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13 Exciting + Fun Things To Do Along The Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches

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Discover the best things to do along the Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches in this ultimate guide.

Mississippi is back! After recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the coastal towns of Mississippi are ready to receive visitors to their gorgeous coastline. Coastal Mississippi is the perfect place to create beautiful memories on a relaxing and culturally rich family vacation. Known as the secret coast, this lesser-known destination is full of beautiful beaches, southern hospitality, and a Waffle House or two.

We want to thank Coastal Mississippi for sponsoring this post. As always, my opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The Oasis Resort In Coastal Mississippi
The Oasis Resort In Coastal Mississippi

The Seaside Communities of Coastal Mississippi

The unique coast of Mississippi consists of many small seaside communities along the Gulf of Mexico. Each with its own distinct vibe. The coastal communities offer vacation rentals, boutique hotels, local restaurants, and plenty of fun things to do. I fell in love with each small town, from browsing the charming boutiques in Ocean Springs to strolling the fishing harbors in Biloxi.

The Lady May In Ocean Springs, MS
The Lady May In Ocean Springs, MS

There are 11 distinct Coastal Communities; Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi, D’Iberville, Ocean Springs, Gautier, Pascagoula, and Moss Point. Many of the towns offer walking city tours and ghost tours.

Seaside Communities along the Mississippi Coast
Seaside Communities along the Mississippi Coast

Kids aren’t the only ones having fun along the Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches. Whether playing a hand of blackjack at the luxurious Beau Rivage or sipping cocktails at Hard Rock Hotel, there are plenty of ways to laissez les bons temps rouler! Adults, too,  can let the good times roll at one of the many casinos along coastal Mississippi.

Getting To The Mississippi Coast

The Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport offers visitors a convenient way to visit the coast. Since the Mississippi Coast is centrally-located along the gulf coast of The United States, many visitors prefer to road trip — as we did from Cincinnati.

Tip: The drive from Cincinnati to Biloxi is roughly eleven hours. We ended up staying in Birmingham on our way down to break up the drive.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches
Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches

Where to Stay Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches

Oasis Resort

The Oasis Resort is the best spot to stay while visiting coastal Mississippi with kids. Centrally located in Gulfport, Mississippi, the Oasis Resort is only minutes from popular attractions like the Mississippi Aquarium, the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, and plenty of dining options.

Oasis Resort
Oasis Resort

This multimillion-dollar renovation and repurposing of a former VA hospital campus is the site of multiple buildings, including the Centennial Hotel, a restaurant, and our favorite water playground.

Water playground at the Oasis Resort
Water playground at the Oasis Resort

Accommodations at the Oasis Resort

We had the opportunity to stay in the Kids Suite during our visit. The suite is designed to give parents and kids their own spaces. The Kids Oasis portion of the suite is a special space with bunk beds, a TV, a bean bag chair, and an organizer for clothing and toys. Nightlights and smart device chargers are on a switch for each bunk, too!

Read our full review of Oasis Resort and See Photos!

Parents can stretch out and relax in The Parent’s Paradise on the other side of the dividing wall to the Kids Oasis. A comfy king-size bed, TV, mini-fridge, and couch offer a perfect retreat at the end of a busy day.

Kids Suite at the Oasis Resort in Gulfport, MS
Kids Suite at the Oasis Resort in Gulfport, MS

My daughter adored having her own space and quickly went to work, making it her own. It made a nice respite for downtime and gave the adults some breathing room during our stay.

Note: The Kids Oasis is not technically a room since the separating wall does not touch the ceiling, nor is there a door. We found that we had to keep the lights dim and the TV turned down low; otherwise, it would disturb our daughter.

The Water Playground

Splish, splash, and laugh at the Oasis’s premier water park, reserved only for guests of the Oasis Resort and Centennial Hotel. Float leisurely around the 950-ft lazy river, race on water slides, or let the kids splash to their heart’s content in their splash zone.

Lazy River at the Oasis Resort
Lazy River at the Oasis Resort

Take a dip in the zero-entry pool to cool off from lounging in the warm sun, then venture to the swim-up bar for a tropical liberation. Nibble on great lunch options from the nearby Oasis Grill.

Tip: The water playground is fenced in and requires a wristband for entry. The wristband ensures only guests of the resort are utilizing the water areas. A visit to the beach will require a quick walk across the street from the resort since you can’t access the beach from the water playground.

The Best Things To Do in Coastal Mississippi With Kids

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is one of the best places to go with kids. It goes beyond being a children’s museum in that they offer a variety of interactive programs, a children’s theater, outdoor play areas, and exhibits. Families can easily spend an entire day at Lynn Meadows exploring the fun interactive exhibits and climbing play structures with a creative art break in between.

King Cake and Canvas at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center
King Cake and Canvas at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

During our visit over Mardi Gras, we participated in their King Cakes and Canvas program, wherein guests could paint their own Mardi Gras-themed canvas. After a brief introduction to Mardi Gras and basic painting lessons, students could unleash their inner Picasso. Once their masterpieces were complete, it was time to enjoy king cake while learning more about Mardi Gras traditions. Check out the Lynn Meadows website for upcoming programs.

After the program, it was off to play in the children’s museum. The themed exhibits range from The Port, A History Hotel, and The Little Pet Vet to Bear Camp Bayou, a particular area for those four years and under. Spanning the museum’s height, the Super Colossal Climbing Structures simulate the sea and let children reach new heights.

Venture outside to play in the treehouse village, visit the kid-size subdivision that gives them an inside look into the buildings, and explore Bear Creek next to an authentic log cabin.

Top things to do along the Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches
Children’s Museum at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

Tips For Visiting The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

  • They are closed on Mondays.
  • Bring sunscreen; there are quite a few outdoor exhibits that the kids will not want to leave.
  • Pack a picnic. The museum has picnic tables set up outdoors.
  • If you are sticking to a budget, consider visiting on a Sunday when, as of 2022, all admissions are $6.00.
  • On the last Friday of every month, admission is FREE for everyone from 5 pm to 8 pm! It’s a great time to “treat” friends and family members to a night at the museum!
  • Check out the performance schedule for their Children’s Theater. They have multiple shows throughout the year.
  • STEAM Programs are offered throughout the month.
  • Plan on spending an entire morning or afternoon at the museum.

Mississippi Aquarium

Discover the wonders of the underwater world with a visit to the Mississippi Aquarium. Holding strong for the past two years, the Mississippi Aquarium is a must-see for the whole family during your visit to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Beaches. The aquarium opened its doors in 2020 and was greeted by a pandemic.

Mississippi Aquarium
Mississippi Aquarium

The indoor aquarium is a massive tank full of sea creatures native to the gulf coast region. Guests start their experience by making their way through the different levels of the aquarium. 

Each level represents the sea level, starting with the touch pools. Cool critters await your touches, such as hermit crabs, sea urchins, stingrays, and other undersea friends.

Planning Tip: Don’t pass this by with plans to return later. It is a lot of backtracking, especially with kids in tow.

Get up close and personal with the Gulf Community Habitat in the 360 tunnel that gives a unique view of this underwater world. I think my favorite was the massive column of fish spanning the entire 3-story height of the aquarium.

Fun Fact: The fish swimming in the column will continuously swim in the same direction. If one starts going the other way, it will correct itself.

Outside, the aquarium offers a variety of exhibits from the American Alligators, a lively aviary, and the crowd’s favorite, dolphins.

Top Things to do in Coastal Mississippi
Mississippi Aquarium: Top Things to do in Coastal Mississippi

Tips for Visiting The Mississippi Aquarium

  • Plan on spending 1-2 hours at the Aquarium.
  • Pelican Pointe Cafe is an excellent spot for lunch; locals were raving about their hamburgers.
  • It is recommended to buy your tickets in advance.
  • The Aquarium offers a 10% Military discount.
  • The museum offers a variety of unique experiences that can be added to your visit, from dolphin encounters to penguin encounters, and even an underwater adventure.
  • Bring sunscreen, as the aquarium exhibits are both indoors and outdoors.

A Biloxi Shrimping Trip

All aboard for a unique cruise that will give you a greater appreciation for your next shrimp dinner. The Biloxi Shrimping Trip takes guests on a genuine shrimping expedition. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about catching, cooking, and eating this delicious southern delicacy, Mississippi Gulf Coast Style.

Tips For Going On The Biloxi Shrimping Trip

  • The Biloxi Shrimping Trip ceases operations in the winter months, with trips resuming in March.
  • Budget Tip: Save money by paying in cash on the boat. I would arrive early as these are first-come, first-serve.
  • Tickets can be purchased online to ensure a seat on the trip.
  • Arrive 30 minutes before boarding time.
  • Depending on your cruise’s time of year, you may want to bring a jacket as it gets chilly on the water.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen!
  • The tour is roughly 70 minutes long.

Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum

Curious about how the seaside communities of Mississippi became a staple in the Seafood Industry? Pay a visit to the small but mighty Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum. Stepping inside the museum, guests are greeted by the historic Ship Island Lighthouse Lens proudly lit up for all to see.

Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum
Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum

Begin your museum journey on the third floor and work your way down. Take a step back in time to see vintage boats, fishing gear, and tons of artifacts from the Seafood Industry. Learn how canned seafood was processed, see a shrimp peeler that can peel over 1,000 pounds of shrimp in an hour, and follow the process of how our food goes from sea to table.

The museum typically takes 20-30 minutes to get through with kids in tow.

Tip: The Museum is located right next to Point Cadet. Point Cadet is a beautiful park with a fun playground and a splash pad overlooking the sea.

West Biloxi Beach Boardwalk

Stroll along the beautiful West Biloxi Beach Boardwalk for a picture-perfect sunrise or sunset. The half-mile stretch of boardwalk allows all visitors to enjoy the ocean views along the gulf. The boardwalk runs from Rodenburg Avenue to Veterans Avenue. It makes a great walking path with informational plaques scattered along the way.

West Beach Biloxi Boardwalk
West Beach Biloxi Boardwalk

Tip: There is parking for the West Biloxi Beach Boardwalk at nearby parking lots and the free parking pull-offs.

INFINITY Science Center

On a rainy day, the INFINITY Science Center is a great place to visit. Serving as the official visitor center for NASA’s Stennis Space Center and its resident labs and offices, INFINITY has a phenomenal space gallery. Guests can view a small-scale model of an Apollo command module next to the full-scale original Apollo 4 command module, which flew in the first “all-up” test of the Saturn V rocket! 

INFINITY’s Earth Gallery features the Inundation Station, The Sandbox, Environmental Monitoring Stations, and the Hurricane Prediction Lab, where you can learn about key conditions that influence hurricanes, their importance in forecasting, and how data is collected and used in severe weather prediction.

Littles under five can experiment in the Little Learner Lab, which offers imaginative play, hands-on exploration, and experiences.

Tips For Visiting INFINITY

  • Currently, hours are Thursday – Sunday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.
  • Children under three are free.
  • There is a discount for Seniors, Military, and First Responders.

Hit the Beach

Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches often surprise first-time visitors with pristine beaches and clear, shallow waters. These white sandy beaches entice thousands of visitors each year. Book a fun excursion like a dolphin cruise or rent jet skis when you tire of relaxing in the sun.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches
Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches

Bay St. Louis Beach is one of the best beaches along the Mississippi Coast. Known for its clean, white sand beaches, this cozy beach town takes pride in maintaining immaculate beaches.

Gulfport beach is popular with beachgoers since it stretches from Biloxi Beach to Long Beach. The beach rarely gets crowded since it is so vast. Free parking is available for beachgoers and is almost always available.

Many great restaurants are only steps away from the beach. Whether grabbing a plate of Red Royals at Shaggy’s or devouring the catch of the day at Felix’s, great seafood is abundant throughout the coast.

Shaggy's In Gulfport, Mississippi
Shaggy’s In Gulfport, Mississippi

Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum

Venture into Gulfport for a great little museum for the young and young at heart. The Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum is home to the largest LEGO(R) railroad displays in Mississippi. 

Over 80 model train layouts, elevated and ground-level G-scale trains, interactive layouts for kids to operate and enjoy, an outdoor garden, and multiple riding trains are on display!

Tip: The Museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays

After you visit the Model Railroad Museum, plan lunch at Patio 44 Gulfport. Snag a table outdoors to enjoy the sea breeze while you dine on fresh seafood, steaks, or their fabulous brunch. They offer an excellent menu for kids and a great adult wine list.

Explore Ship Island

The undeveloped barrier islands of the Mississippi coast offer great outdoor adventures. Cross the Mississippi Sound via ferry to Ship Island to explore Fort Massachusetts. 

Ship Island offers plenty of beaches, shelling, birding, and hiking.

Ship Island
Catch a glimpse of Ship Island prior to visiting.

Tips For Exploring Ship Island

  • The passenger ferries depart from the Gulfport Yacht Harbor in Jones Park (intersection of Hwy. 90 and Hwy. 49).
  • Boats typically operate from mid-March through October.
  • The Ship Island ferry ride is an hour long; however, expect to see dolphins!
  • Food service is offered on the boats and the island.
  • Packing can be tricky as you will want to bring stuff for the beach and hiking. Ensure you have plenty of sunscreens and bring a towel.
  • If you have a National Parks Passport, be sure to get it stamped, Ship Island is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Natural Park System.
  • Lifeguards are typically on duty during the summer months.
  • Bring a small cooler full of drinks and snacks on the ferry.

Note: A private boat will need to be rented to explore the other barrier islands. The other islands are Cat Island, Deer Island, Horn Island, Round Island, and Petit Bois Island.

Tip: There are a variety of Dolphin Tours, boat tours, and fishing adventures throughout the coast. Many will offer special discounts, so shop around and check reviews.

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art

A great place full of unique architecture, galleries, and history, look no further than the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. Driving by this one-of-a-kind museum will intrigue you to pay a visit, for things inside are even curiousior than the outside.

The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art celebrates the innovative, independent, and creative spirit of master potter George Ohr. The museum has many of his works on display and offers a variety of pottery classes for visitors in the ceramic studio.

Discover the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs for even more intriguing art galleries.

Catch a Show at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum

Check out the line-up of performances and shows coming to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center for an exciting year full of fan favorites like Luke Bryan, The Crawfish Music Festival, and family favorites like Disney on Ice.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Blueway

Kayak through a series of marshes, streams, and wetlands to see various local wildlife species. Currently, seven Blueways, or water trails, have been mapped out for recreational canoers and kayakers. Didn’t bring a kayak or paddleboard? Many rental services will deliver your watercraft to boat ramps throughout the coast.  Don’t forget to bring the sunscreen!

Coastal Mississippi Mardi Gras Museum

Mardi Gras has a rich history along the Mississippi coast. Step into this small but mighty museum to learn more about the kings and queens, the krewes and the costumes, the parades, and the people who make Mardi Gras a magical time of year in Coastal Mississippi.

One of our highlights of the museum was seeing the ornate dresses and headpieces worn by the Mardi Gras King and Queens.

Top Things To do along the Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches

Even More Great Things To Do Along Coastal Mississippi

The Gulf Coast of Mississippi is full of endless outdoor and indoor activities. We will share a few more ideas to add to your itinerary!

  • The Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail: Spot over 340 different species of birds at one of the many established birding sites along the coast.
  • Pascagoula Historic Bike Trail: History buffs will love this adventure as the 8-mile loop trail visits 15 historic sites, including the Round Island Lighthouse.
  • Gulf Islands Waterpark At Buccaneer State Park: Cool off at Buccaneer Bay, a 4.5-acre waterpark with a wave pool, water slides, and a lagoon area.
  • Biloxi Lighthouse: The Biloxi Lighthouse was erected in 1848 and was one of the first cast-iron lighthouses in the South. The city’s signature landmark has become a post-Katrina symbol of its resolve and resilience.
  • Chandeleur Island Brewing Company: Grab a cold brew while the kids play games and check out their saltwater aquarium.
  • Cheer on the Biloxi Shuckers. Biloxi’s minor league baseball team plays all home games at MGM Park, a multi-level stadium with concessions, a lounge, and a team store.
  • Try your luck at one of Coastal Mississippi’s 12 Casino Resorts, such as the Margaritaville Resort Biloxi and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Consider Visiting During Mardi Gras

Visiting Coastal Mississippi during Mardi Gras.
Visiting Coastal Mississippi during Mardi Gras.

With family-friendly parades, exciting Mardi Gras events, and plenty of Cajun cuisine, a visit to Coastal Mississippi during Carnival season should be on every family’s bucket list. A top Mardi Gras experience is witnessing a Mardi Gras parade. Many family-centered Mardi Gras parades are happening throughout the Mississippi coast. These parades are kid-focused, with tons of floats throwing stuffed animals, candy, toys, crafts, and playing upbeat music.

Still not convinced to pay a visit during Mardi Gras? Read our top 5 Things To Do With Kids During Mardi Gras In Coastal MS.

Find more great things to do along Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches by checking out Coastal Mississippi and start planning your beach vacations today.

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11 Exciting + Fun Things To Do Along The Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches

Top Things along the Mississippi Coast with kids
best things to do along the mississippi coast