The Gulf Coast of Alabama isn’t exactly a hidden gem (you can’t keep the gorgeous white, sandy shores under wraps for a long time).
The area’s picturesque combination of sunny island vibe and down-home Southern fun is just pure magic. The historic sites, wildlife preserves, beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and souvenir shopping are all yours to enjoy.
Since the best way to experience a new adventure is by road, a cruise down the Alabama Coastal Connection byway will be the ultimate island experience. The drive will allow to take in the natural beauty of coastal Alabama – a treasure trove of fun things to see and do.
So turn up the cool music, roll down the windows of your car, and brace yourself for the best beach road trip ever! Here’s what you’ll get to see.
7 Detours on Your Alabama Coastal Connection Byway
1. Fort Morgan Historic Site
One of the most eye-catching attractions is Fort Morgan. It was built in 1834 and it was active in four major wars including World War I, World War II, the Spanish-American War, and the Civil War. However, it is best known for playing a crucial role in the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay.
This majestic fort was built by enslaved masons using more than 40 million bricks. It houses some charming natural areas and the park has a beach and a boat launch.
There is also a gift shop and a museum where you can collect souvenirs.
2. Bellingrath Home and Gardens
This captivating secret garden belongs to the Bellingrath couple and is open to visitors all year long.
One of the most interesting thing about these lovely grounds is that fact that there is always something blooming regardless of the season.
Fall is when beautifully-colored chrysanthemums blossom, summer is the best time to see different types of flowers – from hibiscus to magnolias, the spring brings roses and azalea blooms, winter is perfect for camellias – Alabama’s state flower.
Foley is a paradise for antique lovers. The Gift Horse, Heritage Antique Mall, Hollis Ole Crush Antique Mall offer plenty of antique shopping for you to indulge in.
While you are downtown, ensure you stop by Stacey Drugs and Olde Tyme Soda Fountain for some old-fashioned milkshake and a scrumptious Italian cuisine.
But Foley is not limited to the downtown lure, you can also indulge in some high-flying adventure at the OWA. Or, connect with Mother Nature at the Graham Creek Nature Preserve where you can go hiking, biking, kayaking, golfing, and see exotic wildlife.
4. Dauphin Island
This is the place for birds (and bird enthusiasts).
The Audubon Bird Sanctuary is ranked as one of the best places in the U.S. to see different species of birds, especially in spring.
In addition, you can round up your tour of the Dauphin Island at the Estuarium – a public aquarium and home to over 150 species of marine animals.
5. Indian and Sea Museum
This is the best place to enjoy the culture and history of coastal Alabama. Located in a seriously adorable historic schoolhouse, this museum displays artifacts from the fishing, farming, and boating history of the region’s original inhabitants.
It is free to visit and is located in an area with a lot of eateries. Don’t miss out!
6. Orange Beach and Gulf Shores
Known for their sugar-white sands and family-friendly environment, the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are bucket-list worthy beach destinations.
You get to gorge on fresh seafood and cold beer at different spots along the beaches. Moreover, the Gulf State Park boasts of miles of scenic trails that you can explore by walking or biking. While on your hike, ensure you keep an eye out for bobcats, deer, birds, and alligators.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo allows you to get up close with some fierce wild animals. Other exciting activities in the area include water parks, escape rooms, mini golf, go karts, and roller coasters.
7. Pleasure Island Tiki Bar
Ending your Alabama Coastal Connection byway trip should call for a celebration. And there’s no better place to do that than the Pleasure Island Tiki Bar. You’ll get to enjoy some cold pina colada and Bushwacker – a local drink that tastes like a boozy milkshake.
You’ll also be able to take in the beautiful Alabama scenery and enjoy live music while sipping your drink with some tasty Hawaiian pizza, popcorn shrimp, or fish tacos.
It’s the best place to toast to your new coastal Alabama experience.
Create Your Own Alabama Coastal Connection
There so many ways to explore the Alabama Coastal Connection, and you should definitely find your own. From exploring the beautiful towns with coastal character to relaxing at beachfront resorts with lots of recreational activities, there’s always something for you.
Whatever your option of a good time, take your time and make a connection!