An insider’s guide to the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Mississippi Gulf Coast Living - Pros and Cons of Coastal Life

Living Moving Mississippi Gulf Coast

Updated: April 21st, 2024

Living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast offers an affordable coastal lifestyle with a high quality of life.  The region's economic outlook, affordable cost of living, and enticing tax benefits make it appealing to both young professionals and retirees.

This article highlights the pros and cons of living on the Mississippi Coast and why more and more people are moving here. We'll cover our mouth-watering seafood cuisine, charming coastal towns, outdoor activities, and entertainment options.

5 Benefits of Living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

The hidden treasures of the Mississippi Gulf Coast are getting more challenging to hide. With top rankings in housing affordability and lowest cost of living, our region offers a cost-effective option for those seeking an excellent standard of living

Residents and visitors alike enjoy our Southern cuisine classics, explore the rich heritage and charm of coastal towns, embrace endless outdoor activities, and enjoy top-notch entertainment and leisure opportunities. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is your gateway to an extraordinary and laid-back lifestyle.

1. Gulf Coast delights: seafood and comfort food galore

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a food lover's paradise. With an abundance of legendary seafood restaurants, you can savor the freshest gulf shrimp, oysters, and fish. The region's Southern cuisine classics, such as roast beef po' boys and barbecues, will surely leave you feeling satisfied. 

Don't miss out on popular seafood spots like Trapani's Eatery, Mary Mahoney's, Mignon's Steaks & Seafood, The Reef, and Taranto's Crawfish, serving mouth-watering dishes.

2. Experience Southern hospitality at its finest

Southern hospitality is at its best on the MS Gulf Coast. Newcomers will discover delightful small towns, friendly locals, and deep history with welcoming people and a sense of community. 

A few of our towns have even made "best of " lists.  For example, Bay St. Louis was named one of the best small towns to live in the United States.

Down here, we're all family.

Explore museums, historic sites, and landmarks that showcase our region's diverse past, including Beauvoir, Biloxi Lighthouse, and the Walter Anderson Museum of Art. These cultural centers showcase the authentic Southern allure of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Biloxi Lighthouse at Night

3. We cherish and indulge in our natural wonders

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a nature lover's paradise, offering endless outdoor activities. From cruising the beaches and dolphin watching to exploring the largest outdoor natural amusement park at the Gulf Islands National Seashore, adventure seekers will be spoiled for choice. 

Nature enthusiasts can enjoy birdwatching, hiking, and wildlife viewing, while thrill-seekers can go fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and camping. The Pascagoula River, the largest free-flowing river in the continental United States, is a must-see destination for those who want to experience the beauty and wonder of nature.

4. The perfect balance of entertainment and leisure

From plush casinos to world-class golf courses, our Gulf South region is a haven for gamers and thrill-seekers.  Enjoy gambling, sports betting, entertainment, and dining at the best casinos, including Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Palace Casino Resort.

Sports enthusiasts can tee off at renowned golf courses like Fallen Oak Golf Course and Shell Landing Golf Club for an unforgettable experience. And if you enjoy a slower pace of life, head to Biloxi Beach to soak up some rays and watch the local kiteboarders catching air.

Gulf Coast Kite Boarder

5. Cities recognized as the best places to live in the U.S.

Since Hurricane Katrina, the standard of living on the MS Gulf Coast has improved dramatically.  And things are still looking up.  Mississippi ranks 22nd in economic outlook, an improvement from 27th in 2022.

In addition to economic improvements, education is also improving.  Dramatic increases in 4th-grade reading level proficiency proved that, although we have a long way to go, the state is on the right track.

Some of our cities have even been recognized nationally as one of the best places to live in Mississippi.  Bay St. Louis has earned several positive national designations, including America's 2nd Best Small Coastal Town in America.

4 Reasons People Move to the Gulf Coast

With affordable living options and enticing tax benefits, the Gulf Coast is a refuge for young professionals and retirees looking to relocate. Visitors come to appreciate our rich culture and diverse communities, highlighted by popular festivals and events throughout the year.

And many of them never leave!

We're spoiled with a pleasant year-round climate, mild winters, and warm summers tempered by refreshing Gulf breezes. And recent education improvements have elevated the Gulf Coast's reputation as a hub for quality schools and universities.

1. Mississippi enjoys the title of "most affordable place to live"

Moving to the Magnolia State is an attractive option for small families seeking to avoid the high costs of big cities.  Compared to other states, the average cost of living in Mississippi is the lowest in the entire country.  Retirees looking for a comfortable lifestyle on a fixed income also flock to our inviting communities and relatively low crime rate.

For example, Mississippi's tax benefits (such as no state income tax on Social Security benefits or qualified retirement income) make it an even more appealing choice for older Americans. With the low cost of living and numerous affordable housing options, the Gulf Coast offers the opportunity to save big without sacrificing happiness and fulfillment.

2. A vibrant culture of arts and festivals

With popular festivals like Mardi Gras, Cruisin' The Coast, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, newcomers can experience our diverse and inclusive culture firsthand. These events celebrate our blend of backgrounds and influences, including African American, French, Spanish, Native American, Vietnamese, and Croatian. 

Each of our communities showcases its local artistic style. For instance, at the Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival, you can immerse yourself in the art scene of Ocean Springs.

MS Gulf Coast Art

3. MS Gulf Coast boasts comfortable year-round temperatures

We enjoy mild winters and warm summers on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, with average winter lows around 40°F and highs around 60°F. And although humidity can be a bit high, the refreshing Gulf breeze helps to keep the heat in check. 

In summer, the average high is around 90°F. But with lows of around 70°F, it's still bearable. Overall, the Gulf Coast's climate is comfortable year-round, making it an ideal location for those who prefer milder temperatures.

Improved graduation rates and college readiness

Last year, Mississippi's overall education ranking improved from 49th to 44th in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. This rise is due to increased student graduation rates, test scores, and college readiness

And with many educational stats that are better than the national average, the Gulf Coast re

Mississippi Education Statistics

Families looking for quality education will find some of the best public and private schools in the state, along with several colleges and universities. These include Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus, William Carey University Tradition Campus, and Tulane University Biloxi Campus. 

William Carey University Tradition Campus

William Cary University Tradition Campus

Cons of Gulf Coast Living in Mississippi

Let's talk cons of living in Mississippi, specifically the Gulf Coast.  While unpredictable weather can pose challenges, years of practice and preparation have led to measures that mitigate the impact of severe storms and flooding. And if the worst happens, Mississippians rally around each other to pick up the pieces and rebuild.

And while the Mississippi Gulf Coast has no major metropolitan areas, we are home to many notable companies. Furthermore, quick access to nearby cities provides additional cultural, entertainment, and business opportunities within a short drive from the coast.

The Gulf Coast's unpredictable and extreme weather

The Gulf Coast offers many benefits, but the region's fierce weather events can be challenging and turn-off to some people. During hurricane season, from June to November, we monitor severe storms in the Gulf.

Hurricanes pose the biggest threat to locals that live on or near the Gulf of Mexico and waterways. But since Hurricane Katrina, flood elevation requirements have been introduced that significantly reduce the impact of storms and flooding.

For the vast majority of MS Gulf Coast residents that don't live near the water, storms are no more than a short-term inconvenience.

While the weather can be unpredictable, Southern Mississippi remains a beautiful and vibrant place to live. The chance of a generational storm every 20 or 30 years is well worth the risk.

A good place for business, but no major metropolitan cities

Living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast may limit access to major metropolitan areas, but we still host big businesses. Notable companies operating on the MS Gulf Coast include Ingalls Shipbuilding, Keesler Air Force Base, and Stennis Space Center. 

Biloxi, the largest city on the Gulf Coast, may have fewer large companies compared to major metropolitan areas, but it still has a bustling hospitality and retail industry. Additionally, coastal Mississippi residents enjoy convenient access to nearby cities like New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. And the white sandy beaches of Florida are only a couple hours' drive away.

Want to Live in Mississippi? We'd Love to Have You

Living in Coastal Mississippi offers an affordable coastal lifestyle with an excellent standard of living. We provide enticing tax benefits, mouth-watering seafood cuisine, sportsman activities, and numerous entertainment options.

Despite extreme weather, the community's resilience and access to nearby cities like New Orleans create endless opportunities and adventures (let me tell ya...). The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a hidden gem, combining affordability, natural beauty, rich culture, and a strong sense of community.

Have you visited the coastal region of the Magnolia state or moved here recently?  Do you live out of state but have considered a move to Mississippi? If so, let us know about it in the comments below.

Living Moving Mississippi 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.

2 comments on “Mississippi Gulf Coast Living - Pros and Cons of Coastal Life”

  1. having a challenging time finding rental home to live in while looking to build on some property we have in BSL

    1. This is very true. The real estate market is Bay St. Louis is fast-moving with respect to buying, selling, and rentals.

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