The Best Things To Do In Bay St. Louis, Mississippi


In 2005, the small seaside town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, found itself in the eye of Hurricane Katrina. The process of recovery was long and slow, but the coastal Mississippi community worked to rebuild and resurrect this small town’s spirit. Now, with its laid-back attitude, stunning waterfront, and funky, eclectic local culture, Bay St. Louis is one of the Gulf Coast’s most underrated destinations.

Robbe Caponetto

Just 51 miles away from the one-of-a-kind hub that is New Orleans, Bay St. Louis couldn’t feel further from the hustle and bustle. The town’s prime spot on the Mississippi Sound, an embayment of the Gulf of Mexico, provides a glorious stretch of white-sanded beach with virtually no crowds. In fact, this strip of shoreline is often affectionately referred to as Mississippi’s “Secret Coast.” Here are our favorite things to do in this quaint town.

Spend Time On The Water

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There are countless ways to explore the outdoors at this hidden retreat. Rent a kayak and paddle the blueways, also known as water trails, or walk the beachside paths. Sail with Mississippi Gulf Coast Boat Tours, which offers cruises from morning to evening. Kick your day off right with a Mimosa Mid-Morning Sail or wait until later for a sunset cruise that can take up to six guests out on the water for an unforgettable night. Prefer to stay ashore? Spend a day relaxing at the beach. Be sure to bring your pup along: Bay St. Louis’s beaches are dog-friendly. The city’s sandy beaches run along South Beach Boulevard. 

Reel In The Day’s Catch

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Bay St. Louis is home to a number of piers, but Jimmy Rutherford Fishing Pier is a favorite place to cast a line. Speckled trout fishing is excellent year-round, while the summer months yield prized red snapper catches. Don’t have your own fishing gear? Book a trip with Shore Thing Fishing Charters. Their guides will take you fishing for trout, flounder, black drum, sheepshead, sharks, and more.

Visit The Shops Of Old Town

Just off of Beach Boulevard, you’ll find Old Town Bay St. Louis, a walkable area full of local shops and eateries. Spend an afternoon strolling through Old Town, browsing the beach boutiques and art galleries. Don’t miss the French Potager, an antique store and flower shop. Plan your trip to be in town on the second Saturday of each month when Old Town puts on a giant art walk complete with live music, local merchants, and other special events.

Indulge In A Delicious Breakfast

Courtesy of Mockingbird Cafe

Start your morning at Mockingbird Café, an artsy local spot where you can pair your chicken and waffles with inventive coffee concoctions (house-made syrup flavors include lavender, pistachio, and rosemary honey; the “Health and Beauty” menu features drinks like Matcha Lemonade and Purple Potato Lattes).

Snag Some Fresh Seafood

Courtesy of Cuz’s Old Town Oyster Bar & Grill 

Grab lunch at the The Blind Tiger for waterside views. The open-air bar and island hangout owned by Thomas Genin, who started his career under celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, made a name for itself with a short and sweet menu. Try the burger with hand-cut fries, and snag a seat on the marina-facing patio.

For dinner, try Cuz’s Old Town Oyster Bar & Grill for fresh-off-the-boat boiled shellfish and seafood platters, or head to Field’s Steak and Oyster Bar for—you guessed it—beautifully prepared steak and oyster dishes. Both are right in Old Town and just steps from the pier.

Savor A Cold, Sweet Treat

Courtesy of Creole Creamery

When you’re ready for happy hour, grab a seat at Daiquiri Shak for frozen cocktails in 15 different flavors, including a King Cake Daiquiri during Carnival season. Stop by Creole Creamery for a scoop or a sundae—the signature and seasonal menu is ever-changing, but always features creative flavors like Petit Four, Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake, and Bananas Foster. You can also get a real taste of the South at Ms. Mary’s Old Town Snoballs, housed in a charming pink roadside stand.

Spend The Night

For a true local experience, stay at a bed and breakfast like the Bay Town Inn, where decks come furnished with white Adirondack chairs (Bay St. Louis prides itself on its Southern hospitality). A newer addition downtown, Pearl Hotel, offers boutique-level accommodations, a cocktail lounge and restaurant, and private cabanas at its small pool. You can also rent a quaint cottage for your quiet seaside escape.

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