Mississippi, you were a gem of a surprise! I had driven through Mississippi a handful of times, but honestly, never saw it as a travel destination. To say that my mind changed very quickly this past weekend would be an understatement. I had the privilege of going on a four day getaway to Coastal Mississippi with one of my best friends, as Sun Country Air now has direct flights from Austin into Gulfport/Biloxi. We were both amazed by how many things there were to do in the three Mississippi coastal counties, and by how incredibly kind down to their very core EVERY SINGLE PERSON we encountered was.
OCEAN SPRINGS, MISSISSIPPI
The District Coffee Company: Located on Government Street in Downtown Ocean Springs, this picturesque coffee shop has tons of photo ops, plenty of seating, a cute wall mural, and DELICIOUS oat milk lattes with tons of flavor options.
The Wilbur Bar — The Roost Hotel: This speakeasy-inspired cocktail bar is quaint, but not too small, and has one of the best bourbon old fashioneds I’ve ever had. They have an extensive bourbon and wine selection. It was recently named by Architectural Digest as “The Most Beautifully Designed Bar in Mississippi.” We went to this bar twice because we loved it so much.
Tato-Nut Donut Shop: This donut shop is located in downtown Ocean Springs on Government Street, and serves some of the tastiest donuts I’ve ever had. The shop is quaint and is open until 5pm (which is rare for a donut shop to stay open throughout the day, I feel like.)
Bright-Eyed Brew Co.: This coffee shop may be small, but the coffee is mighty. The owners were so sweet, and generously gave us recommendations for other spots we needed to visit. Their honey cinnamon oat milk latte was out of this world. If I could go back to Coastal Mississippi for one thing, it would be for that iced latte. Also, the tile in this coffee shop is DREAMY.
Murky Waters BBQ: Murky Waters has multiple locations all around Mississippi. It is an old house built in the 1950s that lies in the middle of the famous Government Street. It features a beautiful square wooden bar and a large covered patio with an outdoor stage. It felt a lot like home, with live country music and delicious bbq — they had waffle fries and tbh they were a DELIGHT. Murky Waters was recommended to us by a surplus of locals and it definitely did not disappoint.
Mosaic Restaurant + Bar: We wanted somewhere to get drinks late at night, and were right next door to this spot. They had good whiskey, and lots of other alcohol options and snacks. There was live music all night which was fun, however, the only con was that it was fairly hard to talk to one another.
The Greenhouse on Porter: EASILY MY FAVORITE SPOT OF THE ENTIRE TRIP. This place is a bar located in a greenhouse, with an indoor area that serves biscuits and coffee. I felt more at home here than anywhere else in the state. Everyone that worked there was so kind, it was stunningly beautiful, the cocktails were delicious, and the owners are fairly Progressive which was truly refreshing. Note: there are Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. prints hung throughout the entire greenhouse that wonderful and available for purchase — I bought two.
Le Café Beignet: Le Cafe’ Beignet is by the Original Beignet Factory, serving New Orleans style beignets, New Orleans-inspired sandwiches and breakfast fare. The café is extremely charming and cute, and the beignets were, of course, yummy.
Jacked Up Coffee: This coffee shop was located around the corner from our hotel, and was super photogenic and had delicious tea options. (Sometimes ya girl just wants tea.) We took a ton of photos in here, naturally.
Mary Mahoney’s: I had so many people recommend this restaurant to me and 1000% see why. Mary Mahoney’s was upscale and elegant, but also incredibly welcoming. The restaurant is centered around one of the oldest homes in America, and has SO much history — They left the water line from Hurricane Katrina to aid in showing that part of the restaurant’s history. There is a New Orleans style courtyard that you can dine in, under the canopy of a centuries old live oak. Also, it was the best cup of gumbo I have ever had, hands down.
White Pillars: This is the only restaurant the entire trip that I didn’t get seafood, and honestly, it didn’t disappoint. The chef was kind, the space was beautiful, and the drinks were good. I got a steak and it was perfectly cooked, so like, that alone is reason to go there. (Plus, the space really is gorgeous and it has a large bar area as well if you are just looking for drinks.)
Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar: The fried catfish at Lucy’s was the best seafood I had the entire weekend. Beth and I actually ended up going there twice, once for lunch right when we arrived in Mississippi, and then that evening for drinks and live music. The bottom level of the giant restaurant is a bar featuring boats to sit in on the sand, tons of chairs to sit in and put your toes in the sand, and good live music. It was definitely our kind of place.
Lighthouse Pier: This sounds like exactly what it is. It is a beautiful, simple pier that jets out into the gulf — it has stunning views, is right by a pretty beach, and is very accessible to get to. It’s a simple spot, where it’s easy to take in everything the Mississippi coast has to offer.
McElroy’s Harbor House: This was another restaurant that came very highly recommended. It really exhibits a true, authentic beach vibe, with out of this world seafood, and stunning views of the marina/gulf. I got the popcorn shrimp and ate entirely too many, then took a brownie to go to eat in bed because, well, I’m a monster.
The White House Hotel: The only place with the title of “White House” that I will enter currently. 🙃 The property is beautiful and they recently renovated their bar and lobby, so it’s the perfect spot to grab drinks before dinner (or at any time really, because #coasttime). The White House Hotel was vacant for 30 years and survived Hurricane Katrina, which unfortunately is fairly rare for being as close to the beach as it is. In 2013, restoration began and was completed in 2014, with 76 rooms in the boutique hotel now available.
Coast Roast Coffee + Tea: Okay, super important thing to note here if you love tea, THEY HAVE A MILLION DIFFERENT KINDS AND IT RULES. They have giant garage doors that they open when it’s nice out, super nice baristas, a great atmosphere, and are directly on your way to the airport. I worked there for a few hours before heading out of town and loved it.
Fishbone Alley: Located behind buildings on 14th Street in Downtown Gulfport, is the cutest dang alley I’ve ever seen. Now y’all know how much I love murals — Fishbone Alley was such a neat spot and such a cool way for local Gulfport artists to display beautiful, colorful murals. It is a photographers paradise.
Perks Coffee Shop + Cafe: I wouldn’t say that this spot is the most aesthetically pleasing coffee shop option, however, it had delicious breakfast sandwiches, kind staff and was very cozy.
Renée’s Fine Desserts + Coffee Bar: Everything at Reneé’s is locally sourced and very yummy, the branding is adorable and the humans were insanely kind. Need I say more?
Pass Christian Books: Located in Pass Christian, this bookstore and coffee shop is the cutest! Their coffee was on point, the shop was stunning with a patio view of the beach, and they served food as well. Plus, who DOESN’T want to peruse a bookstore while sippin’ some coffee?
Sea Level: Sea Level is tucked in a beachside cove located in the West Pass Christian Harbor — they are a beach cottage where you can dine at a picnic table under an umbrella, catch a beautiful sunset, watch dolphins play and relax by the palms enjoying a Gulf breeze. They also have 45 snoball flavors, which I think is important to share (because it is). We got dill pickle, naturally.
Mockingbird Cafe: Located in Old Town Bay St. Louis, Mockingbird Cafe serves a breakfast you will never forget. They are almost always busy, so be prepared to wait, but IT’S WORTH IT. Their coffee was delightful, and the cafe is very cute and inviting, with a mural that says “All Are Welcome Here.” Once you finish your meal, walk around Downtown Bay St. Louis, and up and down Main Street. Make sure to be on the lookout for the "Heavenly Carved Wooden Angels”, once beautiful live oaks that were damaged during Hurricane Katrina, are now works of art. Chainsaw sculptor, Dayle K. Lewis from Indiana transformed the tree trunks into “Angel Creations,” and they are located throughout the city.
Bozo’s Seafood Market + Deli: Located in Pascagoula, Bozo’s offers delicious menu options such as fresh fish, po'boys, crawfish, shrimp tacos and tasty land-lover options. They have a comfortable atmosphere, a lot of seating, and a patio with live music.
Gulf Coast Gator Ranch + Tours: Located in Moss Point, about 40 minutes away from our hotel in Biloxi, was easily the best thing we did our entire trip. The swamp boat tour was so so fun, Beth and I giggled and had a blast the entire time. We got to feed the alligators marshmallows (apparently that’s a thing, y’all, mental note) and even had the opportunity to hold a baby alligator. Did it almost pee on Beth? Yes. Did we love the little guy? Also yes. For more information visit: http://www.airboatswamptoursofmississippi.com/.
Thanks for having us, Coastal Mississippi! Catch ya later, alligator.