Alabama Coastal Connections Byway page

Touring the Byway
5 Days / 4 Nights | Gateway City: Mobile, AL


We recommend starting your journey in Mobile, the birthplace of Mardi Gras, where you can step back in time at the History Museum of Mobile, Colonial Fort Condé, and Oakleigh House Museum, testaments to the city’s rich colonial past. End your first afternoon viewing works by Money, Renoir, and Degas at the Mobile Museum of Art before dining at one of the city’s many distinctive Deep South eateries and a stay at the Fort Conde Inn.


Begin your day by traveling 25 miles west on I-10 to the town of Grand Bay, the gateway to the Byway. Take in the scenic views of the coastal towns that line Mobile Bay, including Bayou La Batre. Stroll along the pathways of Bellingrath Gardens before connecting with nature in the Audubon Bird Sanctuary and Dauphin Island Sea Lab. From there, take the ferry to Gulf Shores for a stay at the Lodge at Gulf Shores State Park. 


Start day three in Gulf Shores at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, a paradise for birdwatchers and photographers, and if you’re feeling adventurous, book a tour with Lost Bay Helicopters for panoramic views of the Gulf Shores coastline. Learn about the early settlers at the Gulf Shores Museum and enjoy exhibits at the Gulf Shore Arts Alliance and surrounding boutique shops. Stay another evening at Gulf Shores State Park


The morning of your fourth day is spent in Orange Beach, with its wealth of outdoor attractions including two miles of pristine white sand beaches. Travel further up the Byway through Elberta, stopping at museums and historic homes along the way. End your evening with a stroll through charming downtown Foley before indulging in Southern cuisine and seafood delights at one of the town’s fine restaurants. Stay at the Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast.


On the final day of your trip, embark on an outdoor adventure to either the Weeks Bay Esturine Research Reserve or tackle a few miles on the Eastern Shore Trail. End your trip along the Coastal Connection by passing through Fairhope, Daphne, and Spanish Fort, each offering a number of historic and artistic attractions. After Spanish Fort, make your way back to Mobile. From there, we wish you safe passage if you are traveling another of Alabama’s scenic byways, or a safe and pleasant journey home

View the Detailed Itinerary below to see the full route, which is complete with dining, shopping, and lodging recommendations!

Highlighted Attractions

Colonial Fort Conde

Fort Conde was originally constructed by the French in 1723 to protect the then French settlement of Mobile. Used to establish control of the region, the fort played a key role in defending against potential attacks from rival European powers. Today, you can explore the restored fortification and the life of the soldiers and settlers who lived in the fort enhanced with exhibits, period furnishings, tour guides, interpretive signage, and interactive panels that tell the story of the fort and its significance in the broader context of colonial America.

Audubon Bird Sanctuary

The 137-acre sanctuary is nestled on Dauphin’s eastern end is a must-visit while you are here. Featuring a network of clearly-marked, well-maintained trails winding through a mosaic of maritime forests, marshes, dunes, and freshwater ponds all exploring at whatever pace you choose. The spectacular array of birds include majestic herons and egrets wading through shallow marshes, colorful warblers flitting among the branches, and graceful shorebirds skimming the water’s surface. Depending on the season, you may even have the chance to see raptors, waterfowl, or elusive songbirds.

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Spanning over 7,000 acres, the refuge is a haven for migratory birds, endangered species, and a variety of plants, resident on picturesque beaches, marshes, dunes, and in maritime forests. Several trails winding through the refuge allow you to spot a variety of herons, egrets, shorebirds, warblers, turtles, alligators, rabbits, reptiles, and amphibians.

Gulf State Park

Housed on a campus of eight historic buildings dating from 1819 to 1890 that are an extension of their collections, even though the collections of the Tides Institute learn toward art created between the 18th century to today, there is also a focus on architecture and history. Collections include paintings, prints, photographs, and sculpture, Passamaquoddy and Mi’Kmaq basketry and other art and crafts, architectural drawings, documentation and artifacts, ship models, maps, decorative arts, furniture, clocks, silver, glass, textiles, musical instruments, oral history recordings and graphic arts. Some of the buildings are open regularly, while others open only during special events or by appointment.

Eastern Shore Trail

The 1770 Burnham Tavern that served as a field hospital for the wounded from the naval battle of 1775, was one of 21 homes identified as having the most significance to the Revolutionary War. The residents of Machias, ordered to supply lumber to build barracks for British troops, met at the Tap Room to debate the best course of action. Plans to capture the British commander while he sat in church did not go as planned. He bolted through an open window, made it back to his ship, and the battle ensued in which the commander was wounded.  He later died at the tavern.