The Mississippi Gulf Coast is filled with a wide variety of things to enjoy year round, so this year I decided to create a “Bucket List” for each season, in hopes to check off as many things as possible.

Some of the items on my Summer Bucket List were simple things that I haven’t done in a while like reading a book, trying a new recipe I found on Facebook, and swinging on a rope swing. Others were a bit more whimsical, such as learning to solve a Rubik’s cube one-handed and purchasing a bunch of lollipops trying to find the elusive “Indian shooting a star” Tootsie Pop wrapper.

While I didn’t quite cross off everything I wanted to accomplish, I was able to knock out quite a few, so with fall having officially arrived I wanted to take a look back on some of the fun I got to experience during the hot summer months.  


Flying a kite on the beach in the warm Gulf breeze is something I have done on occasion since moving down to the Coast a few years ago, but it’s always with the cheap department store variety. Never having flown a duel-line sport kite, I paid a visit to Kewl Kites in Long Beach to learn how fly one that can do twists & turns across the sky, and I have to admit, I don’t think I will every go back to using a single-line again.

Kewl Kites owner Chris Barker spent his childhood flying kites with his grandfather. His love for the hobby has grown to now owning a store, and you can often see some of his kites in action above the sand in Long Beach. From fancy show kites, to the absolutely-a-blast to fly sport kites, this relaxing pastime can be enjoyed by both the young and the old. I highly recommend paying him a visit if you want to have some old school fun.

Kewl Kites is located at 200 Jeff Davis Ave in Long Beach.
Being a kid at heart, I’m always looking for the opportunity to not act my age. While I’ve spent countless hours playing in parks and playgrounds as a child, being this wasn’t something I’d done in quite a while, including it on my Summer Bucket List was a no-brainer.

Located on Beach Boulevard, Miramar Park is the perfect place to play in the sun while having the added bonus of enjoying the Gulf’s breezes. Having been designed by children, this park has swings, slides, and multiple things to climb on. If you want to spend a few hours with your kids, or just act like one yourself, Miramar Park is the place for you.

Miramar Park is located at 1592 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi.


Keeping with the kid at heart theme, I spent a couple hours jumping around and acting like a fool at Mullet Hop Trampoline Park in D’Iberville. With over 12,000 square feet of connected, world-class trampolines, you can bounce around, jump into large foam pits, slam dunk basketballs, and get into a heated game of dodgeball. Admittedly, I was a little sore the next day, but it was an absolute blast, and definitely a fun way to burn calories.

Mullet Hop Trampoline Park is located at 3200 Mallett Rd. in D'Iberville


Something else I haven’t done in years was to play a game of racquetball. Once I learned that Ocean Springs has a court at the Ocean Springs Martial Arts Academy that can be rented for only $5 per person, I enlisted an old college buddy that recently moved to the Coast to dust off our rackets and get the heart rate going.

While I will begrudgingly admit that I lost all three matches (albeit to a younger guy in much better shape than I), being I worked up sweat harder than I have in years the health benefits were obvious. I’m determined to keep playing until I can say that I beat him.   

Ocean Springs Martial Arts Academy is located at 2550 Bienville Blvd. in Ocean Springs.


Never having the opportunity to race at speeds of fifty-plus miles per hour on the water, jet skiing is something I have always wanted to experience. Seeing them sitting out on the water just waiting to be rode every time I drive along the Coast, I finally took the plunge and rented one for a half hour from Biloxi Beach Jet Ski Rentals. It turns out that I’m now kicking myself for waiting so long to do so.
The adrenaline rush you get skimming across the waves at high speeds is absolutely exhilarating. Having never rode one before, I started off tentatively, but soon was twisting the throttle to full power, gliding across the water at speeds that were sometimes scary. I will admit, I seemed to be quite a natural at maneuvering the high speed vessel until about five minutes before my time was up. It was then when I cockily took a sharp turn, when I should have realized my grip strength wasn’t as strong as it was when first starting, and I flew over the handlebars to take an unplanned swim in the Gulf water.

Biloxi Beach Jet Ski Rentals is located at 2640 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi.


Having heard claims of having the “Best Damn Burger on the Coast” ever since moving to Mississippi, I finally paid a visit to The Project Lounge in Biloxi this summer to see if they could back up such a bold statement. They didn’t disappoint.
Selling 400 to 600 per week, and having been nominated for best burger on the Coast numerous times, the juicy, flame-broiled burger is prepared with a top secret sauce that melts in your mouth. I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it.

The Project Lounge is the perfect place to go when wanting a break from “touristy” establishments and hang with the locals. They also have an amazing ribeye sandwich. If you go, be sure to leave a healthy tip for the amazing cook and awesome bartenders.

The Project Lounge is located at 208 Iberville Dr. in Biloxi.


As a child, my parents spent many summer nights bringing me to drive-in style eateries such as Dog n Suds or A&W due to my tendency to be a little rambunctious. The in-car "carhop" service helped keep me corralled, and they would bribe me to behave with root beer floats.

Not having had one in years, I added it to my Summer Bucket List, and on one particularly hot Saturday afternoon I paid a visit to the longstanding Lovelace Drugstore and Soda Fountain in Ocean Springs.

With claims that Elvis Presley frequented the soda fountain during his time on the Coast, Lovelace Drugstore is decorated with 50s style memorabilia, and is where you can get an authentic old fashion cream sodas, sandwiches, ice cream, and specialty shakes such as their Dreamsicle, peanut butter, and chocolate peanut butter delights.

Going with my childhood favorite, the cold Bargs root beer poured over creamy vanilla ice cream treat was just as good as I remembered.

Lovelace Drugstore and Soda Fountain is located at 801 Washington Ave. in Ocean Springs.


In downtown Gulfport, just north of the railroad tracks, Pop Brothers artisan popsicle shop is where you’ll find handcrafted tasty treats made with fresh fruit & spices. All natural with no added chemicals or refined sugar, the pops retail from $3 or $4, or for an added delight, can be dipped in melted chocolate for a dollar more.

With over fifty different varieties such as the vanilla coffee, berries and cream, Oreo cheesecake, Nutella, Very Berry Lemonade, and a strawberry basil with a balsamic glaze, they pretty much have whatever your palate is looking for. I went with a creamy coconut bar dipped in dark chocolate, then drizzled with white chocolate. It was the perfect treat on a hot summer day.

Artisan Popsicle Pop Brothers is located at 1501 25th Ave. in Gulfport.


Just around the corner from Pop Brothers is a cool boutique hair salon called Hair + Tonic that’s owned and operated by the always lovely Lauren Damond. Located in a train depot that stopped operating in the early fifties, the historic building houses the only salon on the Coast that has both a guy side and a girl side.

Offering creative and inspired cuts, colors, makeup & waxing, by expert stylists, this modern barbering and upscale beauty salon is a must visit for anyone wanting to look their best. Guys can even get the hot towel treatment with a men’s haircut, and the complimentary scalp massage is to die for.

Hair + Tonic is located at 1419 27th Ave. Suite A, in Gulfport.



While I have had charbroiled oysters on the Coast numerous times at various establishments, the only time I consumed one raw was a couple decades ago on a dare. Not having been a particularly enjoyable experience at the time, I decided to give it another go this summer, this time going for the proper dozen.

Having learned that Mikey’s on the Bayou, a locally owned and operated restaurant on the water of beautiful Fort Bayou has a $5 per dozen raw oysters on the half shell special, I figured it would be the perfect place to test my palate. I’m very happy that I did. While the consistency is admittedly a little slimy, by squeezing a little lemon juice on them, and adding a drop of horseradish & cocktail sauces to each, I slurped them down and have even come back for more.

The view is extremely peaceful, they have a very friendly staff, and if you’re lucky, you may even be paid a visit by an alligator or two down below in the water looking for handouts.

Mikey’s on the Bayou  is located at 5600 Washington Ave. in Ocean Springs.


Front Beach Cottages is a cozy coastal inn located in Ocean Springs four blocks from the restaurant/shopping district, and just around the corner from the beach. Originally constructed in the 1940's as fishing shacks for locals, all of the cottages have been completed renovated and updated, while keeping the original charm of the era in which they were built.

Besides being uniquely decorated with many touches of whimsy, each cottage has a wood-enclosed outdoor showers that can be used to get the sand off after your day at the beach. Never having took an outdoor shower before, I took the opportunity one hot afternoon to suds up in the buff with the sun shining down on me. It was an exhilarating experience, and highly recommended.

Front Beach Cottages. Is located at 207 Dewey Ave. in Ocean Springs.


Having had tried this delicious dish for the first time last summer during the Biloxi Shuckers’ inaugural season, including them on my Summer Bucket List was a given.

The MGM Park version of BBQ Nachos features local favorite The Shed’s hickory smoked seasoned pulled pork and their Southern Sweet Sauce. With a special recipe spicy cheese sauce poured over crisp corn tortilla chips and topped with jalapeno peppers, it’s the perfect combination of savory and sweet. I’m already looking forward including it again next summer.

MGM Park is located at 105 Caillavet Street in Biloxi.

Having visited the Gulf Coast Gator Ranch in Moss Point before, I’ve made it a point to visit often to see some of the most beautiful swamp lands in South Mississippi.
After strolling along protected walkways and having the opportunity to hand feed gators up close and personal, you can then board one of their high speed airboats to take a tour through their 105 acres of nature. There you can witness alligators, birds, and marine life in their natural habitat, and even come face to face with alligators in the wild as the guides feed them marshmallows.

I’ve come to find that if you ask your driver to give you a fast ride, they will be more than happy to oblige, gliding over the wetlands at high speeds, making quick turns, and even 360 degree spinouts. It’s an absolute blast and fun for all ages.

Gulf Coast Gator Ranch & Tours is located at 10300 U.S. 90 in Moss Point.

While I didn’t quite to get around to crossing off all the things I had on my Summer Bucket List, what I did accomplish led to an extremely fun and eventful summer. The best part is that since the Gulf Coast weather is generally good year round, much of what I didn’t get around to doing can easily be added to my Fall Bucket List, so stay tuned to learn about all the things I do during the next four months.

Christopher Dearman is writing a book that goes "behind the scenes" of Gulf Coast attractions and businesses. You can find some of his published work at

Please like & share his Facebook page: