The Very Best of Mississippi
Mississippi Gulf Coast
First of all, you can fly into Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. I’d suggest renting a car, so you can drive down the coast and see all that it has to offer. It’s actually very easy to get up and down the coast by taking Highway 90 (also known as Beach Blvd.). It runs right along the coast, and you can see the beach and the beautiful houses, so it’s a very scenic route.
Area Attractions and Points of Interest
There are several hurricane memorials, two of which are in Biloxi. One is devoted to Hurricane Camille victims and the other is devoted to Hurricane Katrina victims. In Pascagoula, MS, there is a Katrina Memorial and Walking Trail that actually shows some of the wave action that occurred during the hurricane.
I’ve also heard a lot about Ship Island, and it’s something I would strongly recommend that you see. From Gulfport, there is a ferry that takes passengers to Ship Island and Fort Massachusetts (1858). The ferry ride to the island takes about an hour one way, but once you get there, you can enjoy swimming, shelling, birding, and sunbathing. Once on the island, you are able to rent chairs and umbrellas, and there is food service. For more information, visit this website: https://www.gulfcoast.org/listings/ship-island-excursions-gulfport/2715/
In Biloxi, you can also find Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis’s old home. We toured it, and it was very interesting! Here’s the website for more information: https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductDetail-g43686-d15098095-Beauvoir_General_Admission_Ticket-Biloxi_Mississippi.html
There is a waterpark in Gulfport, MS, and you can find more information at this website: https://www.gulfislandswaterpark.com/. There are also several places with splash pads for the kids. For example, there is one in Long Beach (https://www.gulfcoast.org/listings/long-beach-splash-pad/4710/) and Bay St. Louis (https://www.gulfcoast.org/listings/mcdonald-park-%26-splash-pad/4759/).
If you want to see casinos, there are lots! I would strongly recommend visiting the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi (https://www.hrhcbiloxi.com/). We have been there and have enjoyed it. Also, if you walk along one side of the casino, we were able to see the boats docked alongside it and some were selling fresh shrimp straight from the boat!
In terms of music and nightlife, there is plenty of it! Here’s a list of bars and breweries along the coast: https://www.gulfcoast.org/things-to-do/music-nightlife/. Also, there’s plenty of restaurants, and you can find a list of those here: https://www.gulfcoast.org/things-to-do/restaurants/.
Honestly, we spent more time at the beach rather than doing much of anything else. We most definitely enjoyed the beaches, and you can find more information about the beaches along the coast at this website: https://www.gulfcoast.org/things-to-do/beach-water-activities/beach-information/
Hattiesburg is about 90 miles from the gulf coast. It’s definitely a college town, as the University of Southern Mississippi is here (Jimmy Buffett was a student here!). There are some interesting things to do and places to eat.
If you love Southern BBQ, then the place to go is Leatha’s BBQ Inn. It is the best! This restaurant has been featured on an episode of Man Food Fire on the Cooking Channel. The other place to visit is Coney Island Café. We always get their hotdogs and french fries, and it’s the best! They don’t have a website, but they do have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ConeyIslandCafe1923/).
One major attraction in Hattiesburg, MS is the Rails to Trails or Longleaf Trace. It is a running, biking, and equestrian trail that is 41 miles long. It extends from Hattiesburg, MS all the way to Prentiss, MS. Here’s the website for more information: http://www.longleaftrace.org/
In addition, the Hattiesburg zoo is an attraction here. Here’s the website: https://hattiesburgzoo.com/. They do have fun events throughout the year such as trick or treating at the zoo and the Sloth Experience. The Sloth Experience includes helping the zookeeper prepare the sloth diets for the day, as well as the opportunity to feed the sloth and be up close.
Here, you can find Elvis Presley’s place of birth. You are able to tour his home, museum, and church. Here’s the website information: https://elvispresleybirthplace.com/
Here, you can find some of the last battlegrounds during the Civil War- The Battle of Brice’s Crossroads and the Battle of Tupelo/Harrisburg. The website for more information is here: https://www.finalstands.com/
If you are interested in the history of the Civil War, one must see is Vicksburg National Military Park. Vicksburg played a significant role in the war, and at the Military Park, you can find memorials, historic bridges, cannons, carriages, a visitor center, as well as 20 miles of trenches and earthwork.
The USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum is also in the Park. Here’s the website for the Park: https://www.nps.gov/vick/index.htm.
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