Mobile Bay, on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, is an extraordinary setting for an extended RV vacation. One special route, Alabama’s Coastal Connection Byway, takes travelers through the history, cultural attractions and natural beauty of the Bay. Start your journey four hours south of El Monte RV Rentals in Birmingham in the city of Spanish Fort and you’ll soon know why RV travelers flock to Mobile Bay.
Coastal Connection Byway Highlights
Begin your RV trip along Alabama’s Coastal Connection Byway with a stop at Blakeley State Park, where you’ll find a preserved Civil War battlefield, an on-site RV campground and miles of trails to hike or bike. The park is located in Spanish Fort, at the north end of Mobile Bay, and was the scene of the last major Civil War battle.
While at the park, you can also learn about the plants and animals that live within the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta by taking a ride on the Delta Explorer. Another exciting way to experience life along Mobile Bay is by hiking all or a part of the Eastern Shore National Recreation Trail. Stretching past some of the Bay’s finest attractions, this foot or bike trail runs from Spanish Fort to Point Clear.
South of Point Clear, US-98 (also known as the Coastal Connection Byway) turns inland to Weeks Bay. This is a great place for young travelers to learn why estuaries are crucial to Gulf Coast life. The Weeks Bay Reserve Interpretive Center (PDF) features trails, gardens and displays that highlight life within coastal wetlands.
Our route continues its rush to the beach, with excellent views of the Bay as we go. West of Weeks Bay, between Foley and Elberta, you can choose to head south on the Foley Beach Expressway to reach Orange Beach or visit Elberta first before turning south on County Road 83 and merging with the Expressway.
Orange Beach, located on the Gulf, is an ideal stop for enjoying sun and sand. Just west of Orange Beach, Gulf State Park offers not only white sand beach front but also a fishing pier, nature trails, a lake and a popular RV campground. With miles of beach beckoning, you may decide to linger here before picking up the trail again.
When you’re ready to continue along the Byway, go west on Hwy 182/180 through the seaside town of Gulf Shores to Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Experience the dunes, the coastal forest trails and the abundance of wildlife before continuing west on the peninsula to another fascinating spot, Fort Morgan State Historic Site. There’s plenty to discover at this nineteenth century brick fortress that served our nation through four wars. Did we mention the photo opportunities alone are worth the trip?
From Fort Morgan, the mode of transportation is a real treat! The Mobile Bay Ferry connects Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island, a pleasant barrier island that’s home to an Audubon Bird Sanctuary. If you love birds, this is the premier coastal birding spot! Walk the boardwalks through tupelo swamp and around the lake to spot dozens of migratory bird species, including the Alabama Osprey. Another interesting stop on Dauphin Island is Fort Gaines, significant in the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay.
You’re going to want to plan time to savor the flavors of the Gulf in Alabama’s fishing capital, Bayou La Batre. Follow Hwy 180 into this quaint fishing village, and by all means, enjoy some great seafood, but take a side trip to Theodore, AL for a visit to Bellingrath Gardens and Home. Open to the public since the 1930s, it’s a favorite spot year-round for gardeners and history buffs.
And so we end our trip back on Hwy 180 in the town of Grand Bay, a lush southern oasis just south of I-10. Breathe in the scent of magnolia and pine and spend the night at Grand Bay RV Park before ending your Alabama Coastal Connection Byway tour.
Southern charm and coastal beauty combine to make this byway a favorite with our Alabama RV rental customers. Come south for the winter! There’s nothing quite like an RV vacation on Mobile Bay.