We searched high and low for the top 20 FREE things to do on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and came up with some interesting places and activities for all ages. When most locals want to do something free of charge they think of fishing, hiking, beach combing, hunting and camping. We thought we’d take it a step further and seek out those things that you may have not considered.
Here is a list (in no particular order) of the Go To Places Monthly top 20 picks for the summer of 2014:
1. Bay St. Louis Duck Pond at 1928 Depot Way. Phone # 228-463-9222.
Bring food for the ducks, a picnic lunch and a blanket to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
2. Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center at 1415 Skip Ave in Pascagoula. phone # 228-939-6418.
A unique, fun and exciting learning experience for families with kids ages 5 and under. The center sports rooms are filled with many interactive displays so you can be a part of the science and technology. They also have putt-putt golf, play equipment, a kids fire station, a play time grocery store, a bank, and even a build –it shop!
3. Biloxi Fire Museum at 1046 Howard Avenue in Biloxi. Phone # 228-435-6119.
Take an informative tour of the life of a fireman and learn about the history of how Biloxi fought fires in the days of old. See the equipment and displays which are sure to make the kiddos squeal with joy. Safety is a top priority that everyone can learn about by talking with the people who guide the tours.
4. Biloxi Visitors Center at 1050 Beach Boulevard. Phone # 228-374-3105.
A blast from the past and a peek into the future! Inside this beautiful mansion on the beach lie many fascinating tales of Biloxi’s most famous places and people. Walk through the center and enjoy displays and art that will explain how the city came into being and thrived as the “Seafood Capital of the World.”
5. Busted Wrench Garage & Museum at 2311 29th Street in Gulfport. Phone # 228-864-9082.
If you love classic cars and motorcycles you’ll want to visit this 6,000 sq. ft. exhibit hall filled with nostalgia and some of the most beautiful vehicles you’ve ever seen!
6. City of Gulfport Splash Pads. Phone # 228-868-5881.
Located throughout Gulfport, the splash pads offer a wonderful way to cool off in the summer heat. The Westside Park Splash Pad offers a ¼ mile rubberized and lighted walking track, pavilion, KABOOM playground, and a 3,000 sq. ft. splash pad.
7. City of Ocean Springs Splash Pads at Fort Maurepas Park at 499 Front Beach Blvd. Phone # 228-875-4236.
This thoughtfully designed park has an outdoor stage, a pavilion for parties, handicapped accessible restrooms, a playground with a ship for kids to climb on and a large splash pad. Located overlooking the beautiful Ocean Springs beachfront, families can swim, fish, walk out onto the long pier, beach comb or just laze in the sun. Beach showers are available on the south side of the road to wash off the sand from little toes!
8. Friendship Oak at USM Gulf Coast Campus @ 730 East Beach Blvd. Long Beach. Phone # 228-865-4500.
Overlooking the beach is a huge 500 + year old Oak that majestically has stood firm through countless hurricanes and many a drought since around 1487. This is one of the most loved spots on the Coast for picture taking. Couples have been married under its approximate 16,000 sq. ft. of natural wonder and enjoyed spending time in it’s outstretched limbs for centuries.
9. Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve at 6005 bayou Heron Road Moss Point. Phone # 228-475-7047.
The GBNERR is a wild interpretive center that offers hours of hands-on fun and enjoyment for the whole family. See bottlenose dolphins, river otters and more. This is a great place for the three ‘B’s’: birding, bugging and butterfly watching.
10. Gulf Islands National Seashore Visitors Center and Campground at 3500 Park Road Ocean Springs. Phone # 228-230-4100.
As the Gulf Island National Seashore District Office Headquarters the Davis Bayou area offers many recreational opportunities for visitors and locals alike. The William M. Colmer Visitors Center is where you can see the park-oriented films and exhibits as well as be a part of a ranger-led program on the weekends.
11. Camille Memorial at 900 Bellman Street in Biloxi.
On the beachfront grounds of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, the sobering memorial, damaged by Hurricane Katrina, is now repaired and stands as a reminder of those missing in the 1969 storm.
12. Katrina Memorial, Corner of Hwy 90 and Main Street in Biloxi.
A 12 foot memorial and a glass case holds special pieces of memorabilia from Katrina. It was erected in homage to the lives lost and the lives that were changed forever by America’s worst natural disaster in recorded history.
13. Katrina Carved Angels throughout Bay St. Louis.
Sculptures created by expert chainsaw wood carver, Dayle K. Lewis. These sculpted tree trunks left by Katrina are truly works of art brought to life. Bring your cameras and capture history as you travel from one to the next on a tour of the beautiful coast city.
14. Katrina Tree Sculptures along the beachfront on Hwy 90 from Gulfport to Biloxi.
Created by professional chainsaw wood carvers, Marlin Miller and Dayle K. Lewis, these intricate icons were formed with much love and hard work from tree trunks left bare by hurricane Katrina. These extraordinary pieces have become known the world over as tourists and locals alike have recorded their beauty through hundreds of thousands of photographs posted to the internet and placed into family albums.
15. Marshall Jesus Sculpture at 438 Silver Ridge in Gulfport.
A 6’ high and 4’ wide carving of Jesus. The Reverend Henry Marshall and his wife commissioned chainsaw wood carver, Dave Perez to fashion the work of art after the tree that remained since 1940 was struck by lightning. The Marshalls gladly give narrated tours of the history of the family tree on Saturdays and Sundays when available.
16. Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge & Visitors Center at 7200 Crane lane in Gautier. Phone # 228-497-6322.
Though the pine savanna tidal marsh of the area and the cranes are on the Endangered Species list, there is still much of the area that can be explored. Various recreational activities are available, including hiking a ¾ mile nature trail adjacent to the center and many photography opportunities. True natural surroundings at their very finest!
17. Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 3730 Bienville Blvd. in Ocean Springs.
Built in 1996, the two black granite walls that face each other show laser-etched images of many of Mississippi’s brave souls killed in the Vietnam War. You will also see the main mast from the USS Mississippi-CGN 40 that stands 40’ ft. tall and the WWII/USS Tullibee Memorial honoring submarine veterans of WWII.
18. Waveland City Hall Gallery at 301 Coleman Ave. in Waveland. Phone # 228-467-2761.
View the best of the best from local artists. Shows are juried and rotate approximately every two months.
19. Ocean Springs Bridge Mosaic Memorial at Hwy 90 & Front Beach.
The 120 ft, 4 panel work of art depicting the natural beauty of the Gulf Coast is the longest mosaic in Mississippi! A perfect photo opportunity.
20. St. Michael Catholic Church at 177 1st Street in Biloxi. Phone # 228-435-5578.
Known since its beginning as “The Fisherman’s Church,” St. Michael has weathered numerous storms and hurricanes without ever being completely destroyed. Considering its location and proximity to the Mississippi Sound, many locals regard the church structure as being protected by God through various natural disasters.
We hope you will take the time to visit and enjoy some or all of these FREE sights here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It’s always exciting to discover beauty in your own back yard!