Coastal Living Magazine - America's Happiest Seaside Towns

Ocean Springs, Mississippi -  It’s been a few centuries since French explorers discovered and settled this gently curving arc of the Gulf coast in 1699, but the warm and bustling town of 17,500 remains a true discovery—more so than ever since its recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina just 10 years ago. Lined with live oaks and old-fashioned, busy storefronts, downtown Ocean Springs hums with optimism. With no commercial development marring the shoreline, the town’s streets lead to a charming public beach with a fishing pier, a new public park, and glistening views out to the delicate and pristine Gulf Islands. The casinos of neighboring Biloxi are but a distant blip on the radar; life is delightfully low-key.

Check out homes for sale in this year's Happiest Seaside Towns, here.

Along with a hopping restaurant scene that features everything from dock-to-table blue crab salad to belly-up-to-the-bar barbecue, art rules the roost in Ocean Springs: The town has a world-class art museum and a collection of fun, vibrant galleries. It’s also home to Shearwater Pottery and the grand Peter Anderson Art Festival—both powerful draws for collectors. There’s a culinary-arts café in town, bountiful public art on prideful display, and live music in small joints most nights of the week. And for true pilgrims for Southern fare, there’s Tato-Nut, Ocean Springs’s tiny, beloved doughnut shop where the confections are made from—yes—potatoes. Now that’s art.

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