Coastal Treasures of the Deep South Video Highlight: Eastern Shore Trail



Founded in 1702 as the capital of French Louisiana and later a part of both Spanish Florida and British West Florida, Mobile has a rich history and culture, a combination of French, Spanish, African, and Creole influences. It is renowned for its annual Mardi Gras celebrations, the oldest in the United States, dating back to 1703. The city is also home to the Mobile Carnival Museum, the Mobile Museum of Art, History Museum of Mobile and Historic Oakleigh House. Mobile is surrounded by waterways and is as close to the Gulf Coast’s sandy beaches with subtropical climate and natural beauty as you can get. Be sure to sample some fresh creole cuisine!

History Museum of Mobile

The collections here span from the city’s earliest Native American inhabitants to its colonial past, role in the Civil War, and development as a thriving port city. Exhibits and artifacts that enhance the region’s story include Native American pottery, Spanish colonial artifacts, Civil War weaponry, and memorabilia from the city’s maritime and industrial heritage. 

111 South Royal Street, Mobile, AL 36602, 251-208-7569, Mon-Sat 9AM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM, Adults $14 (includes free admission to Fort Conde).

Colonial Fort Condé

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.

150 South Royal Street, Mobile, AL 36602, 251-208-7569, Mon-Sat 9AM-4:30PM, Sun 1PM-4:30PM, Adults $14 (Free with Admission to the History Museum)

Mobile Museum of Art

Upon entering the museum, you will be greeted by a modern, spacious, and serene interior that serves as a backdrop for an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and textiles including American, European, and Asian art. The works of renowned artists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Georgia O’Keeffe are thoughtfully displayed with informative plaques that provide context and background information. Be sure to stroll through the 100-acre outdoor sculpture garden, a harmonious blend of art and nature.

4850 Museum Drive, Mobile, AL 36608, 251-208-5200, Tue-Sat 10AM-5PM, Adults $12

Historic Oakleigh House Museum

This stunning Greek Revival residence with grand columns is surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds. Built in 1833 serves, it as a monument to the antebellum era and architectural beauty of the Old South. Knowledgeable docents guide visitors through the various rooms, sharing stories and historical insights that provide a sense of the daily lives of the residents who once called Oakleigh home.   Exhibits, including period pieces, antique furniture artwork and decorative objects illustrate the social customs, fashion, and cultural practices of the time and showcase the elegant lifestyle of the era. From the parlors and dining rooms to the bedrooms and kitchen, each space exudes the charm and grace of the antebellum South. 

300 Oakleigh Place, Mobile, AL 36604, 251-432-1281, Tue-Sat 10AM-4PM, Adults $10

Destination Distinctive Accommodations

Mobile Fort Conde Inn 165 Saint Emanuel Street, Mobile, AL 36602, 251-405-5040 Charming collection of elegant homes dating back to the early 19th century, with stunning decor is within easy walking distance to downtown.

Destination Distinctive Dining 

The Noble South 203 Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602, 251-690-6824 Lofty eatery serving inventive Southern-inspired cuisine in a rustic-chic setting. 

Wintzell’s Oyster House 605 Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602, 251-432-4605 A true classic oyster house, locals have feasted on Wintzell’s gumbo and wild-caught seafood from coastal Alabama for over 75 years.

Mama’s On Dauphin 220 Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602, 251-432-6262 Stop in for lunch at this downtown eatery with savory down-home southern cooking.

Destination Distinctive Retail  

The Haunted Book Shop 9 South Joachim Street, Mobile, AL 36602, 251-348-7668 Cozy independent bookshop with a selection of new and used books and an adorable bookstore cat. 

Antiques At The Loop 28 South Florida Street, Mobile, AL 36606, 251-476-0309 Considered a “must-visit” by antiquers, the large gallery includes furniture, jewelry, books, and decorating and gift ideas. 

Ashland Gallery 2321 Old Shell Road, Mobile, AL 36607, 251-479-3548, Boutique art gallery featuring paintings and crafts from local artists.  


Grand Bay

Grand Bay, which sits against a backdrop of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta embraces rural charm, wide-open spaces and a relaxed pace of life. The Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, home to a diverse range of migratory birds, alligators, and the rare pitcher plant. The area offers opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, and wildlife observation in serenity and tranquility. In addition to its natural attractions, Grand Bay offers some small shops, boutiques, and local eateries where you can savor Southern cuisine and hospitality.

Bayou La Batre

Arriving in the fishing village of Bayou La Batre you’ll immediately notice the town’s picturesque setting surrounded by scenic waterways, marshes, and bayous.    Known as the “Seafood Capital of Alabama”, the town is home to a bustling fishing fleet unloading their fresh catch of shrimp, crabs, oysters, and a variety of local fish. Be sure to visit the local seafood markets and sample some of the freshest seafood available. The nearby Bayou La Batre Coastal Preserve is a stunning nature reserve that offers trails and boardwalks to observe a variety of birds and other wildlife amidst the tranquil marshes and wetlands.

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

This haven of lush greenery and vibrant flowers showcases a remarkable variety of plants including azaleas, camellias, roses, hydrangeas, and countless other blooms. The meticulously manicured lawns, tranquil ponds, and winding pathways lead to a series of themed gardens, each with its own distinct charm. A Rose Garden has a stunning collection of colors, the Asian-American Garden showcases a harmonious fusion of Eastern and Western gardening traditions, the Fragrance Garden indulges your sense of smell, and the Butterfly Garden invites these delicate creatures to flutter around you. The crown jewel, the magnificent Bellingrath residence built in the 1930s, offers a glimpse into the lives of the family who were prominent figures in Mobile’s history. Experience the elegant rooms, filled with period furniture, exquisite antiques, and fascinating memorabilia. 

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road, Theodore, AL 36582, 251-973-2217, Daily 8AM-5PM, Admission to Gardens and Home Adults $24. Admission to Gardens only $15.  

Dauphin Island

The drive to and on Dauphin Island delivers breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico, white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. It is a renowned destination for birding, particularly during spring and fall migration seasons.

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.

211 Bienville Boulevard, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, 251-861-3607, Daily 7AM-7PM, Free

Alabama Aquarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Dauphin Island is also home to a research and educational facility dedicated to the study and preservation of the Gulf of Mexico’s coastal ecosystems. Interactive exhibits showcase diverse marine life in aquariums that are home to colorful tropical fish, mesmerizing jellyfish and playful seahorses.  Interactive displays allow you to learn about different species, their adaptations, and their importance in maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem.

102 Bienville Boulevard, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, 251-861-2141, Daily 9AM-5PM, Adults $14

Fort Gaines Historic Site

This well-preserved Civil War era fort still holds a commanding presence overlooking the entrance to Mobile Bay dating from the time in which it played a pivotal role in the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay. Knowledgeable guides take you through historic buildings with sturdy brick walls that hold cannons, interpretive displays, and fascinating insights into the fort’s history, construction, and daily life.  In addition, visit the powder magazine and the barracks, where soldiers lived during their time at the fort. Climb the fort’s ramparts for sweeping views of Mobile Bay. 

51 Bienville Boulevard, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, 251-861-6992, Daily 9AM-5PM, Adults $10

Mobile Bay Ferry

At this point, to continue on the Byway, you must take the Mobile Bay Ferry for both passengers and vehicles, between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan. There is no road across the bay at that point.  Departing from: 

112 Bienville Boulevard, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, 251-861-3000 
110 Alabama State Highway 180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Fort Morgan Historic Site

This fort, where you can wander through various rooms and passages, played a crucial role in the Civil War and both World Wars. During living history events, skilled re-enactors fire replica cannons with thunderous booms. Be sure to climb to the ramparts to enjoy panoramic vistas of glistening waters, passing ships, and the scenic horizon. 

110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-540-7127, Daily 8AM-4:30PM, Adults $8

Gulf Shores

The main attraction here is undoubtedly the beach itself, where you can swim, sunbathe, build sandcastles, or simply relax. The town boasts a vibrant culinary scene, with numerous seafood restaurants serving up fresh, coastal cuisine. As the day winds down, make sure to catch a mesmerizing Gulf Coast sunset. Gulf State Park, the location of your accommodations for the evening, has an extensive network of trails, including the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail that winds through maritime forests, freshwater marshes, and coastal dunes. Keep an eye out for native wildlife, including birds, deer, and even alligators.

Destination Distinctive Accommodations

The Lodge at Gulf State Park 21196 East Beach Boulevard, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-540-4000.  Luxurious in its simplicity.  

Destination Distinctive Dining

Original Oyster House Boardwalk 701 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-948-2445 Southern seafood in wood-paneled digs.  

LuLu’s 200 East 25th Avenue, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-967-5858 Vibrant eatery featuring burgers, seafood, sandwiches, cocktails, beer and wine.

Fish River Grill 1545 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-948-1110, Relaxed picnic-themed eatery offering BBQ and comfort fare.

Destination Distinctive Retail

The Wharf 23101 Canal Road, Orange Beach, AL 36561, 251-224-1000 In the waterfront area with a variety of shops, plus a marina, restaurants, rides, miniature golf and an amphitheater.

Pottery Central World Headquarters 2417 East 2nd Street, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-968-4982, Primary studio of potter Steven Dark who sells one-of-a-kind ceramic art.

Beach Girl at Home 3947 AL-59 Suite 240, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-223-4914 A colorful, coastal-inspired home decor boutique, furniture, artwork, knick-knacks and more.


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. 

12295 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-540-7720, Mon-Fri 9AM-1PM Free

Gulf Shores Museum

The museum explores the transformation of Gulf Shores from a small fishing village to a vibrant beach resort destination with photographs, documents, and oral histories. Learn about early settlers, the fishing industry, impact of hurricanes, and the growth of tourism. Exhibits showcase the diverse ecosystems, pristine beaches, the unique coastal dunes, and rich estuarine habitats on the coast as well as Native American heritage, the contributions of the early European settlers, and the influence of the African American community. 

244 West 19th Avenue, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-968-1473, Tue-Fri 10AM-5PM, Sat 10AM-2PM, Free

Lost Bay Helicopters

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a tour with Lost Bay to explore the scenic beauty of the Gulf Shores from a unique perspective. The Coastal Tour showcases the stunning Gulf Shores coastline, pristine white sandy beaches, panoramic views of turquoise waters and rolling waves.

3190 Airport Drive, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 772-834-4497, Wed-Sat 12PM-6PM, Tours starting at $50 per person.

Gulf Shores Arts Alliance

Gallery spaces here display a diverse range of paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics, and more providing emerging and established artists the ability to showcase their work. 

225 East 24th Avenue, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-948-2627, Mon-Sat 10AM-5PM, Free

Susan McCollough Studio

The Susan McCollough Gallery and Studio, which celebrates one of the area’s best known artists, illustrates her abstract expressionist style, freedom of movement, and vibrant colors in sculpture, oils, acrylics, charcoal, ink, pastels, watercolors and mixed media.

350 Cypress Bend Drive Unit 105, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-967-7677, Mon-Fri 10AM-4PM, Free  

Sea Oat Studio

Featuring works by nationally recognized master potters from Gulf Shores, the Sea Oat Studio specializes in wood-fired and electric-fired stoneware and sculptures.

1009 East Canal Drive, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-968-6744, Call for hours. Free

Destination Distinctive Dining

Southern Grind Coffee House 4751 Main St #116, Orange Beach, AL 36561, 251-923-3265, Comfortable coffee shop offering breakfast and lunch, plus  artwork for sale.

Beach House Kitchen and Cocktails 1154 West Beach Boulevard #6200, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-948-2431, Gulf Coast seafood and burgers.

OSO at Bear Point Harbor 5749 Bay La Launch Avenue, Orange Beach, AL 36561, 251-345-6738, Fresh seafood and delectable burgers.

Destination Distinctive Dining

Frank & Co 25814 Canal Road #7, Orange Beach, AL 36561, 251-970-2060 Offering a beautiful selection of jewelry for every occasion.


Orange Beach

The pristine shoreline of Orange Beach which stretches for miles awaits your stroll along the white sandy beaches to feel the gentle sea breeze, and soak up the warm Alabama sun. For those seeking adventure, Orange Beach offers an array of water activities.

Gulf State Park

This vast and diverse coastal park spans 6,500 acres of towering pines, lush vegetation, and tranquility. Two miles of pristine beaches complement over 15 miles of nature trails, and several freshwater lakes. Park rangers lead guided walks that provide insights into the local ecosystem. 

20115 State Park Rd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, 251-948-7275, Daily 24 hours. Free

Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach

Located in a scenic waterfront setting, the Coastal Arts Center also showcases a diverse range of works created by local and regional artists. In addition to appreciating the art, watch the skilled artisans in the Hot Shop, a state-of-the-art glassblowing studio as they transform molten glass into beautiful and intricate pieces. The center also houses a clay studio, where ceramic artists work their clay magic. 

26389 Canal Road, Orange Beach, AL 36561, 251-981-2787, Mon-Fri 9AM-4PM, Free

Orange Beach History Museum

Exhibits here are thoughtfully curated to take you on a chronological journey, starting from the earliest days of settlement to the present. Learn about the Native American tribes that originally inhabited the region and discover the challenges and triumphs of the area’s early pioneers. Artifacts, photographs, and documents provide insights into the lives of these residents, as well as those of local fishermen, and the impact they had on shaping the identity of Orange Beach. 

25805 John Snook Drive, Orange Beach, AL 36561, 251-981-8545, M-Thu 9AM-4PM, Free

Swift Coles Historic Home

This historic home, with classic Southern design and elegant details, provides a unique opportunity to explore the residence of one of the area’s early pioneer families who played an important role in the development of the Bon Secour area. While learning the story of the family, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the preserved craftsmanship, intricate woodwork and original furnishings, that give you a sense of the lifestyle and aesthetic preferences of the time.

17424 Swift Coles Lane, Bon Secour, AL 36511, 251-949-5550, Thu-Fri 10AM-2PM, Adults $10


Elberta is a charming rural town surrounded by lush green fields, farms, and peaceful countryside, where you can visit local farms and farmers’ markets to experience the abundance of fresh produce and explore the historic downtown. Quaint shops, boutiques, and locally owned businesses line the tree-lined streets.

Baldwin County Heritage Museum

From Native American artifacts to displays showcasing the early settlers and their way of life, this museum illustrates unique heritage of Baldwin County.  Artifacts such as tools, clothing, household items, photographs, and documents offer a tangible connection to the past in exhibits that recreate rural life, agriculture, fishing, and trades integral to the local economy. 

25521 US-98, Elberta, AL 36530, 251-986-8375, Wed-Sat 10AM-3PM, Free


A stop in Foley delivers a delightful blend of history, culture, and Southern charm. Explore tree-lined streets with historic buildings, boutique shops, art galleries, and local eateries, admire the architecture, and browse unique shops for treasures.

Foley Art Center

The art center is home to working artist studios where you can observe artists in action, gain insights into their creative processes, engage in conversations, learn about their inspirations, and watch as they bring their artistic visions to life. 

211 North McKenzie Street, Foley, AL 36535, 251-943-4381, Mon-Sat 10AM-4PM, Free

Magnolia Springs

Nestled in lush foliage along the Magnolia River, the Magnolia Springs Historic District features beautifully preserved homes dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The river itself is renowned for calm, crystal clear water surrounded by cypress trees and abundant wildlife.

Destination Distinctive Accommodations

Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast 14469 Oak Street, Magnolia Springs, AL 36555, 251-965-7321.  This beautiful 1897 landmark features original stained glass and woodwork.

Destination Distinctive Dining

Jesse’s Restaurant 14770 Oak Street, Magnolia Springs, AL 36555, 251-965-3827 This local institution has been serving delicious Southern cuisine since 1982. 

Fish River Grill 608 South McKenzie Street, Foley, AL 36535, 251-952-3474 Don’t let the location fool you! Despite the strip mall digs, Fish River is often voted the Best In Baldwin County. 

The Tin Top Restaurant and Oyster Bar 6232 Bon Secour Hwy, Bon Secour, AL 36511, 251-949-5086 Known as the pearl of Bon Secour, check out this no-frills bayside destination for fresh, choice seafood, large oysters and classic fried green tomatoes.

Destination Distinctive Retail

Magnolia Art Spring Gallery 12446A Magnolia Avenue, Magnolia Springs, AL 36555, 251-279-0162, Take home a painting that captures the local beauty, charm, and daily vistas of the Gulf Coast. 

The Bluebird Cottage 25042 State St, Elberta, AL 36530, 251-563-8926, Beautifully arranged flowers and home decor. 


Weeks Bay Esturine Research Reserve

Encompassing over 6,000 acres of protected land, elevated boardwalks traversing the wetlands and marshes deliver panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Take advantage of the reserve’s estuary cruise options to explore the waterways and get a closer look at the diverse marine life that thrives in the estuary, guided by knowledgeable experts who point out flora, fauna, and ecology unique to the estuarine ecosystem.

11300 US-98, Fairhope, AL 36532, 251-928-9792, Mon-Sat 9AM-5PM, Free

Eastern Shore Trail

Stretching approximately 30 miles along the eastern shoreline of Mobile Bay, the Eastern Shore Trail is a picturesque pathway that is accessible and comfortable for visitors of all ages and fitness levels. Meandering along the bay’s shoreline, the trail passes tranquil waters, sandy beaches, marshes, and diverse coastal ecosystems. Trail end points: School Road & US 31 (Spanish Fort) and Weeks Bay off US 98


Fairhope is known for its culinary scene, with numerous cozy cafés, restaurants, and eateries where you can sample locally sourced seafood, savor southern comfort food, or indulge in gourmet treats. Many establishments offer outdoor seating, allowing you to enjoy your meal while taking in the charming surroundings. The Fairhope Pier, the focal point of the town, is an iconic structure that extends into  Mobile Bay for stunning sunsets.

Fairhope Museum of History

Offering a comprehensive look into the town’s past, here you can learn about the unique origins of Fairhope as a Single Tax Colony led by the Fairhope Industrial Association, which aimed to create a cooperative and egalitarian community.  Exhibits also feature insights into the thought process of early settlers, their motivations and the challenges they faced creating a utopian society. 

24 North Section Street, Fairhope, AL 36532, 251-929-1471, Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, Free

Eastern Shore Art Center

Located in a historic building in downtown Fairhope, the art center promotes and supports the work of both established and emerging local and regional artists. 

401 Oak Avenue, Fairhope, AL 36532, 251-928-2228, Tue-Fri 10AM-4PM, Sat 10AM-6PM, Free


Situated on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, Daphne offers a picturesque setting with breathtaking water views and lush landscapes surrounding a historic downtown area. Take a leisurely stroll in one of Daphne’s stunning Bayfront Park and May Day Park, or explore nearby Meaher State Park.

Daphne History Museum

Housed in a beautifully preserved 1858 Greek Revival-style church, the museum showcases Daphne’s rich history through carefully curated displays, vintage photographs, documents, and memorabilia. While exploring you can also admire the architectural details of the church building, from its towering columns to the intricate woodwork.

405 Dryer Avenue, Daphne, AL 36526, 251-620-2600, Wed 10AM-3PM, Fri-Sat 1PM-4PM, Free

Historic Blakeley State Park

This sprawling park encompasses the remnants of the Civil War-era townsite of Blakeley.  Well-preserved earthworks, historic buildings, and interpretive exhibits tell the story of this significant battleground and its role in the Civil War. Guided or self-guided tours meander through the park’s scenic landscapes, where you can keep an eye out for wildlife that call this natural oasis home. 

34745 AL-225, Spanish Fort, AL 36527, 251-626-0798, Daily 8AM-Dusk, Adults $5

Destination Distinctive Dining

Sunset Pointe at Fly Creek Marina 831 North Section Street, Fairhope, AL 36532, 251-990-7766, Quaint, beachy seafood specialist locale with outdoor waterfront dining and creative craft cocktails. 

East Shore Cafe 1506 Main Street, Daphne, AL 36526, 251-625-0055, Southern-inspired breakfast & lunch fare.  

Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill 29249 US-98, Daphne, AL 365261, 251-621-1991, Chill waterfront bar/eatery with Cajun seafood and steak.  

Southwood Kitchen 1203 US-98 E suite 3-d, Daphne, AL 36526, 251-626-6676, A date night special with fine dining to rival anywhere on the Gulf Coast.  

Destination Distinctive Retail

Daphne Antique Galleria 1699 US-98, Daphne, AL 36526, 251-625-2200, Coastal cottage with vintage, high-quality and timeless styles. 

La-La Land Boutique 251 South Greeno Road, Fairhope, AL 36532, 251-554-2312, A carefully curated collection of vintage furniture, clothing, and objects, particularly mid-century modern and Hollywood regency.