It took the Mississippi Gulf Coast a decade to recover from the history-making storm that virtually erased its beachfront. But the locals down there are a resilient bunch, and they took the massive challenge of rebuilding as an opportunity to enhance what they loved best about their waterfront towns. Some of Biloxi’s casino resorts, like Beau Rivage, got a multi-million-dollar remodel, with expanded restaurant and retail offerings. New restaurants have joined the old favorites, and there are lots of new attractions that make Biloxi worth the trip. If you haven’t rambled Beach Boulevard (and beyond)in a while, here’s what you’re missing:
1. The new Maragaritaville Resort Biloxi overlooking Deer Island brings vacationers a 23-story resort with a rooftop water complex that includes a 450-foot lazy river, 2 water slides, and swim-up bar. The resort also has a 40-foot climbing wall and the Cloud Coaster, an innovative cart-less roller coaster. Restaurants and bars include the LandShark Bar and Grill, Doe’s Eat Place, 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, Margaritaville Restaurant, and The Lost Key Bar.
2. Charter a fishing trip with Captain Jay Trochesset or Captain Kenny Barhanovich, the only northern Gulf Coast captains selected for the 2016 Legendary Captains and Crew Award by the International Game Fish Association. Both of them grew up in Biloxi. (And if they happen to be booked, you have other boats to board.)
Trochesset: biloxicharterfishing.com; Barhanovich: misshospitalityfishing.com
3. Take your fresh catch to one of the local restaurants that will cook it up for you while you sip a cold libation. Among them are The Biloxi Lugger Restaurant & Bar, Shaggy’s Biloxi Beach, and upscale Morton’s The Steakhouse at Golden Nugget Biloxi.
4. Explore the Rue Magnolia Arts District, where you’ll find, among other things, the Almost Circle Gallery, The Radish Loft II, and the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation. Bongé, a significant Abstract Expressionist painter, was a Biloxi native who began painting in the1930s and had a 55-year career.
5. See works by over 300 artists, including George Ohr, “the mad potter of Biloxi,” at the striking Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.
6. Stay at the newly renovated White House Hotel, built in 1895 and finally restored to the level of its glory days after 30 years. Picture classic Southern on the outside, sleek and modern on the inside. The rooftop terrace is a great place for sunset sipping.
7. Go shrimping on the 70-minute Biloxi Shrimping Trip expedition.
Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, 693 Beach Blvd.
8. Climb aboard a replica of a Biloxi oyster schooner and take a sunset sail.
Schooner Pier Complex, 367 Beach Blvd.
9. Enjoy the amenities (including poolside lounging) at one of the city’s eight casino resorts.
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10. Head to MGM Park across from the Beau to see the Milwaukee Brewers’ Double-A affiliate, the Biloxi Shuckers, play ball. Added bonus: The park offers a view of Mississippi Sound, plus local craft beer and seafood, and hosts other popular events