Sitting pretty on the coast of Biloxi Bay, Ocean Springs is one of coastal Mississippi’s treasured gems. Arts, culture, and seafood are celebrated in this small town, where the Main Street is lined with a mix of old-growth oak trees and cottage-style establishments and the beach humming with laidback activity.
Ocean Springs is located in Jackson County and is part of the Mississippi Gulf Coast metropolitan area. It’s a relatively small city with a total area of about 15 square miles and a population of nearly 17,900 people. Located east of Ocean Springs is Biloxi, with the Biloxi Bay Bridge connecting the two.
In this City of Discovery, you’ll never know what’s waiting just around the corner. Rest assured, whatever you do find, whether it’s a unique gift for yourself or a home to call your own, it will pulse with local flavor and appeal. Welcome to Ocean Springs! Make yourself comfortable. Continue reading to learn about its history, the lifestyle, and the endless string of waterfront homes for sale in Ocean Springs, MS.
History of Ocean Springs, MS
First, there was the French
Ocean Springs’ story starts in the 17th century. It would not have been here today if not for Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, a French explorer. In April of 1699, he established Old Biloxi or Fort Maurepas for King Louis XIV. Fort Maurepas was one of the very first permanent settlements of the sprawling French Louisiana territory and was used to prevent the Spanish from furthering their territorial claims in the New World. It was also the first European permanent settlement to be established in the lower Mississippi.
Fort Maurepas continued to be so until the French decided to move their colony to present-day Mobile. After a hurricane in 1717, they moved back to Fort Maurepas and finally settled in present-day Biloxi in 1720. This is why, by the 18th century, Fort Maurepas came to be known as Old Biloxi. In the following years, Old Biloxi came under control of British West Florida and the Spanish.
Waters with healing powers
Finally, in the early 19th century, Louis Auguste LaFontaine purchased an expansive tract of land from a Spaniard. This parcel is now part of old Ocean Springs. In 1853, the town was eventually renamed to Lynchburg. Just one year after this renaming, however, Dr. William Glover Austin came forth and came up with the name “Ocean Springs.” By this time, the community was a sleepy fishing town. Dr. Austin arrived in the area to found a sanatorium and planned to use what he believed was the area’s healing spring waters.
Shortly after Dr. Austin established his sanatorium and helped rename Ocean Springs, the community became a fashionable resort town and historic community. Now in the 21st century, Ocean Springs continues to live up to its reputation.
Real estate and homes for sale in Ocean Springs, MS
Ocean Springs real estate is characterized by a medley of housing options, varying from new construction homes to historic properties, acreage, townhouses, and condominium developments. Each home in Ocean Springs oozes Southern charm, with Southern-style influences sprinkled throughout the market. And since Ocean Springs is located in a coastal setting, local properties also include an incredible selection of waterfront homes and estates.
Waterfront homes for sale in Ocean Springs, MS
Access to water is easy in Ocean Springs. This geographic location has paved the way for a healthy amount of beautiful waterfront homes present in Ocean Springs’ real estate landscape.
- Live by the bayou. A good portion of waterfront real estate in Ocean Springs, MS are located along the shores of rivers and bayous which are typical in the lower Mississippi. In such locations, imagine living in peace and quiet, with the sounds of the slow-moving stream providing a serene backdrop to everyday life. Such properties can be found in areas near Heron Bayou in the southern part of Ocean Springs and near the Old Fort Bayou Coastal Preserve.
- Live on the bayfront. Enjoy sweeping views of Biloxi Bay and quick access to Ocean Springs’ main attractions when you explore waterfront homes for sale in this part of the city. From these properties, the beach is also a short distance away.
In addition to single-family homes, these areas are also great places to search for waterfront condos for sale in Ocean Springs, MS. If you are looking to build your dream home in a stunning waterfront location in Ocean Springs, lots and land for sale are also available.
Waterfront real estate features an array of amenities. Those with direct access to the water often have their own docks as well as plenty of outdoor living facilities like decks and pools. Up-to-date utilities, gourmet kitchens, and upgraded bathrooms are also quite common among waterfront homes for sale.
You can also enjoy a variety of perks when you invest in waterfront condos for sale in Ocean Springs, MS. These condo developments are built with the best waterfront living experience in mind. The best waterfront condos in Ocean Springs have their own private marinas and community pools, as well as modern fitness facilities and other clubhouse amenities
Architectural styles of waterfront homes for sale in Ocean Springs, MS
There is a great mix of architectural styles present in Ocean Springs, MS waterfront real estate. In the market, you will find ranch-style properties, contemporary homes, as well as architectural styles that pay homage to Ocean Springs’ past— Colonial, Federal, and Georgian Revival homes that evoke genteel Southern charm.
Other real estate investment opportunities in Ocean Springs, MS
Waterfront properties may be the creme de la creme of Ocean Springs real estate, but the market has plenty more to offer. Other investment options available in Ocean Springs include commercial real estate, recreational real estate, equestrian farms, ranch properties, land and lots, new construction in gated communities, condominiums, and cabins.
Living in Ocean Springs, MS
Why you should live in Ocean Springs
- Why you should live in Ocean Spring
Ocean Springs is home to less than 18,000 people. And each and everyone of the people living here know how to treat people well. It’s the Southern hospitality the region is particularly known for, characterized by warmth, friendliness, and large servings of the specialty seafood. Here, locals look out and care for each other, with every neighbor a friendly face you can trust.
- The location is amazing
Biloxi Bay isn’t the only thing Ocean Springs has easy access to. Biloxi is a short drive away from the city, and if you’re craving for adventure and mystery, take the one-and-a-half hour drive to New Orleans. There are plenty of attractions and points of interest in the area including the Gulf National Islands Seashore and the Deer Island Coastal Preserve.
- The educational opportunities are outstanding
The Ocean Springs School District is highly renowned in the region for its top and well-reputed schools. This is highly beneficial if you are thinking of starting a family or thinking of moving with your own in Ocean Springs. Great schools also help drive property values up, which is great if you are thinking of investing in Ocean Springs real estate.
- The local business community is thriving
Ocean Springs’ Southern hospitality and local spirit extends well into the business community. Scattered throughout the city are an endless lineup of locally owned and independent establishments, from family-run restaurants to gift shops and specialty stores. There’s no need to go to Biloxi for some retail therapy or dinner with friends. Finally, Ocean Springs also has a vibrant nightlife scene.
- It feels like a home
The great location, the warm and tight-knit community, and the supportive locale all create an atmosphere that will truly make you feel at home. Learn more about living in Ocean Springs below.
Schools in Ocean Springs, MS
Public schools in Ocean Springs are managed by the Ocean Springs School District (OSSD). OSSD is widely recognized as one of the best school districts in the state. In fact, it ranked as the #2 best school district in Mississippi for the 2018-2019 school year. Ocean Springs High School was also recognized as the best high school in the state by the Mississippi Department of Education during that same school year.
The following schools are also part of the local school district:
Wining and dining in Ocean Springs, MS
Ocean Springs has a rich culinary heritage that dates back to hundreds of years when the town was just a humble fishing village. Seafood is highly celebrated in the city, but you’ll find a plethora of dining options when you explore the local restaurant scene. Here are some of the crowd favorites in Ocean Springs:
- Vestige along Washington Avenue is a casual eatery serving elegant New American dishes made with seasonal ingredients, plus cocktails to compliment your plate. They currently serve a tasting menu that changes weekly, available for take-home and curbside pickup.
- Phoenicia Gourmet melds classic American cuisine with rich and authentic Greek flavors for a dining experience unlike any other. They are located at 1223 Government Street.
- Murky Waters is well-known throughout Mississippi for their signature dry rub, famous smoked wings, and of course, the live music entertainment. Their branch in Ocean
Springs is located in a historic 1950s house, complete with the building’s original structure. This adds Ocean Springs’ local flair and history to this popular chain.
- Maison de Lu is a refined French bistro along Washington Avenue. The menu features a long list of crowd pleasers whether you are in to treat yourself for lunch or to enjoy a nice dinner. In addition to French dishes, Maison de Lu also offers po-boys and grouper or fried shrimp baskets.
- Italian Garden takes diners to the rustic Italian countryside with their dishes, all touted to have been prepared with love. Right now, they are open for online orders for curbside pickup.
These are just five of the best rated restaurants in Ocean Springs. There are more to discover and experience when you move and make your home here.
Shopping in Ocean Springs, MS
For retail therapy, you only need to stroll down the lengths of Government Street and Washington Avenue. This is where most of the commercial activity in Ocean Springs is centered. You can go for a leisurely walk, go in and out of the local shops that catch your fancy, and pop in for a quick bite or an indulgent meal in one of the restaurants. Here are some of the establishments you’ll find in Ocean Springs:
Things to do in Ocean Springs, MS
- Visit the Gulf Islands National Seashore
The Gulf Islands National Seashore is the outdoor destination to explore in Ocean Springs. There are many things to do here. You can sunbathe or have a picnic in one of the sandy beaches or head to Fort Pickens and hop on a boat for a cruise tour. There are many trails to explore on foot or on a bike and the skies at night are sufficiently dark for stargazing. For wildlife lovers, you can go birdwatching, fishing, or don your suit and snorkel or dive. There are also several historic sites within the park such as Ship Island and Fort Barrancas.
- Go art gallery hopping
One should never miss Ocean Springs’ art scene. Downtown Ocean Springs is a hotbed of artistic activity with many art galleries and shops located throughout the neighborhood. Find the next piece of art to adorn your home or a unique gift to give your loved ones in galleries such as The Pink Rooster, The, Moran’s Art Studio, and Wayne Rosetti Gallery. Don’t forget to visit the Walter Anderson Museum of Art as well.
- Learn about the local history at Ocean Springs Museum
Ocean Springs has over 300 years worth of history to tell, spanning from when the French came and established Fort Maurepas to the 19th century when Dr. Austin arrived and started the town’s transition into an idyllic resort town by the gulf. Learn more about the stories and the trail of development that shaped Ocean Springs at the local museum.
- Taste the local brews
The entrepreneurial spirit is strong among Ocean Springs locals. Aside from fashion and food, some residents have ventured into the world of brewing craft beer. You can taste some of these at places such as Fort Bayou Brewing Company, Hops and Growlers, The Cypress Taphouse, and the Chandeleur Island Brewing Company in neighboring Gulfport.
- Battle on the Bayou is the yearly kayak race that runs for a total length of 9.5 miles through the scenic Old Fort Bayou Blueways. Register to compete in your canoe, kayak, or paddleboard, or simply watch from the coast and cheer for your bet.
- Spring Arts Festival celebrates the coming of spring by inviting vendors from all over
Coastal Mississippi to show their wares. This outdoor festival also features live artist demonstrations, music entertainment, and educational workshops from some of Ocean Springs’ very best artists and green thumbs.
- 1699 Weekend of Discovery takes visitors back to that fateful weekend in 1699 when French explorers chanced upon the land that would later become known as Ocean Springs. The 1699 Weekend of Discovery event includes full-dress reenactments of historical events, most especially the landing of Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and his party on the shores of Biloxi Bay.
- Taste of Ocean Springs is the annual food and wine festival. It’s a fine and formal night where festival goers can enjoy everything the best of Ocean Springs’ restaurants, bars, and breweries have to offer. The food and wine festival also includes a Restaurant Week where everyone can enjoy special menu items and offerings from participating restaurants.
- Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival draws thousands of art connoisseurs to Coastal Mississippi, making it the largest fine arts festival in the region. It is held over the course of a weekend every November and features not just artists, but craftsmen and women as well as food vendors and experts from all over the country.
Take part in the local festivities in Ocean Springs, MS
Throughout the year, Ocean Springs hosts an incredible lineup of local festivals and events celebrating everything from the local history, the changing of the seasons, and of course, the bounties of the sea (and more). Mark your calendars and watch out for the following events:
Find your dream waterfront property in Ocean Springs, MS
Owen & Co. Real Estate has been the expert on Mississippi Gulf Coast real estate for over 70 years, making them a trusted household name in the local industry. Work with one of the top 5 real estate companies in the area today.
Get in touch with the team to learn more about your real estate opportunities in Ocean Springs,