10 Fantastic Things To Do In Bay St. Louis, MS

things to do in bay st louis
Connie
Connie
Updated

Thirteen years after being decimated by Hurricane Katrina, Bay St. Louis and its neighboring town of Waveland have fought back and are welcoming guests with open arms. New and renovated museums, charming B&Bs, quaint local shops, mild weather and delectable fresh seafood and bread pudding make this a wonderful time to visit this part of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Keep reading for the best things to do in Bay St. Louis, MS.

1. Play in the sand at Waveland's new beachfront

Lighthouse pavilion in Waveland

The 1.9 million USD lighthouse pavilion was recently dedicated in Waveland, finally providing a beautiful anchor for this stretch of beach with much-needed public restrooms. Truckloads of sand have been brought in, and the citizens are eager for warm temperatures and school vacations so they can spend happy days sunbathing, swimming and playing here. The town leaders have ambitious plans for expansion across the street which will make this even more popular in the years ahead.

2. Ride the waves at Buccaneer Bay

things to do in bay st louis | ride the waves at buccaneer bay

Buccaneer State Park is a peaceful and comfortable place to camp or park an RV when you’re visiting Waveland and Bay St. Louis, but the wave pool and water park, known as Buccaneer Bay, attract day visitors from miles around. Pirate’s Lagoon Wave Pool contains 460,000 gallons (1741289.42 liters) of water and has 8 different wave patterns. Pirate’s Plank is a completely enclosed water slide, while Pirate’s Plunge is a body slide full of twists and turns. Lil’ Smuggler’s Cove is a shallow water playground with tipping buckets. Sea Dog Galley provides lots of shade and plenty of concessions for hungry swimmers.

3. Eat fresh seafood and cuisine with the influence of New Orleans

Crab cakes and scallops at Bogart's

With New Orleans only an hour’s drive away, it is easy to see why the Cajun and Creole flavors have migrated to the Bay St. Louis part of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and with the teeming waters of the bay, seafood dominates most restaurant menus. Fish can be prepared fried, baked, broiled, blackened or steamed, according to the whims of the chefs. Some favorite restaurants of the locals include Cuz’s Old Town Oyster Bar and Grill, 200 North Beach, Bogart’s at Hollywood Casino and Jourdan River Steamer in nearby Kiln.

In addition to seafood, you’ll find gumbo, etouffee, po’ boys and bread pudding in abundance. A fun side activity might be a search for the best bread pudding or gumbo. Hint: The Jet Away Cafe at Stennis International Airport serves some of the area’s most flavorful gumbo.

4. Discover the Mississippi coast's space contributions at Infinity Science Center

Infinity Science Center

Infinity Science Center is the official welcome center for NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s) Stennis Space Center located in Hancock County’s Pearlington, Mississippi. Visitors may enjoy rides, bus tours of NASA’s rocket-testing facilities, and state-of-the-art exhibits. In the Science Express Gallery, for example, you can use building blocks to design your own inventions or learn about hundreds of carnivorous plants. In Science on a Sphere, see what is involved in tracking hurricanes or examining the surface of the sun or Mars. The new theater boasts a full slate of three-dimensional movies with surround sound.

Infinity includes a cafe and a gift shop and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is 18 USD for adults with discounts for military personnel, senior adults and children.

5. Stay in a quaint B&B

Bay Town Inn B & B

Bay St. Louis boasts three B&Bs, several small hotels and two large hotels with casinos. One B&B in particular is called Bay Town Inn Bed and Breakfast, owned by Nikki Moon, who narrowly survived Hurricane Katrina by clinging to a tree for hours with her small dog after being swept from her 100+ year old home when it collapsed due to the powerful surge of gulf waters. She built back on the same spot, which is across from the harbor and next door to restaurant 200 North Beach. The inn has ten guest suites, each with a living and kitchen area, full bathroom and a bedroom with a king bed. The fridge is stocked with juices, sodas, yogurt and water with snacks on the nearby counter. A continental breakfast is delivered to the rooms Monday through Friday, but a full, hot breakfast arrives on the weekends.

6. Shop in Old Town Bay St. Louis

Social Chair, shop in Old Town

It’s no surprise that many of the shops in Old Town Bay St. Louis have bay-themed names – Bay Books, Bay Elements, Bay Life, Bay-tique, etc. But, what WILL surprise you is the number of great shops near Main Street that beckon customers with unique wares. In addition to clothing and shoe stores, you’ll find pottery, jewelry, paintings and a wide selection of home decor for indoors or outdoors. One particularly appealing shop is called Social Chair. Look for the whimsical painted chairs beside the front door.

7. Visit informative museums to appreciate the area

Mardi Gras costumes at Historic Train Depot

The Historic Train Depot, at 1928 Depot Way, which houses the visitor center for Bay St. Louis also includes three very colorful and informative museums and displays. On the first floor of this Bay St. Louis attraction, you’ll be enthralled with the intricacies of past Mardi Gras gowns and costumes and learn about famous people, events and contributions to culture that have originated in the area.

Upstairs you’ll find an impressive museum showcasing the life and paintings of Alice Moseley, a self-taught folk artist who is often compared to Grandma Moses. The famous blue house, immortalized in a painting, is within a stone’s throw of the depot and is where she lived and worked for a number of years. Her spirited quote on the painting says, “The house is blue, but the old lady ain’t.” The welcome center is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Alice Moseley section opens at 10:00 a.m.

Be sure to take a few minutes to drive over to Waveland to visit the Ground Zero Hurricane Museum which resides in one of the only buildings left standing in the town when Katrina made landfall. Quilts made from found fabrics, newspaper clippings, photos and much more tell the poignant story.

8. Stay and play at Hollywood Casino & Resort Gulf Coast

LasVegas-Casino
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If you are looking for a more posh stay and some exclusive Bay St. Louis activities, you should definitely consider this 14-story waterfront hotel situated near Old Town. It offers comfortable accommodations and easy access to fun attractions. Guests can make use of the 24-hour casino, fitness center, and jacuzzi on-site. You can also enjoy swimming in the outdoor pool or just chilling in the lazy river.

After a day of fun activities, enjoy a good rest in your room that comes with flat-screen cable TV, air conditioning, unlimited access to WiFi, a coffee machine, and an en suite bathroom with a hairdryer. Savor delicious meals from one of the three restaurants on the premises, which include a buffet, a steakhouse, and a 24-hour pizza and burger grill. There is also a bakery that serves bread and desserts. An arcade and a gift shop are located in the main lobby.

9. Feel the history of Mississippi music at 100 Men Hall

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Editor’s Note: There is no photo available at the time of publication

If you still don’t know what to do in Bay St. Louis, another unique stop to check out is the historic Blues music venue on the Mississippi Gulf Coast: 100 Men Hall. The Hall, as it is locally called, was a spot on the Chitlin’ Circuit way back in the 1930s to the 1960s. It served as a venue for the concerts of several well-known artists, including Etta James, Deacon John, Big Joe Turner, Guitar Slim, and many others. The Hall received a Blues Trail Marker from The Mississippi Blues Commission in 2011. Because of this, it cemented its status as a cultural icon in the city of Bay Saint Louis and in the Gulf Coast. The Hall is open by appointment and for public events.

10. Visit St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church

St. Rosa of Lima Church (Silver Lake, Missouri)
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Get the most out of your tour in Bay St. Louis and drop by St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church, an extremely active church and parish that traces its history back almost a century ago. The church’s building was originally the first school in Bay Saint Louis for African Americans that was built in 1868. It was turned into a church on August 28, 1925.

Wondering what you’ll see on your visit? Aside from the welcoming congregation and a fantastic gospel choir, guests visit the church to admire the incredible mural covering the altar wall just behind the altar base. Designed by artist Auseklis Ozols, the artwork is called ‘Christ in the Oak’, and it depicts an African Jesus ascending from an oak tree, free of earthly bonds. The church is open to the public for service. However, to get a closer look at the art and appreciate it better, you might want to consider a tour, which is available by appointment. Be sure to contact them if you’re looking for more things to do in Bay St. Louis this weekend.

A place to enjoy and be inspired

A visit to Bay St. Louis will bring plenty of surprising delights to your sight, your tastebuds, your intellect and your senses. Almost every building is brand new, but the people are long-time residents who have weathered many storms and setbacks. Their resilience, hard work and spirit will impress you, and the great food, the shops, museums and entertainment and lodging options will make you glad you chose to experience this part of the Gulf Coast.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Connie Pearson is a travel writer and blogger based in Alabama. She has traveled extensively throughout the US and to countries in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe, in addition...Read more

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