This spring, Coastal Mississippi: The Secret Coast is excited to spotlight a number of fresh, one-of-a-kind experiences for visitors to enjoy along 62 miles of scenic coastline. With an array of new restaurant openings, luxury camping opportunities, educational eco-tours, the return of lively events and a highly anticipated new pier theme park, the Gulf coast destination promises new experiences for first-time and long-time visitors.
With so many new offerings, Coastal Mississippi also encourages visitors to extend their weekend stays for One More Day of Play to save money on airfare and gas, and unlock exclusive discounts at some of the area’s top locales.
“The Mississippi Gulf Coast is absolutely beautiful in the spring with southern scenery, moderate temperatures and endless ways to immerse yourself in nature. Plus, a variety of exciting new culinary offerings have recently opened throughout our 13 coastal communities,” said Pattye Meagher, Director of Communications and Engagement at Coastal Mississippi CVB. “With our One More Day of Play initiative, visitors can make the fun last a little longer without breaking the bank.”
Here are a few can’t-miss experiences this spring:
New & Diverse Culinary Delights
- Vestige owner and chef, Alex Perry, was recently named a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for the title “Best Chef in the South.” His restaurant, located in the heart of charming downtown Ocean Springs, offers a menu of farm-to-table, locally sourced ingredients and sustainable seafood. Each dish is inspired by the flavors and techniques of Japan, where Vestige co-owner, Kumi Omori, grew up. Kumi is also Alex’s wife and makes all the restaurant’s bread and desserts fresh in-house.
- An all-new juice bar with a beer garden twist is slated to open in Long Beach this spring. Fittingly named, Juicy Caboosy, offers guests healthy fruit juices, sandwiches, appetizers and signature cocktails inside a restored train caboose from Missouri. Co-owners Tomeka Bryant and Ailsa von Dobeneck met while working in the railroad industry, and together, they restored the 1944 caboose into a trendy food and drink hub for beachgoers.
- A hidden, old house located on the Biloxi River has been transformed into a lively entertainment venue, called Pier 15. Local couple and co-owners, Kim and Keith Talley, found the locale by boat and bought the house with hopes of transforming it into a riverfront hangout. That dream has finally become a reality with Pier 15 expected to open this season, offering “river food,” cold drinks and live entertainment. The roll-up garage style door, large patio, ample boat docks and soon-to-offer kayak rentals, provide a breezy atmosphere for visitors and locals alike.
- Two of Biloxi’s top casino restaurants, BR Prime at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino and Thirty-Two at the IP Casino Resort Spa, were recently dubbed among of the best casino restaurants across the country. BR Prime is a popular American steakhouse offering a sophisticated atmosphere and an impressive selection of high-quality meats that have been hand selected and aged in-house, including dry aged-prime beef and tomahawk ribeye, as well as cold water lobster tails and seasonal oysters. Thirty-Two is a AAA Four Diamond-rated steak & seafood spot with spectacular views of the sunset and one of the finest wine selections on the coast.
One-of-a-kind Outdoor Experiences
- Just opened in March, the highly anticipated Paradise Pier Fun Park at Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi is a thrilling, $100 million addition to the already popular Gulf Coast locale. The theme park offers 15 new rides for all ages and three restaurants all located on top of a massive deck with breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico. The nautical themed rides reach up to 180 feet in the air and include a 20-story tall observation wheel and an Aerobar – a bar on a platform that slowly rises into the air.
- Glampers will find their paradise along the Mississippi Gulf Coast this spring with the newly designed Biloxi Bay RV Resort, offering 62 acres, 175 RV sites and scenic views of the bay. The luxury campground and marina are located directly across the bay from downtown Biloxi. Glampers can relax in the lazy river, hot tub or pool, or paddle through the bay with complimentary kayaks and paddle boards. Buccaneer State Park is another can’t-miss destination for glampers now offering Tentrr sites, complete with a platform tent setup, picnic table, chairs, a fire pit, propane heater and even a memory foam mattress. Located in Bay St. Louis, Bay Hide Away RV Park & Campground is a great options for your camping and glamping needs. The campground is now offering 10% off nightly rates through the One More Day or Play initiative.
- The Pascagoula River Audubon Center is now offering admission for two, a tandem kayak rental and 10% off gift shop purchase through the One More Day of Play initiative. Visitors can extend their weekend trip and spend their time kayaking leisurely along Rhodes Bayou and Beardslee Lake. The Audubon Center, located in Moss Point, is an educational gateway to 35,000 acres of land and bayou habitats along the Pascagoula River—one of the largest free flowing rivers in the country.
- Visitors can uncover the unique wildlife and wetlands of the region with the new, Gulf Coast Eco Tour’s Swampy Walking Tour. Nature enthusiasts and explorers at all levels will get an up-close look and lesson on conservation as they stroll along the boardwalk path through the East Pearl River. The guided tour explores historical sites, unique vegetation, migratory birds and sometimes even alligators. Boat rides are also available for those who are interested.
Milestone Anniversaries Abound
- The 25th Annual Gulf Coast Winter Classics Horse Show kicks off February 15 and runs through March 26. This six-week event is the largest hunter-jumper show on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and showcases over 1,000 of the sport’s finest equine athletes and horses from across the country. More than 12,000 spectators are expected to attend the award-winning event hosted at the Harrison County Equestrian Center in Gulfport.
- The 25th Annual Art in the Pass is scheduled for April 1-2 at the scenic Memorial Park. The fine arts festival attracts over 100 artists from across the country and more than 10,000 visitors each year. In addition, the annual Celebrate the Gulf Marine Education Festival is held concurrently, offering 35+ exhibitors who teach residents and visitors alike about the importance of the Gulf of Mexico. The family-friendly event is free and offers hands-on activities and education about the region’s habitats, wildlife, conservation and more.
- The 30th Annual Crawfish Music Festival is slated for April 21-23 on the front grounds of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Each night of the festival promises fun, excitement and an impressive lineup of country music artists. Visitors won’t want to miss the headline entertainment, hot boiled crawfish and exciting mid-way rides.
- The Brothers of the Divine Word Missionaries established in the St. Augustine Seminary & Grotto is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Located in Bay St. Louis, this historical site was the first Roman Catholic Seminary in the country to train and ordain African-American men to be priests and brothers. Built in 1922, the stained glass and architecture are beautiful to witness.