Compared to other Gulf Coast neighbors, Florida and Texas, Mississippi has a short 44-mile (359 mi by NOAA) coastline. But as any Mississippian will tell you, even that small number is more than enough to provide the Magnolia State with some of the finest, underrated beach towns in the region.
Consider spending a night or two in one of these coastal towns on your next cross-country trip or weekend getaway in the Gulf region. Alternatively, one of these may be ideal if you’re planning to move to a seaside community in the southern United States. They make outstanding home bases, whether temporary or long-term, for those looking to live the beach life in Mississippi.
Here’s a look at the top beach towns in Mississippi to live and visit, in no particular order:
One of the state’s major beach communities, Gulfport, has enjoyed long-standing acclaim from locals and visitors. With a population of 72,926 (as of the 2020 census), this is the second-biggest city in the Hospitality State and a reasonable place to live on the Gulf Coast.
Gulfport has been around since 1898, and it’s an excellent place to spend a weekend or raise a family. Vacationers looking for a five-star hotel in the heart of Centennial Plaza could book a room at the Grand Centennial. Centennial Plaza is a 48-acre resort with water sports, restaurants, a dancing fountain, two hotels, historical buildings, and a lot of space for recreation.
The Mississippi Aquarium, which has indoor and outdoor habitats for more than 200 animals, is another must-see in town. Gulfport Beach is recognized as one of the cleanest and most pleasant white sand beaches on the Gulf Coast, with a lot of nice activities by the water.
On the beach’s landside, there’s also lots to do, like fly a kite, watch the sun rise or set, sunbathe, walk along the coast, or read a book while the waves are in the background. While dogs are forbidden on the sand, you can still walk your pet on the path close to the beach.
A trip to Biloxi, Mississippi, one of the oldest towns in the United States, is perfect for a weekend at the beach or a permanent move to the beautiful coastline. Biloxi offers some of the best sand and warmest water in the region, making it an attractive destination for those interested specifically in visiting the beach.
The French arrived in the region in the 17th century, but it wasn’t until 1838 that it officially became a township, and now it’s home to around 49,449 people (census 2020). Hotels, restaurants, casinos, and playgrounds can be found near the oceanfront. It’s nicknamed “The Playground of the South”.
There are numerous places to stay in the area, and you can view the deep blue sea on a popular shrimp boat tour that departs from Biloxi Beach. The town’s presidential library and museum have been preserved to honor Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, from 1861 to 1865.
Perhaps more than any other beach in Mississippi, Biloxi Beach is a hotspot in its own right and a destination for fun and excitement for people of all ages. Spend the day by the water exploring for shells, soaking in the sun, and going on day trips on the Gulf. To make the most of your time, participate in some of the many available activities, such as visiting the lighthouse, riding on a steamboat, staying at resorts, paddling a kayak, or riding a jet ski.
Bay St. Louis, MS
If you’re looking for a less touristy version of Biloxi’s coastline splendor, Bay St. Louis is an excellent option in the state. With its convenient location within an hour of New Orleans, the beach attracts Louisianans and Mississippians.
French colonists were the first Europeans to settle in the area, and their influence can be seen in the food and buildings. Bay St. Louis, one of Mississippi’s most incredible places to live, is a charming port city with a wide range of attractions and activities for people of all ages.
As of the 2020 census, the town’s population was 9,284, making it a good size for supporting a variety of eateries, retail establishments, and other small enterprises. Visit the historical sites and museums to learn about Bay St. Louis’s past as a settlement, or spend the day golfing or charter fishing with friends and family.
Bay St. Louis Beach is less crowded and more low-key than other beaches in the area. It has several charming historic shopping districts. Additionally, you’ll find one of the best places to fish and watch the sunset in Mississippi, and the beach itself has excellent conditions for a wide range of activities. Several miles of the city’s sandy beaches may be accessed from South Beach Boulevard.
Ocean Springs, MS
Located in Jackson County, Ocean Springs is just a short drive from Biloxi. This cozy coastal town had a population of 18,429 (2020 census), and its rich history and artistic flare make it a great place to be.
Doctor William Glover Austin, who visited the area in 1854, called it “Ocean Springs” because he thought the natural waters had curative properties. The Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival has been one of the state’s most prominent fine arts events for more than four decades; it’s a prime example of the town’s vibrant modernity and cultural wealth.
More than 200 unique stores, galleries, and eateries line Ocean Springs’s walkable downtown, and the sea is just a few steps away. In addition to its excellent public schools, the town is a favorite place to reside for young professionals. Spending the evening having a picnic on the sand is one of the wonderful ways to enjoy Ocean Springs’ stunning shores.
To relax and unwind in peace, visit the town’s Front Beach, where water sports, fishing, and volleyball are popular activities. This oceanfront is mainly frequented by residents and has wide, empty expanses of sand. From the Biloxi Bay Bridge down to Ocean Springs Harbor, there is enough beach for everyone to enjoy.
Long Beach, MS
Long Beach, located between Gulfport and Pass Christian, is a picturesque place only three hours south of Jackson. This town of 16,780 (as of the 2020 census) has a beach renowned by locals and tourists alike due to its peace and quiet compared to other beaches in the state.
It’s the best spot to go if you’re looking for stunning natural beauty and a relaxing Southern retreat. Visit the public beach with the kids after a ride through this bike-friendly town. Indulge in popular tourist pursuits, like playing at a casino or shopping at a mall near the beach, and then wind down with a meal at one of the many local cafes.
The cost of living in Long Beach is below the national average, making it an affordable area near the beach with excellent educational opportunities. Even if you rent a beach home across the street, you will enjoy a clear view of the ocean and its waves since the coastline is so pristine and undisturbed.
There is clay buried in the sand at the Long Beach city beach, which is a little unique, and the water is clean enough to swim in. This beach that stretches from the Belmont Pier to Alamitos Beach is the most visited in the city. As a result, its expansive shoreline is ideal for bikers and rollerbladers.
Pass Christian, MS
Pass Christian, often known as “The Pass”, is a community in Harrison County with a relaxed vibe perfect for unwinding or exploring the area. In addition to its many residences and businesses, this town is also home to two ports, two parks, a seafood industry, and several green spaces.
In 1699, French-Canadian explorers found Pass Christian not long after the first French colony was founded in Biloxi. In the year 2020, the population was recorded as 5,606.
Whether you’re just passing through or want to make The Pass your permanent home, the city’s various parks and leisure places provide something spectacular for everyone. Visit the numerous shops to find one-of-a-kind and exquisite presents or antiques, or take a stroll about the city while taking in the sights, and you won’t be the only one.
On the whole Mississippi Gulf Coast, the sand on Pass Christian beaches is some of the best and cleanest. There are many easy, free parking spots right by the shoreline. Swimming and other water activities during the day, watching the sunset, and strolling the beach at night are all sweet ways to spend time on the beachfront at Pass Christian.
Pascagoula is a cute coastal city east of Biloxi that is often overlooked, even though it’s close to the ocean and has a lot of attractions on land. It’s where the famous musician Jimmy Buffett was born and is a lovely, peaceful place to visit or live near the water.
Pascagoula, also known as “Singing River” and “Mississippi’s Flagship City”, is a Gulf Coast community with a long and illustrious history as a European town that dates back more than 300 years. As of the 2020 census, the city had a population of 22,010 and has a lot to offer tourists to Mississippi and 19 schools for residents to utilize.
The largest employer in the state, Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding, is in Pascagoula. The largest U.S. refinery for Chevron, Halter Marine, Signal International, and Rolls Royce is also there.
Each month, Beach Park plays home to a wide variety of public events, including concerts and film screenings, and receives heavy use for social gatherings. You can go out on the pier and go fishing, and the sand beach is clean and has a terrific place to play in the water.
While at Pascagoula, check out the Round Island Lighthouse, which stood on the shore for 140 years until being damaged by storms. Pascagoula’s rich past may be seen in this landmark lighthouse. It serves as a gathering place for tales of the city’s nautical history, pirates, and conflicts.
These are the top beach destinations in Mississippi, so keep this list handy when traveling through “The Hospitality State”. Not only will you avoid typical tourist traps, but you’ll also enjoy a more genuine Southern seaside experience.