DescriptionThe first permanent European settlement in the Mississippi Valley was established in the Ocean Springs area in 1699. The community was christened Ocean Springs in 1854 by a physician who established a sanitarium in town; he took advantage of the same purported health-giving spring waters that the Native Americans used for medicinal purposes.
The town's historic churches are worth a look. The wood-shingled, 1892 St. John's Episcopal Church at Porter and Rayburn avenues was designed by American architect Louis Sullivan; it sustained relatively minor damage from Hurricane Katrina.
The Davis Bayou Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore , just east of town off US 90, offers a variety of recreational activities. In addition to the William M. Colmer Visitor Center, Davis Bayou offers a boat launch, fishing pier, nature trail, campground and weekend ranger programs. The visitor center is open daily 8:30-4:30. Closed Jan. 1, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Phone: (228) 875-9057.
Visitor InfoOcean Springs Chamber of Commerce Main Street Tourism Bureau 1000 Washington Ave. OCEAN SPRINGS, MS 39564. Phone:(228)875-4424
ShoppingShearwater Pottery, 102 Shearwater Dr., was established here in 1928 by Peter Anderson and continues as a family enterprise. Eleven of the pottery's 15 buildings were destroyed or damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Katrina, but a smaller-scale production facility reopened at the original location; phone (228) 875-7320.
Many shops and galleries in the historic downtown area feature the works of Ocean Springs artists, artisans and crafters. The Art House, 921 Cash Alley, is a co-op art gallery featuring outdoor sculpture, handmade jewelry and very cool “floor murals,” rugs painted directly on the gallery's wooden plank floors; it's worth stopping here just to see them.
And if all that window shopping works up an appetite, stop at the Tato-nut Donut Shop, 1114 Government St., and refuel with a homemade doughnut or pastry and a specialty coffee concoction. This popular spot has been family owned and operated since 1960.
Self-guiding toursBrochures and walking maps at the chamber of commerce provide information about local shopping and dining and the Live Oaks Bicycle Route.
Things to SeeWalter Anderson Museum of Art