Make sure to save pictures from Friday's celebrations because there might not be another Independence Day with such perfect weather. And the flashy fireworks shows shooting off across the Coast after dark put a star-spangled exclamation point on the whole day.
Nearly every parking bay along U.S. 90 was taken as Coastians flocked to the water for sunshine, relaxation and an assortment of grilled meats.
Many of the beachgoers gathered south of Keesler Air Force Base for the annual Beach Bash. Hot wings and watermelons were eaten competitively, sand castles built, kayaks paddled and bean bags tossed during a cornhole tournament.
Many young airmen were thankful for the opportunity, such as Kristin Deanworth, whose class arrived in Biloxi just a few days ago from basic training.
"It's nice to get fresh air and not be so secluded," she said, noting the new recruits normally have to stay on base for at least three weeks.
"The weather today is perfect," she said. "We really got lucky."
Chief Master Sgt. Farrell Thomas manned the grill all day along with the other chiefs and first sergeants.
"I'm proud to be an American on a day like today," he said.
Out on the water, fishermen participating in the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo hadn't yet brought in any record-breakers, but there are still two more days.
Carnival rides and a steady parade of sea creatures drew many families to Jones Park in Gulfport for the day.
In Bay St. Louis, the highlight was the famous crab-stuffed potatoes at Our Lady of the Gulf's annual Crab Festival. The event draws Louisianans and others in the region with the lure of fresh crabs and other seafood.
The rodeo and festival continue today.