An area across Biloxi Bay from the city, called Old Biloxi, was first visited by French explorer Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville in 1699. The explorer, who was looking for the mouth of the Mississippi River, was instructed by the King of France to claim the coastal region. D'Iberville sailed into Biloxi Bay with a small group of men and established Fort Maurepas and a similar colony on the east shore, now the site of Ocean Springs. The word Biloxi means "First People" and was the name of a local Native American tribe met by d'Iberville and his men when they explored the land. Since its discovery, eight flags have flown over the city including the French, English, Spanish, West Florida Republic, Mississippi Magnolia, Confederate State, Mississippi State, and that of the United States.
In 1719 Fort Louis was founded on the site of the present-day city, which served as the capital of French colonial Louisiana from 1720 to 1722. In 1783 Biloxi was taken over by the Spanish, who merely collected tariffs, while the area retained its strong French influence. The Spanish maintained their rule until 1810, when a rebellion occurred and the area was seized by American insurgents. At that time, Biloxi became part of the Republic of West Florida. Although petitions for statehood were denied, the Biloxi region became part of the Territory of Orleans (which had been part of the Louisiana Purchase). Two years later, in 1812, Biloxi became part of the Mississippi Territory. In 1814 a British attempt to capture New Orleans failed, but the British remained on nearby Ship Island until 1815. Finally, on December 10, 1817, Mississippi became the 20th state of the United States.
During the 1820s Biloxi became a popular summer resort for New Orleanians wishing to escape their city's heat and yellow fever epidemics. Biloxi was incorporated officially in 1838. The city grew as families and their servants flocked to the area, which by 1847 had become the most important of the Gulf Coast's resort towns. By the middle of the nineteenth century even more people came for the ostensible healing powers of the waters, and for the balls, outings, and hunting events that enlivened the social scene.
At the time of the Civil War, Union troops took over nearby Ship Island and carried out a blockade of the gulf. Citizens protected the city from invasion by the Yankees through the threatening appearance of fake cannons, which were really only logs planted in the sand. Mullet fish, called "Biloxi bacon," saved the local populace from starvation in the war years. The first fish cannery opened in 1881, and the city's seafood industry quickly developed. By 1900 Biloxi was termed the "seafood capital of the world." Polish, Austrian, and Acadian French soon came to the city to work in the industry, adding their own cultural influences. Tourism flourished and more hotels were built to accommodate the visitors, many of them from the Midwest, who came to escape the harsh northern winters.
During the early 20th century, the city grew and new developments included electricity, a street railway system, and telephone service. During the 1920s a paved highway was built along the beach, and more hotels were constructed as tourism increased. In 1928 the world's longest seawall, which spanned 25 miles (40 km) of Biloxi's coastline, was dedicated. The 1930s saw the decline of the area's seafood industry, but a new boom took place during World War II when Biloxi was chosen to be the site of a new air force base.
Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Biloxi rebuilt its original image. Hurricane Katrina left a devastated image in the tourist industry in Biloxi. Right after Hurricane Katrina, the casinos were the first to approach in rebuilding to create jobs and entertainment. You can still see ruins from the aftermath of Katrina. The houses that are rebuilt after the hurricane are now around ten feet above ground to avoid flooding. However, the question of stability of those houses are still being concerned.
In 2010, there was also an oil spill on the Gulf Coast of Mexico by British Petroleum company which destroyed the livelihoods of many people in Biloxi.
The closest major airport is Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Further access must be by car.
Access to Biloxi is primarily by Interstate 10. It is between New Orleans and Mobile.
- Greyhound, 820 Dr Martin Luther King Jr, ☎ . Provides full service to Biloxi.
Like most American cities, personal vehicle provides the best travel options. Main roads are Interstate 10 across the north, US-90 along the beach, and I-110 connecting them and crossing the sound. Taxis and local bus service are available, but still somewhat unreliable.
Moreover, Biloxi lacks a mass transit transportation system. A very low percentage take the bus system in Biloxi. The Coast Transit Authority operates several bus routes that travel around Gulfport, Biloxi, Long Beach, and D'lberville.
For tourist visiting Biloxi, there are Hopper cars that are provided by the casinos that could take the visitors from one casino to the next free of charge. The CTA Casino Hopper circles around the Biloxi casinos.
Everything is very easy to get to in Biloxi.
- 1 Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library, 2244 Beach Blvd, ☎ . A museum and home of the president of the Confederate States of America.
- 2 Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, 386 Beach Blvd, ☎ . Features George Ohr's pottery works. George Ohr is called the "Mad Potter" of Biloxi.
- 3 Walter Anderson Museum of Art, 510 Washington Ave, Ocean Springs, ☎ .
Biloxi has long been known for its casino based tourism industry. Each year, about 16 million people visit these casinos. Biloxi has nine casinos.
- 1 Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, 875 Beach Blvd, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: . A 85,000 ft² (7,900 m2) casino with 93 table games; 2,100 slot machines; and a 16-table, two-tiered poker room. Beau Rivage is rated as one of the finest casinos in Biloxi. Beau Rivage means "beautiful shore".
- Boomtown Biloxi. The theme of the casino is cowboys and the Wild West. It might be one of the smallest casinos in Biloxi; however, it gets a lot of visitors. The tables for gambling here are comparatively cheaper than most casinos there.
- Grand Casino Biloxi. The Grand Casino is mostly visited be middle aged people.
- IP Hotel and Casino.
- Isle of Capri Casino Resort, 151 Beach Blvd, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: . Was the South's first casino. It has two floors of casinos, a live poker room, over 30 tables and slot machines. Isle of Capri Casino Resort has a tropical theme to its casino. Its casino boat is on the water. It has a fine dining restaurant called Faradays which all age groups can go to, and it is a great place to dine if there are any special occasions. The buffet here is fairly cheap. It is $11 dollars plus tip. Seafood are always served.
- Palace Casino and Resort.
- Treasure Bay Casino and Resort. The theme is Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Hard Rock Casino Biloxi. A hard rock and live music theme. It has exhibits of clothes that were worn by celebrities from Michael Jackson to Madonna. Rock music blasts around the property. Lively atmosphere Hard Rock offers a night club for all 21 and up called The Ledge.
- Ship Island Cruise. Visit Ship Island, one of the beautiful barrier islands of the Gulf of Mexico. You may see dolphins and other wildlife. There is also a fort to explore with an experienced guide.
- Biloxi Shrimping Trip. See how shrimp are caught, and learn about the culture and livelihood of the Biloxi people.
Biloxi is still in need of a good shopping mall. Most shopping usually are done in Mobile or New Orleans.
- Edgewater Mall. Nearly 100 stores and a food court.
- Edgewater Village. Across from the mall.
- Gabrielle's Boutique, 1765 Popps Ferry Rd Ste G, ☎ .
- Souvenirs City, 2026 Beach Boulevard, ☎ .
- Surf Style (located really close to the mall).
There are cafes, seafood, and fine dining offering a wide variety of food in downtown Biloxi. For Vietnamese food, there's Kim Long Restaurant, My Nhung, New Orleans Po Boys, Henry's Bakery, Le Bakery (Huong Que). The casinos also offer all you can eat buffets, with prices varying.
Besides all the amazing casinos, there are night clubs in Biloxi. Inside the Hard Rock Cafe Casino is the night club called the Ledge. The Coast at the Beau Rivage. Both are 21+ to enter. No admission fees.
- Adventure Bar & Grill, 789 Vieux Marche, ☎ , fax: . Daily 4PM–6AM. A friendly late night atmosphere located on historic Vieux Marche in the heart of Old Down Town Biloxi.
- Venues Ultra Lounge and Grill, 100 Caillavet St (located right across from Beau Rivage Casino), ☎ . Offers late night snack and food with drinks.
- Ramada Limited-Biloxi Beach, 1768 Beach Blvd, ☎ .
- Ramada Limited Ocean Springs, 8015 Tucker Road, ☎ .
- Isle of Capri Casino and Resort, 151 Beach Blvd, toll-free: .
- Imperial Palace Resort, 850 Bayview Ave, ☎ .
- Best Western Oak Manor (brand new, built after Katrina), 886 Beach Blvd, ☎ .
- Howard Johnson Express, 10226 Rodriguez St, ☎ .
- Air Force Inns (Keesler).
- Econo Lodge. Rebuilt after Katrina.
- Beau Rivage Casino and Resort, Beach Blvd.
- Destin is a couple of hours east on I-10
- Pensacola is about two hours east on I-10
- New Orleans is about an hour west on I-10
- Mobile is about an hour east along I-10
- Hattiesburg is about an hour north on U.S. Highway 49
- Abita Springs, LA, home to the Abita Springs Brewery, just under two hours to the west, along I-10
- McHenry, is about 30 min north in the heart of De Soto National Forest on U.S. Highway 49
|Routes through Biloxi|
|Ends at ← D'Iberville ←||N S||→ END|
|New Orleans ← Gulfport ←||W E||→ Ocean Springs → Mobile|