While there is not a shortage of things to enjoy in Baton Rouge with kids, a quick road trip with the famlily is never a bad idea. Our local Baton Rouge writers have plenty of family-friendly road trip suggestions from Baton Rouge, as well as tips on enjoying an adventure in the great outdoors! Another one of our favorite outings with kids in Baton Rouge is hiking, but there’s nothing quite like the Gulf Coast … and that’s why we think you should take a fun filled family vacation to The Oasis in Gulfport!
Get Away to Gulfport :: A Fun Filled Family Vacation to The Oasis
After a complicated beach trip to the Florida panhandle early in the summer, we decided to try another family trip a little closer to home and with less prep and driving. The criteria for this trip were: “not too far away” and “a lazy river.” I literally googled “lazy river gulf coast” and found several options. After reading some reviews and finding availability for our last-minute trip we decided on The Oasis in Gulfport, MS.
The Oasis had everything we were looking for for our short trip. It wasn’t too far away, it had toddler-friendly activities and we wouldn’t need to leave. At just over 2 hours from Baton Rouge, we didn’t need to stop for gas or bathroom breaks or even lunch. We loaded up the car and headed to the coast with a toddler and an infant.
Once we booked the trip, I started to hear about The Oasis from others, a family member here, a friend there. Was this the best-kept secret? I’ve heard of other places on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and also heard about overcrowding and feeling overwhelmed. Our experience at The Oasis was neither of those things and we visited the last weekend in July.
Housed on the ground of the former VA medical center The Oasis is a perfect family getaway. The grounds are beautiful and it is located just across the highway from the beach. They offer “kids suites” with a bunk bed section as well as standard King and Queen beds in rooms. We didn’t have a suite, since my kids were too small for bunk beds, but our standard room, while not large, had enough space for a pack-n-play and a toddler bed. Each room comes with 2 wristbands for access to the water area; additional bands can be purchased, but kids age 5 and under do not require a band!
Fun: The water area is reserved only for guests of the resort. It has a lazy river, zero entry pool, and kid-friendly water slides, also with zero entry. The main water slide feature is great for toddlers and young children. My almost 3-year-old was hesitant at first but was soon climbing the steps, the rope ladder, and sliding on his own. The slide area is surrounded by beach chairs and a few tables to separate it from the lazy river. My toddler was able to play somewhat independently and he had a blast. Towels are provided and tubes for the lazy river were easy to just grab and float. At night the fountain had a light show set to music and the kids were mesmerized. Check-out is at 11 am, but they allow you to utilize the resort area until 4pm the day of check-out.
Food: There is a swim-up bar for ordering drinks and food to eat poolside. Pizza, chicken tenders, and burgers are available by the pool. If you’re looking for a break there are two restaurants on-site. The Oasis grill was a small, family-friendly location that served all of the poolside fares with a few additions. The grill also served breakfast daily and had a small coffee bar. Food could also be ordered for taking out to your room. You can go cash/cardless while you’re there and just charge everything to your room. It was convenient and one less thing to worry about.
Tips for Success
We decided we will definitely be returning and it may become an annual end-of-summer tradition. After our initial visit, we learned a few things.
● If you have one, bring an umbrella that can clip onto a lounge chair. There were a lot of available chairs, but very few umbrellas. We saw a few people had brought their own small umbrellas and will likely do the same next time.
● There is limited shade, so bring hats, and sunscreen and get the kids to wear rashguards to make things easier.
● If you have an infant or toddler bring your own smaller tube/float for the lazy river.
● Personal towels aren’t necessary but may come in handy. You cannot take the resort
towels out of the pool area, so if you want a towel to go from pool to room you’ll need to bring your own.
It was a fun-filled family vacation that put little to no stress on the parents. My toddler had a wonderful time and my infant napped poolside. We parked and didn’t leave the resort, but should you want to, the beach is within walking distance, there is an aquarium nearby and the outlet mall is not too far away. The Oasis was well worth the drive and is a great family-friendly destination.