It doesn’t take much convincing to get us out on Weeks Bay in Fairhope, Alabama. Relaxing in nature, taking in the hauntingly beautiful scenery, and spotting the diverse flora and fauna are just a few reasons to get out and explore Alabama’s Coastal Connection.

There’s no time like the present to visit the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, but if you’re booking an adventure along the coastal byway, plan to stop at this natural sanctuary during one of their annual events!

The Weeks Bay Foundation’s annual fundraiser, the Bald Eagle Bash, helps raise money to protect coastal wetlands. At the April 22 event, local chefs will prepare delicious dishes, and live music will set a lively mood for the whole day. With Fairhope Brewing providing the libations, it’s sure to be a good time! Tickets are $40 in advance.

Registration opens this month for the Pelican Paddle Canoe and Kayak Race. Since 2013, this fun competition has been a great way to get the whole family out on the water. The race course spans 3.5 miles, but for those uninterested in racing, there will be a non-competitive eco-tour paddle of the Weeks Bay area. This year’s Pelican Paddle takes place August 5, so mark your calendars now and make it a beach getaway!

Another great family event? Kids Fishing Day! Though an official date has yet to be announced, the event will take place in September this year. Area families are invited to enjoy this fun day of family and fishing on Weeks Bay at no cost.

By the time October rolls around, it’ll be time for the Alabama Coastal BirdFest, a birding and nature celebration. Starting October 4, the festival will offer a number of excursions where attendees can see birds, alligators, dolphins and other wildlife, plus workshops on everything from nature photography to the basics of birding. Registration opens August 14, and tickets will be available for purchase online.

In conjunction with BirdFest activities, the Weeks Bay Foundation puts on a free, family-friendly Bird & Conservation Expo at Alabama Coastal Community College in downtown Fairhope. Enjoy exhibits, a snake show, kids’ activities and more.

No matter when you find yourself traveling along Alabama’s Coastal Connection, there’s something worth stopping for.