Quality of Life - Destinations and Attractions

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a major tourism destination. Casino gaming offers non-stop action and nationally recognized entertainment. Music industry headliners perform to sell-out crowds at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center. Major college basketball tournaments and rodeos also make regular appearances at the Coliseum. The arts and festivals thrive on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with over 300 annual festivals, fairs and special events. Museums and community theaters abound and the Gulf Coast Symphony enjoys substantial patronage.

The world’s best shrimp, tasty crabs and succulent oysters harvested from the Gulf waters are staples of the local cuisine. Famous restaurants invite you to sample this bountiful seafood harvest.

Beautiful white sands beckon visitors to kick-back for a day at the beach. Rentals include beach chairs, umbrellas, sailboats, jet skis and paddle boats. In the mood for a day cruise? Enjoy a ride on the Ship Island Ferry to a beautiful secluded island with sparkling beaches and crystal-clear water.

Visitors can also enjoy world-class golf courses and championship fishing, water parks, children’s museums and a variety of shopping venues.
 

TOURISM ORGANIZATIONS

Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau
2350 Beach Blvd Suite A • Biloxi, MS 39531
Tel:  888.467.4853   |   gulfcoast.org

Gulf Coast Regional Tourism Partnership
visitmscoast.org

Hancock County Tourism Development Bureau
Mississippi's West Coast   |   mswestcoast.org

Jackson County Chamber of Commerce
Mississippi's East Coast   |   mseastcoast.org

 

MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art
The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art (OOMA) features Ohr-iginal art by George E Ohr (1857-1918), the self proclaimed "Mad Potter" of Biloxi as well as contemporary and historical work by a variety of artists. TIME Magazine selected Biloxi's Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, designed by Frank Gehry, as one of the tip five architectural designs in the world for 2008 Style & Design 100 Issue. The Frank Gehry designed Ohr Campus opened three of the five Gehry designed buildings in November 2010. Three of the five Gehry designed buildings on campus are now complete with the fourth to be completed by July 2012 (the City of Biloxi Center for Ceramics). OOMA is the only Smithsonian Affiliate in Mississippi.

Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum
The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum tells the history of the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a seafood port. The new museum, to being built at Point Cadet Plaza, will include just over 20,000 sq ft of exhibit space and will host permanent hurricane exhibits and an exhibit that will feature the Nydia, a 30-foot gaff-rigged cabin sloop.

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center
Named a Top 50 Children's Museum, The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is a hands-on educational resource celebrating its 14th year of operation. The interactive exhibits serve as catalysts for exploration, self-discovery and growth for each of our 120,000 annual visitors. Through activities designed to simulate the real world of South Mississippi, children have the opportunity to learn about both the past and present and with a better understanding of the connection, become responsible, global citizens. The museum offers 15,000 square feet of indoor exploration and 6 acres of outdoor fun. A small sampling of our current exhibits include an international travel exhibit featuring Mexico, a Mississippi Grocery store offering local fare, the Dolan Avenue Depot where children can board a turn-of-the century train, and our Think First Safety Exhibit highlighting our brains and spinal cords.

Eco-Tours of South Mississippi
ecotoursofsouthmississippi.com/ 
The Eco-Tours of South Mississippi in Gautier offers interpretive tours to introduce you to the natural habitats of the cypress swamps and salt marshes of the lower Pascagoula River or the coastal barrier islands. The Pascagoula River, the longest unimpeded river in the lower 48 states, flows 80 miles from its confluence to the Gulf of Mexico.  Alligators and migratory birds--pelicans, ospreys, herons, egrets, and even bald eagles-are abundant, along with myriad other wildlife. 300 species of plants including wild lilies and orchids enhance the beauty of the bayou.

Gulf Coast Gator Ranch
airboatswamptoursofmississippi.com/
Stroll along protected walkways and hand feed gators up close and personal, or board one of our high speed airboats, and take a unique journey through the surrounding wilderness. You'll witness alligators, birds and marine life in their natural habitat, as you tour our 105 acres which border the Grand Bay Estuary in Moss Point/Pascagoula.

Pascagoula River Audubon Center
pascagoulariver.audubon.org/
Located in Moss Point, the Pascagoula River Audubon Center is a gateway to the Pascagoula River, its habitats and the diverse assemblage of organisms that inhabit, or visit the river basin throughout the year. Apart from providing visitors and students direct exposure and experience within such a rich environment, the center serves as a demonstration site for environmentally-friendly concepts and a portal to nature based programs applicable to any and all visitors.  The Center's programming introduces key concepts of watershed protection, management, and stewardship, and connects visitors with the broader network of Audubon Centers, other nature-based facilities, and sites across the region and country.

Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center
themaryc.org
The Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center is the keystone of the public arts community in Ocean Springs. Located in the historic Ocean Springs Public School Building on Government Street, the Center provides a diverse set of programs and facilities for the arts. Working with the City of Ocean Springs, the Friends of the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education are dedicated to restoring the 1927 Ocean Springs School building and to providing an environment for artistic activities including music, visual and performing arts and education. The Mary C. offers classes in culinary arts, pottery, jewelry, photography, mosaic, and many more.

Walter Anderson Museum of Art
walterandersonmuseum.org
A visit to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art (WAMA), opened in 1991 in historic Ocean Springs, MS, is an enchanting and unique experience. WAMA is dedicated to the celebration of the works of Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965), American master, whose depictions of the plants, animals, and people of the Gulf Coast have placed him among the forefront of American painters of the Twentieth Century; and to his brothers, Peter Anderson (1901-1984), master potter and founder of Shearwater Pottery; and James McConnell Anderson (1907-1998), noted painter and ceramist. The watercolors, drawings, oils, block prints, ceramics, and carvings by the three Anderson brothers are all represented in the museum’s permanent collection. Diverse changing exhibitions, many featuring the work of other significant artists, occur throughout the year. The museum’s sky lit interior of warm southern yellow pine includes a main galleria and two additional galleries, which echo the natural beauty and simplicity of its setting. Adjacent to the museum is the Ocean Springs Community Center, home of Walter Anderson’s largest mural.

Scranton’s Nature Center
cityofpascagoula.com/scranton-nature-center
Take a walk on the wild side at The Scranton’s Nature Center in Pascagoula. With unique wildlife exhibits featuring fish, birds, snakes, and fossils, the Center is fun for the whole family Families can enjoy a picnic while watching the ducks and play a round or two of disc golf.  The Scranton’s Nature Center also has walking trails, soccer fields, fishing lakes, and a playground.

Round Island Lighthouse
roundislandlighthouse.org/
The Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society has been devoted to moving and restoring the historic lighthouse. In 1998, Hurricane Georges heavily damaged the structure, then in 2005 Hurricane Katrina inflicted massive damage to the lighthouse, which at the time was under reconstruction on Round Island. In the interval since then, the lighthouse has been moved to land, where it is being restored at its new site at the foot of the U. S. Highway 90 Bridge on the east side in Pascagoula.

Infinity Space Center
www.visitinfinity.com
Dedicated in 2012, the state-of-the art facility features the Space Gallery, an immersive theatre displaying Science on a Sphere, and educational exhibits drawn from real life “rocket science” activities that take place at the nearby space center.  A coastal cuisine food court and gift shop makes day trips to the Center irresistible.  Studies estimate that the INFINITY Science Center will attract over 300,000 visitors each year, creating an enormous positive economic and educational impact on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

NASA Scenic Byway to Space: Six routes that wind throughout the county that covers 43 miles of scenic sites, including birding sites, state parks, wetlands, and hiking trails.

Mcleod Water Park Campground: Located on the Jourdan River, Mcleod accommodates RVs and traditional camping. McLeod is in the heart of the Jourdan River Blueway, an 8 mile water trail for canoeing and kayaking. Also, this a great launching point for motor boat cruising to view wildlife or go fishing.

Buccaneer State Park
Visit Website
Located on the beach in Waveland, Buccaneer offers premium beachfront camping sites for RVs and primitive camping. There is a nature trail, disc golf course, and pavilions on site, not to mention the beach.

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

Mississippi Gulf Coast Resort Classic
In the spring of 2013, the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic will be entering its fourth year as an official stop on the Champions Tour. Played at Fallen Oak each year, the tournament is uniquely funded by a group of 14-16 organizations dedicated to promoting the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Each year, the tournament receives 16 hours of coverage on the Golf Channel with the telecast reaching over five million viewers throughout the United States and 133 countries outside the United States including Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada and Latin America. The tournament benefits Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and annually draws a crowd of 25,000 to 30,000 people during tournament week. For more information visit 2013mgrc.com.

Cruisin’ the Coast 
cruisinthecoast.com
Each October, car aficionados in Biloxi enjoy the more than 4500 antique cars that participate in the week-long festivities organized as Cruisin’ the Coast. Marketed as “the world’s largest street party,” the event includes numerous activities at various locales, including street parties, casino-sponsored entertainment, and outdoor concerts. Started in 1996 as a festival to celebrate antique, classic and hot rod vehicles, nostalgic music and related events, Cruisin’ has grown from 374 registered cars in its inaugural year to 4,854 in 2010.

Mullet Fest
gautiermulletfest.com/
We offer a wide variety of activities, Live Entertainment, Kid's Area, Classic Car and Motorcycle Show and much, much more. The Gautier Mullet & Music Fest includes our Major Entertainment Stage featuring many popular live bands. The Traditional Community Entertainment Stage will feature local bands, school and community groups. The Heritage & Educational Area highlights a variety of exhibits to include Historical, Wildlife, Ecological, Fisheries, Community Goodwill, Health & Safety and local craftsmen giving live demonstrations. At the festival there will be the famous Mullet Toss Contest, Arts & Craft Vendors, and plenty of Food Vendors. 

Christmas by the River Celebrate the season and enjoy everything that makes our Christmas special. Christmas by the River is an annual festival in Moss Point that kicks off the holiday season, and includes a nighttime boat parade and a grand fireworks show! Every year boaters from around the area decorate their vessels with lights and holiday memorabilia and parade up the river and along the boardwalk throwing goodies to the children. The last boat of the parade is reserved for a special visitor from the North Pole and the night is ended with an awe-inspiring firework display! Other attractions include face painting, a vintage car show, a visit with Santa, and holiday entertainment.

Rockin’ the Riverfront
rockintheriverfront.com
Moss Point’s new festival, Rockin’ the Riverfront, highlights the city’s diversity and waterfront attributes. The festival features boat races, antique car shows, a variety of food vendors and music venues. Hot rod and boat enthusiasts can admire some of the Gulf Coast’s hottest hot rods, muscle cars, and antique gems. The festival’s music will feature a variety of musical genres including country, blues, rock, R&B, rap and Cajun music. There will also be a boat building contest, a fish identification workshop, a gumbo cook off, trout pond, a kid's corner. 

Peter Anderson Festival
peterandersonfestival.com
The Peter Anderson Festival began as a small celebration by a group of local artists and art enthusiasts. More than 30 years later, it has grown to one of the Southeast's premiere arts and crafts festivals. The festival takes over downtown Ocean Springs’ streets with a plethora of artistic and crafty creations. The festival is also something of a street party with food, music and many specials offered by business and restaurant owners. 

Zonta Festival
zontapascagoula.info/#!annual-festival
The Zonta festival is Pascagoula's premier event featuring arts and crafts, live entertainment, food, exhibit booths, antique car show and lots of children's activities. Artisans will be on hand to explain their crafts.  Live Oak Festival Celebrate Pascagoula’s heritage on the second Saturday in May in Downtown Pascagoula. Enjoy great entertainment, shopping, children’s activities, one of a kind specialty vendors and much more.

Bay BridgeFest
www.baybridgefest.org
The Zonta festival is Pascagoula's premier event featuring arts and crafts, live entertainment, food, exhibit booths, antique car show and lots of children's activities. Artisans will be on hand to explain their crafts.  Live Oak Festival Celebrate Pascagoula’s heritage on the second Saturday in May in Downtown Pascagoula. Enjoy great entertainment, shopping, children’s activities, one of a kind specialty vendors and much more.

WaveFest:
This pirate-themed event is a one-day festival with live music and arts & crafts. The festival is free to spectators and is put on by the Waveland Community Coalition at the Gardner Ladner Municipal Pier on Beach Blvd and Coleman Ave.