Centered around a downtown filled with local restaurants, galleries, and independent shops, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, is a captivating gem along the “Secret Coast.” This is the state’s thirteen coastal communities that span 62 miles along the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, there’s a beach here, but that’s one small part of this culturally rich town’s allure. You won’t find high-rise condos, or buildings of any kind, near the shore. Instead, there are splendid Southern homes surrounded by lawns that face the sea. You’ll appreciate the unobstructed views beyond the road that separates them from the surf.
See many people walking on the paved paths that skirt the white sand beaches and playing on the colorful playgrounds. Some even take a dip in the brackish waters. Most importantly, you’ll experience a vibrant historic district alive with bustling sidewalks and outdoor cafes. Notice all the friendly faces; these people have either recently fallen captive to Ocean Springs’ charms or their roots run as deep as the majestic live oaks that have anchored the landscape for centuries.
Rest and Relax
When Roxy Condrey, owner/broker of Rain Residential moved to Ocean Springs in 2007, she was surprised there wasn’t a bed and breakfast or hotel downtown. She answered the call with a portfolio of boutique properties. Each tells the story of the stay from the architecture to the design to the full experience.
For one of her most notable properties, the Beatnik—four modern cabins that line a Hollywood-worthy heated plunge pool—that meant studying the history of the location’s street, which was once a major thoroughfare dotted with motor coaches. The black, Scandinavian-inspired units are a decidedly modern interpretation of the era. From the native garden and outdoor fire pit to the wet bar and outdoor shower with each room, the property channels the adventuresome spirit of the Beatnik culture of the ’50s and ’60s. It’s just a little off the beaten path with a short, picturesque stroll to both the beach and downtown.
No visit to Ocean Springs would be complete without a trip to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art. The award-winning artists’ stories and talents span well beyond those beloved alphabet block prints. Request a docent-guided tour for a deep dive into the life and work of this elusive artist. You’ll want to carve out time to tuck into some of the local shops, too. In the market for antiques, vintage clothing, art, or high-end boutiques? The shops in Downtown Ocean Springs offer up a little bit of everything and plenty of interaction with some welcoming locals.
Fuel the Fun in Ocean Springs
Start your days at Bright Eyed Brew Co. with a locally roasted coffee, nitro brew, or espresso drink along with a house-made waffle. Or head over to Lil Market Deli & Bagelry for an authentic bagel. Made using traditional hand rolling and kettle boiling, they can be customized to your liking from a large selection of premium ingredients. For lunch, the patio at the Lady May is the place to be. The menu includes dips, salads, burgers, flatbreads, and plates, but you can’t go wrong with a Southern theme. Start with scratch pepper jelly and follow with crab cakes or honey butter fried chicken.
Late afternoon, cozy up to the bar at Lost Spring Brewing Company and sip a house-made ale, glass of wine, or cocktail, and if you’re lucky, maybe catch some live music. Be sure to reserve a seat at Vestige for dinner. This twenty-seat, James Beard Award semifinalist is a place to sit back and slowly savor a hyper-creative tasting menu that changes weekly. It’ll have you rethinking your definition of Southern cuisine.