There are many stories to tell along Alabama’s Coastal Connection National Scenic Byway, and we invite you to come find your own. In the meantime, below are a few ideas to give you a sense of the diversity of options you’ll find here.
– Dauphin Island was named one of America’s “Birdiest Cities
” for 2010. Each spring and fall, neo-tropical migrants join the many species of indigenous birds along the coast as they make their seasonal journey. On the Fort Morgan peninsula, the Hummer Bird Study Group
holds a bird banding each spring and fall, offering the general public a glimpse into the world of birding and a close-up look at species including the yellow-bellied sapsucker, white-eyed vireo and the ruby-throated hummingbird.
Blessing of the Fleet
– This annual event
began in Bayou La Batre in 1949. It has become part local heritage celebration and part tourist attraction. It centers on the colorfully decorated boats that cruise up the bayou to receive blessings by the archbishop who prays for a good harvest and a safe return.
Connecting with Nature
– The Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary
, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
, Gulf State Park
, and Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
each offer protected lands and walking trails through a variety of coastal habitats including primary and secondary dunes, marsh and wetlands, and maritime forests. In addition, interpretive centers reveal even more about the coastal environment and its beauty, diversity and importance.
Damn the Torpedoes!
– At the heart of the Coastal Connection is the mouth of Mobile Bay, site of the famous battle cry of the Civil War naval battle. Historic Forts Gaines
still stand as guardians of the bay and are open to the public. Candlelight tours and re-enactments are held throughout the year. The Battle of Mobile Bay Civil War Trail
comprises more than a dozen sites throughout Baldwin and Mobile counties, where action occurred during both the Battle of the Bay and the Overland Campaign.
Have It Your Way
– Alabama’s Coastal Connection National Scenic Byway offers so much more than scenery! The diversity of this 130+-mile byway provides visitors many reasons to visit again and again. Travelers can set their own itinerary focusing on nature trails or historic sites, coastal resorts or authentic small towns, quiet backwater cruises or exciting offshore fishing trips.
– Along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, a jubilee is a celebrated event when fish, crabs and shrimp rise to the surface at the water’s edge. Residents of the small cities of Fairhope and Daphne are among the few folks in the world who have the chance to experience this natural phenomenon. While jubilees have been recorded in other regions, Mobile Bay is the only body of water where they have been documented regularly. Specific summer weather conditions result in jubilees, the first of which was recorded here in the 1860s.
– Fresh from the Gulf and the plentiful inland waters, seafood on Alabama’s coast is the star of the show on tables all along the byway. Oysters and shrimp harvested by locals who make their living off the sea; nearshore favorites like redfish, flounder and speckled trout; and offshore specialties like grouper, trigger and the ever-popular red snapper can all be found here. Whether you want to catch and cook it yourself (many area restaurants will cook your catch for you) or just show up in time for dinner, enjoying the bounty of the sea is one of the most popular pastimes on any trip along Alabama’s Coastal Connection.
Where the Land Meets the Sea: Estuaries
– It’s estimated that ninety percent of the fish, shrimp, crab and oysters use estuaries for spawning, nursery or feeding grounds. Literally where the rivers meet the sea, the greater Mobile Bay estuary basin is one of the largest in the nation and serves a vital role in the region’s amazing biodiversity.
– From shrimping and oystering to boat building to deep sea fishing, making a living from the water is an important part of the heritage of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. See how coastal resort development and working waterfronts find common ground – and visitors reap the benefits.