Come Play on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
28 Feb, 2009By: Sports Destination Management Team
The warm climate of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is your ticket to outdoor recreation. Sportsplex venues in Gulfport, Biloxi, and D'Iberville host regional and national football, baseball, and softball tournaments. If tennis is your game, check out our city owned and privately sponsored tennis courts. But the Mississippi Gulf Coast has much more to offer.
Take time to explore the natural offerings during an eco tour. The Pascagoula River is the last unregulated major river system in the lower 48 states. You just might see an alligator or two during your boat ride. The Wolf River is perfect for canoeing and kayaking with a variety of trips to fit your schedule. Biloxi's Back Bay offers easy access to rivers like The Biloxi River and Tchoutacabouffa River. Because of the brackish water at the entry of these rivers, you can catch fresh and salt water species here. When you pole bends, you never know what you will reel in!
Where the fresh water from local rivers merge with the warm gulf waters they create saltwater marshes. These marshes form nurseries for a large number of fresh and saltwater fish helping to replenish the over 200 species of fish in the Mississippi Sound. You may fish from piers or wade out into the Mississippi Sound after purchasing your temporary fishing license available at any shop that sells bait. Or, charter boat captains offer light tackle fishing in our brackish and/or fresh water areas as well as ½ day, full-day and overnight deep sea fishing. The captains take care of licensing, bait, tackle, and ice you just bring your refreshments. Remember to ask your captain about shipping your catch home!
With over 20 championship golf courses to choose from, you are sure to find a course to suit your level of play. Golf legends Tom Fazio, Jerry Pate, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Davis Love III joined Donald Ross and Mark McCumber as golf course designers. Fallen Oak and Grand Bear were recognized by Golf Magazine on it's "Top 100 Course to Play" list in 2008 and Preserve Golf Course was named by Golfweek number 6 out of 50 best new courses for 2008.
Highway 90 (Beach Blvd) is the scenic drive along the world's longest man-made beach – 26 miles from Biloxi to Pass Christian. Along the way you will find the Biloxi Schooners offering a 2 ½ hour sail aboard a replica of the oyster schooners that plied the waters of the Mississippi Sound between 1865 and the 1930's. The Biloxi Shrimping Trip allows you to experience an actual shrimping expedition with dropped nets and the captain identifies the entire catch for you. Ship Island Excursions takes you on a trip to a barrier island for a day of fun in the surf and sun and a tour of an historic fort. You will want to watch for the dolphins no matter what water activity you choose.
For the history lover, Beauvoir, The Jefferson Davis Home (circa 1852) is open for tours and offers a nature walk on the 52 acre site. Following a $4 million dollar restoration, Beauvoir invites you to take a step back in time to a simpler age. Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, housed in a 1915 school house has been converted into a 15,000 sq ft hands-on museum where children explore art, history and science and then play on 6 acres of tree houses, space shuttles, and trains. Children of all ages learn about the world around them while playing interactive games.
The 1927 Glenn Swetman House is the transitional location of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art. View the works of Biloxi's "Mad Potter" and ask about creating your own masterpiece. Frank Gehry designed the new Ohr Campus (located on Highway 90) where construction is on-going. The Pleasant Reed Interpretive Center is open for tours by appointment. The campus will feature an African-American Art Gallery, American Ceramics Building, visitors center and the Ohr Pods which will house George Ohr's pottery.
When casinos began operating on the Mississippi Gulf Coast sixteen years ago, they brought exciting world-class gaming action, headline entertainment, luxurious hotel rooms, and dining options from buffets to fine dining. This added to the amenities of an emerging vacation destination. Already known as a golfing and fishing hot spot, we quickly became known for our jackpots as well. Now you can pamper yourself with your favorite spa treatment, travel the world in one room at one of the casino buffets or treat yourself to a fine dining experience you won't find anywhere else.
Speaking of fine dining experiences, you will want to try a few local favorites outside the casinos. Biloxi's Mary Mahoney's offers fine dining in an historic 1737 French House. Your menu gives you an array of choices for seafood, including seafood gumbo. In Gulfport ConFusion is housed in a 1920's cottage and serves a variety of locally inspired dishes. Gulfport is also home to Saluté, an authentic Italian restaurant overlooking the Mississippi Sound and Vrazel's features fine dining in a casual atmosphere. In Gulfport you will also find Emeril Lagasse's Gulf Coast Fish House.
For a more casual dining experience try the Ole Biloxi Schooner restaurant where you will find crab burgers on the menu or liven up your evening with award-winning barbecue and music at the Shed in Ocean Springs or Gulfport. If you are still uncertain where to eat, just ask any Gulf Coast native and they will tell you where they would eat!
For your shopping pleasure Biloxi offers an enclosed shopping mall with a beach view while Gulfport features Prime Outlets for name-brand shopping as well as Crossroads shopping center hosting Belk, T.J. Maxx and Ross Dress for Less. Stroll through Biloxi's downtown for boutique shopping and explore the streets of Gulfport looking for the perfect antique accessory or outfit. Ocean Springs and Bay St. Louis both support wonderful artist communities so you will find unique, one-of-a-kind items in both cities as well as shopping districts that make strolling easy and fun on a beautiful day.
No matter what your favorite outdoor activity, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has something you will enjoy. After a day of fun in the sun, we invite you to Relax...it's the Mississippi Gulf Coast.