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Retirement Living In Mississippi Gulf Coast (Harrison, Jackson and Hancock counties)

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Area Description

Retirement has traditionally been defined as “withdrawing oneself,” but on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we’re reimagining retirement. We like to think of it as a permanent vacation.
And whether you’d rather fill your days with relaxation or non-stop activities, there’s no better place to be than right here in South Mississippi.

The national publication Where to Retire is in agreement. In its May/June 2015 issue, Gulfport/Biloxi was recognized as a “Top Retirement Destination.” The Coast has a lot to offer retirees. And the list of offerings just keeps growing. In June 2015 our minor league baseball team, the Biloxi Shuckers, made their debut. Playing at a beautiful new ballpark in walking distance of the beach, casinos, and downtown Biloxi, the Shuckers provide a fun, affordable source of entertainment for every age. It’s a perfect activity for when the grandkids come visit!

But baseball is just the beginning. Imagine a beautiful coastal setting, plenty of sunshine, and warm days the majority of the year. Our sand beach stretches for miles, and our Gulf waters are the source for fantastic close-in and deep-sea fishing, boating, and more. The sunsets alone are worth your stay!

The weather is ideal for spending time outdoors at our year-round art, food, and cultural festivals. If golf is your game, you’ll be impressed with our 20-plus courses by top
designers, including Nicklaus, Palmer, Pate, McCumber, and others. Or spend your time navigating our rivers, bays, and bayous by kayak.

If you prefer casinos over golf clubs and canoes (or in addition to!), we have more than 10 first-class gaming resorts across the Coast. You’ll find table games, slot machines, amazing restaurants, relaxing spas, exciting nightlife and top-name entertainers, all under one roof!

And what would a “vacation” be without a little shopping and a lot of eating? Boutiques, outlet malls, and eclectic shops are close and convenient. Local restaurants serving fresh seafood and flavorful cuisine are around every corner. If enriching experiences are what you’re after, look no further. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is home to multiple museums and universities including the University of Southern Mississippi, Tulane University, William Carey University, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College system, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Plus, community cooking classes, art classes, and volunteer opportunities allow you to meet new people and get involved in good things!

What makes it even better? Your permanent vacation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast will be affordable. There’s no tax on qualified retirement income, including Social Security; we have one of the most affordable urban housing markets in the South, and there’s a generous homestead exemption for persons over 65.

Visitors to the Mississippi Gulf Coast will find a seemingly endless stretch of white sandy beaches dappled with clusters of sand dunes, a smattering of palm trees, and an abundance of majestic oak trees along the U. S. Hwy 90 shoreline. Several barrier islands dot the distant horizon, just visible to the naked eye and accessible by boat. Of the five Harrison County cities, four of them enjoy a southern border along the beaches and shores of the Mississippi Sound, a large estuary that provides natural habitat and nourishment for a variety of fish and seafood delicacies and connects directly into the Gulf of Mexico past the barrier islands.

Though visitors will likely not notice a change as they drive from one city to the next – indeed, most of the coastal cities’ borders are shared streets, with the dividing boundary straight down the middle of the street – locals would tell them that this coastline is actually a patchwork quilt of cities and towns with quite distinct personalities.

The city of Pass Christian, or “the Pass” as locals refer to it, begins near the western boundary of Harrison County. Originally named for a nearby deep water channel, the Pass had been occupied first by Native Americans, then by Spanish and French explorers. The 19th century brought an influx of wealthy New Orleanians, who built beach and summer homes on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi Sound, and the area became a famous and favorite tourist destination. Many of these historic mansions along Scenic Drive were demolished or heavily damaged in Hurricanes Camille and Katrina, but enough were repaired or restored to preserve the majestic dignity of Scenic Drive. Pass Christian has a first-class municipal harbor, which was rebuilt following Hurricane Katrina and expanded to more than twice its original size. This municipal harbor is where the Mississippi Coast’s primary shrimp fleet and commercial fishing boats share space with privately owned sailboats, yachts, and pleasure craft of all sizes. The waters off the Pass Christian shore are home to some of the premier oyster reefs in the world. With a population of nearly 5,000, Pass Christian is a blend of beach town, upscale homes, quirky cottages, and laid-back style.

Nestled between Pass Christian and Gulfport is the city of Long Beach, traditionally a “bedroom community” but with much more to offer visitors and new residents. In the early 20th century, Long Beach became known as the “radish capitol of the world”, back in a time when Long Red radishes were popular as noshes in bars and beer halls. Today, with a population of around 15,000, Long Beach is home to the expanding Gulf Park campus of the University of Southern Mississippi and has become a thriving college town. The Long Beach harbor offers a choice of several restaurants with good food and great views of the Mississippi Sound. The harbor area also features a large beach pavilion that is available for daily enjoyment and for special events. Downtown, there is a new city park that hosts events, entertainers, and a variety of outside activities. In recent years, Long Beach has been a Mississippi Gulf Coast leader in developing downtown residential spaces above retail shops in the downtown area.

In the heart of Harrison County and sharing the county seat designation with neighboring Biloxi, the city of Gulfport is the second largest city in Mississippi and is a strategic center for commercial activity. Gulfport’s current population is nearing 70,000, still down but rebounding – like all of the Mississippi Gulf Coast – from Hurricane Katrina’s housing losses. Gulfport was a planned city, built around the lumber industry, the railroad, and a deepwater port dredged to create a shipping channel to the sea. The Port of Gulfport, one of the top ports in the Gulf of Mexico region, is currently completing a $500+ million expansion project and was recently designated as a Strategic Seaport for military shipments. Gulfport is home to the U. S. Navy Construction Battalion (the Seabees of the Atlantic Fleet), multiple large battalions and squadrons of the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard, the U. S. Coast Guard, and the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. The Bernard Bayou Industrial District and Industrial Seaway offers a centralized area for industries, manufacturers, warehouses, and plants, including those that are water-dependent. Gulfport’s harbor and beachside Jones Park have undergone a massive revitalization since Hurricane Katrina and feature first-class amenities for pleasure boating and a variety of recreational activities. Downtown Gulfport has in recent years become a lively entertainment district, featuring a variety of restaurants and bars that have inspired occasional “pub crawls”.

With a population hovering just above 44,000, the city of Biloxi lies on a peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides. Immediately adjacent to Gulfport on its fourth border, Biloxi is perhaps the best-known of the coastal cities, and has maintained a relatively high profile for many years. Even before casino gaming became legalized, one of Biloxi’s worst-kept secrets was its well-deserved reputation as a favored spot for fun times, including partying, gambling, and drinking. Biloxi is the oldest city on the Gulf Coast, and with the advent of dockside gaming, it has become one of the fastest growing as well. From its early days as a shrimping and fishing village, Biloxi has blossomed into one of the top tourist destinations in the country. It’s also home to Keesler Air Force Base, a huge contributor to the local economy. Like other communities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Biloxi has a colorful history. Founded in 1699 by French explorers and named for the Indians who first lived there, Biloxi was governed by France, Great Britain and Spain before joining the Mississippi Territory in 1811. From the start, its location on the Gulf of Mexico provided the foundation for the city’s economy. The earliest European settlers subsisted by fishing and farming. The city’s first seafood cannery opened in 1881. Just 20 years later, Biloxi was the Seafood Capital of the World. In the 19th century, Biloxi developed as a resort community known for its fine waterfront hotels. Casino gaming, legalized in the early 1990s, made Biloxi a major player in the tourism and gaming industries. Waterfront casinos have invigorated the city’s economy, helping fund public works projects, creating new jobs in tourism, hospitality and construction, and building the foundation for continued prosperity. To keep pace with the city’s rapid growth, Biloxi’s leaders have aggressively pursued improvements in infrastructure, recreation, education, historic preservation and public safety.

D’Iberville, with a 2010 population of about 9,500, lies north of Biloxi and boasts an enviable geographic advantage for retail development from its proximity to Interstate 10 and Interstate 110. D’Iberville is the youngest city on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, incorporated as a municipality in 1988. It has its own rich history and individual identity. D’Iberville’s history goes all the way back to 1699 when Pierre LeMoyne D’Iberville explored the area, charged by France’s King Louis XIV to complete the failed final mission of the explorer LaSalle to find the Gulf outlet of the Mississippi River and establish French footholds – colonial settlements and outposts throughout the lower Mississippi Valley. The French were unable to sustain a continuous settlement there. It was the Spanish who had the most influence on D’Iberville’s early development and permanence as a settlement. The town’s economic and agricultural base continued to sustain the community even through World War I and the Great Depression. Seafood, lumber and produce continued to be the town’s mainstay. World War II brought the construction of Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. With base expansion, D’Iberville experienced tremendous growth. Today, with an explosion of retail development anchored by national chain stores, D’Iberville continues to thrive, maintaining its independent spirit.

It’s time to start planning your retirement—we mean your permanent vacation—on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Includes Cities/Towns: Biloxi, Diberville, Gulfport, Long Beach, Pass Christian.

Region Characteristics

Area Amenities

Things to Do, Recreation & Fitness

   The Mississippi Gulf Coast offers everything from indoor ice skating and sports to kayaking, boating, birding, minor league baseball,nature trails, bike trails, fishing, hiking, shopping, Cruisin' the Coast annual classic car event, tennis, golf and more.

Universities include The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), William Carey University, Tulane University, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College system. In addition, continuing education is offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at USM Gulf Coast and at the main campus.

Mississippi Senior Olympics

Cultural Activities

Gulf Coast Symphony
Gulf Coast Opera Theatre
Art Galleries
Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre
Indoor and outdoor concerts at venues such as Saenger Theater, MS Coast Coliseum, casinos, parks and more
Sun and Sand Film Festival
Lectures at libraries and other locales including University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
Local theater including Center Stage, Biloxi Little Theatre, Gulfport Little Theater, WINGS Performing Art of the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Bay St. Louis Little Theatre, Pass Christian Theatre Project
Museums include Ohr-O'Keefe Mueseum of Art, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Mardi Gras Museum, Alice Mosely Museum, Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum, The Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum Walter Anderson Museum of Art, The Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education, Infinity Science Center, The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

Public transportation

Coast Transit Authority bus, Bus by Demand, and trolley system.

Medical Facilities

Memorial Hospital at Gulfport (a US News & World Report Best Hospital; Joint Commission accreditation; 2015/16 Consumer Choice Award winner)
Merit Health Biloxi (named a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission
Garden Park Medical Center (recognized as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures five years in a row
VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System
Keesler AFB Medical Center

What Will The Climate And Weather Be Like If I Retire In Mississippi Gulf Coast (Harrison, Jackson and Hancock counties)?

For those of you that retire in Mississippi Gulf Coast (Harrison, Jackson and Hanc, you will enjoy warm summers, a cool fall, a cold winter and a temperate spring!

Winter temperatures are cool with averages in the low 50's and highs in the low 60's. Nights are cold with lows in the low 40's. Expect some rainy days in the winter.

If the weather in the spring is too cold for the outdoors, enjoy some indoor activities in Mississippi Gulf Coast (Harrison, Jackson and Hanc such as a movie, a visit to a museum, dining, nightlife or some shopping. Spring temperatures are mild with averages in the upper 60's and highs in the mid 70's. Nights are cool with lows in the upper 50's. Humidity may feel "sticky" with muggy evenings. Expect some rainy days in the spring.

Summertime in Mississippi Gulf Coast (Harrison, Jackson and Hanc is a great time to enjoy your retirement with a day at the beach, an outdoor concert, a local festival or other outdoor activity! Summer temperatures are warm with averages in the low 80's and highs in the upper 80's. Nights are mild with lows in the low 70's. Expect a lot of days above 90°. Humidity with lots of moisture in the air may feel oppressive. Expect a lot of rainy days in the Summer.

If you retire in Mississippi Gulf Coast (Harrison, Jackson and Hanc, you can look forward to fall weather activities such as biking on a bike path, hiking, enjoying a walking path and more! Fall temperatures are mild with averages in the upper 60's and highs in the upper 70's. Nights are cool with lows in the upper 50's. Humidity may feel "sticky" with muggy evenings. Expect some rainy days in the fall.

Monthly Temperature Ranges

 Month  Low  Avg  High
 Jan  41  51  60
 Feb  44  54  63
 Mar  50  60  69
 Apr  57  66  76
 May  65  74  83
 Jun  72  80  88
 Jul  74  82  90
 Aug  73  82  90
 Sep  69  78  87
 Oct  59  69  79
 Nov  50  60  70
 Dec  43  53  62

Monthly Average # of Hot and Cold Days

 Month  Days Greater Than 90 F°  Days Less Than 32 F°  Days Less Than 0 F°
 Jan  0  7  0
 Feb  0  3  0
 Mar  0  1  0
 Apr  0  0  0
 May  1  0  0
 Jun  8  0  0
 Jul  15  0  0
 Aug  15  0  0
 Sep  6  0  0
 Oct  0  0  0
 Nov  0  1  0
 Dec  0  5  0

Rain & Humidity

 Month  Rainfall  Rainy Days  Humidity
 Jan  5 "  9  43 %
 Feb  5 "  8  46 %
 Mar  6 "  8  51 %
 Apr  5 "  6  57 %
 May  5 "  7  65 %
 Jun  7 "  11  71 %
 Jul  7 "  13  73 %
 Aug  7 "  12  73 %
 Sep  6 "  8  69 %
 Oct  4 "  6  60 %
 Nov  5 "  7  52 %
 Dec  5 "  8  45 %


 Month  Snowfall  Snow On Ground Days  Snowy Days
 Jan  0 "  0  0
 Feb  0 "  0  0
 Mar  0 "  0  0
 Apr  0 "  0  0
 May  0 "  0  0
 Jun  0 "  0  0
 Jul  0 "  0  0
 Aug  0 "  0  0
 Sep  0 "  0  0
 Oct  0 "  0  0
 Nov  0 "  0  0
 Dec  0 "  0  0

Natural Disaster Areas

Cost of Living for Mississippi Gulf Coast (Harrison, Jackson and Hancock counties)

Mississippi Gulf Coast (Harrison, Jackson and Hancock counties) cost of living for Housing, Healthcare, Transportation, Taxes, Utilities, etc.:

Cost of Living




Political Party


Senior Housing Options

Housing options ranging from apartments to condos to single-family
RV Parks plentiful
Armed Forces Retirement Home

Senior Assistance in Mississippi Gulf Coast (Harrison, Jackson and Hancock counties)

Mississippi Gulf Coast (Harrison, Jackson and Hancock counties) offers the following assistance for seniors:

Transportation On Demand from Coast Transit Authority
Many senior community centers

What Job or Volunteer Opportunities Does Mississippi Gulf Coast (Harrison, Jackson and Hancock counties) Offer For Retirees?

RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) has extensive list of volunteer options
United Way of South Mississippi (clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities on the Coast)

Additional Information

Visitor Information

Relocation Information

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