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Tupelo, Mississippi
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Biloxi, Mississippi

Gulf Coast

Walk the beach or bet on black on a fun-filled coast

Mississippi’s Gulf Coast can be compared to a rich gumbo. Beginning with the French, who arrived at Biloxi Bay in 1698, the area has changed hands many times over its history, and each culture has contributed its own essence and heat to the coastal landscape. Today, in coastal communities like Bay St. Louis, Gulfport and Biloxi, visitors can savor each of the region’s flavors on silky white beaches, at compelling historic sites or at a game of poker or blackjack at one of the region’s many casinos.

Casinos, Cabanas and Cuisine

When King Louis XIV of France sent explorers to establish a French colony on what is now Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, he could never have imagined the palatial casino resorts holding court there today. About a dozen Gulf Coast gaming establishments in varying size offer blackjack, poker, slot machines and 24 hours of nonstop gaming.

Thousands of visitors come each year, earning the region a spot among the top ten gaming destinations in the country. In addition to thrilling at the prospect of a big jackpot, visitors can enjoy star-studded entertainment and innumerable restaurant choices, serving everything from basic fare to fine dining. Order a drink, sit at a poker machine or belly up to a blackjack or craps table — the choice is yours.

Arts, Culture and Natural Wonders

Like the waves that roll ashore, the historic sights and sounds of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast are endless. Explore the region’s past to get a sense of the forces that shaped Mississippi into the state it is today.

Start with a tour of Beauvoir, a National Historic Landmark and the retirement estate of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, situated on 52 acres overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Tour the historic landmark to learn about the leader who attempted to lead the Confederate rebellion against the Union and died a political pariah in the South.

For more Civil War history, take a ferry ride into the Gulf for a visit to Fort Massachusetts on West Ship Island. Part of the property features park ranger-led tours of one of the last coastal forts of its kind built in the United States.


Gautier is where you’ll find Shepherd State Park, in the heart of what is called Pascagoula River Country. Also known as Singing River, it’s a natural estuary and home to nearly two dozen threatened and endangered species. Migratory birds use the river and its lush marshes as a resting point and breeding ground.

Buccaneer State Park underwent a total renovation after being destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The park, located in Waveland, features a 4.5-acre water park, an 18-hole disc golf course and more. In Gulfport, the Center for Marine Education & Research — also known as The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies  — provides a learning experience about marine life in the area. A visit to the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum is the place to learn more about the Gulf Coast’s history and heritage.

For an up-close view of Gulf Coast seafood, take the entire family on a Biloxi Shrimping Trip and watch the boat captain haul in nets of local favorites. See a rocket engine or ride a flight simulator at the Infinity Science Center. Other must-sees include the region’s lighthouses, such as the landmark Biloxi Lighthouse, built in 1848. A guided tour — and a challenging climb up a spiral staircase — takes you to the top of this 65-foot-tall structure.

Mississippi’s Gulf Coast has a thriving arts and culture scene. Gulfport venues include Gulfport Little Theatre and Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra. The Bay St. Louis Mardi Gras Museum features more than a dozen elaborate Mardi Gras costumes housed inside a former train depot. In Ocean Springs, there is the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts & Education along the the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial, honoring Magnolia State service members. Check out the historic Mississippi Blues Trail in Biloxi, where the stories of Mississippi’s blues legends unfold.

Hit the Beach or the Links

Family time on the Mississippi Gulf Coast is like no other. A day at the beach means choosing a spot along 62 miles of scenic shoreline — plenty of room for swimming, sunbathing or hunting for seashells. Water sports like jet skiing and kayaking are available.

Want to catch your own fish dinner? Try fishing off a pier or renting a deep-sea charter. Rather reserve a tee time? With nearly 20 golf courses available, including courses designed by champions Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, finding a challenge on the links shouldn’t be a problem.

Fun Without Spending a Ton

There’s no rule that says all the fun comes with a price tag on the Gulf Coast. Watching sunsets on the beach or taking a hike on one of the nature trails costs nothing but time. A side trip along one of the area’s scenic byways is another novel and inexpensive opportunity to enjoy the Gulf Coast and some of the best of what it offers.

For More Information

Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau



Mississippi Tourism