The first destination point during our summer 2022 vacation could be found in Gulfport, Mississippi, at the Oasis Resort.
How did I choose the Oasis Resort, you ask? Simple. I Google “nice family beach within driving distance.” Guess what came up?
I’ll talk more about Gulfport in a future entry, but all of the travel websites raved about Oasis Resort in the Centennial Plaza. I checked out the pictures, read the reviews, and figured it looked like a good place to try. After all, it has its own water park (as you can see in the pictures above taken from our room window), and the beach was literally just across the street. I was personally excited to get back to a beach, but I figured if the family got tired of the sand, we could hit our resort’s water park. Win/Win, right?
I’m getting a little ahead of myself. When we rolled into Centennial Plaza, we were impressed. The grounds were nicely kept with interesting architecture. As it turns out, the entire plaza was once a Naval training camp! We found the check-in building next to the water park, headed in, and got our key cards. It wasn’t the friendliest of check-ins, but I was also finishing up a long day of driving, so I figured maybe I just wasn’t in a great mood.
We found our particular building, also next to the water park, and walked by a guy smoking a cigarette by the front doors in order to get in. (This became a regular occurrence, but not with the same guy.) We then took a small elevator to the third floor and found our room.
We’re the kind of family who really enjoys the suite life. Therefore, when I saw Oasis offered a room with a kids suite, I jumped on it. The kids get their own space with a bunk bed? Very cool! Except that suite was nothing more than a VERY small area with a six foot partition separating it from our portion of the otherwise standard hotel room. The online pictures were extremely misleading–they made this room look three times bigger than it actually was.
We were also greeted with stained sheets on my daughter’s bed. We’re not sure what it was, but it almost looked like motor grease. We immediately called down to get new sheets brought up. This, too, was a bit of a fiasco, but it gone done.
Okay, not the smoothest of starts. The family was not terribly pleased with the room, and, honestly, I wasn’t either.
You may remember that I mentioned towels being an issue with my inaugural entry for this series. We stayed several nights at the Oasis Resort, and getting four fresh towels each morning proved a challenge even Heracles couldn’t accomplish. One morning they didn’t give us enough. Another morning they were completely out–their supply truck hadn’t arrived. It was a little crazy. How can towels be an issue at a resort every single day we stayed there?
However, there were also several bright points.
The water park was amazing. With two big water slides, a zero entry pool, and a 900 foot lazy river, there was something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, they opened at 9:00 a.m. and closed at 9:00 p.m., so we would enjoy it in the mornings before it got crowded and then in the evenings as it started thinning out. Be aware, though, that there is a bar located in the pool and so as the day goes on you tend to find cups lining the lazy river and popsicle sticks floating in the water.
They also had some very good restaurants on the premises. One of our favorite meals during the entire vacation occurred at The Blue Marlin. The food was excellent, but we happened to have a very large, very drunk group a few tables over that made it hard for us to hear ourselves think, much less hold a conversation. The Oasis Grill also proved a good spot for food on the grounds. We ate breakfast there one morning and truly enjoyed it. While our waitress was very friendly, we found the hostesses a little disengaged if not slightly hostile. If that’s the case for you, stick it out and wait for the food–it’s worth it!
Finally, Centennial Plaza has a wonderful fountain that lights up at night while spraying water in coordination with music playing. Here’s a picture we took.
In the end, Oasis Resort was a fun place to visit, but I wouldn’t make it a destination spot. If you happen to be passing through or in the area for something else, it’s an entertaining attraction with good food and good fun for the whole family.