Before You Go
Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1-888-467-4853 or visit online at www.gulfcoast.org

For Travel Assistance
Visit your nearest AAA service office for maps, TripTiks and TourBook guides.
Order travel materials online or use our online travel research tools.

Alice Moseley
Bernie Block photo
Extend Biloxi stay at Bay St. Louis

About 25 miles east of Biloxi is Bay St. Louis, a beach community offering outdoor activities, such as state park facilities, ferry rides to the out islands and boat tours through the bayous.

Casino Magic Bay St. Louis, which is not affiliated with the Biloxi property, is also here.

Walk through Old Town and see its shops that are dear to the hearts of antique and art lovers. Small restaurants specialize in local foods.

Meet Alice Moseley, the town’s celebrity artist. The perky 92-year-old first took up the brushes at a youthful 60 and has a large following for her works, which concentrate on life in the South. Her neat, little studio/home is across from the old train depot that was seen in the 1966 Robert Redford movie, “This Property is Condemned.”

Ask her about one of her best-known pieces, “The House Is Blue but the Old Lady Ain’t,” and she’ll confess with a smile that her former English students would be happy to correct the grammar used in the title.

NASA’s StennisSphere, where rocket propulsion engines are developed and tested, is a few miles northwest of Bay St. Louis. It’s a recently expanded complex that emphasizes futuristic space travel. Take a ride in a motion simulator. The Mississippi Welcome Center near town operates a free shuttle bus. A 25-minute narration sets the stage for the visit.

– Jean B. Bloom


To enjoy gaming,nightlife, dining and rich historic sites in Biloxi all you have to do is
Go to the Gulf

Published: Sep/Oct 2002

A decade ago, Biloxi was a sleepy vacation spot on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. Visitors came for white sand beaches, fishing, golf and pleasant weather.

In 1991, Mississippi approved casino gambling, and the coast experienced dramatic changes. Today’s visitors still enjoy the beaches, golf, fishing and weather, but 12 casinos add excitement.

Betting on a good time

The operations range in style and elegance from a small former cruise ship to the $650 million Beau Rivage Resort and Casino built three years ago by Las Vegas-based Mirage Resorts, Inc., which was later acquired by MGM Grand, Inc. The Beau Rivage is AAA’s newest Four-Diamond resort on the gulf coast.

Altogether, some 7,000 guest rooms at casino hotels are now available. Branded and local motels, bed-and-breakfast inns and condos add another several thousand rooms.

Most of the action lies along or just off Beach Boulevard (U.S. Highway 90), a divided scenic roadway with beaches on one side and stately residences and commercial services on the other.

All but three casinos are in the eastern end along a thin strip of land that juts into the Mississippi Sound. In addition, two casinos are in adjoining Gulfport and a third is in the town of Bay St. Louis.

Casino Magic Biloxi, the Isle of Capri Casino Resort, Mississippi’s first casino, and Grand Casino are on east Beach Boulevard, now called Casino Row. The three combine promotional efforts, including shuttling customers between properties.

Other attractions

Our first daylight diversion was a shrimping trip from the small craft harbor near the Casino Magic Biloxi hotel. Corrie and Virginia Eleuterius operate the 70-minute sail. She pilots the small, two-deck craft in the calm sound, while he works the net and gives nearly non-stop narration on the business of shrimping. This trip netted four shrimp and some sundry sea life, which he held up to show passengers.

Biloxi’s visitors center, a lovely Victorian house across the street from the dock, marks the historical district. Get a walking tour brochure and amble along picturesque streets past some 20 functional vintage buildings and shops. The 1847 Magnolia Hotel, the class of its era, now houses the Biloxi Mardi Gras Museum displaying colorful costumes and memorabilia spanning the early 20th century. The annual parade, one of the largest in the country, is creative and colorful.

Mary Mahoney’s Ole French House is an excellent choice for lunch. It was set up some 60 years ago in a 1737 brick French-style house, has several dining rooms and a broad menu featuring seafood.

Jefferson Davis’ home, Beauvoir, is a few miles west on a wooded, 51-acre site. It’s an outstanding piece of Confederate history. Rambling nature trails connect the 150-year-old Greek Revival house with a small military museum and a cemetery solemnized with the tomb of an Unknown Soldier. An impressive presidential library built just four years ago by the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization is a rich repository of wartime documents, books and Davis memorabilia. Check in there first, watch a short film and then wait on the house porch until a guide takes you into the Victorian hallway. From the porch, you’ll see why Beauvoir, in French, means beautiful view.

The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum pays tribute to fishermen and workers whose livelihoods historically depended on the gulf waters. Photos, boat models, equipment and hundreds of artifacts tell the story of the industry and those who have kept it going.

On the way from the museum to our hotel, we discussed having a seafood dinner at Pier 4, the Casino Magic Biloxi’s premier restaurant. Seafood, beaches and booming casinos make Biloxi a town to visit any time of year.

Jean B. Bloom is a contributor from North Miami Beach, Fla.


 


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