PLAY AT A FAMOUS CASINO
Mississippi ranks No. 11 out of 46 in number of casinos in the United States, according to the World Casino Directory, and the city with the most is Biloxi with eight. There are 11 casinos on the Coast (the same number as Atlantic City), and the Coast is home to some of the largest gaming spaces in the state. The Beau Rivage, arguably the most noticeable property on the coastline, is the largest one-time commercial investment made in the state of Mississippi at a cost of $650 million. CATCH A FAMOUS FISH
The Gulf (it’s really called the Mississippi Sound north of the barrier islands) is teeming with game fish that are indigenous to our waters and well known by recreational anglers around the country. Some of the highest sought are flounder, redfish, red snapper, cobia (lemonfish), speckled trout, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel. To get to them, there are hundreds of charter boats from which to choose.
CRUISE A FAMOUS HIGHWAY
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Beach Boulevard extends 26 miles — give or take a sand dune or two — which makes it the longest man-made beach in the United States. And, yes, there’s still plenty to see and plenty to inspire you — especially the sunsets, interrupted only by catamaran masts or shrimp boats plying the Sound for tasty morsels. On the north side of the highway, the landscape is changing, much of it for the better, and the stately homes in Pass Christian still stand proud along Scenic Drive. Make sure to take in the famous Biloxi Lighthouse.
SEE A FAMOUS PERFORMER
The Coast is home to big-time venues for big-time performers. The Mississippi Coast Coliseum leads the way, having been host to such top-draw performers as Elton John, Garth Brooks and Cher. Among the other big entertainment venues that bring in the best recording and touring performers include the Beau Rivage Theatre, Hard Rock Live, IP Casino and Hollywood Casino. The iconic Saenger Theatre in Biloxi, recently renovated, has been the venue for many of the Coast’s top regional productions and the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra as well as internationally known, symphonic, opera and ballet stars.
EAT AT A FAMOUS RESTAURANT
There are a lot of wonderful restaurants from which to choose. One in particular has one of the biggest names in the food business. Emeril Lagasse, whose wife is from Gulfport, opened Emeril’s Gulf Coast Fish House at the Island View Casino in 2007. Another fine-dining establishment, Mary Mahoney’s in Biloxi, was established in 1964 in a building constructed around 1737.
PLAY AT A FAMOUS GOLF COURSE
The Coast has long been a golfing destination for the rest of the country. And while there are about 18 courses from which to choose, you can’t get much bigger than Jack Nicklaus (Grand Bear Golf Course), Arnold Palmer (The Bridges Golf Club), Davis Love III (Shell Landing Golf Club), Jerry Pate (The Preserve Golf Club) and Tom Fazio (Fallen Oak Golf Course) when it comes to golf and golf course design. Another famous first: The Bridges Golf Club is the first resort course in the world to be granted the Audubon Silver Signature Status by Audubon International.
INDULGE AT A FAMOUS NIGHTCLUB
We’ve got more nightclubs than you can shake a martini glass at, but two are especially high on the famous list. Rise at Hard Rock Biloxi, is one of the latest developed by the Gerber Group — whose famed bars include The Whiskey in Las Vegas, Stone Rose in Los Angeles and Whiskey Blue in New York. And EIGHT75 at the Beau Rivage has regularly been ranked as one of the country’s best hotspots by national trade magazine Nightclub & Bar in its annual Top 100 rankings.
GO TO A FAMOUS MUSEUM/ATTRACTION
The Mississippi Coast is home to artists who continue to gain international recognition. The Walter Anderson Museum of Art is dedicated to the celebration of the works of Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965) whose depictions of the plants, animals, and people of the Gulf Coast have placed him among the forefront of American painters of the 20th century; and to his brothers, Peter Anderson (1901-1984), master potter and founder of Shearwater Pottery; and James McConnell Anderson (1907-1998), noted painter and ceramist. The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art is dedicated to the work of potter George Ohr. The new museum, which is being rebuilt on Beach Boulevard in Biloxi, is designed by internationally recognized architect Frank Gehry, who personally has collected work by Ohr. Its transitional headquarters is 1596 Glenn Swetman Street in Biloxi. The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport, has been named one of America’s Top 50 children’s museums. Other famous attractions are Beauvoir, the last home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis; the Biloxi Lighthouse on Beach Boulevard, built in 1848 and the first cast-iron tower in the South; or stop by the Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works, the original bottling plant for Barq’s Root Beer, at 224 Keller Ave., Biloxi. (You can’t go in, but you can see the house and the historical marker). Make sure to ride the famous Biloxi schooners at the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum, located at the Biloxi Schooner Pier.
ENJOY A FAMOUS EVENT
We won’t get into the argument of who celebrated Mardi Gras first — New Orleans, Mobile or the Coast. But suffice it to say Carnival is one of the biggest events we celebrate, highlighted by tons of beads and parades. But there are many other nationally recognized events that have put the Coast on the map. Cruisin’ the Coast attracts car enthusiasts from more than 37 states and Canada once a year in October to showcase and to cruise a variety of antique, classic and hot rod automobiles. Cruisin’ has received many state, regional and national tourism awards. There’s Smokin’ the Sound, the first race of the Offshore Super Series Powerboat Racing Association, which features more than 40 boats in seven categories. The Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, which first began in 1948, has long been considered one of the largest sport fishing annual attractions in the world. It happens in July and is headquartered in Biloxi.
VISIT A FAMOUS ISLAND
The Coast is blessed with barrier islands south of the mainland. They buffer the shoreline from storms and create a haven for commercial and sport fishing. They also offer a tropical-like retreat of sand, surf and natural habitat. The Gulf Islands National Seashore islands are Horn, Petit Bois and Ship Island. Of all the barrier islands between Maine and Mexico, these three are some of the last still in a natural state. Just west of Ship and closer to shore is Cat Island, distinctive with its heavy tree cover. Still closer is Deer Island, which kisses the east Biloxi shoreline. Probably the most famous landmark on the islands is Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island. Construction of the fort began in 1859. It was occupied by a short time by the Confederates, however they later abandoned it to the Federals. The island was later used by the Federal troops to stage their invasion of New Orleans.