Coastal Mississippi is truly a pleasure seeker’s paradise. Our cultural arts, casual environment, recreational opportunities, and fabulous food have made this area a premier destination year-round, whether you’re looking to relocate or to simply enjoy a quiet weekend getaway.

When you come play on the bay, you’ll find a rich gumbo of recreational, cultural, historic, and culinary experiences befitting every style and personality. Is it quiet, country living you’re after? Maybe you’d prefer a coastal home with the salty gulf breezes wafting through your front porch. Are you the outdoorsy type, or do you relish the artistic side of life? Do you enjoy history? Food? Great music? Photography? Whatever your pleasure, the choices are endless. It’s all here, ready and waiting for you.

Please find more information on specific town pages.

Please download our locator map and map key of many of our top tourist spots.

About Bay St. Louis

 

About Bay St. Louis

 

French Canadian explorers Pierre le Moyne Iberville and Jean Baptiste le Moyne Bienville sailed into this shallow bay April 12, 1699, claiming the territory for King Louis XIV of France. On August 25, the feast day of St. Louis (Louis IX), Bienville returned, stepped foot on the land, and gave it its present name.

For over 300 years, visitors have been greeted with the same exceptional hospitality extended by the Choctaws to the French.

Over 11,000 people now call Bay St. Louis home. Numerous shops, businesses, churches, restaurants, public and parochial schools, hotels, casinos, and a large marina make this an incomparable waterfront community known as ‘A Place Apart’.

 

About Diamondhead

 

The city of Diamondhead, which began decades ago as Hancock County’s haven for snowbirds, has matured into a thriving community with a resort-style atmosphere. Residents enjoy fishing and boating in the nearby Jourdan River and its tributaries, golf, swimming in one of several neighborhood pools, and various functions at the Diamondhead Country Club. Convenient access to a nearby airstrip allows many homeowners the opportunity to keep small planes in their own backyards.

Diamondhead also boasts a variety of restaurants, a large grocery store, medical clinics, specialty shops, and even a bowling alley. Small lakes, a large park, and curvy, tree-lined boulevards add even more charm to a community that feels more like a large, friendly neighborhood than a small city.

 

About Kiln

 

Named for the charcoal kilns plentiful in the area at the time of the great lumber mills of Hancock County, ‘the Kiln’ is best known as the childhood home of former NFL great Brett Favre.

The Jourdan River snakes through this rural town, giving residents plenty of recreational opportunities. The Lazy Magnolia Brewery and McLeod State Park are here, and nearby are Stennis Space Center and its Infinity Science Center. Kiln has also become an area for breeding and training horses. One of Mississippi’s largest equine centers is located in Kiln, as is Gaits to Success, a horse-centered therapeutic facility.

 

About Waveland

 

Incorporated in 1888, Waveland was identified by an early travel writer as “a great circle of friends”. That circle of friends has expanded to a population of over 6,500.

Waveland barely survived Hurricanes Camille (1969) and Katrina (2005), but its pristine beaches and prime waterfront locale beckoned residents to return and rebuild. Waveland is now a small yet thriving city, and is home to Buccaneer State Park as well as a large casino. Water sports, hunting, fishing, biking, and birding are popular with outdoor enthusiasts, and there are also the annual Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s, and Christmas parades.

 

About Our Culture

 

Talent in art, music, and sports abounds along Mississippi’s West Coast and has for generations.

Published writers include:

  • Stephen Ambrose, history and fiction
  • Mimi Monti Heitzmann, fiction
  • Margaret Gavagnie, poetry
  • Sarah Dodge Kimbrough, essay
  • Ellis Anderson, memoirs, music, and lyrics
  • Connie Demoran Heitzmann, memoirs
  • Margaret Sullivan, poetry
  • Dale St. Amant, fiction

Artists include:

  • Richmond Barté, sculptor
  • Alice Moseley, idyllic folk artist
  • Kat Fitzpatrick, encaustic artist

Sports talents include:

  • Doc Blanchard, 1945 Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, and Sullivan Award winner; also known as Mr. Insider
  • Brett Favre, former Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings quarterback; also the first quarterback to pass for 500 touchdowns and throw for over 70,000 yards with 6,000 completions. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

The Saint Rose de Lima gospel choir energizes worshippers on Sunday mornings, and the Rochelle Harper Band rocks numerous seasonal events.

 

About Our History

 

The Choctaw Indians first inhabited the coast of Hancock County where they lived off the bountiful resources found in the pine savannahs and Mississippi Sound. French Canadian explorers arrived in 1699.

A sparse population of mostly French, Spanish, and Catholics inhabited the area until Congress created the Mississippi Territory in 1798. The territory was opened to settlers, and between 1813 and 1816, over 3,000 families, mostly Anglo-Saxon Protestants, migrated to Bay St. Louis, Kiln, and Pass Christian.

Mississippi became a state in December 1817, and the legislature named Bay St. Louis as the capital. Later that same day, the legislature relocated the capital to Natchez. Two years later it was moved to Jackson, where it remains.

Prior to the start of the Civil War, Mississippi was the second southern state to secede from the Union. After the war, reconstruction was long and difficult, but Northerners began flocking to the area after hearing of the warm climate and gentle gulf breezes. A strong sulfur smell in the drinking water led people to believe the water had health benefits. The area became known as a health spa, and several resorts opened. Rail service was completed in 1870, cutting travel time from New Orleans to Bay St. Louis to one hour. New Orleanians flocked to the area for the weekend, and hotels popped up everywhere.

Before 1930, Hancock County had the largest sawmill in the world. Most of the buildings in Bay St. Louis were constructed of wood, and the city was devastated by several large fires in the early 1900s. In 1963, NASA opened Stennis Space Center, bringing a large number of jobs to the area. The city was destroyed again after Hurricane Camille, but rebounded quickly. In 1990, casino gambling was permitted. Bay St. Louis and the entire Mississippi coast was dealt a major blow by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Through prayer and perseverance, Hancock County is back and better than ever. In 2014, a new harbor and marina began welcoming boaters to the heart of town, people come from miles around to enjoy the events and festivals, and every October Bay St. Louis plays host to one of the largest car shows in the United States, Cruisin’ the Coast.

There have been many challenges and changes in Hancock County since explorers first discovered this rich land over 300 years ago, but two things remain constant and timeless – the astounding beauty of the land and the warmth and hospitality of the people who live here.

 

Interesting Facts

 

Arts and Letters and a Tune or Two
Famous sons and daughters from the Mississippi West Coast:

Published Writers:

  • Stephen Ambrose, history and fiction
  • Mimi Monti Heitzmann, fiction
  • Margaret Gavagnie, poetry
  • Sarah Dodge Kimbrough, essay
  • Ellis Anderson, memoirist, music and lyrics
  • Connie Demoran Heitzmann, memoirist
  • Margaret Sullivan, poetry
  • Dale St. Amant, fiction
  • Freelance writers and storytellers are alive, well and working daily.

Artists:

The county is home to hundreds of visual artists in all mediums. Their work is available for viewing and sale throughout the area. The most famous and memorialized visual artists are:

  • Richmond Barté, sculptor
  • Alice Moseley, idyllic folk artist.

Tune or Two:

  • Pete Fountain, famous jazz clarinetist who lived and played in Bay Saint Louis.
  • Jerry Fisher, former lead singer of Blood, Sweat and Tears lives in Waveland.
  • Joy Mehrtens, ecclesiastical musician, conducts the Coast Chorale.

As with visual artists, individual musicians and bands are too numerous to mention, but their work is available locally on compact disc.

Sports:

  • Doc Blanchard
  • Johnny Scafide
  • Wendall Ladner
  • Mike Necaise
  • Brett Favre

Politics/Military:

  • Walter Gex, Jr.
  • Evelyn McPhail
  • Dr. Martinolich
  • Jetton Tudury

Facts and Legends:

  • Union Street and OLG
  • Fr. Buteaux and Our Lady of the Woods
  • Battle of the Bay at Ulman Avenue
  • Ulman Woolen Mills

The Movies:

  • Jean Lafitte
  • Wooden Nickel/Kangaroo Court
  • Cotton Gins and Lumber Mills
  • Revenuer’s
  • Copeland Gang
  • 100 Men’s Hall
  • This Property is Condemned