15 Best Things to Do in Ocean Springs, MS

Ocean Springs, MS
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Sitting in the middle of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and recognized as a part of Jackson County is the city of Ocean Springs.

Due to the French settlement in 1699, the city gained the nickname "City of Discovery."

With a population of 17,919 and spanning 39.38 square kilometers in size, Ocean Springs is a prime location rich in arts and history.

While it has numerous sites related to the arts to explore, the city also holds several natural and urban spots to check out as well.

By visiting Ocean Springs, you're sure to find no shortage of natural and artistic attractions to discover.

That said, here are the 15 best things to do in Ocean Springs, Mississippi:

Tour the Artworks at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art

Exterior of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art
Georgianotthestate, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are different museums you can stroll around in Ocean Springs, and one of them is the Walter Anderson Museum of Art.

Named in honor of the 20th-century artist whose work mainly features nature, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art is an ideal spot for art enthusiasts.

It was in 1990 that the museum came to be on Washington Avenue.

Currently, it stands as a location meant to incite curiosity and interest in nature invoked by Walter Anderson's works.

More than the several murals and paintings you can find done by the artist, the museum features several other artworks, such as sculptures and concept pieces from artists whose works coincide with the museum's namesake.

You can visit the museum any day, but you will need to purchase tickets online during a specific time limit.

Whether you choose to stroll around the venue or take guided tours, there is plenty to see in the Walter Anderson Museum of Art.

Learn More about GIs at the GI Museum Inc

At the GI Museum Inc., you have a chance to learn something new about the military.

Specifically, you can learn stories about the generations of soldiers that served throughout the years.

You can visit this museum by heading to Richer Road.

You can also book a tour for either yourself or a group online.

Some of the things you can find in the museum include clothing, artifacts, and other memorabilia from different periods.

In addition to this, the museum also hosts a program that features local heroes.

Whether you're a history fan or not, you can find something interesting to learn when visiting the GI Museum Inc.

View the Clay Pieces at Shearwater Pottery

Make a stop at Shearwater Drive and check out a combination of history and art at Shearwater Pottery.

Shearwater Pottery has been around since the 1920s, and it features various pottery and ceramic pieces created from two types of clays.

While the historical site has been running for over a hundred years, it required rebuilding in 2005 due to damages incurred by Hurricane Katrina.

When visiting this location, you can find all kinds of wares and artistic pieces to peruse.

Along with browsing the various clay pieces at the location, you have the option to purchase one of them.

The pottery workshop does offer to ship, but you will need to contact the staff to discuss your purchase.

Either way, you get a chance to learn something new and enjoy some art.

Seek Out the Crooked Feather

If you're interested in finding local tourist attractions, you need to locate The Crooked Feather.

The Crooked Feather is a wood sculpture that came into existence in 1976.

Peter Wolf Toth created the sculpture using an old cypress log and sculpted a Native American's head.

The red-painted sculpture is the 17th piece created by the artist and stands at an impressive thirty-foot height.

While the sculpture stood for several years, it was still a structure made from wood and, unfortunately, underwent natural deterioration.

By the time the sculpture deteriorated, the original artist had passed away, and a new artist ended up making a replica piece.

It is still worth capturing a photo of this sculpture, which you can find at Bienville Boulevard.

Tour the Charnley-Norwood House

Exterior view of Charnley-Norwood House
Teresa Otto / Shutterstock.com

Due to the long history of Ocean Springs, you can find a fair amount of historical spots.

One of those spots is the Charnley-Norwood House.

It was in the early 1890s that this summer cottage came into existence.

However, it was only around the 1980s that it managed to get a restoration done.

Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the cottage ended up damaged and could only open again in 2011.

While the historical structure sustained plenty of damage over the years, it stands strong with its original design.

You can find this unique piece of architecture by heading to East Beach Drive.

You're free to visit and explore the cottage, but if you want to confirm the best hours to visit this historical site, you can contact the staff's phone number.

By visiting this spot, you get a chance to walk around history and take beautiful photos.

Stroll around Fort Maurepas City Park and Nature Preserve

You'll find several natural spots to explore in the city, and one of them is the Fort Maurepas City Park and Nature Preserve.

When visiting this location, you can find different park facilities for you to enjoy.

These facilities include a stage for outdoor performances and a splash pad for kids to jump around.

What makes the Fort Maurepas City Park and Nature Preserve an ideal place to visit is the proximity to the beach.

For another feature of interest, you can find a life-size bronze statue of Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur d'Iberville, the Frenchman who established the city.

By visiting the Fort Maurepas City Park and Nature Preserve, you can find a fun place to take a break.

Explore the Fontainebleau Nature Trail

For those interested in further exploring the nature side of Ocean Springs, you need to check out the Fontainebleau Nature Trail.

The trail spans over a mile and provides some lovely river views while also accessible for hikers and cyclists of all levels.

Aside from traveling the trail, you have the option to seek out local bird species, mainly waterbirds.

You can do this by making a stop at one of the many observation platforms.

If you're more interested in woodland birds, you're free to explore the forested areas or even forage around them.

While it may not be the most prominent attraction in Ocean Springs, it still makes for an ideal spot to explore nature.

Try Your Hand at Fishing with Reel Southern Charters

Take the chance to test your fishing skills by booking a boating session with Fishing with Reel Southern Charters.

Fishing with Reel Southern Charters is a fishing service that provides different options to explore the local waters and catch various fish.

No matter the type of experience you have with fishing, you'll receive plenty of accommodation.

You'll also get the chance to learn some fishing tricks during your choice of a fishing trip.

Boat rides with Fishing with Reel Southern Charters can be as short as four hours or as long as 10 hours.

Some of the fishes you'll catch include snapper, redfish, and grouper.

In addition to fishing options, any fish you catch can be cleaned and packaged for you or cooked by the captain.

You can check out the service over at Harbor Road or book your choice of a trip online.

Hike the Twelve Oaks Nature Trail

Another natural spot you can choose to explore is the Twelve Oaks Nature Trail.

Dating back as far as the 1880s, the Twelve Oaks Nature Trail switched hands over the years and was mainly known as a location that featured a history involving religion and nature.

When exploring this trail, one of the things you can find is the remains of Elizabeth Logan's garden.

Elizabeth Logan was one of the previous owners of the land.

She became known for having registered two large oak trees in the front yard as national treasures and planting a series of flowers on the property.

Other features you can find on the property include views of bayhead swamps and the Old Fort Bayou.

To start your exploration, you need to head over to Hanley Road.

Go Camping at the Davis Bayous Area, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Fog over a lake at Davis Bayous Area
Fsendek1904, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Davis Bayous Area is a portion of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Compared to the other areas in the National Seashore, Davis Bayous Area is easily accessible by vehicle.

Generally, the Gulf Islands National Seashore offers plenty of options for recreation and nature exploration for you to try.

When it comes to the Davis Bayous Area, there is a selection of activities to enjoy and sights to check out.

A few activities you can enjoy in the area include camping, hiking, fishing, picnicking, and even boating.

You can also find a visitor's center featuring exhibits depicting local history.

Specific activity areas have operating hours, but you're free to hike or camp at any time.

The best way to find this area is by heading for the intersection of U.S. 90 and Park Road, starting from the east side of Ocean Springs' downtown area.

Enjoy Drinks, Food, and a View at the Fort Bayou Brewing Company

Ocean Springs has a selection of places where you can enjoy a delicious meal and drinks, and one of them is the Fort Bayou Brewing Company.

What makes the Fort Bayou Brewing Company stand out is that it features a gazebo where you can enjoy some lovely views.

You can find this microbrewery by heading to Rose Farm Road and entering The Cypress Taphouse Bar & Restaurant.

If the beers are not what you're looking for, you can check out the dishes at the restaurant and enjoy the Cajun flair they hold.

By visiting this location, you can enjoy a selection of drinks and dishes along with live music.

Check Out the Wild Flier

Wild Flier, previously known as Paddles Up Paddleboard & Kayak Rentals and Sales, is a paddleboard shop turned retail store.

Before its transformation and name change, most would come to this location for different kayaking and paddling services.

Currently, Wild Flier features different retail items and accessories for you to peruse.

What makes this store so different?

Well, Wild Flier offers yoga services taught by the owner, plus it involves different retreats and events.

It may not be as prominent compared to other locations in Ocean Springs, but it makes for a fun experience to visit this shop.

Browse Antiques and Art at Coastal Magpie

You can find a selection of unique spots in Ocean Springs, and one of them is Coastal Magpie.

Located on Washington Avenue, the store features a variety of unique knick-knacks and antiques.

More than the various antique pieces you can peruse in the store, you'll also find a selection of art pieces created by local artists.

Some of the art pieces you can find displayed throughout the store include craftworks and paintings.

Whether you want to check out fun historical pieces or purchase a fun trinket for a souvenir, you'll find plenty of items to choose from at the Coastal Magpie.

Watch Historical Reenactments at the 1699 Weekend of Discovery

Several festivals occur in Ocean Springs throughout the year, and one of the most interesting ones you need to check out is the 1699 Weekend of Discovery.

The 1699 Weekend of Discovery first took root in 1971 to preserve local history.

Generally, the festival takes place during April and features various activities and sights for you to enjoy.

As an event hosted by the 1699 Historical Society of Ocean Springs, one of the activities you can check out at this festival is the historical reenactment show.

Aside from this, you can also view a parade or take part in a marathon that spans five kilometers.

Among the different festivals held at Ocean Springs, this is one of the top events you need to check out.

Join the Spring Arts Festival: Herb, Garden & Art

For anyone who is a fan of plants and flowers, the Spring Arts Festival: Herb, Garden & Art is a must-see event.

The best time to check out this festival, which takes place on Washington Avenue, is during the last weekend of March.

As an event meant to celebrate all things spring, you'll find plenty of plant pieces.

More than celebrating spring, the festival features all kinds of works from local artists.

You can find several vendors displaying different pieces and enjoy a selection of shows.

If you are interested in being a part of the festival, you can sign up online as a volunteer.

Final Thoughts

Ocean Springs is a city that has its share of sights and attractions like any other.

If you have an interest in anything related to history, art, or nature, you'll find that Ocean Springs is the ideal city for you.

Whether you want to hike through trails or peruse art pieces, you'll find plenty of options in this city.

Should any of this interest you, consider Ocean Springs as your next stop for exploration.