Why buy the Coastal Mississippi Attractions Pass – for the savings! #MSCoastLife #SecretCoast

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Coastal Mississippi Attractions Pass @DownshiftingPRO 2

Coastal Mississippi Attractions Pass

Known as the secret coast, Coastal Mississippi is beautiful. The sunrises and sunsets alone are spectacular! It is all beaches in small towns, with quaint shops and fancy casinos.  You’ll find luxury accommodations alongside family-friendly activities.  Linked for 62 miles along the Gulf of Mexico and overlooking the Mississippi Sound, Coastal MS spans three counties with 12 cities.  Everything you are looking for in a Girl’s Getaway, couples retreat or family vacation. All reason enough to buy a Coastal Mississippi Attractions Pass so you save on planning time and money!

Coastal Mississippi - Counties and Cities - Evacuation Map at the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi, MS_ @DownshiftingPRO -
Coastal Mississippi

Within Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties, you will find a variety of activities from outdoor adventure, nature walks, a science/space museum and a very impressive art museum focused on one very interesting artist.  Since there are so many choices, you may want to consider buying a Coastal Mississippi Attractions Pass so you can cover the whole region for a fraction of the price.  At $45 you can see eight outstanding attractions and visit every county. 

On our #USGulfCoast Girl’s Getaway, we were able to visit four of the attractions on the pass.  We quickly realized two days in this area was not nearly enough to visit everything but this is an incentive to return to Coastal Mississippi in the US Gulf Coast!

Although the pass provides access to eight venues, I wanted to highlight the four we were able to visit and tour extensively: the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art campus, Walter Anderson Museum of Art, the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum and Pascagoula River Audubon Center.  As we drove from the Louisiana North Shore, travelling east on I-90,  we stayed two nights at The Roost in Ocean Springs.  As our boutique hotel was located a quick drive over Biloxi Bay Bridge, we were able to visit three of the attractions as they were in close proximity of each other. The last attraction was a stop on our way to Mobile, AL.

Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, Biloxi

Celebrating 300 years of history, Biloxi dates back to 1699 and the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museums takes you back in time with exhibits, pictures and films.  From wooden boat building and shrimp-peeling machines to wetland exhibits and marine resource management, there is so much to see and learn at the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi.  This three-story museum is chock full of interesting exhibits.  This museum goes into detail about how the Gulf of Mexico provides seafood bounty, jobs, and a way of life for gulf coast residents. 

Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum was rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina in 2006
Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi, MS
Part of the Coastal Mississippi Attractions Pass

Experience an array of exhibits on shrimping, oystering, recreational fishing, wetlands, managing marine resources, charter boats, marine blacksmithing, wooden boat building, net-making, catboats/Biloxi skiff and numerous historic photographs and objects.  Recently completed is the Wade Guice Hurricane Museum within a museum, featuring 1400 square feet of exhibit space and a state of the art theatre.

 shrimp-peeling machines at the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi, MS
A shrimp-peeling machine in the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum

Insider Tip: How does Biloxi ring in the New Year?  With an Oyster Ball drop of course.  At midnight the big Oyster Ball will drop from the top of the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum. A factory whistle will blow to ring in the New Year at Pt. Cadet and there will be FIREWORKS!

the Nydia, a 30-foot gaff rigged cabin sloop built on Biloxi’s Back Bay in 1898 at the Johnson Shipyard
The Nydia, a 30-foot gaff-rigged cabin sloop
built on Biloxi’s Back Bay in 1898 at the Johnson Shipyard

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi

Built on 4 acres, the museum campus of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art encompasses seven buildings, five of which were designed by Frank Gehry and two are historical houses.  The visitor’s centre is focused on Mississippi art produced in the state by local artists.  It is both display space and a shop for purchasing unique (and local) artisanal items.  The Star Gallery hosts the permanent George Ohr collection of pottery and ceramics.  George Ohr was dubbed the Mad Potter of Biloxi.

George Ohr The Mad Potter of Biloxi - Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art @DownshiftingPRO
George Ohr – The Mad Potter

Located side by side are three smaller galleries which host both permanent collections and temporary exhibits: The Gallery of African American Art features works or about African American artists.  Beau Rivage Resort Casino Gallery had a glass exhibition featuring local glassblowers as well as two Italian glass artists.

The Pleasant Reed Interpretive Center had a very interesting exhibition of the African American community in Biloxi.  With first-person video accounts of life in the different areas of Biloxi, historical pictures and a huge map of the area, we did not spend nearly enough time in this gallery.  Make sure to take the time to visit, it is well worth it!

Ashni - Ok, Fine by Adrienne Brown-David @DownshiftingPRO
Ashni – Ok, Fine by Adrienne Brown-David

The City of Biloxi Centre for Ceramics features a clay making program and workshop.  The some of the George Ohr collection is located in one of four pods (and the most notable Frank Gehry structures).  Two were being used when we visited with the other two were finished but not open for exhibition.  Innovative in his use of clay, it’s believed that George Ohr was an influence in the American abstract-expressionist movement.

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art - Frank Gehry Pods @DownshiftingPRO
John S. and James L. Knight Gallery – “The Pods”

Insider Tip: Although this is a lovely museum, what is the most impressive are the ancient living oak trees.  The buildings were build around them so you can walk around the grounds to have a good look at the beautiful Frank Gehry design.  If you get a chance to take a boat ride, you will get a beautiful overall picture of the campus.

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art from the water - @DownshiftingPRO

Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs

Why buy the Coastal Mississippi Attraction Pass: To go to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, MS @DownshiftingPRO
Detail of the Community Centre Murals by Walter Anderson

An artist gripped with mental health issues may face challenges in his or her career but inevitably, from this turmoil often comes unabashed beauty and creativity.  Walking into the Ocean Springs Community Center you will see how Walter Anderson transformed this community centre to tell a story about history, myth and the interpretation of nature in powerful murals.  This is a MUST-SEE museum on your travels to Coastal Mississippi.(click on the link for an in depth review). 

Walter Anderson Museum of Art, opened in 1991 dedicated to celebrating the masterworks of Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965), his brothers, Peter Anderson (1901-1984), master potter and founder of Shearwater Pottery; and James McConnell Anderson (1907-1998), noted painter and ceramist.  Walter’s great-grandson, Matt Stelby, also has a temporary exhibition on his tattoo work.  The designs were intricate and beautiful.  The exhibition – Bloodlines – is on display until May 2020.

Born and educated in New Orleans, Anderson eventual made his way to the Parsons Institute of Design in New York (1922–23) and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1924–28). He received a scholarship that enabled him to study and travel in Europe. He read broadly in history, natural science, poetry, art history, folklore, philosophy, classical and modern literature, and epic narratives of journeying.  This education made his artwork mystical with influences from history and nature. 

One of the most interesting galleries is The Little Room.  Located on the mainland, he painted it during his senior years.  It was only accessible to Anderson, his cat and the occasional possum until his wife opened it to reveal it’s intense beauty and mystical illustrations.  You could spend hours in this room alone.

A visit to the museum will likely take 60- 90 minutes as a self-guided tour.  The Museum also offers docent-led tours of the permanent collection, changing exhibitions, and the Ocean Springs Community Center murals (when available), in addition to an award-winning film about the life of Walter Anderson.  Advanced reservations are required. 

Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point

Birds found at the Pascagoula River Audubon Centre Moss Point MS credit official website of PRAC

As we headed Alabama, we made a stop on our way out of Coastal Mississippi at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point. You will see the wonderful wildlife of the Pascagoula River basin.  At the visitor’s interpretive centre, there are educational panels describing the biology and ecology of the river basin.  Displays include an aquaria wall which consists of eight different aquariums (home to turtles, snakes and other small creatures).   You can also learn about native plants in the botanical gardens surrounding the centre. Before you head outside, you can request binoculars for an up-close and personal sighting of warblers, bald eagles and herons from the bayou pier.  There are indoor displays explaining conservation measures, ecosystems and a few interesting turtles. You can also explore the plants of the region in the botanical gardens.

Consider a two hour guided swamp tour our perhaps rent a kayak.   The Center also provides an opportunity to visit and experience one of the last free-flowing river systems in the contiguous United States through self-guided kayak tours.

Why buy the Coastal Mississippi Attractions Pass - to go to the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point
My Girl’s Getaway travel partner Paula Schuck from Thrifty Mommas Tips

INFINITY Science Center in Pearlington

You’re driving east on Interstate 10, you cross the colossally tall Pearl River bridge into Mississippi and suddenly there it is: a giant rocket stage boasting 5 massive F-1 engines, in the swamp, welcoming you into the Hospitality State. There has to be some sort of mystery to this but as you keep very shortly, you will come across the INFINITY Science Center in Pearlington, MS. After visiting the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, seeing a rocket centre never gets old and this NASA Visitor’s Centre is no exception. 

With the allure of an  Apollo 11 Virtual Reality Simulator, Apollo 4 Capsule and a Space Gallery, you will want to make a stop here. This has to be one of the more fun museums to visit as a family on the Gulf Coast.  At INFINITY Science Centre, you’ll get to see an F-1 rocket engine, build your very own inventions and experience out-of-this-world simulators all in one visit.

Biloxi Lighthouse in Biloxi

Coastal Mississippi Attractions Pass @DownshiftingPRO
The Biloxi Lighthouse right smack in the middle of U.S. 90 at Porter Avenue,
south of the new Biloxi Visitors Center

Erected in 1848, this cast-iron beauty has long been a welcoming beacon for visitors to our Coast. The Biloxi Lighthouse is 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 only lighthouse to be built in the middle of a highway, it provides fantastic views of the Gulf coast. 

Considered one of the most photographed sites on the Gulf Coast, the tour of the historic 65-foot tall structure involves climbing 57 steps of a spiral staircase inside the lighthouse and climbing an eight-rung ladder topped by a 19-by-23-inch trap door into the lightroom.  This is not for the faint of heart but the view from the top is priceless.  Plus, it’s great for photo ops by day and by night.

Beauvoir Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library in Biloxi

Another reason to buy the Coastal Mississippi Attractions pass is to visit the Beauvoir Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library in Biloxi. Built in 1852, this property was home to the former President of the Confederate States of America, in 1878. It is here that he wrote his memoirs of the Civil War.

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport

A playground for the mind just minutes away from the beach in Gulfport Mississippi.  This Coastal Mississippi Attraction Pass stop is a  children’s museum offering a History Hotel, teleporting you back to Mississippi in the 1890s.  Situated in an old schoolhouse it welcomes children and adults for an experiential visit with a port for little fishermen and little fisher ladies, arts and crafts, science exhibits and more.

Insider Tip: The Second Sunday of the month is Sensory Sundays, is an exclusive event for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to have a fun, enjoyable and interactive learning experience in the museum in a comfortable and accepting environment.


There is no need to keep this coast a secret any longer.  This part of the US Gulf Coast has been developing nicely without taking away the small-town feel of yesteryear.  You can easily travel down the coastline and make gentle stops along the way.  Whether you want a sit-down meal at Patio 44 (in Gulfport or Biloxi), a quick sandwich at Mockingbird Cafe or an outstanding meal at Vestige, you will not go wrong in Coastal Mississippi.  There are many reasons to buy a Coastal Mississippi Attraction Pass to see these eight great venues. 

Sunset on the Beach in Coastal Mississippi attractions pass @DownshiftingPRO Pass Christian, MS_
A sunset in Pass Christian, MS

Give yourself enough time to watch the sun set on any one of the many beaches in Coastal Mississippi.

coastal Mississippi attractions pass
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Thanks to the Coastal Mississippi tourism office for inviting us to visit this beautiful area.  This was part of a Girl’s Getaway 3.0 press trip which provided the Coastal Mississippi Attractions Pass for us to access these venues for review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions are that of DownshiftingPRO and are genuine.  #AD

We had a marvelous trip starting in New Orleans crossing Lake Pontchartrain Causeway to Louisiana North Shore, admiring the sandy beaches of Coastal Mississippi, partying in Mobile, and recovering/relaxing in the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama.

Here are more posts about our epic Girl’s Getaway on the Gulf Coast

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.