Biloxi, Miss.
When Biloxi took over for Mobile as capital of French Louisiana in 1720, a Mardi Gras party was sure to follow.

It came 186 years later, but boy what a time it was. The Biloxi parades and krewes date back to 1908, but can't really be taken outside the greater context of Mississippi's Gulf Coast Mardi Gras celebrations. Biloxi still gets the honor of hosting Fat Tuesday's parade festivities itself, but nearby towns such as Gulfport. Pascagoula, Ocean Springs and Wiggins hold their own with night parades, balls, galas and other celebrations.

Still, Biloxi has multiple parades leading up to Mardi Gras and two parades on Fat Tuesday itself. Thousands of people line Route 90 to get a glimpse of the costumes, the marching krewes, King d'Iberville and Queen Ixolib and double-decker floats from New Orleans.

It takes a little navigation to make it to all of the Gulf Coast Mardi Gras events, and some just won't be in striking distance. If you base yourself in Biloxi, however, you'll not only be at the epicenter of all the parties, parades and plentiful spirits, but you'll basically be in the gaming capital of the Gulf Coast. The casinos that line the water tend to keep the party going long after the parade floats are packed away, so pull up a stool at the Beau Rivage or the Hard Rock and stay a while.

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