Mississippi : Safety by City
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- New Albany
- Pass Christian
Pass Christian, Mississippi, is an amazing coastal town that has something for everyone.
From its stunning beaches and delicious seafood to its charming downtown area and friendly locals, there are countless reasons to visit this small town on Mississippi’s Secret Coast.
The name might make you a little tongue-tied, as it’s pronounced “Pass Chris-CHEE-ann,” but it’s likely why it’s more commonly referred to as “The Pass.”
The town of fewer than 6,000 people captures several essences; Spanish moss drips from stately oak trees giving an element of Southern charm, while the sandy beaches and crystal waters of the Gulf of Mexico give it a beach town vibe.
Yet the seafood and Cajun flavors remind you that Louisiana is just 40 miles east.
Pass Christian is also known for its delicious seafood.
The town is famous for its shrimp, oysters, and crab, which can be found at many of the local restaurants and markets.
Whether you prefer a casual beachside spot or a more upscale restaurant, there is no shortage of options for seafood lovers in Pass Christian.
The town’s downtown area is also a major draw for visitors.
With its historic buildings and landmarks, charming shops, and art galleries, there is plenty to see and do.
You can explore the local art scene, browse for unique souvenirs, or simply take a stroll through the area and soak in the town’s rich history and culture.
Hurricane Katrina devastated Pass Christian in 2005, destroying over 90% of the town’s structures and claiming many lives.
The town has since been rebuilt, but the impact of the storm can still be seen and felt in the community today.
I know America has a lot of great coastlines, but the Mississippi Coastal region is too often overlooked, yet still stunning, affordable, and family-friendly.
Warnings & Dangers in Pass Christian
OVERALL RISK: LOW
The Pass enjoys a very low crime rate, but don't get lured into a false sense of safety as not every city along the coastline is so mellow. This is a great spot to get away from crowded beaches and long lines, but it's also not as vibrant as some vacations might prefer.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
The Coast Transit Authority buses don't come as far as The Pass, but you can pick it up 10 miles to the east in Gulfport. Taxis and rideshares are available, and much of the town is walkable. A rental car gives you more freedom to explore.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
The risk is low, with no pickpockets reported in 2022. While the crime rate averages out to 64% higher than the national average, it plummets well below that average if you remove the 68% of shoplifting crimes.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
Pass Christian sits on a vulnerable section of the Gulf Coast, especially during Hurricane Season, which runs from June through November. Flooding, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes are also possible. Extreme heat mixed with oppressive humidity can make summers challenging. Winter weather is rare, if not unheard of.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
The city sees an average of one robbery a year, so this is a low risk. The bigger concern would be robbers coming from other cities and committing crimes here.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is low-risk with no hard targets and a very small community. Cities with shipbuilding or oil companies along this coastline would be larger potential targets. The Mississippi Department of Homeland Security issues regular updates.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
The Better Business Bureau for Pass Christian doesn't have any tourist scams posted as of this publication, but the website is a great resource to see common scams happening in the city and across the state. The state Attorney General's office website also lists updates on scam reports.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
This is one of the safest communities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for female travelers, with low crime rates, plenty of safe spaces to explore, and enough solitude to take some much-needed "Me Time." I've driven this route several times, and the peaceful drive with sandy shoreline on one side of the road and stately Southern homes on the other is a rare road trip treat.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report proudly states, "Once again, we are proud to report that our system has not violated a maximum containment level or any other water quality standard." If you visit during a time of heavy rain, flooding, or cold snaps, check the city's social media sites to see if any cautionary boil order warnings have been issued.
Safest Places to Visit in Pass Christian
GulfCoast.org is the website for the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which isn’t the same as GulfShores.com, as the latter covers the Alabama stretch of coastline.
Pass Main Street focuses just on the downtown area and includes attractions, restaurants, events, and shops.
The Pass is also a popular stop for the holiday season and Mardi Gras, and the best local information is found on the city’s official website.
If you’re driving from the airport, I recommend you skip the interstate and take Highway 90 to get to The Pass.
The road is right on the shoreline, with unobstructed views for miles.
One of the best things to do in Pass Christian is to explore its beaches.
Pass Christian Beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing.
It has a long stretch of sand and plenty of amenities, including showers, restrooms, and picnic tables.
- Pass Christian Beach – Located in the heart of the town, it is one of the more crowded spots.
- Henderson Point Beach – Located at the western end of Pass Christian, this beach offers a quieter atmosphere with fewer crowds. It also features an “enchanted” nature trail that kids will love.
- East Beach – Located at the eastern end of Pass Christian, this beach offers a long stretch of shoreline for sunbathing and swimming. It is also a popular spot for birdwatching and kiteboarding.
- Bay St. Louis Beach – Located about 10 miles west of Pass Christian, this beach offers calm waters and a family-friendly atmosphere. It also features a playground and pavilion for picnics and events.
The Pass Christian Historical Society Museum showcases the town’s past, including its Native American heritage, the Civil War, and Hurricane Katrina.
It also has a collection of vintage photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia that give visitors a glimpse into Pass Christian’s rich history.
Visitors can also take a self-guided walking tour to learn more about the history and architecture of the area.
For nature lovers, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory is a must-see.
The organization works to protect and preserve bird populations along the Gulf Coast.
Visitors can take guided bird-watching tours, attend educational programs, and learn about the importance of conservation efforts.
If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure, consider renting a kayak or paddleboard from one of the local outfitters.
You can explore the scenic Bay of St. Louis, which is known for its calm waters and abundant wildlife.
You might even spot dolphins or sea turtles!
The Wolf River Coastal Preserve near Pass Christian is a beautiful nature reserve covering a whopping 72,000 acres.
The tidal marsh habitat offers hiking trails, birdwatching opportunities, and scenic views of the surrounding wetlands and wildlife.
Pass Christian’s Main Street is a charming historic district that offers a variety of shopping, dining, and cultural experiences.
The street is lined with beautiful oak trees and historic buildings, including several that date back to the 19th century.
Visitors can explore unique boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and specialty stores, as well as enjoy the local cuisine.
You can also find a slew of events and festivals throughout the year, including the annual Pass Christian Art and Wine Festival and the Christmas in the Pass celebration.
Places to Avoid in Pass Christian
Crime and dangerous neighborhoods won’t be your biggest concern here.
There aren’t bad parts of town, and aside from the general precautions you’d take in a new city at night, you don’t need to lock yourself in the hotel after the sun goes down.
The unique nature of the coastline is what makes some places more likely to avoid, but you have to know critical elements like:
- Tide Schedule: Tidal marshes will rise and fall with the tide, making a hiking path you crossed over on the way in covered with water on the way out.
- Mud: Pass Christian is 13′ above sea level, and the tides mixed with storms or heavy periods of rain can turn paths into mud pits. If you try to hike in tennis shoes, you’ll likely lose those to the swamp. Wear (or at least bring) knee-high waterproof boots. Check trail conditions before you go.
- Storms: Watching storms off the coastline can be a breathtaking experience, but if you can hear thunder, you’re close enough to get hit by lightning. While most boat tours will cancel trips due to forecasted weather, you need to have your own personal education about storm safety before spending a day outdoors.
You also want to avoid being shocked or appalled by certain cultural habits.
I’m definitely not a crawfish fan, but people overall love the delicacy and will encourage you to “suck the head.”
If you ask for regular iced tea with no sugar in it, you might get odd looks.
If you ask for minimum spice, you might still be shocked at the Cajun version of “mild.”
Safety Tips for Traveling to Pass Christian
- Pass Christian does have its own police force, and you can contact them through an online form to ask specific safety questions. They also have a Facebook page with regular updates about events, criminal activity, missing people/pets, and safety trends.
- You can report any suspicious activity or non-urgent criminal activity by calling Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers at (877) 787-5898 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your report can be anonymous and help keep The Pass safe for others.
- Sign up for CodeRED emergency notifications through the Harrison County Emergency Management website. This easy process will offer life-saving weather and safety information in the event of an approaching storm or civil emergency.
- Whether you’re fishing alone or on a charter, you are legally required to have a fishing license from the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Non-residents can choose from a freshwater or saltwater license (or both).
- It’s really tempting in The Pass to jaywalk across Beach Boulevard to get to and from the shoreline. Please don’t do this, as drivers can be easily distracted while driving this busy stretch of roadway. Take the time to cross at the closest crosswalk safely.
- If you have a planned trip during hurricane season, and you see a storm approaching, seriously consider canceling your plans. Even if you plan to leave before the “worst of it,” stores can sell out of essential supplies, gas stations can run out of gas, and many businesses will board up ahead of time. Highway 90 is one of the first roads to flood in the city during a storm surge, which means you’ll be cut off from the main road anyway.
- Pass Christian city leaders have been battling illegal short-term housing (vacation rentals) issues while trying to control the number of rentals that impact the city funding. Some of the fees rental owners have to pay might be passed onto renters. This has been a tense topic in the city, but you can follow the city’s website to see the newest costs and fees associated with renting a vacation place here.
- Those booking a trip to Mardi Gras should really consider the location of their hotel, as parking will be hard to find, and many streets will be closed for parades. Mardi Gras accommodations across the coast can easily fill up six months to a year in advance, so avoid any last-minute Mardi Gras trips unless you want to pay more and be farther away.
- Review the Mississippi Beach Monitoring Program to see any health advisories on coastal beaches. The waters here can get unsafe levels of bacteria that lead to “No Water Contact” orders. Even as I look at the map on this random day, there’s only one beach safe enough to visit in Pass Christian.
- You should review the wildlife risks in Coastal Mississippi, as it’s not uncommon to see an alligator, coyote, or poisonous snake. The wildlife department offers great resources to learn the risks and safety steps, but you should know never to feed, bait, or pet a wild animal.
So... How Safe Is Pass Christian Really?
If you’re looking for one of the safest cities on the Mississippi Coast, this is a great option.
It’s far enough away to provide a safe place to sleep at night but close enough to other cities like Biloxi and Ocean Springs to still be part of the action.
The Pass hasn’t seen more than 10 violent crimes in a year for the past decade, aside from a spike to 16 in 2019.
In 2022, that number was down to one.
Car break-ins make up 15% of the thefts in town, but you shouldn’t let that make you any less attentive to the regular safety steps of locking your car after removing all personal items.
The Pass Christian Police make a great point that it takes 20 seconds to remove items and lock a car, while it takes a thief 30 seconds to break in and steal stuff.
The environmental concerns here are less about safety and more about comfort.
Visitors will complain the “bugs ate me alive” or “the humidity made it hard to breathe.”
There’s not always a great sea breeze coming off the Gulf, which can make you feel like you’re standing in a wet rag.
Staying hydrated and adding electrolytes will help keep you going, but don’t push yourself to the point of heat exhaustion.
The best part about this safe town is you get a little bit of Southern, Cajun, Antebellum, and beach life all wrapped up into one small place that will forever leave an impression on you.
How Does Pass Christian Compare?
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As Pass Christian is located in the United States, visitors from other countries will need a valid passport and may also require a visa depending on their country of origin, duration of stay, and purpose of travel. Don't delay the visa process, as it can take several weeks or months.
The currency used in Pass Christian, Mississippi, is the United States Dollar (USD)—exchange currency at the airport or in your hometown to get the lowest fees. Don't use public ATMs to get cash, and always go inside a bank if you need to make a transaction. Keep cash in a safe place, but also use a waterproof bag to protect from humidity, sweat, and sea spray.
You can't really understand the humidity of this region until you experience it, but please pack breathable, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. You want layers of clothing in winter, but it's a rare day that a winter coat is needed. Spring and fall will bring fluctuating temperatures, so plan to add or peel off layers as needed. Comfortable shoes for land and water will help keep your feet from getting sore, blistered, or cut. Bring bug spray with DEET and apply it often. The wetland and humidity can make mosquitoes a real buzz kill for outdoor activities.
The closest airport to Pass Christian is Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, located approximately 18 miles away. If you're visiting NOLA, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is about 90 minutes east. Mobile Regional Airport, Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport, and Pensacola International Airport are other options in the region.
It is always recommended to have travel insurance when visiting Pass Christian, as it can provide coverage for unexpected medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen events that may occur during your trip.
Pass Christian Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Mississippi - Safety by City