Coastal Alabama Roadtrip

Driving the Byway: The Perfect Socially-Distanced Road Trip

When you’re ready to travel and craving some fresh air, there’s nothing better than taking a drive down Alabama’s Coastal Connection Scenic Byway.

The drive from the heart of Coastal Mississippi through the ports of Mobile and down to Gulf Shores isn’t particularly long, but it’s full of famous outdoor attractions and open-air restaurants that make the journey so much sweeter. We know you’re anxious to sink your toes into the white-sand of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, but you won’t regret making a stop (or several) at some of these best spots the scenic byway has to offer!

Alabama Roadtrip

HEADING OUT: COASTAL MISSISSIPPI

Your journey begins on Hwy 90 in Coastal Mississippi. These 62 miles of coastal beauty cross the state’s shoreline along sleepy oak-lined streets and through bustling city centers. In Biloxi, you’ll experience a glimpse of some of the best the state has to offer in a few short miles - and have plenty of places to stop and sample local life.  

Stop in and stretch your legs at Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, the oldest harbor in Biloxi. With stunning waterfront views, large slips for commercial and pleasure crafts, and a variety of activities on-site, it’s always busy with the sights and sounds of an active harbor. You’ll especially love watching the charming shrimp boats drop anchor and sort through their daily catch before it makes its way to local restaurants! 

Want to get even closer? Take a Biloxi Shrimping Trip. This 70-minute marine adventure dives deep into the maritime and seafood industry of Coastal Mississippi as you cast your net for heaps of local marine life and learn every step of the shrimping trade, from the net to your plate.

When you’re ready for a bite, stop by The Reef on Biloxi Beach. On the second floor you’ll find plenty of open-air seating and a magical view of the Gulf of Mexico. Their menu offers everything from fried chicken sandwiches and boudin to grilled grouper and oysters on the half shell.

USS Alabama Battleship

COASTAL MISSISSIPPI TO MOBILE, ALABAMA

Across the line in Sweet Home Alabama, you’ll head north on Hwy 90 or I-10 to cross the beautiful Mobile Bay before snaking south toward Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Along the way, you’ll pass through Mobile, a bustling port city that’s full of historic southern charm and waterfront beauty. Though just a short drive from Alabama’s beaches, Mobile has a distinct vibe that deserves a stop (or three) to experience for yourself. 

Though a little off the beaten path, Bellingrath Gardens and Home is something you don’t want to miss. A 65-acre garden and historic home on Fowl River, the gardens showcase beautiful flowers and other fauna all year long. The path through Bellingrath is a little over two miles, and tours are self-guided so you can take as much time as you need to marvel at the sights.

Stay firmly rooted in the past - the military past - at USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. Climb aboard the USS Alabama, a WWII naval battleship, to tour all three levels of the ship and experience every aspect of life as a naval soldier. Battleship Memorial Park also houses the Drum (the oldest WWII submarine available to the public), an aircraft pavilion, and several war memorials. All of these exhibits are outdoors and quite spacious, offering you plenty of room to stay safe and socially-distanced.

After all that history, you’ll need to refuel in the present - and there’s nowhere better to whet your appetite than at Bluegill. A staple in Mobile since 1958, this is a haven for locals who love good food, delicious drinks and live music. The restaurant offers plenty of outdoor seating and a robust menu filled with Coastal Alabama classics like seafood gumbo, fried shrimp and grilled oysters.

Kids Biking the Backcountry Trail

MOBILE TO ALABAMA’S BEACHES 

As you head south, you’ll jump on Alt Hwy 98 to ride the beautiful Alabama Coastal Connection Scenic Byway right to the shore. The route meanders through a diverse snapshot of south Alabama to end in your ultimate destination – Alabama’s beaches. Along the way, you’ll pass through rolling farmlands and sleepy southern towns, waterfront fishing communities and bustling hubs of commerce. There are several stops you can make along the way to stretch your legs and experience the area. 

The Gulf Coast is known for our waterfront lifestyle, and the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve exists to protect it. The public facility includes 9,317 acres of estuarine habitats, each with its own diverse ecosystems and active wildlife. Stroll through a variety of outdoor nature trails to stretch your legs or head inside to explore the Interpretative Center and its educational displays and live animal exhibits. 

A few miles south, the Graham Creek Nature Preserve is a 500-acre park that’s dedicated to the preservation of hundreds of rare plant and animal species. Walking trails, wildlife tours, kayaking launches, and family areas are just some of the ways you can branch out to experience this coastal wonder. Or, save your energy for a long stop at the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail in Orange Beach. With 28+ miles that span over nine diverse ecosystems, it’s one of the area’s most popular nature attractions and puts you right in the heart of the Gulf Coast scenery.

The Gulf Restaurant in Orange Beach

If you need a bite before you check-in to your beach vacation rental, you’ll find no shortage of delicious open-air and waterfront restaurants to tantalize your taste buds. Stop in at LuLu’s to eat and burn off a little energy from the road trip. If you just can’t wait for a Gulf-front view, head to The Gulf, a beachfront restaurant that’s made of recycled shipping containers and offers custom cocktails right on the sand.

 

 

Now that you’re here, we can’t wait to show you around! Stop by one of our welcome centers before you check-in for all the info, coupons and southern hospitality you can handle. 

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