Pull into the elegant, AAA Four Diamond Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, your luxurious home base for the next few days. Drop off your car and get ready for some serious relaxing, where your most difficult decision will be deciding if you want to take in the magnificent Gulf Coast sunset during your walk along the 26 mile long, soft, sandy beach or while sipping a specialty cocktail poolside. You can catch the sunrise from your panoramic King bed overlooking the Mississippi sound.
One of the best things about staying here is that if you’re not into gambling (although the 24-hour, 3,000-square-foot gaming floor is an attraction in its own right) you can spend countless hours strolling through the Promenade Shops filled with the latest must-have designer threads, accessories, and unique gifts.
Unwind at The Spa at Beau Rivage, where guests can enjoy body treatments ranging from wraps and therapeutic massages to an exotic caviar facial and a Honey Magnolia mani/pedi. Spa facilities include a state-of-the-art fitness area, men’s and women’s saunas, steam rooms, plunge pools and a relaxing solarium.
Check out the entertainment calendar in advance so as not to miss out on the show of your choice. Beau Rivage hosts some of the biggest names in show business, from legendary entertainers to the hot newcomers. Kool and the Gang, Billy Idol, Alanis Morissette will be headlining there in the next few weeks.
There is a variety of restaurants featuring Italian, seafood, and Pan-Asian, and of course, an expansive global buffet. On a busy Saturday night they can go through 2,500 pounds of snow crab legs and 200 pounds of shrimp! But if I had to pick just one, I’d vote for BR Prime, a swanky Mad Men styled-out steakhouse, where even the potatoes are special; the au gratin taters come lobster mashed or fried in duck fat!
Ocean Springs — an oldie but goodie
Just a few miles from Beau Rivage is Ocean Springs, Mississippi’s oldest town, which is basically one picturesque main street lined with incredible art galleries, indie shops and tasty restaurants so no surprise it was recently the recipient of the “Great American Main Street Award.”
If you’re not toured-out yet, I’d give two forks up to Tasty Tours of South Mississippi, for their edible walking tour of Ocean Springs. Check out their website because they offer a handful of different food tours in the area. On our three-hour seafood tour we stopped at five eateries where we dined on some incredible food and learned all sorts of interesting facts about the Gulfport.
Wendy, one of the sisters who started the company, made sure we met the owner or chef at each spot which was a nice touch. Tasty treats included steaming hot biscuits by The Greenhouse on Porter and Oysters Joachim, fried oysters topped with red onion marmalade and a tarragon aioli, served at Charred.
There are two must-see museums that you can do on your own.
Inside the stunning, glass-walled Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum, is a fascinating array of exhibits explaining the maritime history and heritage of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The displays cover everything from wooden boat building to a peeling machine invention that could shell 1,000 pounds of shrimp in an hour.
The current exhibit of Lewis Hine’s photos covering Child Labor in America, 1907-1916, serves as a shocking reminder of how hard it was to work in the seafood industry.
The Walter Anderson Museum of Art (WAMA) is dedicated to Mississippi native and renowned artist, Walter Inglis Anderson. I admit I have never heard of him before my visit, but I’m now a huge fan of this immensely talented painter, sculpture and writer. Two of his more unique creations are the “Little Room” murals that were found in his cottage after his death and the Community Center murals; a colorful swatch of flora and fauna paintings spread over 3,000 sq.ft. that are valued at over $30 million.
If you’ve worked up a thirst the Biloxi Brewing Company offers $10 tours and tastings of their “Craft Beer for the Coastal Life”. They have a nice selection of beers on tap, from basic Blonde Ale to a barrel aged stout. For an interesting “breakfast of champions” beer, try their new Biloxi Black Gold Breakfast Blend that is aged on fresh roasted, whole coffee beans.
If you have any room left for dinner, head over to funky Fishbone Alley. You’ll find some wildly painted murals that class up the place, plus, it serves as the back-yard for a handful of hip restaurants and bars. I wish more places would adopt their “go-cup ordinance that allows you to stroll the entertainment district with a drink of your choice.
For help in planning your road trip go to Visit Mississippi, because, as William Faulkner said, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.”