Welcome to the Beach Boulevard Scenic Byway. Formerly known as Old Highway 1, the scenic byway parallels the Hancock County coastline for 13 miles from its northern tip at Cedar Point in Bay St. Louis, crosses U.S. Highway 90, then travels through the National Historic District of Bay St. Louis and the coastal town of Waveland. It ends at the fishing village of Bayou Cadet on its southern end.
For traveling convenience, the Beach Boulevard byway tour is split in two parts with U.S. Highway 90 being the dividing point. Here are some of the featured sites along the northern section of the Beach Boulevard byway.
Magnolia Branch and Cannery Row
Nestled around a colorful array of homes north of U.S. Highway 90 are the beautiful Felicity Street marshes and the former sites of oyster and fish canneries that are now covered by vegetated beach and the Bay-Waveland Yacht Club. Magnificent sailing vessels fill the Bay of St. Louis throughout the spring and summer, and during several annual regattas.
In the 1800s and early 1900s, there were several canneries and oyster processing facilities in this area, including the famous Dunbar Canning Company. When fish, shrimp and oysters were not being processed, turtle meat took their place, which was grown in adjacent shoreline pens. Today’s Yacht Club now sits was built on the location of the former Dunbar Canning Company.
The Felicity Street marshes are a must stop on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Birding Trail where abundant wildlife and birds can be viewed such as pelicans, herons, ibis and gulls.
Dunbar Pier and Bike Path
Dunbar Pier is one of Hancock County’s most popular piers extending into the Bay of St. Louis. Amateur and professional fishermen alike flock to this pier and pavilion to enjoy the bay breezes and watch the variety of birds that scan the waters. This area is a nursery for the shellfish that migrate into the Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico, an excellent brackish water fishing hotspot and occasional habitat for dolphins.
Birds are plentiful due to the fishing, the quiet winds and seas, and the woodland and wetland areas located adjacent to the Beach Boulevard Scenic Byway. Brown pelicans nest in this area, and blue herons and ibis frequently fish in these open waters and wetland areas.
Directly opposite to the entrance of the pier is the Dunbar Bike Path that stretches from the byway into the Bay St. Louis Cedar Point Community, and features a children’s playground, nearby sports complex, shops and restaurants.
The views at Cedar Point are remarkable, which makes it a prime spot on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Birding Trail. Visitors also can take advantage of fishing and crabbing from the shoreline, and walk out on the lateral pier and view the water and its abundant wildlife. Cedar Point is the mouth of the Jourdan River, a favorite locale for water skiing and fly fishing. It conveniently connects to the Jourdan River Blueway, which is part of the amenities on Hancock County’s Byways to Space tour.