An insider’s guide to the Mississippi Gulf Coast
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Ocean Springs Community Guide

Ocean Springs City Guide - Visit The Gulf Coast's Art Hub

Shaded by oak trees and laced with bayous, Ocean Springs embodies the natural beauty of Gulf Coast communities.  You can consider it Biloxi’s art school cousin, packed with rich history, unique cultural attractions, and a colorful, creative community.

Ocean Springs earned the title City of Discovery because it blooms with small businesses, from restaurants serving fresh seafood and irresistible Southern classics to clothing boutiques and art galleries. You’ll always have things to discover when there’s an old-fashioned Creole cottage around every corner, and every season has a new host of festivals.

Visitors can choose from various lodging options with big personalities, from fishing cabins on the beach to chic downtown B&Bs. No matter where you stay, you’re never far from Ocean Springs’ nightlife, where laid-back neighborhood dives give you a taste of what it’s like to be a local.

Ocean Springs Bridge Mosaic Mural

Ocean Springs Bursts with Unique Attractions

Despite its size, Ocean Springs bursts at the seams with small businesses, galleries, museums, and opportunities for outdoor adventure to keep anyone entertained from dawn ‘til dusk.

Home of Walter Inglis Anderson

Artist Walter Inglis Anderson called Ocean Springs home for most of his life, and he left a lasting impression. He moved to Ocean Springs in the 1920s and painted designs for his family’s business, Shearwater Pottery. His hand-painted pottery showcased the beauty of the Gulf Coast’s native plants and animals.

Today, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art features an expansive collection of his paintings, pottery, and other pieces. His family still runs Shearwater Potter so you can purchase some of the pieces yourself.

Art is everywhere in Ocean Springs

For visitors interested in contemporary artwork, Ocean Springs has galleries like Pink Rooster Gallery and Hillyer House that exhibit pottery, jewelry, glasswork, and other creations from local artists.  Besides the museums and galleries, the city itself is a canvas: more than a dozen public art installations and murals fill Ocean Springs (including some preserved Walter Inglis Anderson works).

Enjoy the beauty of the bayou

Outdoor explorers have their hands full in Ocean Springs. The town is dotted with parks and nature reserves, so you can hike through the pine-filled woods and see how many of the area’s native waterfowl you can spy.

Many visitors and residents love to fish, and Ocean Springs is happy to accommodate. Fishing enthusiasts can take to one of the town’s fishing piers or charter a boat for a day on the bay. Coasting along the bayous in a kayak is another popular activity and a great way to take in the area's incredible beauty.

If you still need more, the nature reserves of Ocean Springs also feature campgrounds.  So you don’t have to return to civilization until you’re ready.

Quirky shops and unique souvenirs

Whether you’re looking for clothes, furnishings, or a special souvenir, Ocean Springs has a shop to serve any interest.  These tiny stores have a strong sense of character, from their Creole-influenced architecture to their eclectic range of merchandise. Shops like Buddyrow feature antique clothing, furniture, and home furnishings alongside works by local artists that you can’t get anywhere else.

Coastal Magpie, in particular, is a must-see.  They packed this shop, floor-to-ceiling, with the wild and weird. It’s the perfect place to pick up souvenirs destined to become popular conversation pieces.

Ocean Springs Lodging - The Roost

Unforgettable Lodging Options in Ocean Springs

When you stay in Ocean Springs, you’re practically guaranteed to have a one-of-a-kind experience to make the folks back home jealous. Like the rest of its businesses, the lodging options in Ocean Springs feature its rich history and come with strong personalities of their own.

Comfortable and exclusive hotels and B&Bs

Spend the night in a piece of history or lean into luxury at one of Ocean Springs’ most iconic lodgings:

  • Front Beach Cottages: Once fishing shacks, these adorable cottages have a rustic charm and sit right on the beach.
  • Inn at Ocean Springs: This two-room bed and breakfast promises privacy and luxury within walking distance from the biggest attractions in the downtown area.
  • The Roost: Named after the flock of roosters known to frequent Downtown Ocean Springs, the Roost is a short walk from the beach and offers stunning sunset views.

Standard amenities at these smaller lodgings include private patio access, spa-quality soaps, and complimentary morning coffee.

Nearby Biloxi and St. Martin offer mid-range hotels

Visitors looking for a hotel that balances price and comfort may need to take a short trip to one of Ocean Springs’ neighbors, St. Martin, to the north.  St. Martin has choices on par with the Holiday Inn Express Suites, and a trip over the bridge to Biloxi gives you many options for mid-range hotels.

Low-cost hotels in Ocean Springs

Luckily, you don’t have to leave Ocean Springs to get a reasonable rate on your hotel. Visitors looking for budget-friendly options can stay at Studio 6 or the Travelodge by Wyndham.

These low-cost options are also pet-friendly, making them an excellent choice for travelers who like to take their best friend along.

Creative and Classic Cuisine in Ocean Springs

Like most of the Gulf Coast, Ocean Springs has an abundance of fresh seafood. Popular fare includes shrimp, crab, crawfish, oysters, and fish served up as Creole and Cajun classics or in surprising new ways.

One-of-a-kind fusion restaurants

What makes Ocean Springs stand out from other towns on the Gulf Coast is its wealth of quirky restaurants and fusion cuisine.  Consider local favorite Vestige, an upscale restaurant whose tasting menu fuses Southern and Japanese cuisine. Vestige uses native ingredients like elderberries and wild bay to create culinary dishes totally foreign compared to traditional Mississippi Gulf Coast cuisine.

Stop in at Spoonwater Sushi Bar and Grill for a more casual atmosphere. Part sushi joint, part sports bar, Spoonwater offers fresh, house-made sushi and creative cocktails. It also has the usual sports bar attractions like bingo and trivia nights.

Traditional Southern barbecue and Cajun cuisine

Of course, you can still find all-time Southern greats like po’boys, hushpuppies, fried chicken, and catfish in Ocean Springs. Cajun and Creole cuisine thrive on fresh-caught seafood, and spots like Aunt Jenny’s Catfish Restaurant have been serving them for decades.

Another major highlight is old-fashioned Southern barbecue like the kind served at The Shed Barbecue & Blues Joint. You may find it hard to say no to a high-piled plate of brisket or ribs with all the fixings, especially when the live music starts.

Ocean Springs Kayaking

Year-Round Events Dazzle in Ocean Springs

Ocean Springs has something for you if you love open-air events that combine food, music, and community. Whether it’s boat racing, food festivals, or parades that catch your fancy, Ocean Springs has plenty to celebrate.

Discovery bay and bayou adventures

Locals enjoy the fresh air as much as visitors, and they’re happy to share the view. Battle on the Bayou is a prominent event each year, drawing kayakers from across the country and around the world to race up Old Fort Bayou. For amateur and experienced boaters alike, the Ocean Springs Yacht Club holds several yearly catamaran races, including the 1699 Regatta.

This race is in partnership with the Ocean Springs 1699 Historical Society and celebrates the landing of Pierre LeMoyne D’Iberville and the establishment of Ocean Springs.

Ocean Springs hosts festivals like no other

Foodies flock to the many annual festivals in Ocean Springs, such as the Taste of Ocean Springs Food & Wine Festival and Restaurant Week.  If you have a sweet spot for a particular berry, the Red, White & Blueberry Festival is all for you.

Of course, Ocean Springs also loves to show off its vibrant artistic community in the annual Spring Arts Festival. Artists also travel from all over the state for The Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival (the largest in the state) and the Mississippi Songwriters Festival.

Local takes on Southern traditions

Visitors who swing by Ocean Springs during Mardi Gras are in for a show. The Ocean Springs Night Parade lights up Government Street starting at 7 PM, then brings the party down Porter Avenue and right to the bay for a night of fun and excitement.

Even if you miss out on the Carnival season, the Ocean Springs Carnival Association runs events like their annual BBQ fundraiser.  So you can still have a good time (and do a little good, too).

Fans of classic cars will want to catch Cruisin’ the Coast when it passes through Ocean Springs. Musical events, food pop-ups, and other fun always follow as this traveling bloc party traverses the entire Gulf Coast.

Ocean Springs Live Music

Nightlife in Ocean Springs Means Music

The nightlife in Ocean Springs has a soundtrack. Most bars feature local bands weekly or nightly, so there’ll never be a quiet moment when you head out on the town.

The best bars in Ocean Springs are neighborhood joints

You’ll feel like a regular when you visit one of Ocean Springs’ many neighborhood bars.  Spots like Juke Joint promise a good time with laid-back vibes, live music, and hearty bar food in the shadow of massive oak trees.

For visitors who can’t bring themselves to leave the beach, you can cap off your day with drinks at The Bayou Restaurant & Tiki Bar (which sits right on the water). Their colorful cocktails and uninhibited view of the sunset make for a memorable finale to an eventful day.

Sit back with specialty beer and wine offerings

Ocean Springs also features some quieter options for nightlife. If you like to choose from a wide selection of beers and wine, make a double feature of The Beer House and Mosaic Tapas & Restaurant.

Sitting side-by-side, they serve up specialty IPAs and tasty small plates, respectively, and make great destinations for couples.

Ocean Springs Antebellum Homes

Living in Ocean Springs - Popular Home Styles

Ocean Springs' population has slowly but steadily increased over the last decade. It experienced the most significant jump from 2020-2021, rising from 17,800 to 18,400 people.  Because of its moderate population, Ocean Springs maintains the tight-knit community and slow-paced lifestyle of a smaller town while benefiting from its proximity to most populous cities like Biloxi.

The median sale price of homes in Ocean Springs is $209,000 in 2024, but the market has seen significant shifts in the last few years. The median sale price spiked to nearly $300,000 in December 2022, but the median sale price in October was almost as low as the current price. In other words, the market for homes in Ocean Springs has experienced some unpredictable shifts in the last few years.

Waterfront properties are prized locations in Ocean Springs

If you’re looking for a nature refuge in your next home, you only have to choose which breathtaking view you want to wake up to each day: bay or bayou. Besides its rustic, renovated cottages on the beach, Ocean Springs also boasts gorgeous mansions in historical and contemporary styles with piers extending into the bayous.

Ocean Springs also has waterfront land and property that is quite affordable compared to the rest of the Coast.  Residents selling this Gulf Coast property on the water are asking nearly 50% of the price you'll see in Bay St. Louis or Pass Christan.

Iconic Creole architecture is common

As the first permanent French settlement in French Louisiana, Ocean Springs bears the mark of its more than 300-year history in the form of Creole architecture, historic and restored antebellum-style homes, and former fishing cottages. Ocean Springs shows off its heritage on every street corner, from steeply-gabled roofs and shady verandas to stunning double gallery houses.

However, the massive damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 also spurred new housing developments in Ocean Springs. Modern neighborhoods now mix the aesthetics and amenities of new construction with the charm and character of its history.

Ocean Springs has a home for every sensibility

In Ocean Springs, you’re sure to find a home with a unique style and easy access to the area’s beaches, bayous, and most prominent attractions. Single or multi-level homes with porches and expansive yards are common—perfect for families looking for space.

Communities

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