Mississippi communities could be some of Santa’s favorite Christmas wonderland destinations

Published 9:28 pm Saturday, December 2, 2023

This December in Coastal Mississippi, travelers can unwrap the magic of the season as the 62-miles of coastline transforms into a winter paradise. With sandy beaches, beautiful shorelines, twinkling lights, and surfing Santas – Coastal Mississippi promises a unique holiday experience for residents and visitors alike.

“The holiday season in Coastal Mississippi sees festive cheer across our destination from the bayou to the beaches,” said Judy Young, CEO of Coastal Mississippi Tourism. “We hope that all travelers to the region during this jolly time can find an event, or three, to spread holiday cheer and truly experience why we call ourselves a coastal winter paradise.”

Choose from more than 20 festive-themed celebrations and events*:

  • Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival: Daily through December 31, from 5:30 – 10:30 PM,  experience the 9th Annual Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival, named the ‘Most Magical Show in Mississippi.’ The celebration includes new light shows, rides, live entertainment, and more.  Closed Christmas Eve, Open Christmas Day.
  • 19th Annual Christmas in the City: In Downtown Biloxi on December 9 from 10 AM- 4 PM, residents and travelers alike can partake in the Christmas in the City celebration featuring live entertainment, art and craft vendors, pictures with Santa, food from local eateries and more.
  • Mistletoe & Main Street: Santa Claus is coming to town in Gulfport for the Mistletoe & Main Street event on December 16, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Travelers and residents alike can walk the streets of downtown Gulfport to shop, find local arts and crafts vendors, amazing restaurants, and more.
  • 29th Annual Holiday Tree Gala: Presented by Hancock County Library System, the 29th Annual Holiday Tree Gala features family-friendly holiday fun with themed holiday trees through each of its five community branch locations, starting on December 3 in Bay St. Louis. This free event runs throughout the month of December for residents and visitors to see and explore the festive decorations from across the coast.
  • Christmas in Long Beach: For three full days of shopping fun, cheer, and more on the week of December 7, travelers can partake in Christmas in Long Beach celebration. With holiday bites, sips and more, Christmas Light Shows, an Avenue Festival and unique holiday shopping sales – there’s an experience for everyone.
  • JOY: The Holiday Tour: On December 8 at 8PM, LeAnn Rimes, an international multi-platinum selling acclaimed singer and ASCAP award-winning songwriter, will be performing for her special holiday tour at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.
  • Christmas Open House at the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum: The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum offers a free Christmas Open House tour on December 9 from 10 AM- 4PM for all guests. The tour features holiday cheer and fare from local vendors and eateries with holiday desserts, crafts, artwork, jewelry and more.
  • Annual Christmas on the Bayou: On December 9th, the Annual Christmas on the Bayou event begins on Gulfport Lake and travels east to the mouth of the bayou at Big Lake with numerous boats competing to see who has the most holiday spirit. The lighted parade can be seen at public seating available at Gulfport Lake and at the foot of the Cowan Lorraine Bridge.
  • Surfin’ Santa at Mississippi Aquarium: In Gulfport at the Mississippi Aquarium on December 9 from 12 PM- 3:30 PM, travelers can find Surfin’ Santa, joined by his flippered friend, a bottlenose dolphin, ready for photos. Visitors will have the opportunity to pose with the festive pair and receive a take-home ornament kit for families to create before the big holiday.
  • A Soulful Christmas: In Bay St. Louis on December 9, from 9 AM to 12 PM, Santa Claus will be coming to the 100 Men Hall for the 4th Annual “A Soulful Christmas.” This holiday event features fun for all ages with hot breakfast, selfies with Santa and more. The best part? The event is free for all participants who RSVP at 100menhall.com.
  • Christmas on the Town Green: The City of Diamondhead will host their Annual Christmas Festival on the Town Green on Saturday, December 9 from 4 PM to 8 PM. The celebration kick-offs with a parade a 4PM with local business, candy, and other goodies. Following the parade, guests can enjoy activities such as a train rides, photos with Santa, and more.
  • Discover Christmas – Toy Drive & Parade: On December 10 at 2PM, the city of Ocean Springs will host their Toy Drive & Parade with a parade full of holiday floats, Christmas festivities, and donations for those in need.
  • The Matzo Ball: The 100 Men Hall in Bay St. Louis will host its 3rd Annual Matzo Ball on Thursday, December 14 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. The ball will feature food, shopping, and fabulous music by Meryl Zimmerman & the Miracles.
  • Finding Christmas: At the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, travelers can view the Finding Christmas show, a 75-minute live entertainment feature that combines world-class actors, singers, and dancers, with well-known Christmas characters, exquisite costuming, sing-a-long music and beautiful scenic elements. The show starts on December 15 and happens daily through December 27.
  • Breakfast with Santa at Margaritaville: On December 16 from 8 AM – 11 AM, travelers in Biloxi can bring their family to the Margaritaville Resort & Family Entertainment Center for a Christmas-filled breakfast buffet, including buttermilk pancakes and French toast, and a free photo with Santa.
  • Biloxi Visitors Center Holiday Open House: From December 16-18, the Biloxi Visitor Center will host a Holiday Open House for all residents and travelers with dozens of artists and craftsmen shows for last-minute Christmas shoppers, as well as photos with Santa daily from noon-4PM.
  • New Year’s Eve Anchor Drop: In Pascagoula on December 31 at 8 PM, a new New Year’s Eve tradition kick offs, presented by Main Street Pascagoula, the event includes live music, an anchor drop, encore music show after the ball drop until 12:30, and, of course, fireworks.

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*Events are subject to change due to weather or unforeseen circumstances. Please check each event’s website for up-to-date information.

This December, make memorable memories, indulge in fresh fare, and enjoy unique coastal flair. Travelers can start planning their holiday winter getaways now at CoastalMississippi.com.