After two or three days in the picturesque seaside town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, don’t be surprised to find yourself sorting through condo and beach house listings. One of the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Katrina, this sleepy Gulf Coast treasure is back 10 years later better than ever. The colorful clapboard houses and Craftsman bungalows overlook the Bay, and there are shops, eateries, and nearby casinos. Here, your guide to a long weekend in the Bay -- chock-full of laid-back, beach-y fun.Stay
The Bay Town Inn Bed & Breakfast on North Beach Boulevard is within walking distance to the beaches, retail, and eateries and exudes beach house style. Enjoy spacious rooms with living and kitchen areas, breakfast delivered to your room, and a saltwater swimming pool. The minimum age for guests and visitors is 15, but you can bring fur-babies under 25 pounds by requesting a dog-friendly room and springing for the $50 non-refundable fee. Rates are $149-$199 per night during high season.
Hit the beach or bike along the seaside trail for a few hours. Stick your toes in the soft, white sand, wade, or kayak in the warm Gulf water -- or set up camp under the pier or do some seaside fishing or strolling by Bay St. Louis Marina. The possibilities, as you can see, are endless.
Food & Drink
Stop by the Blind Tiger on North Beach Boulevard for a big boat of “steamed reds” -- a bargain at $21 for one pound of sizable and spicy Gulf shrimp -- and views of the marina. Sip a frosty Freemason Golden Ale from the Chandeleur Brewing Company in nearby Gulfport, Mississippi or one of the other local brews on tap. Additional dining options on the boulevard include Trapani’s Eatery and North Beach Restaurant, housed in the circa-1903 former Sea Coast Echo Newspaper building. Bouy’s Bar has casual fare, live music in the afternoons and evenings, access to the beach volleyball court, and an upstairs deck overlooking the marina and beach.
Need a boost? Fuel up with a cup of Joe from the Mockingbird Café on South Second Street, which also serves up fine vegetarian and carnivore-friendly food. It hosts live music in the evenings, and the seasonal beer selection features Lazy Magnolia and other Mississippi beers.
For a more sophisticated meal, make reservations at The Sycamore House -- located in two merged 19th-century Acadian cottages in a National Register property formerly known as the Mauffray boarding house. The chef-owned restaurant offers up Gulf Coast cuisine with a modern edge. Owners Stella LeGardeur and Michael Eastham, both trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, flex their cooking muscles with dishes like Thai scallops served over cellophane noodles in an Asian lime vinaigrette, and shrimp and grits with a spicy twist of barbecue sauce and pepper jack cheese.
Antique stores, art galleries, gift shops, and even a culinary store, Gourmet Galley, abound in Old Town Bay St. Louis on Main Street. The Bay-Tique boutique is the perfect spot to score clothing, accessories, jewelry, and artwork from local artists and designers.
Hollywood Casino and the Silver Slipper Casino are both just a few miles away, offering dining, accommodations, entertainment, and, of course, gambling. Hollywood also has an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, so don’t forget your clubs.
By St. Louis is 50-60 minutes from New Orleans, Louisiana. Most fly into the Big Easy and rent a car; we recommend the scenic drive on U.S. Route 90 if you aren’t in a hurry.