Warning: LONG post ahead with LOTS of pictures! Grab a cup of coffee to settle in for this one. A couple months ago, we decided to do a family weekend getaway in Mississippi to visit Biloxi Beach. My kids saw the ocean for the first time! And I took a zillion pics. I finally narrowed them down (kinda) so let’s get started…
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Here’s Colton seeing the beach for the very first time!
I didn’t see the ocean for the first time until I was 23 years old. I grew up in Missouri and my family wasn’t big on traveling (obviously). It wasn’t until Jon and I went on a cruise after we’d been married a couple years that I finally saw the ocean.
My kids love the water so I was determined to get them to a beach before they started kindergarten. And yes, I realize that sounds a bit strange. But I remember being made fun of in school because I’d never seen the ocean. Plus, I felt like the ocean is still magical to me at 32, so I can only imagine how massive and amazing it looks to a young child.
So, Jon and I planned this big trip to California for this summer, since Colton was starting kindergarten in the fall. We were going to hit up Disneyland and hang out on the coast for awhile. Then, 2020 had other plans and California was a serious no-go.
We started researching alternate destinations where we could still see the ocean while maintaining a safe social distance. We also wanted somewhere that wouldn’t be terrible driving distance from Kansas City, as I didn’t want to deal with flying right now. (A tall order considering we are *very* landlocked.) A family weekend getaway in Mississippi seemed like a perfect fit!
It’s about a 13 hour drive from KC to Biloxi with no stops. Since we have 2 little ones, we decided to leave super early in the morning in hopes they’d sleep for a good portion of the trip. We left home around 4:00 a.m. and Blair slept quite a bit. Colton didn’t sleep much, but he was very well behaved for the ride. He was so excited that he couldn’t sleep! I’d really hyped up the ocean to them.
We stopped at a gas station McDonald’s for some breakfast en route. I mean, no midwest road trip is complete without the gas station McDonald’s.
The only other stop we made on the way was for lunch a couple hours outside of Biloxi. With kids, I find it best to keep it moving on the road. It’s harder to get them back in the car than to keep them in the car.
Feeling the ocean sand for the first time.
One of the best parts of our family weekend getaway in Mississippi is that it was quite easy to social distance here. There was hardly anyone on the beach, especially at the area we were in.
You can see our hotel in the background here. We stayed at South Beach Hotel, which is the only beachfront hotel in Biloxi. We were able to walk out the back door and be right on the beach. It was incredible–and very private. Most beach traffic stayed near the public parking areas a bit further up on the beach (at the end of the boardwalk).
Always compare rates before booking your hotel! You can check out current rates at South Beach Hotel here, and I recommend checking here as well.
I think I have the biggest smile of all. I’m telling you, I was not meant to live in Kansas. My whole vibe is different when I’m near the water.
After playing on the beach for awhile, we went back in the hotel to relax. After all, we’d been awake since the wee hours of the morning! We ordered some Doordash and everyone fell asleep pretty quickly.
Picture from our first morning! South Beach is an all suites hotel; I think they are converted condos. There was a pull out couch in the living room area, where Colton slept. Blair slept there sometimes, but usually ended up in our bed.
The room also had a kitchen, so I’d brought a few snacks and such. Here the kids are enjoying a gourmet breakfast of mini donuts and juice boxes. I brought a bag of mini donuts thinking it would last for the 3 mornings we were were, but they were gone the first day. Oops. (I guess I should’ve known with this little donut lover around!)
After breakfast, it was back to the beach!
We spent all morning at the beach, then cleaned up to head to lunch. This boardwalk ran directly behind our hotel and connected to a few restaurants and souvenir shop. Very handy, as we didn’t have to get our car out at all if we didn’t want to. I think we only got it out one time during the entire trip. The first restaurant we tried was Snapper’s Seafood Restaurant, the grey building in the left of the picture above.
That blue wall behind Jon and Colton marks the water level from Katrina. And this was in the upstairs of the restaurant. Almost everything along the boardwalk is built up; you can see that a bit in the pic above.
Arm wrestling victory for Colton!
Fish and chips for my lunch. Colton and Blair had popcorn shrimp and cleaned their plates.
After eating, the kids wanted to go out on the balcony and use the binoculars. Poor Blair was too short but Colton had fun!
You’ll notice both kids are wearing their Native shoes in the pic above. These shoes were perfect for our beach trip. Easy to slip on and off and easy to get sand out of, too. I buy my kids a pair every year. We use them year-round, even in Kansas. They wear them to swim lessons every week plus randomly slipping them on for quick car rides, etc.
We stopped at Sharkheads on the way back from lunch. I’m kind of a sucker for these souvenir shop places. The kids each picked out a shirt and an ornament for their Christmas trees in their rooms. (Unfortunately, I dropped Colton’s ornament while unpacking his suitcase and it broke. So now I’m thinking I’ll have to get rid of Blair’s too in hopes that they’ll both forget about them by the time Christmas rolls around. My bad.)
After lunch and souvenir shopping, it was time for a quick trip back to the beach. But, a storm was coming in so we had to head back inside quickly. That’s the advantage of staying in the hotel right on the beach. If we were staying somewhere else, it wouldn’t have been worth it to pack up the car and drive to the beach for such a brief time. But since we were right there, we let the kids play until it started to rain, then headed in. You can actually see some of the raindrops in the sand in the photo above. The kids thought it was so cool how the rain would leave little holes in the sand.
No filter on the two pics above–I wanted you to see exactly what the storm looked like. Colton was standing on the balcony with me trying to reach out for the rain, but I think it looks like he’s commanding the storm or something. Super hero vibes.
I also attempted a family selfie during the storm. As you can see, it turned out perfectly.
I was a bit bummed to not have any real family photos from the trip. Normally, we’d hand the phone off to a stranger a few times to get some photos of us all together, like we did in Chicago or when Blair and I visited Memphis. But I didn’t really want to pass my phone around to strangers since we were trying to social distance. So, this gorgeous selfie will have to do.
Waiting for the storm to pass. Colton told me he wanted a balcony like this at our house. I reminded him that we have a covered patio in back plus a front porch. Then, he clarified that he meant he wanted a balcony where he could see the ocean. OK, yeah, we don’t have that.
Blair fell asleep in our bed during the storm and slept all night long! She must have been exhausted. Colton and I went out to the beach again while she slept. Jon was a great dad and stayed in the room with Blair so Colton and I could have some fun. Jon kept thinking Blair would wake up and they’d join us, but she never did. He was able to watch us in the ocean from the balcony, though. Colton and I also walked along the boardwalk for awhile. It was nice to enjoy some mom and son time. We really don’t have a lot of time just the two of us, so I was glad we got some on this trip.
We were back to the beach in the AM! I didn’t put on makeup once this entire trip. We were spending so much time in the water that I didn’t figure there was much point. Basically as soon as everyone was awake, we went straight to the beach.
There was a little “island” a bit off the shoreline, which is where Jon and Colton are in the photo above. Blair is heading out to join them. The island had a lot of crabs on it, which my kids had never seen before. Colton asked about bringing one home but I swerved him on that one.
Blair calls this the foot bath tree It was a spot to rinse the sand off before walking in the hotel. When I asked her to take a shower that night, she told me she didn’t need to because she “already took-ed a foot bath in the tree.” Fair enough.
Lunch was at The Reef. Very cool atmosphere here. Also, Jon is the best dad. (P.S., check out Blair’s beach hair. Her little curls didn’t know what to do in the humidity.)
More beach time after lunch.
We went back to the room to get ready and the kids wanted to go back to Sharkheads next door.
Time for dinner at Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar. We specifically came here during Happy Hour since they had some great drink specials. Colton had the “Lil Shark Attack.”
A “Lil Flamingo” for Blair.
And some frozen drinks for mom and dad.
After dinner, it was back to the hotel for the last night.
The next morning, we took final trip to the beach before heading for home. Colton wanted us to bury him in the sand!
It was a long ride home; the highlight being some frozen drinks from a pit stop at Casey’s. Look at that red tongue!
We were all exhausted and ready to get home. Kids were cranky. I was cranky. Jon was a saint for putting up with us. But still, I would say our family weekend getaway in Mississippi was a success! The kids literally ask me every day when we can go back to the beach. Even when I remind them about the long drive, they tell me it was worth it. I guess all those swim lessons are paying off because they really love the water!
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