Getaway to the Alabama Gulf Coast

Small towns on the Alabama Gulf Coast include Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Foley, Daphne, and Fairhope welcome RVers and offer outdoor adventures including hiking, biking, canoeing, and birding.

They actually toss buns to you at Lambert’s—the Throwed Bun restaurant. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

They actually toss buns to you at Lambert’s—the Throwed Bun restaurant. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Foley is a shopper’s paradise with a multitude of factory outlets as well as Lambert’s—the Throwed Bun restaurant. Like the name suggests, they actually throw buns at you.

The Foley Depot Museum is housed in the Louisville and Nashville railroad station built in 1908. Catch a glimpse into the history and culture of the area. The museum contains reminders of the days when Foley was a thriving agricultural center and the railroad played a major role in its prosperity.

One of the most charming small towns in America, Fairhope is located on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. A growing arts center with quaint boutiques, specialty shops, bookstores, cafes, and galleries line its quaint downtown streets. Funky-to-grand antiques, imaginative and traditional art, rare books and best-sellers, and other new and old collectibles fill the stores.

From the business district, Fairhope Avenue funnels toward grand homes, appealing cottages, flowering beds, and parkland that gracefully ride a bluff down to the Fairhope Pier and Mobile Bay. The pier’s picturesque setting makes it a wonderful place to view gorgeous sunsets.

An Alabama Gulf Coast sunrise. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

An Alabama Gulf Coast sunrise. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But Fairhope is just part of the almost 40-mile-long Eastern Shore terrain that runs from Spanish Fort on Mobile Bay’s north lip to Point Clear, where the bay broadens into the Gulf of Mexico. A few miles north of Spanish Fort, the last major battle of the Civil War took place at what is now Historic Blakely State Park. Tour the preserved Civil War battlefield with its Confederate and Union breastworks and fortifications. Walk or bike on miles of trails and roadways.

Between here and Fairhope, the waterside communities of Montrose and Daphne offer their own surprises.

Daphne is perhaps most famous for being one of the few places in the world to experience the phenomenon known as a Jubilee. To folks around Daphne and the rest of the Eastern Shore, this event brings blue crabs, shrimp, and fish swimming from the depths of the bay into the shallow waters of the shoreline. Generally, the bottom fish, such as flounders, catfish, and stingrays, are the most affected.

Locals make ready lanterns, giggs, scoop nets, buckets, baskets, tubs, canvas sacks, or whatever it takes to scoop up the anticipated bounty of seafood. As the tide comes in, the bottom dwelling fish, shrimp, and crabs are forced to move into the shoreline and are eventually trapped in shallow water at the beach. The seafood is scooped up by the tubfulls to be frozen and enjoyed all year long.

As dawn comes and the sun rises, those fish not caught, revive with oxygen to swim to safety once again in Mobile Bay.

Fort Morgan of “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” fame offers guided tours. Completed in 1834, Fort Morgan was active during four wars: Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World Wars I and II.

The massive fort contains more than 40 million bricks and pays tribute to the skilled masons, many of whom were enslaved African Americans.

Fort Morgan is most famous for its key role during the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay.

“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” was the historic command issued by U.S. naval commander Admiral David Farragut as his fleet charged into Mobile Bay. His objectives were to capture the forts at the entrance to the bay, destroy Mobile’s Confederate naval squadron, and close Mobile to blockade runners.

Union Admiral David Farragut damned the torpedoes and went full speed ahead to win the battle.

The fort features an active living history program that interprets all the military periods and holds an annual event commemorating the Battle of Mobile Bay.

The Alabama Gulf Coast. features 32 miles of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Alabama Gulf Coast. features 32 miles of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.
© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The military site and National Historic Landmark is located 22 miles west of Gulf Shores.

Please Note: This is Part 2 of a 3-Part series

Part 1: Experience the Magic of the Alabama Gulf Coast

Part 3: Deep South Surprises

Worth Pondering…

Dixie

Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten,

Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.
In Dixie Land, where I was born in,
early on one frosty mornin’,
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.

—lyrics by Daniel Decatur Emmett

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