Travel: Coastal Holiday
Mississippi beach retreats
The weather outside on the Gulf Coast this time of years sits on the good side of frightful. For the most part, the rain and bitter cold have yet to rear their ugly heads. This month on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it’s possible to stroll along miles of peaceful beaches, to dine on seafood fresh from Gulf waters and enjoy attractions devoid of summer crowds.
But a trip to coastal Mississippi in December also means great holiday fun.
Because it’s the “Coast,” there are numerous boat parades to enjoy, perfect for social distancing. The Sat., Dec. 5, Christmas on the Water Boat Parade floats along the Biloxi Channel between Beau Rivage and Golden Nugget casinos, followed by the Christmas on the Bayou boat parade Sat., Dec. 12, on Bayou Bernard in Gulfport.
For those who prefer holiday parades on land, the annual Sea Santa Sail-A-Bration on Dec. 5 moves boats through the town of Long Beach —on streets, pulled by trucks, — and the old-fashioned Christmas Parade rolls through Bay St. Louis that same day, followed by other free fun as part of the city’s Snowflakes and Sugarplum Festival.
Other holiday events include Gulfport’s Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum’s nightly “35 Days of Christmas and Trains,” and Pascagoula’s “Downtown for the Holidays” with its tree lighting and parade on Fri., Dec. 4.
In our print edition, we recommended visiting the Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival. Due to damage from Hurricane Zeta, it has been cancelled. For more information about the Mississippi Gulf Coast and their holiday availabilities, please visit their website.
Ocean Springs developers Roxy and Ted Condrey have turned to America’s counter-culture days in developing The Beatnik Hotel, a stone’s throw from their other — and more elaborate — boutique hotel, The Roost. The Beatnik’s four cabins situated in a row harken back to a simpler day and the old motor courts where visitors would park their cars and slip inside a small but comfy refuge for the night.
These cabins may be retro but simple they’re not, modern in both style and comfort and complete with kitchen, private patio and discreet outdoor showers. The Condreys have installed a plunge pool and outdoor seating with fire pit for visitors to take in cool December evenings with good company.
Some of the most eclectic biscuits in the South are served next door to The Beatnik at Greenhouse on Porter. And yes, those savory and sweet biscuits arrive inside a greenhouse, complete with house cat and local artwork. For an elegant meal, Chef Austin Sumrall delivers innovative fare utilizing fresh seafood and local produce at Biloxi’s White Pillars.
Share the Gulf Seafood Tower with its variety of Gulf bounty, perfect for two, or the cast iron pork chops or wood-grilled swordfish accompanied by delectable sides such as boiled peanut hummus, oysters three ways or duck fat fries with roasted garlic aioli. The bar produces innovative cocktails as well.