Vibrant Casino and Arnold Palmer–Designed Golf Course on Mississippi's Gulf Coast
Designed by legend Arnold Palmer, the 18-hole course at Bridges Golf Club spreads across nearly a mile of verdant greenery dotted with moss-draped oaks and stately pines. The challenging course, which abuts the Hollywood Casino Bay St. Louis, has earned a spot on Golfweek's roundup of Best Casino Courses, and it's on the short list for PGA and USGA events. Filled with water hazards and aberrant bulkheads, the track unfolds alongside striking coastal scenery on the banks of the Gulf of Mexico's Bay St. Louis, about 60 miles from New Orleans.
The picturesque stillness of the fairway is a far cry from the scene in the casino, where Vegas-like sights and sounds excite the senses. More than 1,200 slot machines clang and whirr as tuxedoed dealers challenge cardsharps at six poker tables. The casino also has areas for playing blackjack and craps.
Travelers can take a break from the casino floor by cooling off poolside at the cabana bar. The hotel’s four restaurants provide ample opportunities to refuel. None offers more variety than Epic Buffet, a spread that encompasses southern barbecue, Asian dishes, and Italian pastas. Theme nights offer an in-depth taste of culinary niches; past themes have included oyster, crawfish, and steaks.
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi: Coastal Community Near New Orleans
Abounding with pristine sands and lush marshland, Bay St. Louis lies on the Gulf of Mexico coastline near the midway point between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. Just a short walk from the hotel are beaches, boutiques, and cafés serving up healthy portions of cappuccino and poetry. The hub of the downtown arts scene is the Alice Mosley Folk Art and Antique Museum, which displays works depicting life in 20th-century Mississippi.
When the quiet life gets too quiet, pop over to New Orleans for a night of music and revelry. Although Bourbon Street enchants party-harders, the storied Big Easy has as many faces as it has nicknames, and foodies, music aficionados, and architecture buffs all find their place. At the intersection of it all is the French Market, an eclectic open-air market dating back to the 1790s when it was a trading post for Native Americans, Germans, and Caribbean immigrants.