Download the Alabama Coastal Connection Scenic Byway app and take a trip that will fill your photo albums and scrapbooks with interesting sights along the Alabama Gulf Coast.
Explore the Land and Sea Itinerary and start your journey on Day One in Grand Bay to experience this area’s agricultural heritage. Your route takes you to Bayou La Batre, described as the Seafood Capital of Alabama. The harbor at the heart of this fishing village is filled with shrimp boats, boat builders and a seafood processing plant. Travel just 10 more miles and see Bellingrath Gardens, a 65-acre estate that includes awe-inspiring seasonal gardens, holiday displays, and river cruises between March and November.
Another 10 miles down the road on Alabama Highway 193 is a bayfront park, a feature of many of our local communities (Fairhope, Daphne, Dauphin Island, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach). Enjoy the boardwalks that overlook this southern area of Mobile Bay and refresh yourself with cold drinks and a picnic lunch to fortify the next part of your journey.
Only two miles from the park is The Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, a treasure trove of information that features the marine habitats, plants, animals and other natural resources found in the estuary. Learn about the Mobile Tensaw River Delta, Mobile Bay, the barrier islands and the northern Gulf of Mexico. You’ll gain a new understanding of this unique and beautiful area of the country.
Cap off your first day of exploration with a trip aboard the Mobile Bay Ferry, the connector between the Mobile and Baldwin County portions of the Alabama Coastal Connection. This 30-minute journey across Mobile Bay gives you an up-close view of the water and a chance to see the maritime and recreational opportunities along the coast. The ferry only runs during daylight hours, so it’s the perfect opportunity to plan a weekend beach vacation in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Gulf Shores condos and Orange Beach hotels provide the chance to listen to the ebb of the tide as you rest for the next segment of your adventure.
Wake up refreshed and head east. Your first stop of the day will be the Gulf Shores Museum, followed by a jaunt to the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum. Explore unique artifacts that explain our Native American and fishing heritage. Then you’re off to the Baldwin County Heritage Museum in nearby Elberta – it’s filled with historically significant buildings, documents and other collections. Just five miles from Elberta is the City of Foley Museum Archives and Model Train Exhibit. The exhibit takes you back to a time in our history when the rail lines were in transition from steam to diesel engines and thousands of boxcars pulled out of Foley filled with produce. Admission is free!
Just six miles west of the Foley museum is the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Weeks Bay is one of only 27 national estuarine research reserves. Enjoy the beautiful scenery as you stroll the boardwalks at the estuary and find out more about our environment with the educational materials at the reserve. End your day on a high note by traveling 11 miles to the Eastern Shore, home to the cities of Daphne and Fairhope. Both have great bay access areas and many folks enjoy walking the City of Fairhope pier over Mobile Bay and savoring the sights and sounds of the bay.