LivingPlenty of entertaining activities —music, sports, theater, museums, parks and shopping — can be discovered in Harrison County. Catch a concert at the Hard Rock or tour the lighthouse in Biloxi. Or head to Gulfport to for Arts Under the Dome. Seabee Day and the Blessing of Fleet are annual events not to miss!
Residents of Harrison County will enjoy a variety of annual events, festivals and community gatherings.
Biloxi Seafood Festival
Traditionally scheduled for September, this huge festival is a celebration of everything seafood — with dishes, arts and crafts, a kids village, children’s activities, games, a gumbo championship, live entertainment and more. The weekend party attracts an average of 25,000 people yearly.
Blessing of the Fleet
A tradition since 1929, Blessing of the Fleet festivities are extensive, covering the Biloxi Gulf Coast from the beautiful Town Green to the magnificent St. Michael Catholic Church (the “Church of the Fishermen”) on Point Cadet. Shrimp boats form a procession in the Mississippi Sound and file past an anchored “Blessing Boat” where an officiating priest and bishop stand, sprinkling holy water on the boats and giving the blessing for each one. The annual event, usually scheduled for late May to early June, has grown to include the Fais Do Do or Shrimp Festival, with shrimp dishes, dancing and the coronation of a Shrimp King and Queen who reign over the festival and blessing.
Carnival on the Coast
Let the good times roll during the Carnival on the Coast, an exciting carnival season when elaborately decorated floats throw “treasures” such as beads, doubloons and even Moon Pies to parade bystanders. There are more than 20 parades usually scheduled along the Gulf Coast. Events are generally held in March during Mardi Gras season; check local media outlets for specific times and locations.
Cruisin’ the Coast
Held annually in October, Cruisin’ the Coast has become one of the biggest special events in the state. Car enthusiasts from more than 40 states, Canada and Sweden drive the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast in more than 6,000 registered vehicles to designated stops in Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, D’Iberville, Gulfport and Ocean Springs. Each venue is set up as a mini festival with a stage for live bands, reserved parking for registered cruisers, spectator parking, and vendors for food and event merchandise.
Celebrate the Seabees and the presence of the Navy on the Gulf Coast for more than 70 years. This annual event, held at Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport in March, April or May, features a car show, musical guests, games, fun, food, carnival rides, kids’ activities, vendors and more.
No matter what your interests, Biloxi and Gulfport will keep you busy with a variety of attractions. From historic buildings to family-friendly fun parks to classic nightspots, there’s something for everyone.
Big Play Family Fun Center
1836 Beach Blvd.
Biloxi, MS 39531.................... 228-388-7529
Big Play Family Fun Center is an oasis of family fun featuring 36 holes of mini golf, bumper cars, an arcade, go-karts, a water balloon launching section, water slides and more. For seasonal hours of operation, visit the center’s website.
Highway 90 & Porter Avenue
Biloxi, MS 39530.................... 228-374-3105
Built in 1848, the Biloxi Lighthouse is the city’s signature landmark and is open for daily tours (9, 9:15 and 9:30 a.m., weather permitting). The historic 64-foot-tall building features a spiral staircase with 57 steps and an eight-rung ladder topped by a 19-by-23-inch trap door into the light room. One of the first cast-iron structures erected in the South — and believed to be the only U.S. lighthouse situated in the middle of a major highway — the Biloxi structure has become a post-Katrina symbol of the city’s resolve and resilience.
Hard Rock Hotel
777 Beach Blvd.
Biloxi, MS 39530.................... 228-374-7625
Things are rockin’ at Hard Rock Biloxi. Known as the go-to spot to enjoy musical memorabilia, this resort also offers guest accommodations, seven dining options, including the Hard Rock Cafe, a full-service spa and fitness center, retail shops and Hard Rock Live, a 1,500-capacity entertainment venue for some of the nation’s best concerts.
Mississippi Blues Trail
Formed in 2003 by the Mississippi Blues Commission, the Mississippi Blues Trail is dedicated to preserving the state’s musical heritage. The trail also features historical markers and interpretive sites throughout Mississippi.
170 Reynoir St.
Biloxi, MS 39530.................... 228-435-6290
This “Gem of the Gulf Coast” has starred in the region’s history since its opening in 1930 with the showing of one of the first talking movies of the day. The theater held 1,500 seats (1,020 on the main floor and 480 above), a stage and dressing room facilities to accommodate large traveling shows and vaudeville. Today the theater is a major performing arts center for the Gulf Coast.
USS Biloxi Bell and Mast
The solid brass bell from the USS Biloxi, a light cruiser that distinguished itself in World War II, sits in the Biloxi City Hall lobby. The bell is one of two artifacts the city possesses from the USS Biloxi. The other is the ship’s superstructure, which stands in Guice Park, near the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.
Biloxi and Gulfport residents enjoy a wealth of artistic endeavors, from stage plays to musicals to symphonies and more.
Arts Under the Dome
2301 15th St.
Gulfport, MS 39501....... 228-863-0047/0392
Presented by the First United Methodist Church in downtown Gulfport, Arts Under the Dome is a performing arts series that sponsors first-class concerts each year with entertainers from around the world. Concerts are held under the beautiful stained-glass dome of the church sanctuary.
240 Eisenhower Drive
Biloxi, MS 39531.................... 228-388-6258
A live theater that has been entertaining Mississippi’s Gulf Coast for more than 30 years, Center Stage presents a year-round schedule of popular musicals, dramas, comedies and children’s productions.
Coast Community Concert Association
This nonprofit, all-volunteer arts group has been chartered by the state of Mississippi to cultivate, provide and develop an understanding and love of the musical arts. All concerts are staged in the Saenger Theatre, 170 Reynoir St. For reservations and more information, call 228-243-3940.
Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra
11975 Seaway Road, Suite A130
Gulfport, MS 39503................ 228-896-4276
Celebrating more than 50 years of performances, the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra presents classical concerts with featured guest artists and some modern spins on traditional favorites. A youth orchestra also contributes to the acclaimed musical offerings.
Gulfport Little Theatre
2600 13th Ave.
Gulfport, MS 39501................ 228-864-7983
This community theater troupe presents exceptional musicals, comedies and dramas and offers a youth program of traditional classics.
Get a real appreciation for the South’s cultural and historic contributions through the many museums in the area.
Beauvoir, The Jefferson Davis Home
2244 Beach Blvd.
Biloxi, MS 39531.................... 228-388-4400
Rich in history, Beauvoir is the stunning home of the only president of the Confederate States of America. The 51-acre estate, fronting the Gulf of Mexico, was also once the site of the Mississippi Confederate soldier’s home, which cared for hundreds of Southern veterans and their wives.
Lynn Meadows Discovery Center
246 Dolan Ave.
Gulfport, MS 39507................ 228-897-6039
Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is a hands-on children’s museum encouraging shared learning experiences for children and adults through interactive and entertaining exhibitions and programs designed to simulate the real world of South Mississippi.
Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art
386 Beach Blvd.
Biloxi, MS 39530.................... 228-374-5547
Ten years in the making, the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art celebrates the innovative, independent and creative spirit of the artist it honors, Mississippi master potter George Ohr. Enjoy this unique collection of art, architecture and history in a setting designed by artist and architect Frank Gehry.
PARKS AND GARDENS
Check the parks and recreation listings in your region to find a spot of civic green to enjoy nature. Whether you want to relax on a blanket or take the little tykes to a playground, there are plenty of parks at your disposal.
City of Biloxi Department
of Parks and Recreation
377 Hiller Drive
Biloxi, MS 39531.................... 228-388-7170
Located on the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, this beloved oak is more than 500 years old with a height of 59 feet, a trunk diameter of 5 feet 9 inches and a trunk circumference of more than 19 feet. Viewed daily by students, tourists and tree-lovers alike, the spot is also popular for wedding ceremonies.
via Ship Island Excursions
Gulfport Yacht Harbor
Gulfport, MS 39502................ 228-864-1014
A wonderful getaway just 11 miles south of Biloxi and Gulfport, Ship Island is part of Gulf Islands National Seashore and is one of the five Mississippi barrier islands. Ship Island is home to Fort Massachusetts, a beautifully preserved brick fortification completed in 1868. The National Park Service offers fort tours during the season the ferries operate.
From art galleries to unique boutiques, outlet malls to major department stores, there’s something for every taste and budget in the Biloxi and Gulfport shopping scenes.
Intersection 10 & Highway 49
Gulfport, MS 39503
This shopping center’s retail stores offer fashion, home furnishings, beauty products and more.
2600 Beach Blvd.
Biloxi, MS 39531.................... 228-388-3424
Classic looks and the latest styles can be found at the many stores in this mall.
Gallery 782 Co-Art
782 Water St.
Biloxi, MS 39530.................... 228-436-7782
View and purchase some of the finest works of more than 35 local artists housed in this charming historic building, which is a work of art itself.
Gulfport Galleria of Fine Art
1401 23rd Ave.
Gulfport, MS 39501................ 228-868-0705
The downtown gallery features more than 30 coastal artists. Exhibits are wide-ranging and include pottery and ceramics, photography, original jewelry designs, sculptures, stained glass and paintings in various media.
Gulfport Premium Outlets
10000 Factory Shops Blvd.
Gulfport, MS 39503................ 228-867-6100
Find impressive savings at brand-name outlet shops.
SPORTS AND RECREATION
Whether you’re a spectator or star participant, there is a bundle of recreational opportunities for the sports-lover in your life.
A.J. Holloway Sports Complex
765 Wells Drive
Biloxi, MS 39532.................... 228-396-5092
The 68-acre A.J. Holloway Sports Complex features three soccer fields, four softball fields, an adult baseball field, five Little League fields, tennis courts, concession stands and more. The complex also hosts a variety of sporting events year-round, including youth football, cheerleading and softball.
Biking, Hiking and Horseback Riding
Explore the coast on foot, by bike or by horse. The coast’s temperate climate makes exploring nature a year-round activity. You’ll see hundreds of species of birds, animals and reptiles at any of the area’s state parks, the DeSoto National Forest, the seashore and more. For more information on area trails and recreation areas, visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau at www.gulfcoast.org/visitors/attractions/family-activities/biking-hiking.
1384 Father Ryan Ave.
Biloxi, MS 39530........... 228-435-6205/6108
The Biloxi Natatorium is an Olympic-sized pool 50 meters long and 25 yards wide, with a 4-foot shallow end and 13-foot deep end. The diving area has a low and high dive. Swim lessons, lifeguarding classes and a summer swim team are available. Visit the natatorium’s website for information on adult lap swimming and recreational swimming hours of operation.
Biloxi River Paintball
23320 River Ridge Drive
Saucier, MS 39574.................. 228-806-3448
Biloxi River Paintball, located in northern Harrison County and along the Big Biloxi River, is more than 45 acres of paintball fun. Three different playing fields accommodate different-size groups. Equipment rental is available.
Bowman’s Tennis Shop Biloxi
765 Wells Drive
Biloxi, MS 39532.................... 228-354-9320
Bowman’s Tennis Shop Biloxi is the largest full-service public tennis facility and pro shop on the coast. Instructors are on hand to help you improve your game. The complex offers clinics, stringing, tournaments and more. Call the complex for info on tournaments and other special events.
The fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. The Gulf Coast offers a variety of campsites, RV sites and recreation areas, with handy amenities like bathhouses, water and electric hookups, laundry facilities, and even Wi-Fi and cable. For more information on local campground and RV sites, visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau at www.gulfcoast.org/visitors/hotels/rv-parks-and-campgrounds.
Whether you prefer pier and wade fishing or deep-sea fishing, there’s a spot to drop your line in the Gulf Coast. A host of charter boats can help you get out on the water for your next big catch. For more information on local charter boat companies, visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau at www.gulfcoast.org/fishing.
Required recreational fishing licenses are available at many locations such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, sporting goods stores and bait shops. Anglers under the age of 16 and over 65 are exempt. For more information on licensing, visit the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks website at https://www.mdwfp.com/license/fishing-license.aspx.
Thanks to the Gulf Coast’s temperate climate, golf is a year-round game. Nearly 20 golf courses in the region cater to golfers of every skill level. Courses include Biloxi’s Dogwood Hills Golf Course, set amid the DeSoto National Forest, and Gulfport’s Great Southern Golf Club, which features stunning views of the coast. For a full list of courses on the Gulf Coast, visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau at www.gulfcoast.org/golf.
17085 Racetrack Road
Gulfport, MS 39503................ 228-863-4408
Gulfport Dragway features quarter-mile drag racing every Wednesday night. Visit the Gulfport Dragway’s website for more information on weekly races, racer and spectator rates, and special events.
With 62 miles of scenic shoreline, the Gulf Coast plays host to a variety of water activities. There are quiet, tranquil beach locales for those looking to sunbathe, take a romantic walk or just relax. If you’re looking for adventure, you can rent a kayak, take a cruise on a shrimping boat, spot dolphins on a sightseeing trip or even give paddleboarding a try. For more information on water activities and beach vendors on the Gulf Coast, visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau at www.gulfcoast.org/visitors/attractions/beaches-and-harbor-activities.