Bay St. Louis, Mississippi is a beautiful, personable waterfront town situated at the intersection of the Gulf of Mexico and the Bay of Saint Louis on the west side of the Mississippi Coast. Art galleries, antique shops, historic buildings and top notch eateries are tucked in corners all over town making Bay St. Louis perfect for a low key weekend of leisurely strolls along the waterfront paired with a healthy dose of shopping, dining and relaxing.
Recently, I did just that.
Between the Bay and the Gulf
I arrived in Bay St. Louis driving from the east, crossing the beautiful Highway 90 bridge standing tall over the place where the bay and the Gulf of Mexico meet. It’s a grand arrival that welcomes you quickly onto North Beach Boulevard, where you take a left and enter all that’s right.
Beautiful coastal homes line the waterfront along with the quaint Baytown Inn where owner Nikki Moon serves as self-proclaimed hostess for the Old Town district. I arrived for my stay there and was greeted by Nikki’s sweet little fur babies, Stella and Miley. Nikki showed me to my upstairs room which was more of a condo with a kitchen and living room. Fresh baked cookies and a handwritten note were waiting. After settling in, I wandered out to sit for a bit in the Adirondack chairs on the front deck. The view of the pool with a water feature and the adjacent sitting areas around the courtyard made me feel so at home. Looking past to the giant oak trees, I imagined a time when they were the only inhabitants guarding over the town’s incredible waterfront view.
Eating My Way Around Town
I found more than my fair share of good bites as I “grazed” my way around Bay St. Louis, and since this is a food blog, after all, let’s get down to the meat of the matter, why don’t we?
The Sycamore House is set in what used to be two 19th century cottages that were later turned into a boarding school – and now a restaurant. The atmosphere of Old Town feels like an old New Orleans setting but with a beach vibe; the Sycamore House epitomizes that feeling. The dining rooms are filled with antiques, and the courtyard is perfect for a leisurely weekend brunch. I found The Sycamore House while walking around town. I wasn’t yet hungry so I stopped in for champagne and dessert. I felt sure I could do that! They make their own ice cream in house, so I tried both the fresh blueberry and the Creole cream cheese flavors. Creamy and rich. While I was there, I heard locals buzzing about their weekend brunch, and now I can’t wait to try it myself!
The next morning, I started my day with some Serious Bread, where old world bread artistry is still carefully practiced. Owners Al and Vivan landed in Bay St. Louis many years ago and brought the art of bread making here. Their product is just beautiful and the taste is some of the best I’ve ever had. In fact, I took several loaves home!
I stopped into the Starfish Cafe for lunch and to support a great cause. This restaurant doubles as a small hands-on culinary program for disadvantaged students and has demonstrated an extraordinary success rate! Their food is all local with some of it even grown right in the front yard! The fresh infused lemonade, natural meat and produce selections and homemade desserts are all standalone success stories, too. I enjoyed some lavender lemonade, a signature burger on homemade roll and peanut butter pie during my visit, and I recommend them all. Please keep in mind that their menu does not have prices because the entire restaurant operates on the honor system accepting donations to help them continue their work, and they ask simply that you donate what you feel the meal and service were worth. From my perspective, the meal is worth quite a bit!
Trapani’s Eatery is a beautiful family owned restaurant with fresh seafood and really well done daily specials. If you stick with the menu, I recommend the crab claws, crab cakes, oysters or a shrimp poboy. I was in the mood for the poboy and went for it. So glad I did!
And last but not least, y’all… the Blind Tiger. They don’t even own a freezer! Fresh is their only option. Be sure to try some grilled oysters and a local craft brew while you let the water view and fresh air take your cares away. Or maybe you’re a landlubber and would prefer a really good burger? Their’s is simply terrific. Always. As are their always changing mix of tacos and fresh seafood dishes. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that pets are welcome at The Blind Tiger, too!
Shop Off the Calories
I would be remiss to not share how I worked off all of those calories! Bay St. Louis has spectacular local shops that provided just the right motivation for a nice calorie-burning walking tour of Old Town Bay St. Louis. I visited local antique stores like Magnolia Antiques and Antique Maison. I found the cutest gift shop, Bay Life Gifts, where I bought a few coastal items. I loved the boutiques and all of the art galleries that make up this cute little Mayberry-ish place.
With my calories adequately burned away (yeah, right), I strolled over to the Mockingbird Cafe to finish my tour. Fresh salads, in house baker, and knowledgable baristas anchor this community centerpiece. I snacked on a fresh Rosemary honey biscuit, that was so simple, yet inventive. This, I think describes the place, perfectly. They use whole and local ingredients, so you get real food, made fresh. Coffee is locally roasted Coast Roast beans and (as a coffee snob) their espresso and lattes can be judged against any big city cafe. They even have local craft beer on tap and host frequent after hours events. The Mockingbird Cafe is THE local hangout. I seriously scanned the room and spotted artists, a local shop owner, college students, a couple of retirees, and a lady out on an afternoon run. It’s a place for everyone.
If you’re looking to add some heart pumping excitement to your visit to Bay St. Louis, remember that they are home to both the Silver Slipper casino and the Hollywood Casino. As a bonus benefit, the Silver Slipper sponsors a community trolley service which makes it easy for visitors to navigate Bay St. Louis at no additional charge!
>> Want to learn more about the restaurants in Bay St. Louis? Our sister site, EatMSCoast.com, has in depth review of Bay St. Louis restaurants as well as those in neighboring coastal communities on the Mississippi Coast.