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
Self-guiding toursBrochures and walking maps at the chamber of commerce provide information about local shopping and dining and the Live Oaks Bicycle Route.
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.
Things to SeeWalter Anderson Museum of Art