The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a well known beach destination, for those that live in the Gulf Coast area.
For those of you that don’t live in the region, you might not have heard about the pristine white sands and endless coastline that is lapped by the Gulf of Mexico.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast is the perfect combination of sun, sand and rich local history.
When I first arrived in Biloxi, Mississippi, it was already dark outside. Hopeful to see the beach, I poked my head out the window for a better view.
There were some street lights creating a faint glow, so I was able to see a line of palm trees and the sand meeting the surf.
The next morning, I immediately ran back over to the window. This time, the sun was rising and I could see the coast stretching off to the West, and the skyline of Biloxi starting in the East.
In front of me was the sparkling Gulf of Mexico, behind a long pure white coast line. I couldn’t wait to get my feet in the sand.
After getting ready, I headed downstairs to hop on the trolley that would be taking me to breakfast. The trolley pulled onto the small highway that lined the beach, and starting driving West.
By this point, I didn’t even care where we were going, because I couldn’t stop looking out the window. As we drove or miles, the beach whirred past the windows.
Sand dunes rose and dipped, but the entire coast was a continuous line of bleached sand. There were occasional docks and beach bars, but otherwise, the beach seemed untouched.
Each time I ended up going to a different destination, I simply looked forward to the drive in between.
The beach is great, but I like to find a little more meaning behind the destinations that I travel to. I like to learn a little history.
Back on the trolley, we started to head inland to some historical destinations in the area. First stop, the 100 men hall.
Located in Bay St. Louis, the 100 men hall, or the “The One Hundred Men Debating Benevolent Association” was built in 1894 by a group of African American residents.
The group was a social organization whose primary purpose was to “assist its members when sick, bury its dead in a respectable manner and knit friendship”.
The 100 men hall is now used to preserve and promote the rich cultural and musical history of the founding members and their venue. It’s current state was established by a charitable organization, and is also part of the Mississippi Blues Trail.
We visited other notable buildings in the Bay St. Louis area, like the Main Street United Methodist Church, and first Baptist Church.
We also stopped at a nearby graveyard, which was quite interesting to wander through, reading all the names and histories.
And then, it was back to the beach! After a day of meaningful sightseeing and rich cultural history, it was nice to make a return to the sun and sand.
Before crossing the road to walk in the sand, I decided that I wanted to try climbing the Biloxi lighthouse. The Biloxi Lighthouse was built in 1848 and was one of the first cast-iron lighthouses in the South.
It is the city’s signature landmark and has become a post-Katrina symbol of the city’s resolve and resilience.
The lighthouse is the most photographed location in all of the Gulf Coast area, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
I got a few snaps of the exterior, before heading inside. The stairs were steep and winding, and I could see straight through to the floor below.
It’s a good thing that I’m not claustrophobic or afraid of heights, because that would have made things interesting. Luckily, I love heights, and I was happy to be doing something a little bit adventurous.
After a few spiral loops, a ladder and an awkward climb out onto the platform, I had made it to the top. I stood up and got my first view of the beach from above. It was beautiful.
There was a long wooden pier, leading up to a small building on stilts in the water. It aligned perfectly with the horizon, and I then realized why everyone wanted to visit the famed lighthouse.
I got my fill of the views, and climbed back down to the bottom. I crossed the road, and walked over to a set of stairs leading down to the sand.
I popped my shoes off, and took my first step onto the beach. The white sand squished between my toes, and I made a sigh of relief. After all of the amazing views of the beach, this was actually my first time stepping foot on it.
I wandered out toward the water and found a place to sit on my own. I buried my feet in the sand, and looked up at the sun in the sky. It was only February at the time, but it was already warm, and the sun was beating down on me.
I sat there for awhile, just watching the people milling around the surf in front of me. It was relaxing, and I wished that I could stay there forever.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast is the perfect place for sun, sand and rich local history.