World-class gardens and Civil War forts top the list of major attractions along Alabama’s Coastal Connection. But with a setting like this—inland farmlands, small Southern towns, oak-lined shores of Mobile Bay and sugar-white sands of the Gulf of Mexico—there are plenty of one-of-a-kind attractions to visit along the way.
Our wildlife preserves, historic sites and heritage museums are a good way to peer into our coastal culture and they are a great starting point for your journey. Take a look at these special places and pick your favorites—or better yet, stay long enough to visit them all!
Audubon Bird Sanctuary
213 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, AL 36528
The sanctuary consists of 164 acres of maritime forest, marshes, dunes, a lake, swamp and beach. Multiple walking trails, some handicapped accessible, allow the avid birder miles of habitat for spotting neo-tropical migrants.
Baldwin County Heritage Museum
25521 Hwy. 98, Elberta, AL 36530
We represent the grass roots of our society by providing a place for visitors to experience the heritage and share the ethnic and farming culture of Baldwin County.
Bellingrath Gardens and Home
12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore, AL 36582
Located on tranquil Fowl River, enjoy 65 acres of landscaped beauty and the Bellingrath Museum Home. We are open daily from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and are closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
12295 State Hwy. 180 W., Gulf Shores, AL 36542
The Jeff Friend Trail at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge will be CLOSED from the end of August/beginning of September until the spring of 2018.Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge continually strives to improve their visitors’ experiences. In order to continue this effort, the Jeff Friend Trail will undergo construction at the end of August/beginning of September through the spring of 2018. During this time frame, the trail will add an improved boardwalk and become ADA accessible. Although this trail will be closed, the Pine Beach Trail, Gator Lake Trail, and Centennial Trail will remain open. We appreciate your patience and look forward to everyone enjoying the renovations! The Refuge is open year-round during daylight hours for hiking, fishing, wildlife observation, and photography. Discover some of Alabama's last remaining undisturbed coastal habitat. Office hours: 7:00am-3:30pm Monday-Friday.
City of Foley Depot Museum and Model Train Exhibit
125 E. Laurel Ave., Foley, AL 36535
The model trains are in operation on Tu., Th. and Sat. from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The museum hours are M - Sat from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Eastern Shore Trail
29750 Larry Dee Cawyer Dr., Daphne, AL 36526
Take your choice of hiking or biking on the multi-use Eastern Shore Trail. You can enjoy beautiful bay views and oak-canopied roadways.
Fairhope Museum of History
24 N. Section St., Fairhope, AL 36532
Located in Fairhope's 1928 Spanish Mission-style City Hall, the museum includes the original jail, mayor’s office, town council chamber, and fire station outfitted with an original 1935 firetruck. Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tu.-Sat. Phone 251-929-1471.
Fort Gaines Historic Site
51 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, AL 36528
Where History spans three centuries. The role of Fort Gaines in the Battle of Mobile Bay, one of the Civil War's most notable naval conflicts. Open seven days a week, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: Adult, $8, Children 5-12 $ 4. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, & Christmas Day. Great for Boy Scout sleepovers, weddings & receptions. Find us on Facebook!
110 State Hwy. 180 W., Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Explore the grounds of historic Fort Morgan! Standing atop the fort with a view of the bay, visitors can see where several naval battles were fought during two wars. The most famous battle occurred during the summer of 1864 when Confederate and Union naval forces fought for control of the bay entrance. During June and July, a living history program is conducted by uniformed tour guides who tell the history of Fort Morgan from its beginning as an active post in 1834 to World War II. June and July tours are given twice a day at 10 AM and 2PM.On Tuesday evenings in June and July the Civil War Evening Tour takes visitors back to the Civil War to show how the soldiers lived. Museum open 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily Fort open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily and 8 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays in June and July (weather permitting) Admission: $7 for adults, $5 seniors (65 and older) and students, $4 for children 6 - 12, Free for active duty, veterans and children under 6. Family Pass: $18 for 2 adults/2 children. Call for group rates. www.fort-morgan.org
Graham Creek Nature Preserve
23030 Wolf Bay Dr., Foley, AL 36535
The Preserve has 484 acres of habitats including pitcher plant bogs and mixed forests and offers an interpretive center open M - Sat. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., canoe/kayak launch, hiking and biking trails, bird watching, two 18-hole disc golf courses, picnic areas, playgrounds, restrooms, archery park, and pavilion.
Gulf Shores Museum
244 W. 19th Ave., Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Fly through the eye of a hurricane with “Hurricane Hunters” and our interactive display. Permanent exhibits, special exhibits, films and both adult and youth programs are offered throughout the year.
Gulf State Park
20115 State Hwy. 135, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
This Gulf Coast gem boasts 6,500 acres of land with 2.5 miles of beach, three fresh water lakes, a nationally recognized scenic nature trail, a beach pavilion, picnic area and campground.
Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier
20800 E. Beach Blvd., Gulf Shores, AL 36542
At 1,540 feet long, 20 feet wide, and boasting 2,448 feet of fishing space, we are the second longest pier on the Gulf of Mexico and Alabama’s only public pier on the Gulf. Rates for fishing on Gulf State Pier:Adults/Children 12-older $9.00/dayChildren 11-under: $5.00/day or free with paying adultWeekly pass $41.00Monthly pass $81.00Semi-annual pass $161.00Annual pass $321.00Sightseeing $4.00/ all day. $3.00/ one trip
Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail
4009 Orange Beach Blvd., Orange Beach, AL 36561
Gulf State Park’s Hugh S. Branyon Back Country Trail Complex consists of fifteen trails among six distinct ecosystems that make up more than 25 miles of paved trails within the 6180 acres of land inside the park. The trail winds through the park and connects both of the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Locals and visitors can enjoy even more areas for biking, jogging, walking, skating, rock climbing, wildlife watching, plant and tree identification, photography and connecting to nature.
Hummingbird Zipline Course at The Wharf
4830 Main St., Ste. G-114, Orange Beach, AL 36561
At Gulf Adventure Center’s Hummingbird Zipline course, you’ll sail high in the air, experiencing adrenaline-pumping velocity and breathtaking views over land and water alike.
Local Public Beaches
Various locations, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
After a full day of hiking the trails and exploring the waters, take time out to relax and let nature come to you. A refreshing night's stay at any of a variety of gulf-front accommodations in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach allows you to sit back and enjoy the sounds of the surf, the smell of the salt air and the view of the sunset overlooking the gulf waters.
Mobile Bay Ferry
51 State Hwy. 180 W., Gulf Shores, AL 36542
This is a vehicle and passenger ferry operating between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan. Call for rates and schedule. Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Old Methodist Church Museum of Daphne
405 Dryer Ave., Daphne, AL 36526
The old Methodist Church museum, formerly Daphne United Methodist Church, is the second oldest church building in Baldwin County and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. The adjacent cemetery predates the church where the earliest recorded burial was in 1847.
Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum
25850 John M. Snook Ave., Orange Beach, AL 36561
The Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum contains local history, including: photos, memorabilia and artifacts about the area’s Indian culture, regional fishing and marine history. The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Orange Beach Marinas
Various locations, Orange Beach, AL 36561
From one of the many marinas in Orange Beach visitors can enjoy a scenic back bay excursion aboard a charter cruise boat. Most have regularly scheduled morning and evening sightseeing trips and will schedule private trips upon reservations. This trip will offer an intimate view of the hundreds of acres of back bays along the byway and an interpretive overview of the birds and marine life you'll see there. Resident wild bottlenose dolphin are a favorite sight on these tours.
The Estuarium at The Dauphin Island Sea Lab
101 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, AL 36528
Open daily. Admission charged and group rates available. Handicapped accessible. Visual displays and interactive exhibits highlight Mobile's estuary system. All ages welcome.
The Holmes Medical Museum
111 W. Laurel Ave., Foley, AL 36535
Holmes Medical Museum is located in the first hospital in South Baldwin County from 1936-1958. Each room depicts some area of medicine as it was practiced in the early years. Open M - F from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Free admission.
USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park
2703 Battleship Pkwy., Mobile, AL 36602
Features the Battleship USS ALABAMA, Submarine USS DRUM, over 25 rare and historic aircraft, military tanks and equipment.The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail loops through Battleship Memorial Park, located on Mobile Bay, where the open lawns can be excellent for viewing shorebirds and also includes a paved walkway leading to a nature observatory.
Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
11300 Hwy. 98, Fairhope, AL 36532
This public research and education facility includes an interpretive center with indoor displays, live animals, and forested boardwalk trails within 6,600 acres of protected estuarine habitats.Boardwalk nature trails, native pitcher plant bog and guided tours.