Personally, when I think of Long Beach, I think of a quaint, southern, beachside town. When we asked the locals what their favorite thing about Long Beach was, it was no surprise when they said, “They loved the small-town feel!”. Long Beach is very community-oriented and offers many events and venues to build and maintain that sense of community. Family movie nights on the local town green, a farmers market every Saturday morning on Jeff Davis Ave (Long Beach’s “Main Street”), a splash pad at the park in downtown, several parades throughout the year, and a beautiful harbor with pavilions, clean beaches a snowball stand and volleyball nets to name a few. You can also find local bands playing at restaurants down Jeff Davis Avenue and Railroad St throughout the week.
Aside from Long Beach’s multiple community events, it also has an award-winning school district and is home to the Gulf Park Campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
It’s no wonder people flock to this area of the MS Gulf Coast. Another great thing about Long Beach is its location. The city is right in the middle of the MS Gulf Coast and very close to both the shopping and entertainment of Gulfport and the fun, artsy atmosphere of Bay St. Louis. My husband and I personally live in Long Beach. We chose this area because we work in nearly every town along the MS Gulf Coast. Since Long Beach is so centrally located, we can quickly access multiple markets, restaurants, and things to do along the coastline. We frequently bike down the beach and through the downtown area and are currently in the market for a classic Jeep. We love to cruise down Beach Blvd on a Sunday afternoon, and there’s nothing like the feeling you get with the top down and the wind in your hair!
The history of the city is quite interesting. Long Beach started as nothing more than a small agricultural town and was at one time one of the largest producers of radishes in the nation. Over time the small town grew away from its farming roots (no pun intended), becoming more tourism-oriented and eventually incorporating into a city. Today “The Friendly City” has over 15,000 residents who will smile, wave, and say hi when they see you. Southern charm and hospitality are definitely a part of Long Beach’s culture. The local school ball games are a big deal around here, and on game day, you can hear the kids and the high school band from miles away, but even when it’s not ball season, there is always something to do with the kiddos.
Long Beach loves their parades; a few it holds annually are The “waterless” Christmas boat parade; during this event, locals dress up their boats in lights and Christmas decor to parade them down Jeff Davis Ave. City officials and community members stand on the balcony of City Hall to view and vote on who wins the award for best float. Long Beach also has one of the coast’s best night parades during Mardi Gras, and residents from all over the coast turn out for the event. The city also hosts the “kick-off” parade for the annual Cruisin’ the Coast car show, which draws classic car enthusiasts to the MS Gulf Coast from all over the globe every October.”
During the day, you may find locals skimboarding, windsurfing, or flying large beautiful kites along the beach near the Jim Simpson Fishing Pier.
The beautiful Harper McCaughan Town Green, Long Beach’s main city park and events venue, is located in the middle of downtown. The area has a stage for performances, restrooms, a splash pad, and acres of oak-shaded land for picnics, relaxing, or playing with the kids. The area hosts many open-air events, some featuring local bands and regional music artists, like The “Taste of Long Beach,” a local chamber of commerce event where local bars and restaurants set up stands on the town green to offer food tastings, drinks, and even host a silent auction to promote what the city has to offer, “Pigs and Pints” a local craft beer and BBQ festival held under the oaks at the town green and you don’t want to miss the annual “Jazz and Blues Festival” at USM’s Gulf Park Campus. You can also read about these and many other upcoming events in the area in the Long Beach Breeze, the city’s new, local newspaper.
Things to Do:
Finally Friday – Every Friday, Long Beach gets together in the downtown area.
Long Beach Restaurants We Love:
On A Roll Sushi
Harbor View Cafe
Vogue Magazine Article On The MS Gulf Coast
Cruisin the Coast Annual Event
“America’s Largest Block Party.” Crusin the Coast is a festival to celebrate classic cars and a nostalgic period in time. It began in 1996 with only 374 registered vehicles. In 2017, that number grew to over 8,000 cruisers from 41 states, and even Canada & Sweden have participated in Cruisin’ over the years.
Jeepin’ the Coast Annual Event
Jeepin’ the Coast Topless is an annual event to benefit breast cancer awareness. The ride starts in Bay St. Louis, and from the bridge to bridge, it ends in Oceans Springs. Jeeps will hang a U-turn at the Ocean Springs bridge to circle back to the Bay St. Louis bridge. Funds are raised by buying shirts or simply giving what you can.
The Friendship Oak – Above is a picture of ” The Friendship Oak” located on the Long Beach University campus. Long Beach has many gorgeous Oak trees but none like the magnificent “Friendship Oak” which is 5+ centuries old. It’s a must see if you are in the Long Beach area.