TRAVEL TIME FROM NEW ORLEANS: Just over an hour in normal traffic
BEACH: Bay St. Louis
TOWN: Bay St. Louis, MS
If coastal charm, convenience and a pet-friendly atmosphere are high on your vacation “must-have” list, then Bay St. Louis, Mississippi might be the perfect Gulf Coast destination for you. Here are 10 things you can do on this Beaches & Towns vacation:
1. Wash off the sand
Bay St. Louis is an ideal road trip destination for New Orleans residents.
A spacious comfort station has showers to wash the sand off, so you can get back in your car refreshed.
For those who arrive by boat, the first four hours at the day pier are free. Need more time? Overnight docking is also a bargain: it’s $1 per foot of your vessel. there are 160 slips at the harbor.
2. Walk your dog by the ocean
Hancock County prides itself on being pet-friendly. There’s a little more than two miles of beach in Bay St. Louis, and you can walk all of it with your furry friend by your side — as long as you have him or her on a leash.
3. Make yourself comfortable
Plant your beach towel and relax with a new book or a favorite magazine.
When you’re ready for some exercise, you can walk or bike on the scenic path along Beach Boulevard. It will take you all the way to Waveland if you let it.
4. Hitch a ride with a pirate look-alike
The U.S.S. Ugly Pirate is an all-terrain vehicle transformed into a mini-float for Lundi Gras. It’s part of the Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse and, if you’re lucky, owner and creator Keith Rubio will give you a ride around Bay St. Louis.
During Pirate Day in the Bay, he pulls a trailer that acts as a “jail” where you can pay to put someone in a friendly prison. Rubio also owns The Ugly Priate Bar & Cafe. (See #9!)
5. Go angel hunting
There are four angel trees in Bay St. Louis, each with its own style and story.
They were all carved by chainsaw artist Dayle Lewis.
The original Angel Tree was a refuge for three people and a dog, who hung onto it as the waves washed over them during Katrina. Residents often say, “We have angels looking over us.”
6. Photograph all 4 angel trees, and find the one with white eyes
This is one of two angel trees overlooking the beach. The other two are in the cemetery.
This tree features multiple angels, as well as wildlife, including turtles, ladybugs, and pelicans.
This angel is the only one with white eyes, representing her fear during Katrina.
7. Learn the Lazy Magnolia story
Lazy Magnolia is on of 16 craft beers you can get on tap at The Ugly Pirate Bar & Cafe, a popular (and tiny!) hangout that’s adorned in pirate paraphernalia.
Did you know this tasty beer was born in Bay St. Louis? It all started with a Christmas gift.
8. Find the perfect souvenir
Going shopping is a favorite pastime for locals and visitors.
Mississippi Magazine voted Social Chair “Best Gift Shop” in 2013. The whimsical mailbox outside the boutique reflects the artistic flair you’ll find inside the store.
9. Pig out on pizza
The Ugly Pirate’s Ugly Pizza is a combination of Greek and Italian pizzas. Hundreds are sold every summer weekend.
Here’s what’s on top: pepperoni, Italian sausage, gyro meat, onions, green peppers, Greek olives, mushrooms, green olives, Feta cheese, basil, tomatoes, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
10. Plan for “Pirate Day in the Bay”
Don’t miss “Pirate Day in the Bay.” This year it’s June 24-25.
Folklore says Captain Long Beard used Bay St. Louis as a retreat. Once a year, he would come ashore here to bury his treasure, woo local women and restock his supplies. That day was known as “Pirate Day in the Bay” and it has evolved into a popular festival.
Click here for more info and great video from Stephanie Oswald on a Bay St. Louis getaway.