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5 Reasons For Families To Celebrate Mardi Gras Along The Mississippi Gulf Coast

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On the hunt for a great spot to celebrate Mardi Gras with kids? Look no further than the Mississippi Gulf Coast!

Mardi Gras season is a time of celebration, with well-known festivities happening throughout the state of Louisiana. However, there is another spot to celebrate Mardi Gras other than New Orleans, consider a visit to downtown Biloxi and the small coastal towns of Mississippi. 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.

Mardi Gras Parade In Biloxi, Mississippi
Mardi Gras Parade In Biloxi, Mississippi

We would like to thank Coastal Mississippi for sponsoring this post. As always opinions are my own. This article contains affiliate links.

What To Know Before You Go

Coming from a city in which Mardi Gras isn’t a highly celebrated holiday, it was a culture shock to see the difference in how coastal Mississippi celebrates. Mardi Gras is a major holiday along the Mississippi Coast. Schools are often closed for three days in honor of the celebration, businesses will be closed on Ash Wednesday, and homes are fully decorated for Mardi Gras.

Celebrate Mardi Gras Along The Mississippi Gulf Coast
Oasis Resort during Mardi Gras

Coastal Mississippi is only 90 minutes from nearby New Orleans. If you are looking to avoid the huge wild crowds of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, but still want to celebrate Mardi Gras, then this is the place for you.

Carnival Season in coastal Mississippi
Parades during Carnival Season happen frequently.

What’s The Weather During Carnival Season

Carnival is the Catholic festive period before the season of Lent. Typically, the main events occur during February or early March during a period called Shrovetide. The weather along the coast of Mississippi can vary, with temperatures high’s in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Sunshine is prevalent, allowing visitors to enjoy the sandy beaches, even though it will likely be too chilly to swim.

Mardi Gras Parades
Mardi Gras Parades

Mardi Gras Terms To Know

Lundi Gras: Means “Fat Monday.” It’s the day before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).

Krewe: A group of people who ride in, create, fund, and execute parades.

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler: A French saying that means, “Let The Good Times Roll”.

King Cake: This is a festive cake made of Danish dough, cinnamon, glaze topping, colorful sprinkles, complete with a plastic baby figurine. The baby is meant to represent Jesus and commemorate the Christian holiday Epiphany.

Carnival: is a Latin word that translates to “a farewell to meat.” Carnival refers to the Mardi Gras season as a whole, beginning on King’s Day and ending on Ash Wednesday.

Epiphany: Is a Christian feast day on January 6. The holiday celebrates the three wise men’s visit to the baby Jesus. This is the official start of the Carnival Season.

5 Things To Do While Celebrating Mardi Gras In Mississippi

Catch A Mardi Gras Parades In Coastal Mississippi

A top Mardi Gras experience is witnessing a Mardi Gras parade. There are tons of family-centered Mardi Gras parades happening all throughout the Mississippi coast. These parades are kid-focused with tons of floats throwing stuffed animals, candy, toys, crafts, and playing upbeat music.

Mardi Gras Floats In Coastal Mississippi
Mardi Gras Floats In Coastal Mississippi

My daughter will never be able to experience another parade again without thinking she should be thrown Moon Pies, stuffed animals, and tons of beads. Her exact words include, ” Mom, these parades are better than the ones at Disney!” as she was hauling a shopping bag full of parade throws.

After examining all her parade treasures, I have to agree! I don’t see Mickey throwing packs of Ramen, boxes of Valentine’s Day candy, or dog toys.

how much stuff do you get at a mississippi mardi gras parade?
Parade goodies

While there are many parades to catch, the downtown Biloxi parade is one of the biggest in Coastal Mississippi. The parade itself is over an hour-long, with over 90 floats, music, beads, and entertainment. Many locals make a day out of it, by setting up tailgates, hosting parties, and claiming their spot along the parade route early.

The downtown Biloxi parade rolls down Main Street and weaves its way through the city. It has an extensive parade route with tons of viewing opportunities. We compiled a list of useful tips to help first-time parade-goers.

Mardi Gras Parade In Biloxi, MS
Mardi Gras Parade In Biloxi, MS

Tips For Going To A Mardi Gras Parade With Kids

  • Bring headphones for your kids if loud noises bother them. The majority of floats have speakers blaring music.
  • Plan on arriving at least an hour or two before the parade begins. Many parades will start shutting off roads to motor vehicles a half hour prior to the parade.
  • Bring sunscreen, water, and snacks!
  • Pack entertainment for the kids so they have something to do while they wait for the parade.
  • Pack a backpack, garbage bags or shopping bags. This is two-fold. One there are not many trash receptables so bring a bag for your own trash. Second, bring another bag to carry all your parade goodies home with.
  • If you can, bring chairs to have a place to sit while you wait for the parade.
  • There is alot, and I mean, ALOT of beads. Keep alert during the parade if you don’t want to get accidently smacked in the face with a parade throw.
  • Check out the parade route for each parade. It will help to map out where you want to park and watch the parade.
  • Other popular parades in Coastal Mississippi include: The Downtown Gulfport Parade, St. Martin North Bay Area Mardi Gras Parade, and the Ocean Springs Carnival Association Night Parade, Annual Krewe of Diamondhead Mardi Gras Parade, Annual Gulf Coast Carnival Association Mardi Gras Parade, Annual Jackson County Carnival Association Mardi Gras Parade, Annual St. Paul Mardi Gras Parade, Annual Krewe of Neptune Night Mardi Gras Parade.
Mardi Gras Parade Throw: An ENTIRE bag of beads.
Mardi Gras Parade Throw: An ENTIRE bag of beads.

The Annual Mystic Krewe of The Seahorse Parade

This incredible golf cart parade in Downtown Bay St. Louis is not to be missed. Prior to the parade spend some time exploring Bay St. Louis, grab a bite to eat at the Blind Tiger, see the Angel Tree, then grab a spot for the big parade.

The Annual Mystic Krewe of The Seahorse Parade
The Annual Mystic Krewe of The Seahorse Parade

During our visit, we had the honor to have a front-row seat for the parade at the Bay Town Inn. It isn’t often that I get to experience travel moments as remarkable as this, for you see, it is the people you meet during your travels that make a moment extraordinary.

Bay St. Louis Mardi Gras Parade
Bay St. Louis Mardi Gras Parade

We were greeted with open arms by owner Nikki Moon, who invited us into her home to be a part of her personal Mardi Gras celebration with her friends. Nikki is a remarkable lady, with an incredible story of survival, perseverance, and determination. After sharing stories, laughs, tasty food, and drinks we all enjoyed the parade from her beautiful Inn! We came as visitors but left as family.

Bay Town Inn

If you are looking for a charming boutique hotel for guests 15 and older, check out Bay Town Inn. Bay Town Inn offers fully-furnished rooms complete with spacious living rooms, a kitchenette along with a big bathroom. Take a dip in the pool, before walking to the beach or one of the many restaurants close by. The Bay Town Inn does offer pet-friendly accommodations.

Bay Town Inn in Mississippi
Bay Town Inn

Take Part In One Of The Mardi Gras Events

Whether it is a King Cake tasting, painting masks, or going to a masquerade, there are tons of fun Mardi Gras celebrations happening throughout the coast. We signed up for a fun Lundi Gras activity at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center which was King Cakes and Canvas.

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center
Creating our Mardi Gras Masterpiece at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

During this special event, kids had the opportunity to unleash their creativity by creating their own Mardi Gras canvas. Fun teachable moments encourage kids to use new painting techniques which yielded beautiful pieces of artwork from all participants.

Mardi Gras Events In Mississippi: King Cake and Canvas
King Cake and Canvas At Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

As our masterpieces dried we indulged in Mardi Gras King Cake while an informational Q & A session taught us about the traditions of Mardi Gras. After our event, we were able to enjoy the children’s museum.

The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center made the list as one of our Top Things To Do In Coastal Mississippi. Check out the article to see our complete list.

Visit the Coastal Mississippi Mardi Gras Museum In Biloxi

The Mardi Gras Museum dives into why Mardi Gras has become such a deeply rooted holiday in the coastal towns of Mississippi. See elaborate costumes, learn about the different krewes, the kings and queens, and what it takes to put on a parade.

Mardi Gras Gown
Mardi Gras Gown

The museum is small but is a unique spot to swing into, especially to see all the ornately decorated costumes.

Address: 792A Howard Ave, Biloxi, MS 39530

Celebrate Fat Tuesday At Local Restaurants

For more Mardi Gras fun be sure to check out restaurant specials featuring signature Mardi Gras items. Sip on Mardi Gras cocktails, nosh on Shrimp Etouffee, snag freshly fried beignets and enjoy a variety of King Cake-inspired drinks from coffee to daquiris.

King Cake Daiquiri From Shaggy's
King Cake Daquari at Shaggy’s

Nearly every restaurant we went into had a Mardi Gras special, be sure to take advantage of these, especially if you happen to find a King Cake because once Mardi Gras hits, you won’t be able to find one!

We snagged the perfect souvenir by getting a bag of King Cake Coffee from Coast Roast, a great local coffee shop.

Coast Roast King Cake Coffee
Coast Roast King Cake Coffee

Where To Stay In Coastal Missisippi During Mardi Gras

The top spot to stay in Coastal Mississippi with kids is the Oasis Resort at the Centennial Plaza. With the option for families to stay in the Kids Suite, which gives families their own separate areas for sleep and play, it is a family favorite. Depending on the dates in which when Mardi Gras falls, the outdoor Water Playground could be open, which is included for all guests of the resort.

Address: 200 E Beach Blvd, Gulfport, MS 39507

Did you enjoy our post about celebrating Mardi Gras along the Mississippi Gulf Coast?

Be sure to check out these related articles:

11 Exciting Things To Do Along Coastal Mississippi

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5 Reasons For Families To Celebrate Mardi Gras Along The Mississippi Gulf Coast