Here's Brad during one of our paddles in 2022.

Paddle from Biloxi to Deer Island

Once you get to Deer Island, there's much you can do. You can hike, paddle around the entire island (roughly 5 miles from tip to tip), take a swim on the ocean side, or even camp for the night.  You might even see a dolphin!

This trip overview covers two popular departure points, and this map (shown below) shows the proposed trips on a map.

5. Kiteboarding: Catch the Wind

Kiteboarding on the MS Gulf Coast is a rush like no other. The first time you catch the wind and lift off, it's unbeatable (I literally felt like I was soaring). Our calm waters are ideal for this sport, accommodating both beginners and veterans who have been at it for years.

Man Kiteboarding

But keep in mind that the weather can be a bit unpredictable. On our typical windy days, the water is perfect. But you might have to find something else to do when it's calm.

Coastal Mississippi's Best Family-Friendly Attractions

Family outings are all about those laughs, gasps, and "remember when?" moments you'll chat about for years. Whether you're looking for a thrill or to chill, these activities will undoubtedly be memorable for you and yours.

6. Sailing the Sound: A Family Adventure

Heading out on the Mississippi Sound for a family sail is like hitting the reset button. Force the kids to put down the gadgets, grab a drink, and skim across the water as the sail fills with that Gulf Coast breeze.

It’s a breathtaking way to see the coastline in a way you just can't from shore. Trust me, it’s a day out that sticks with you.

North Star Sailing Charters offers private trips for up to six passengers. Each trip is 100% customizable. Check out this 360-degree sailing view.

7. Mississippi Aquarium: A Marine Journey

The Mississippi Aquarium is a plunge into the ocean world that both young and old can enjoy. My family drops in every couple of years (and it's always fun watching the kids light up when they get close and personal with a stingray).

In 2024, they incorporated a 3D virtual experience, letting you explore the ocean depths with a Shark Dive! If swimming with Jaws makes you nervous, the VR headsets allow you to run through the jungle with gorillas.

It's fun, hands-on, and you'll walk away feeling more knowledgeable about our ocean buddies. Just be sure to plan your trip in advance to ensure you'll have access to all attractions.

8. Ghost Tours in Bay St. Louis: A Spooky Exploration

Looking for an adventure that mixes history with a touch of thrill? Take a ghost tour through historic Bay St. Louis to explore the mystic side of the Coast.

Walking through the streets at night and hearing all the eerie tales really makes the place come alive in a spooky kind of way. The guides are fantastic, and the stories are rooted in genuine local lore (so parents can rest easy knowing this is an educational journey).

Mystic Ghost Rides offers several packages to choose from, including walking tours and boat tours.

9. Buccaneer Bay Waterpark: Splash and Play

Buccaneer Bay Waterpark is a summertime favorite for families on the Gulf Coast. It's the perfect mix of cooling off and getting your thrills- minus the sandy toes.

Living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a kid, some of my fondest memories are from this park (known as The Wave Pool way back then). These days, they've expanded the main pool into an impressive complex:

  • 10,000 square ft. sun deck
  • Multiple slides
  • Splash pad with pirate ship
  • Large, shaded food court
  • Little tots pool
  • 17,400 sq foot wave pool

You'll find Buccaneer Bay at Buccaneer State Park in Waveland, MS. It opens at the end of May and stays open through Labor Day weekend.

10. Finding Community and Baseball at a Shuckers Game

Shuckers games are like stepping right into the heart of Gulf Coast culture. It's not just a baseball game; it's an experience. The moment you step into MGM Park, the friendly faces, the smell of hot dogs and popcorn, and the buzz of anticipation get you pumped.

Player at Biloxi Shuckers Game

Sitting among locals and visitors alike and cheering on the Shuckers feels like being part of a big family gathering. It's down-to-earth fun, a genuine slice of American pastime.  

Fans can save up to 18% off ticket prices by purchasing tickets before game day, and military personnel can get an additional $3 discount on Military Wednesday.  If you're looking for things to do in Biloxi, you can't go wrong with a Shuckers game.

Free Things to Do Along the Mississippi Coast

There are plenty of low-cost Mississippi Gulf Coast attractions for those looking to explore on a budget. Here are some adventurous ideas to make the most of your visit without spending a dime.

11. Public Art Exploration: Art & Culture Walks

A stroll through our local downtown areas immerses you in the creativity of our distinctive communities. From murals to sculptures, every piece tells a story (some tragic, some triumphant).

Bay St. Louis holds a Second Saturday Artwalk on, you guessed it, every month's second Saturday. There, you'll find local food, plenty of art exhibits, and live music.

Bay St. Louis Downtown Mural
Old Town Bay St. Louis Art Mural

Downtown Ocean Springs is known for its residents' creativity and artistic energy. While the city hosts multiple cultural events throughout the year (such as the Downtown Artwalk), there's still plenty of art to see on any given day.

Are you planning on being in Biloxi for the afternoon? Take a walk through historic Biloxi. This virtual tour provides a map and interesting destinations (such as museums, art exhibits, etc) for a 21-stop stroll through the city.

12. Paddling the Wolf River: A Refreshing Escape

Floating down Wolf River on a tube is one of the most relaxing ways to spend a day. The gentle flow of the river provides a perfect backdrop for unwinding.

Whether you prefer to float undisturbed or stop at every sandbar to enjoy your favorite cold beverage, it's the ultimate escape. It's a popular (and free) activity that connects you with the simple pleasures of nature.

13. Hiking the Mississippi Greenways: Nature's Path

Exploring the hiking trails along the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a must-do activity for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With an eclectic landscape that includes sandy beaches, lush forests, and vibrant wetlands, our trails offer something for everyone.

It is a fantastic, cost-free way to immerse yourself in the natural splendor of Mississippi. Whether you're looking for a leisurely walk or a challenging hike, the Mississippi Gulf Coast trails promise unforgettable outdoor adventures.

14. Hurricane Katrina Tree Sculptures: Beauty from Destruction

The oak tree sculptures carved from Hurricane Katrina's devastation are a powerful reminder of nature's force and our resilience. Each sculpture speaks of loss, survival, and rebirth, offering an uplifting perspective on our collective history.

Katrina Oak Tree Sculpture in Bay St. Louis
Angel Tree of de Montluzin Ave. Carved by Dayle K. Lewis.

They're not just art; they're reminders of what we've been through and how we've come out the other side. It's a raw, real way to connect with the history of this place, showing both nature's wrath and our unbreakable spirit.

This map contains the location of the Katrina Sculpture and Memorials across the MS Gulf Coast.

Educational Things to Do on the MS Gulf Coast

Mississippi offers educational (but engaging) activities that are fun for the whole family and promote personal enrichment. The following destinations combine fun with learning, allowing visitors to gain new insights into science, history, and culture.

15. Infinity Space Center: Beyond the Stars

Heading to the Infinity Space Center feels like launching into an out-of-this-world family adventure. Each visit offers new insights into the vastness of space and the intricacies of science, making it a must-visit for anyone curious about what lies beyond.

If you're lucky, you may even run into a real-life astronaut! Whether you're a space buff or just looking for something different to do, this place packs a universe of fun into every visit.

Infinity Space Center is a non-profit located at NASA's Stennis Space Center.  It's great fun for the entire family, and kids under 6 get in for free!

16. Traintastic: A Ride Through Mississippi Gulf Coast History

Hanging out at Traintastic in Gulfport was way more interesting than I expected. It's fascinating to learn about trains' role in shaping our society over the last 200 years, not to mention the technological marvels that make them run.

From the museum's station-like design to the interactive layout, visiting Traintastic is like stepping back in time. Oh, and they also have the largest LEGO railway display in the world!

Traintastic Train Museum

In addition to being the largest model railroad museum, this venue prioritizes activities for the kids, including an indoor playground and hands-on model train creation stations.

Traintastic offers daily tickets, annual memberships, and even summer camps.

17. Lynn Meadows Discovery Center: A World of Wonder

Another family-friendly attraction in Gulfport, Mississippi, the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is a playground of imagination for children. Launched in 1991 and risen from the ashes of Hurricane Katrina, the center has grown into a local favorite, winning national accolades along the way.

Kid Playing at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

During my family's visits, I watched my kids become little explorers, darting from one interactive exhibit to another. Whether playing in the outdoor musical garden or getting lost in the "tree cookie" playground, every trip is a new adventure.

Lynn Meadows is open seven days a week, so planning a trip is easy.

18. Take in the Walter Anderson Museum of Art

Experiencing the Walter Anderson Museum of Art has deepened my understanding of our local culture and history. His popular pieces paint a narrative of resilience, creativity, and community that intrigues both residents and out-of-towners.

Sculpture at Walter Anderson Museum of Art

With its intricate murals and captivating artwork, this museum lulls you into the wild, genuine beauty that inspired Anderson himself. If you're looking for a journey that enriches the soul and broadens the mind, it's a must-see.

Culinary Delights: Taste the Local Flavors

Share the flavors of the Mississippi Gulf Coast through amazing culinary and craft beer spots that highlight the South's deep traditions and tastes.

19. Silver Slipper's Crab Feast: A Seafood Celebration

We have three boys in our family, so let's just say that finding places to eat can be quite expensive. And if they're all craving crab, forget about it.

Luckily, there is a popular Gulf Coast destination with unlimited seafood and reasonable prices.

The all-you-can-eat buffet at the Silver Slipper Casino Resort in Waveland is a crab lover's dream. Known as the Crab Feast, it features Snow Crab cluster, Jonah Legs, and Blue Crap. And if that's not enough, the buffet also has an endless supply of jumbo, gulf-caught shrimp.

Don't miss this epic feast, available Monday through Friday nights and all day Saturday and Sunday.

20. Dine at Mary Mahoney's- a Gulf Coast Staple

Mary Mahoney's is a culinary journey through our region's decadent past. Its namesake acquired the home in 1962 before converting it into a restaurant, but the building pre-dates American Independence by several decades.

Mary Mahoney's Sign in Biloxi, MS

The ambiance, combined with exquisite seafood, creates an enjoyable and nostalgic experience. The vibe is cozy and welcoming, like a meal at a friend's house (if your friend's house was steeped in Southern charm and flavors).

I've been to this Biloxi gem a few times, and each visit leaves me hungry for more.

21. Craft Breweries: A Taste of Innovation

In my younger days, being a beer snob on the Gulf Coast was a lonely existence. All my friends drank the popular gut-rot you find in most stores.

But times have changed, and exploring our newer craft breweries has been an adventure in taste and inventiveness. Each brewery offers unique flavors that capture the spirit of Coastal Mississippi, from the salty air to the laid-back lifestyle.

Driving East to West, here are the top local breweries on the MS Gulf Coast:

Nightlife: Coastal Mississippi After Dark

On the MS Coast, it's easy to enjoy a night out. With everything from lively gaming to unique artistic spots and sports entertainment venues, there's something for everyone.

22. Casino Row: A Night of Excitement

If you're staying in Biloxi and looking for some action, taking the Hopper down Casino Row is a no-brainer. This shuttle service passes six casinos, providing front-door access to fourteen nightspots popular with travelers visiting the Coast.

The Hopper is also a godsend when it comes to safety. You can enjoy your night with peace of mind and skip the hassle of finding parking or dealing with traffic.

It's only $1.50 per ride, and for $6.00, you enjoy unlimited rides. Unfortunately, the Hopper only runs until roughly 9:30 p.m. So, if you need a ride home after that, grab an Uber or Lyft.

The table below lists the most popular casinos on the route and their most popular clubs and bars.

Beau RivageEight75
Beau RivageBlack Clover Lounge
Hard RockCenter Bar
Hard RockLive #REMIX
Hard RockRoad House 777
Harrah'sPurple Zebra
Harrah's406 Club
Golden NuggetBar 46
Golden NuggetRush Lounge
Golden NuggetH2O Bar & Grill
Palace CasinoMignon's Lounge
Boomtown CasinoFat Tuesday Daiquiri Bar
IP CasinoChill Ultra Lounge
IP CasinoThirty-Two Lounge

23. Visit Fishbone Alley: An Artistic Nook

In 2016, Fishbone Alley was remade from a utilitarian alley into a must-visit destination due to its dynamic graffiti art, impromptu parties, local charm, and lively atmosphere. Situated between 26th and 27th Avenue and 13th and 14th Streets in Downtown Gulfport, this bustling hub of creativity and social gathering is a testament to the area's resilience and neighborhood spirit.

Fishbone Alley Entrance in Gulfport

Weekends are the best time to check out this unique Gulf Coast attraction, but check out their Facebook page for specific events and party times.

24. Bet on Fun at a Mississippi Sportsbook

In Early 2018, Mississippi legalized sports wagering. This law permitted betting, but only in the confines of casino-based sportsbooks (although that may be changing).

But placing a bet and watching a game at a sportsbook combines the thrill of sports with the camaraderie of fellow fans. It's an exciting way to engage with the games while enjoying a night out with friends.

But on the Gulf Coast, sportsbooks are more than just places for betting; they're complete entertainment hubs. These venues routinely host live music, serve delicious food, and mix unique cocktails.

Things to do on MS Gulf Coast

About Lacey Perniciaro

Lacey is a realtor and lifelong resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She believes real estate allows her to develop an intimate knowledge of southern Mississippi culture. She enjoys attending annual festivals, trying new restaurants, and being involved in local organizations and events.

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