About the Gulf Coast Region
Steadily, increasing numbers of seniors and retirees are discovering Southeast Mississippi and its wonderful Gulf Coast region. One of the special attractions of Mississippi for retirees is that the state does not tax pensions or retirement benefits.
Southeast Mississippi, Pine Belt & Gulf Coast
Southeast Mississippi is one of the most attractive parts of the state. This area includes the hub city of Hattiesburg, also known as the "pine belt" region, serving as the gateway to the Gulf Coast. Mississippi with an area of 125,443 square miles is the 32nd largest state in the United States and has 44 miles of coastline. The coastal area referred to as the Gulf Coast, borders the Gulf of Mexico along with these states, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. The Southeast Mississippi region offers a relaxed urban life-style in cities such as Biloxi, Gulfport, and Pascagoula for those seeking retirement. Other notable towns such as Ocean Springs, Bay St.Louis offer on-the-water communities while Picayune presents small-town and country living. Hattiesburg a cosmopolitan urban area located north of the Gulf Coast Region is also very popular for senior living. These areas offer the best of Mississippi in southern hospitality and charm.
Gulf Coast Climate
The Mississippi Gulf Coast area is desirable for its mild climate, fresh seafood, and white sandy beaches. The annual average temperature is 68 degrees. Annual average precipitation is 62 inches, which favors local azaleas, other tropical flowers, and vegetation. The Gulf Coast has a humid sub-tropical climate with warm Gulf coast breezes. Average summer temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit with a low of 70 degrees. Average winter temperature is 60 with and occasional low of 40. Mississippi Gulf Coast winters are short summers are long and warm. The mild Gulf coast climate provides for and ideal retirement choice for seniors.
History of the Area
French explorer Pierre LeMoyne d'lberville first explored The Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1699. Ft Maurepas was a small colony established by d'lberville on Biloxi Bay. Today this area is known as Ocean Springs. The Mississippi Gulf coast was also home to the Biloxi Indians. The Gulf Coast experienced rule not only by the French, but by the Spanish as well, noting its pre-civil war history. Southeast Mississippi is known for its rich soils, promoting early cotton plantation development. In its Pine Belt region, forestry also became an important commodity of the southeast Mississippi history The Gulf Coast is a premiere shipping location, and is the heart of petrochemical industry as well. See the Gulf Coast Directory below for specific local histories.
Gulf Coast Attractions
The Mississippi Gulf Coast offers a wide range of attractions amongst its early European and modern day towns, cities and seaside resorts. In its variety of attractions, residents and vacationers can enjoy antebellum homes, artist colonies, moss draped oaks, floating casinos, a full range of seaside and gulf coast adventures including boat tours and saltwater sport fishing. The 26-mile Gulf Coast offers signature golf courses, Gulf Islands National Seashore recreation, and some of the finest seafood restaurants in the south. Notable are the Mississippi Gulf Coast beaches, the picturesque beaches offer sugar white sands rippled by the gentle waves of the ocean. There are numerous pullovers for spectacular beach access, free beach chairs, boardwalks, water adventures, picnic sites, waterfowl viewing etc. For more information on attractions in the region see Gulf Coast Directory below and be sure to see local link(s).
Gulf Coast Directory
The Gulf Coast Seniors Resource Guide & Internet Directory indexes senior housing, senior support services, and professional senior-oriented businesses for the counties of George, Jackson, Hancock, Harrison, Pearl River, and Stone. The larger cities of this area include Biloxi, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, and Pascagoula. Other smaller cities include Bay St. Louis, Ocean Springs, and Picayune.
Listed below is information on the prominent cities of the Gulf Coast Region:
Biloxi – Located in Harrison County, Mississippi with a population of 50,644. Biloxi is an American Indian word for "first people." Biloxi presents itself, as a distinct community welcoming its residents into its old world charm and resort city. Biloxi history began in 1699 as the first capital of the Louisiana Territory. Today Biloxi invites you to its white sandy beaches, championship golf courses, deep-sea fishing, tours of pre-civil war homes, art galleries, antiques shops, the Old Lighthouse circa 1847, and floating casinos. Biloxi's gains its rich culture, based on governances by countries such as France, Spain, and Great Britain. The West Florida Republic as well as the United States Confederacy also governed Biloxi at one time. Biloxi is an angler's paradise offering the finest sports fishing in the area. During fishing seasons the waters around Biloxi known as The Fertile Fisheries Crescent, according to biologists provides a boon of fish varieties for all fishing enthusiasts. The Keesler Air Force Base is located in Biloxi, home of the 81st Training Wing of the U.S. Air Force.
Gulfport – Located in Harrison County, Mississippi with a population of 71,127 (approx). The Gulf Coast resort of Gulfport is courageously recovering from the Katrina hurricane; it is still an important seaport and vacation/retirement Mecca for those seeking a warmer coastal climate. Gulfport being larger than Biloxi is a cultural seaport center, in the Gulf Coast region. Gulfport is known for its shipping of commodities such as, seafood, bananas, cotton, and lumber. Gulfport extends miles of amenities along its boardwalks, beaches, and scenic coastal drives. Gulfport offers a 250-acre recreational park located near interstate 10. Refer to local websites for updated information on hurricane effects.
Pascagoula – Located in Jackson County, Mississippi with a population of 26,200. Pascagoula an early European settlement is known as the "Singing River City." Its name Pascagoula meaning "bread eaters" is derived from the Pascagoula Native American tribe. Legend has it the peaceful tribe drowned itself rather than subject itself to its enemy the Biloxi tribe. Residents claim that on certain evenings in summer and early autumn one can hear the river singing its mournful song of the Pascagoula tribe. Pascagoula has been home to many people of notoriety, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who penned "The Building of the Ship," and William Faulkner author of the "Mosquitoes'. Pascagoula is also home of Senator Trent Lott, birthplace of singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and Major league baseball player Harry Walker.
As a resort city Pascagoula attractions offer residents and vacationers white sandy beaches, championship golf courses, The Longfellow House, Scranton Nature Center, beautiful and inviting Horn Island located off the coast, and the Old Spanish Fort the oldest historic structure west of the Atlantic dating from the 1700's. Pascagoula is where scenic state highway 90 begins, offering a spectacular shore line drive west to Bay St. Louis
When it comes to industry Pascagoula boasts itself as a shipbuilding city with the states larges employer and America's Shipbuilder-Ingalls Shipbuilding. Pascagoula is also the site for Chevron refineries and homeport to U.S. Navy warships and Coast Guard vessels.
Hattiesburg – Located in Forrest County, Mississippi with a population of 44,779. Hattiesburg is the "hub city" of Southeast Mississippi and the fourth largest city in the state. Hattiesburg founded in 1882 is located on the fork of the Leaf and Bouie Rivers. Founded for its vast area of pine timberland, Hattiesburg was settled by Scottish, Irish, and English decedents migrating from the Carolina's and Georgia.
Thanks to the Ship Island Railroad, and the lumber boom of 1897 Hattiesburg became a growing and successful railroad city. Today this micropolitan city expands its borders with Hattiesburg, Forrest, and Lamar counties making it a growing metropolitan area of more than 100,000 in population figures. Hattiesburg is the gateway city to Mississippi's Gulf Coast and is served by Interstate 59, Highway's 49, 98 and highway 11. Hattiesburg is within two hours from the Gulf Coast and Mississippi's state capital Jackson.
Bay St. Louis – Located in Hancock County, Mississippi on the eastern shore of St. Louis Bay, population 8,209. A charming town offering walking tours of its historic Old Town, displaying Victorian homes, antique shops, and downtown buildings adorned with murals and the John C. Stennis Space Center with artifacts from the moon.
Picayune – Located in Pearl River County with a population of 12,000. Pronounced "picky youne," Picayune derived its name from newspaper publisher Elia Jane Poitenvent Nicholson, who liked the name of her newspaper "Picayune" meaning a Spanish coin worth about 5 cents. A small town with southern charm Picayune is a progressive and tidy little town offering an abundance of stores, and restaurants. Picayune has a subtropical climate making it a pleasant place to live. Picayne's attractions include the Crosby Arboretum, the Picayune Carver culture museum and for steam locomotive enthusiasts the Shay Locomotive on display.
Ocean Springs – Located in Jackson county Mississippi with a population of 17,225. Ocean Springs established in 1699 as an early European settlement is a paradise of breathtaking beauty. Visitor's and residents alike enjoy tree-lined streets of ancient live oaks and magnolias. Ocean Springs offers an inspirational and romantic setting with its warm breezes and rich artistic heritage. Ocean Springs derived its name from the health giving springs, used medicinally by Native American Indians. Visitors can experience first hand the works of local artisans in their studios; other attractions include, Shearwater Pottery, Christopher Inglis Stebly's 11 by 80 foot mural, and the Walter Anderson museum featuring depression era photos. The Gulf Islands National Seashore is located at Ocean Springs offering a wide range of Gulf Coast recreation. Mississippi is part of the southern bible-belt heritage, and its area churches dating from the 1800's are worth a side trip. Ocean Springs' major artery U.S. 90 offers a wonderful scenic route along the Gulf Coast. Note: Ocean Springs suffered from hurricane Katrina and is another courageous city recovering from its effects; please refer to local links for any updated information of this area.
Transportation in the Gulf Coast area
The Gulf Coast is served by Mobile Regional Airport, the Gulfport-Biloxi Airport, and Trent Lott International Airport in Jackson County. Major interstates in the southeast and gulf coast are interstate 59 and interstate 10 a scenic coastal drive. The Gulf Coast transit authority, Biloxi's bus service, serves transportation around Biloxi. Biloxi offers a variety of private taxi and limousine services as well as airport shuttle transportation. HART (Hattiesburg Area Redi Transit), the local bus system as well as private taxi, shuttle bus, and limousine services serve Hattiesburg. For more transportation information, see local links and transportation links as well.
Senior Services in Gulf Coast
Hattiesburg is southeast Mississippi's primary resource for senior resources. Hattiesburg senior programs include, the YMCA in Hattiesburg and Petal, the Pine belt Mental Health Center(s) offering senior day-care and light activity centers. The City of Petal (across the river from Hattiesburg) hosts a monthly senior program as well. The Area Development Partnership has a retiree's ambassador program with occasional senior events. See Hattiesburg's local link for area hospitals and medical centers.
Biloxi's hospitals include, Biloxi Regional Medical Center, Gulf Coast Medical Center, and Keesler AFB Medical Center. For additional senior resources along with assisted living information, see Biloxi's local link.