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Looking for a beach vacation that will be full of fun, but not blow your budget? Check out Biloxi, Mississippi. Founded some 300 years ago, this coastal city has been through a lot, including getting pulled under -- quite literally -- by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But the city is tough and resilient, and today it’s enjoying a renaissance.

Here are our tips on how to spend a perfect weekend in this beautiful stretch of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

Things To Do In Biloxi

While Biloxi is known for its many casinos, there’s much more to this seaside town than placing bets. Here are a few of our favorite things to do to get bits of history, culture, and adventure in as well.

Start At The Visitor Center

This isn’t something we would typically recommend, but the Biloxi Visitors Center is truly a great first stop during your adventure here. Located near the lighthouse, the $11 million center, which was completed in 2011, was designed to look like the building that stood on the spot until Hurricane Katrina destroyed it. The center features a dozen multimedia presentations about Biloxi’s history, and there’s plenty of information about the attractions listed below. Plus, its second-floor sweeping porch offers incredible views of Biloxi Beach and the Mississippi Sound.

The center is open daily, and admission is free.

Beach views in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Hit The Beach

Biloxi is known for its man-made white sand beach, which was extensively rebuilt after Katrina roared through. The water, while not the clearest, is warm and generally calm, thanks to the barrier islands off Biloxi’s coast. The beach stretches across U.S. Highway 90, and there is ample parking all along the way. A variety of cafes and pubs dot the beach, as well as snack and concession stands. Looking to pack an extra punch of fun into your day at the beach? Consider picking up water gear. Many companies right on the beach offer paddleboards, kayaks, and Jet Skis for day rentals.

If your idea of the perfect beach day consists of pristine, unspoiled stretches with crystal-clear water, you’ll be covered with an excursion to Ship Island, part of the barrier island chain that makes up the Gulf Islands National Seashore. You can catch a daily ferry to the island from nearby Gulfport. The waters are a snorkeler’s delight, and the island is home to many types of wildlife. It’s a special place that feels like a deserted island -- just be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen, since shade can be scarce!

Save A Seat On The Shrimp Train

When you’re ready to explore off the beach, make sure to save yourself a seat on the Shrimp Train! Officially, it’s known as the Biloxi Tour Train, but when it was first established, it was called the Biloxi Shrimp Tour Train, and the name stuck. Regardless of what you call it, getting onboard is a great way to get your bearings and find out more about Biloxi’s points of interest. Local tour guides -- most often Miss Carla -- provide context by explaining Biloxi’s intriguing history.

The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi.

Get To Know The Culture

To learn more about the people who made Biloxi the city it is today, consider visits to several area museums.

The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum pays homage to the fishing industry and the people who have made it a way of life for generations. You’ll see exhibits about shrimping and fishing and artifacts that date back hundreds of years; they will give you a new appreciation for the food you’ll likely be enjoying during your weekend.

Beauvoir, the seaside estate where Jefferson Davis wrote his memoirs following the Confederacy’s Civil War defeat, is open for daily tours; there’s also an adjacent soldiers' cemetery.

And lest you think Mardi Gras is a New Orleans-only tradition, make sure to visit the Coastal Mississippi Mardi Gras Museum to see firsthand how the good times roll on the Gulf. It’s located in the historic Magnolia Hotel.

Meet The Mad Potter

One of Biloxi’s best-known artisans was George E. Ohr. The Mad Potter was a ceramics master, and you can check out his life’s work at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. The gorgeous Frank Gehry-designed building houses an incredible collection of Ohr’s pottery and ceramics, crafted with whimsical but incredible attention to detail and topped off with brilliant color. Other exhibits here include works by regional artists.

The Biloxi Lighthouse in Mississippi.

Get A Bird’s-Eye View At The Lighthouse

The Biloxi Lighthouse has become a symbol of the city’s resiliency and spirit. Throughout natural and man-made disasters, it’s kept on shining since it was first built in 1848. The 64-foot-tall tower is open each day for tours. Consider climbing to the very top for incredible views of both the city and the Gulf!

Spend An Evening With The Shuckers

For some big league Biloxi fun, grab tickets to see the city’s baseball team, the Biloxi Shuckers. The minor league team, affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers, plays at the newly built MGM Stadium. Minor league games are a lot of fun and typically offer fans great access to the players. They’re also a lot cheaper than the big league matchups -- a budget bonus. They might not be your home team, but you’re bound to have a terrific evening at the ballpark regardless!

Charter A Fishing Trip

To take your Biloxi weekend over the top, consider booking a custom fishing trip. Charter companies are everywhere and can help you put together a terrific day at sea. Most provide the essentials: gear, licenses, and even cleaning services so that you can chow down on your fresh catch the very same evening. While chartering a fishing trip isn’t cheap, it’s a blast and well worth the extra expense for big-fish stories that will last a lifetime.

A crawfish boil at Taranto's Crawfish in Biloxi.

Best Restaurants In Biloxi

Biloxi is located right on the Gulf of Mexico, so there’s plenty here to fill your plate. Shrimp, oysters, crab, and fish are all plentiful, local, and delicious. Feasting on seafood should be a big part of any weekend spent here!

For Southern classics including platters and po’boys, you can’t go wrong with White Cap. For a traditional seafood boil, Taranto’s Crawfish has you covered (don’t worry -- they have plenty of hand wipes, and you will need them while you shuck!). For an elegant evening out, Mary Mahoney’s offers delicious cuisine in a home that dates to the 1730s. And to satisfy your sweet tooth, there's Le Bakery. While known for its custom cakes and creations, it also serves up decadent French pastries you can grab and go.

Best Hotels In Biloxi

Most big chain hotels operate in Biloxi, and there are also many beachfront condominiums available to rent on homesharing sites.

For an especially luxe stay, consider a suite at Biloxi’s Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Even if you’re not into gaming or gambling, this property is worth considering for its spacious rooms and many on-site amenities, including cocktail lounges, a spa and pool complex, and great entertainment options.

For another grand option with loads of history, consider the White House Hotel. Cora White first opened the White House Hotel in the 1890s as a boarding house, and the entire site was completely restored in 2014. Today, it’s known for being one of Mississippi’s best boutique hotels. You’ll find yourself quite at home here, with the Gulf views, breezes, and gorgeous live oaks.

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