25 Best Things To Do In Ocean Springs, Mississippi


If Ocean Springs were looking to make a bumper sticker, it might read something like this: “My downtown’s cooler than your downtown.” This quaint community in coastal Mississippi has no need for personal boasting, however, as its rich history, artistic flair, and small-town atmosphere speak for themselves.

Colorful, contemporary, and culturally rich, the town is especially known for its arts and festivals, including the Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival, the largest fine arts gathering in the state for more than four decades. Ocean Springs’ walkable downtown features more than 200 independent shops, galleries, and restaurants, and the beach is mere blocks away. Here’s what to add to your agenda when visiting Ocean Springs this year.

What To Know About Ocean Springs

Tourism here first developed in the 1850s because of interest in the healing powers of its mineral springs in nearby Fort Bayou. The town got its name from The Ocean Springs Hotel, which opened in 1854. The railroad and train depot soon brought more visitors, as did an increasing production of fish, shrimp, crabs, and oysters in the area. As more hotels sprung up along the main street to accommodate affluent residents of New Orleans and Chicago flooding in, Ocean Springs began to grow as a destination and continues its charming legacy today—coming back stronger than ever post Hurricane Katrina.

What To Do

Tate Nations

Admire Coastal Art At The Museum

The nationally accredited Walter Anderson Museum of Art downtown celebrates its artist-philosopher namesake’s works of coastal plants, animals, landscapes, and people. In honor of its 30th anniversary in 2021, it underwent a rebrand and added a new creative complex offering a transformative cultural experience to this local favorite.

www.walterandersonmuseum.org, 510 Washington Avenue, Ocean Springs, MS, 39564

Visit The Arts Center

At Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Arts Center (known locally as “The Mary C”), visitors can explore two art galleries; catch a concert, performance, or play at the theater; and shop works from local creatives. Depending on when you visit, it’s also the hub of holiday events like Spooky Springs and the Christmas tree lighting.

www.themaryc.art, 1600 Government St. Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Pick Up Some Pottery

The family-owned Shearwater Pottery dates back nearly a century and through three generations. Their showroom offers an incredible display of figurines, decorative tiles, and other ceramic objects in its free-to-the-public gallery.

shearwaterpottery.com, 102 Shearwater Dr, Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Get Outside

Coastal Mississippi

Spend some time digging your toes in the sand at Front Beach, just a short walk from downtown. Swim, walk, or bask in the sun on this quiet stretch that features a fishing pier and beautiful views. One of the best ways to experience the beach in Ocean Springs is with a sunset picnic in the sand. Coastal Picnic & Company will set up a gorgeous spread with options for styles, food and beverage, and add-ons like a fringed umbrella. Visitors can also enjoy many recreational activities along the water, from fishing and hiking to biking, bird watching, and camping as part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Where To Shop

Courtesy of Coastal Mississippi

Shop The Boutiques

Plenty of boutiques downtown offer wonderful shopping, from womenswear at The Bay Collection to trendy clothing and accessories at Charisma. Hunt for vintage goods, including clothing and jewelry, inside Buddyrow. To find that perfect gift, head to Poppy’s Gift Shop, which stocks gourmet foods, jewelry, candles, charcuterie, and local art. The dog-friendly shop also makes custom gift baskets.

Also contributing to the cultural development of the downtown is Ocean Springs Collective, which will include a restaurant, community garden, bookstore, and fitness center when it is complete. A sustainable garden and “food forest” will be at its center, illustrating its focus on permaculture.

Browse The Galleries

Hillyer House has displayed the work of coastal artists for more than 50 years, from paintings to pottery. The shop has an emphasis on glass blowing, with jellyfish lamps and handmade coral among the unique pieces you can find there. You can also find eclectic and one-of-a-kind items at Coastal Magpie. From furniture and antiques to paintings, jewelry, and pottery by local artisans, you’ll find something new every time you shop there.

Fans of artist Walter Anderson should stop by Realizations, a small shop run by his family. The gallery offers silk-screened prints and printed clothing and textiles with his blockprint designs, as well as original works on occasion.

Where To Eat

Eddie Robinson

Make A Stop At Woody’s Roadside

A smokehouse burger at Woody’s Roadside, a top-ranked restaurant in Ocean Springs, is a must. This laid-back spot is a local favorite with nearly 20 gourmet burgers on the menu, plus tacos, fresh fish, and the famous Cheese Bombs appetizer.

woodysroadside.net, 3008 Bienville Blvd, Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Enjoy All-You-Can-Eat Catfish

All-you-can-eat catfish and shrimp are the draws to Aunt Jenny’s Catfish Restaurant, a restaurant located beneath 500-year-old oak trees in an 1850s home. (Elvis Presley was known to frequent its cocktail lounge downstairs, which features live music on weekends.) For something more upscale, book a table at the sister restaurant next door, Anthony’s Steak and Seafood.

auntjennyscatfish.com, anthonysundertheoaks.com, 1217 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs, MS 39565

Dine On French Food

Maison de Lu is open for lunch and dinner, serving a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches both indoors and out on the front patio and in the back courtyard. Dinner service features chops and the fish du jour as well as French specialties like Escargot Stuffed Mushrooms.

www.maisondelu.com, 626 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Try Vestige’s Tasting Menu

Locally owned Vestige, from a James Beard-nominated chef, is a great spot for a celebration meal with a five-course tasting menu that changes daily. Whether you try the foie gras or the fish, it’s destined to be presented in a creative array of flavors, textures, and colors.

facebook.com/vestigerestaurant, 715 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs, MS, United States, 39564

Dig In At The Shed

Constructed from architectural odds and ends collected by an admitted Dumpster diver, The Shed has morphed into a popular barbecue joint with live blues performances on weekends. You won’t want to miss The Shed’s wood-smoked barbecue slathered in the Saucerer’s special sauce, or its down-home, delightfully tacky atmosphere.

www.theshedbbq.com, 7501 HWY 57, Ocean Springs, MS 39565

Cool Off At Pop Brothers

Cool off with an artisan ice pop in downtown Ocean Springs. While you can find basic flavors like chocolate and strawberry here, why not indulge in a Watermelon Mint Mojito Poptail for the 21-and-up crowd?

www.popbrothers.com, 800 Cash Alley, Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Where To Stay

Eisley & Oak Photography

Spend The Night In A Floating Cabin

The most unique accommodations in town can be found at The Beatnik, comprised of four floating cabins with their own respective wet bars and outdoor showers. Outside of your cabin, you can enjoy a communal pool, garden, and fire pit.

www.thehotelbeatnik.com, 402 Porter Ave., Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Relax At The Roost

The same owners also debuted a boutique hotel, The Roost, in a historic building just off the beach with a rustic-chic vibe and 19 gorgeous bespoke suites. Relax by the heated pool amongst natural plantings or wander over to the property’s speakeasy-style craft bar, The Wilbur.

www.roostoceansprings.com, 604 Porter Ave., Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Book A Stay At The Hemingway

The Hemingway is another boutique hotel located in a former bank downtown. Each of its four recently renovated rooms comes with its own brand of charm, including the romantic “Mary” room with exposed brick, wide windows, and a four-poster bed.

oceanspringsinn.com/the-hemingway, 929 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Try A ‘Groovy’ Waterfront Resort

For classic Ocean Springs vibe, check in to the 52-room Gulf Hills Hotel & Resort, which was established in 1927 and served as a getaway for Elvis in the 1950s. While a visit to the Sunset Lounge feels like traveling back in time, the luxe lobby and rooms in this relaxed resort are anything but dated.

www.gulfhillshotel.com, 13701 Paso Road, Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Stay At A New Boutique Hotel

The gorgeous Springs Hotel is the newest addition to downtown Ocean Springs. Artfully selected furniture, fabric, and light fixtures will make you delight in returning to your room each day. A florist and fine art gallery are located inside the hotel if you’d like to take a piece of that beauty home at the end of your stay.

www.springshotelos.com, 424 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs, Mississippi 39564

When to Go

Being located off the Gulf of Mexico means summers get especially hot and humid. For the most comfortable weather, visit Ocean Springs in early spring (March-April) or November, when temperatures hover around 70 degrees.

Source link

You may also like