Next we headed to Biloxi and "the Beau."
young girl on beach at tybee island

As much as Dave and I love traveling off the beaten path, some places are famous for a reason. We can't resist Beau Rivage and made it our base camp for exploring several coastal towns.

This is one fabulous resort with a stunning lobby and shopping promenade, plenty of restaurants and nightlife, an elegant spa, a brand-new golf course, and (our personal favorite) a drop-dead gorgeous pool overlooking Mississippi Sound so you can watch shrimpboats go by while you work on your tan. (For those of us who grow weary of ding-ding-ding casino noise, the Beau is arranged so that you can easily dodge the gaming floor.)

We were eager to see what a $550-million renovation could do to an $800-million hotel. The short answer? A lot. They've added a variety of new restaurants and shops (don't miss the $10 Boutique for budget baubles). Guest rooms are downright plush now with 32-inch flat-screen TVs, deliciously poufed pillows and linens, and marbled baths with separate showers and soaking tubs. We booked an upper-floor room that faced the water and woke up to incredible views every morning.

"Gulf Coast State of Mind" is from the June 2007 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.