The sleepy Gulf Coast town of Biloxi grew quickly as a tourist destination in the 1990s after the Mississippi Legislature authorized casino gambling on barges there. The town now features several casino resorts and plenty of other lodging options along the beach on U.S. Highway 90, with rooms for every travelers' budget.
Biloxi features two main types of lodging -- chain hotels and casino resorts. Chains such as Holiday Inn and Best Western offer hotels up and down the beach on Highway 90. Amenities tend to be basic, but rates are also reasonable. Casino resorts run the gamut, from the luxurious Beau Rivage to the more budget-friendly Treasure Bay. Other casinos with hotel rooms located on Beach Boulevard (Highway 90) include Hard Rock, Isle Casino Hotel and Grand Biloxi.
The distance between hotels and casinos can be great, and adequate transportation is generally lacking, so plan to rent a car if you don't already have your own. Neither the beach nor the water here is particularly clean, so Biloxi is not the water lover's paradise that other Gulf cities can claim. Chain hotels do not offer casino games, so if you want to play and stay in the same location, book a room at a casino resort.
Jefferson Davis' retirement home, called Beauvoir, was partially destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but has since been restored and is open to visitors. The minor league hockey team Mississippi Surge plays its home games in the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Anglers come here to fish for such species as flounder, snapper and even sharks. If you want to visit the Big Easy, hit nearby Interstate 10 going west to make it to New Orleans in a little more than an hour.
Effects of Katrina
The 2005 hurricane wiped out an estimated 90 percent of the structures along the Gulf in Biloxi, and the city has been slow to rebuild. Beau Rivage was one of the few casinos not destroyed by the storm and was the first to reopen on Aug. 29, 2006, the first anniversary of Katrina. Many restaurants, souvenir stores and family amusement centers decided not to rebuild on the beach.
- American Casino Guide 2010 edition; Steve Bourie; 2009
- Fodor's Essential South; Fodor's; 2009