This was our second year doing a short trip to the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi. At this point the boys are really not into the beach and taking all three of them out in the sand for an entire day in the sun is not going to work for a multiple day trip. What ended up happening in the past is we would go to the beach and then stay at the pool for 5 days. It just didn’t seem worth it.
Last year we thought this would be a great option and they actually asked to go back this year which was great because we wanted to do a small trip right before the beginning of school.
About the Hotel
Margaritaville is a comprehensive hotel since you do not have to leave the premises for the duration of your stay. There are restaurants, bars, coffee shops, an arcade and an outdoor pool and lazy river area.
During the high traffic season they offer a quick check in and check out feature with an office on the lower level across from the valet. This makes the process of getting in and out of the hotel incredibly easy since the regular check in is on the 10th floor. Each time we have stayed we have been able to get into our room before actual check in time which was convenient but the resort will allow you to come as early as noon to enjoy the pool and then check in at 3:00.
Valet parking is free and an easy service to use but self parking is right outside the resort. We usually valet when we arrive and then self park after that. It is slightly easier to get your car yourself if you are needing to leave often.
The room comes with a coffee maker and a fridge that are both handy and the tv is equipped to hook up an Apple TV or similar device if you bring one. This time we chose a room with a balcony which was very nice and we had a beautiful view and the boys were able to feed the seagulls. The bathrooms are spacious and well maintained. I love all of the products that they include too so I didn’t bother to bring shampoo or soap.
This is our go to place. There are seats inside the resort as well as outside by the pool. The outside restaurant and bar allows you to eat at the tables in your swimsuit or order and take it to your beach chair by the pool. The inside location does require a shirt and shoes so if you want to eat inside be prepared when you go to the pool. The menu included things like burgers and sandwiches but also entrees like fish tacos, ribs and pasta.
A word of caution. All of the food is enormous. For our family of five we would order two kids meals and an entrée and sometimes an appetizer and that was enough for all of us. The Volcano Nachos are delicious but our family of five could not finish them in one sitting.
This restaurant also has a bar attached to the outside that is great for Bushwackers, margaritas (of course!) and draft beer.
This is the one upscale restaurant on the property. We had dinner there our first year and really enjoyed it. We decided to skip it this year because it is more “sit down” and making the kids sit for a lengthy meal wasn’t my idea of fun.
The specialty cocktail menu is extensive and well executed. The menu included steaks and seafood as well as a full appetizer list and salads. One of the things we really liked was the bourbon and scotch menus. It was nice to see something a little higher end than frozen drinks and beer on the menu. Justin really enjoys a good whiskey or scotch and he was impressed with the selection.
Make sure that if you want to eat at Doe’s you make a reservation. They are a very busy restaurant especially on the weekends.
This restaurant is located on the second floor by the entertainment area. Be forewarned as when you come up the escalator you are in the middle of the arcade because it’s always hard to keep the kids on task that we are going to eat first and play second.
Like Margaritaville this restaurant is very casual and offers mostly sandwiches and burgers. The food is delicious and simple but well done. I was surprised how much we enjoyed the food at all of the restaurants.
Again the portions are large so plan accordingly. I always order less to start and we add items later if we are still hungry.
The coffee shop is now open 24/7 which is great if you’re in the mood for late night coffee. They serve New Orleans Roast coffee which we enjoyed daily and they have a selectin of breakfast items like pastries and oatmeal as well. They were also there for us in a pinch with late night cravings.
We didn’t visit the Lost Key Bar but it is on the 10th floor with the check in desk and the coffee shop. They have an ample seating area and there is also an outdoor area that overlooks the water and boats.
This is probably the most popular place in the entire resort. Located in the pool they make mixed drinks, frozen cocktails and serve beer. They don’t have draft so if that is what you are looking for you will have to walk into the Margaritaville area. They have seating in the pool and it is covered by a rock overhang.
The sweet shack has an endless variety of goodies. It is the place to visit on the way out of the arcade area. They serve ice cream sundaes, floats, milkshakes and more.
The biggest and best reason most people visit this resort is the pool, lazy river and splash pad! The water play is almost endless.
Things you should know. The chairs fill up so if you want a spot then go early. The resort supplies you with beach towels which is a nice amenity. There is a restaurant, two bars and also a snack station that has extras like sunscreen and more.
The pool. It has three main sections. A zero entry area that drops down into 3.5 feet. The North part of the pool is 5 feet with a shelf for sitting around the entire pool. In the back of the 3.5 foot section is the bar. This pool is set up to accommodate a lot of people and surprisingly when we have been there it has never felt crowded. We love that all of our kids can play because they have so many different levels. Also, because it is so big the pool feels cool all the time.
The Lazy River. Around the outdoor area runs a lazy river. It is about 3 feet deep and runs at a moderate pace. The two waterslides on the resort both empty into the lazy river. The entire lazy river is about 450 feet long.
The Splash Pad. This amenity is geared more toward the little kids but even my big boys like it. There are multiple slides, buckets and water cannons to play with as well as the biggest water umbrella you have ever seen. Beach chairs line the entire splash pad area so it is easy to grab a chair and relax.
Escape is the name for the 55,000 square foot family entertainment area. There is everything from virtual reality games to bowling to ropes courses to arcade games and more. 5 credits equals $1 and most games start at 6 credits. Games like bowling will cost you 25 credits but you do get to bowl a full 10 frame game.
There are two different specials currently. Wahoo Wednesdays is half price games. They also have a dinner special $25 for a kids meal and $20 players card included or $30 for an adult entrée and $20 players card included. These can change so check the website for the most current information.
We had way more fun than I thought we would in this area. The kids loved all of the games and there were things suitable for any age. Justin and I even got in a game of air hockey and bowled too.
Where to Eat
So what if you want to leave the resort? Like anything the food is going to get old after a few days. The selection on the resort is good but if you are looking for something different here are a few of our favorites.
TBT is right next door to the resort. If the weather is nice it wouldn’t be more than a 5 minute walk. Located on the water they offer indoor and ourdoor seating.
The menu changes daily as they only offer fresh food and nothing is frozen. Some of their staple menu items are burgers, fish tacos, fresh cut fries and more. They are known for their beer, burgers, shrimp and tacos.
You may be familiar with Shaggy’s if you have traveled on the coast at all. They have locations in Pensacola and Pass Christian.
Good, simple, seafood. The selection of fish changes daily. They have a wonderful crab cakes appetizer that is enough for a meal and the grilled oysters are delicious. The boys loved the fried pickles, lemonade and pirate ship play area.
If you love BBQ this is your place! Not only is the food great but you have an amazing view of the water too. There are not too many places where you can have good BBQ and a view of the beach. All their BBQ is dry rubbed and served St. Louis style. They are known for their brisket but the pulled pork and burgers are great also.
Known for their New York Style Pizza and Ice Cream this is the perfect place to take kids. The restaurant offers salads and other Italian style entrees like pasta and paninis. The greatest thing is that you can entice the kids to eat with the smell of ice cream lingering in the air.
This place is great and geared toward families who want more than just a shrimp basket. They have a great selection of sandwiches but everything is turned up a notch. Like their Swamp Island Shrimp and Grits or their Maui Waui Chicken Sandwich. They also have other southern favorites like oysters and red beans.
What kind of guide would this be if I didn’t tell you there was a Waffle House in the area??? It’s easy and it’s good and it’s fast and the kids love it. Located directly across from the Beau Rivage so it’s there on your way out of town. This is always our stop the morning we leave the resort.
What to Do
Lynne Meadows Discovery Center
We come to Mississippi to Lynn Meadows even when we aren’t at Margaritaville. The children’s museum is so much fun and includes and indoor and outdoor museum areas.
We were excited to discover that Margaritaville was carrying the Pop Brothers popsicles when we were there. They are some of the best popsicles you will every have and so much more than just an icy treat. Flavors like Oreo Cheesecake, Dreamsicle, Nutella, Chai Tea and more. Our family loves them all but when we order Porter always gets Madagascar Vanilla, Peyton Strawberry Lemonade and Paxton Dreamsicle. Personally I love the Mexican Hot Chocolate and Justin gets the Tiramisu. Worth the trip.
The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies
Newly opened this facility provides hands on educational tours and encounters with marine life. IMMS has tours for families as well as dolphin encounters. Some of the other programs they launched this summer includes an opportunity to interact with stingrays in a hands on encounter.
There is plenty to do just on the beaches in the Biloxi area. Pass Christian has the nicest beaches since they are the least developed area on the beach. The closer you get to the casinos the smaller the available beach area is. There are places to rent jet skis and go parasailing and plenty of umbrellas and chairs to rent. We saw many families enjoying the beaches the day we drove in.
Ocean Springs, MS
Ocean Springs is right over the bridge from Biloxi. Colorful and charming little town with lots of shopping and places to eat. There are over 150 independent shops and galleries in Ocean Springs. They host several music, art and food festivals a year and are a destination location for travelers. There are also great spots for fishing along the coastline as well as playgrounds that overlook the water.
Some of the prettiest beaches in Mississippi are located on West Ship Island. It’s just a quick 11 mile boat ride (approx. 1 hour) to a day of fun. During the boat ride many passengers see bottle nose dolphins and more. There are no automobiles on the island so it is peaceful and calm allowing you to relax. There are areas to swim, picnic and hike and lifeguards are usually on duty during the summer. West Ship Island is also home to Fort Massachusetts. This fort has been standing on the island since 1868. The ferry runs from March until October.
This was an excursion we didn’t even know was available until we saw the boat leaving the marina from our balcony. Just like the riverboats in New Orleans this is a great way to see the area in a paddlewheel powered riverboat. The Betsy Ann Riverboat does everything from sunset cruises to dinner cruises to historical and ecological cruises. The best thing is the boat is docked right outside of the Margaritaville resort.