Mobile/Mobile Bay, Alabama
Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Did You Know … ?
- Mobile was the original capital of Louisiana Territory.
- America’s first Mardi Gras was staged in Mobile (1703).
- Alabama harvests more than 240 species of freshwater fish, marine fish and shellfish.
- The first azaleas were brought to Mobile Bay from Toulouse, France, in 1754.
- Mail is delivered by boat in Magnolia Springs on Mobile Bay, on America’s only all-water mail route.
Shrimp and gumbo. Antebellum mansions. Azaleas. Roses, too. Deep-sea fishing. Sailing. Mardi Gras. Sugar white beaches. Golf. And a famous bit of bravado that went like this, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” These images are associated with Mobile and the bay it sits on — Mobile Bay — and they invite tourists to make a call.
Certainly, visitors come south for the weather, beaches and a good place to play on the water, whether as a passenger on a dinner cruise or fishing charter or as the man or woman in charge of a sailing boat or a kayak. Mobile, neighboring towns on the bay’s shore and Dauphin Island in the mouth of Mobile Bay provide a plethora of jumping-off points for exploring the bay, the rivers that feed it and the waters beyond the barrier islands.
Fishing is so big, Dauphin Island is home to the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, one of the nation’s largest saltwater fishing tournaments. The city and region celebrate the seafood (and other foods) with cook-offs, inviting guests to eat their fill while chefs compete.
Different species feature in flower shows each year, but the azalea is highlighted with its own Azalea Trail. An annual umbrella event is called, simply, the Festival of Flowers.
Similarly, Mobile leads visitors to its top architectural attractions with its Historic Driving Tour. Taking that a step further, an annual Historic Homes Tour offers entry into private homes and gardens.
The Mardi Gras is the predictable scene of pageantry and parades — and is preceded or followed through the year by other lively area events, such as the GoDaddy Bowl game, a street fair focusing on the arts called Arts Alive!, a hot-air balloon festival, the Bayfest popular-music festival and Greek Fest celebrating Greek culture.
Finally, it was Admiral David Farragut who, during the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay, damned the torpedoes. The battle is commemorated each year on Dauphin Island.
Things to do for Venturers
- Be your own captain for a daylong sail in and near Mobile Bay.
- Canoe or kayak on the William Bartram Canoe Trail, which runs more than 200 miles through Mobile Bay and its associated rivers.
- Attend Mardi Gras in Mobile, the city where Mardi Gras was born in the U.S. in the early 1700s.
- Take an airboat tour of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the second-largest delta system in the U.S. after the Mississippi.
- Jog along the Azalea Trail. Note the flowers while you are at it.
- See Mobile and its historic attractions from the seat of a bicycle.
Things to do for Centrics
- Pursue an interest in birds at the autumn Alabama Coastal Birdfest with guided tours along the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail, plus speakers, exhibits and special events. Or follow the trail at other times.
- Eat seafood. Consider the gumbo cook-off on Dauphin Island or the shrimp cook-off in Mobile, both springtime events. Or, how about the Hog Wild Backyard BBQ (which, admittedly, does not feature seafood) in May?
- On Dauphin Island, charter a boat for deep-sea fishing. Or, join a walk-on fishing trip.
- Make time for the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile. See the namesake ship, a submarine and aircraft. Climb inside gun turrets, get locked in the brig (briefly) or man a 22mm gun on the Alabama.
- Follow the Historic Driving Tour — by car, bike or even on foot — for a look at the city’s varied architectural styles. Tour any of a number of homes (often mansions) that are now museums, such as the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion or the Oakleigh Historic Complex.
- Come for the roses or for the springtime Camellia Classic Car Show at the Bellingrath Gardens and Home south of Mobile in Theodore. Tour this historic museum home, too.
Things to do for Authentics
- In early spring, drive the area’s 35-mile Azalea Trail for a blaze of color.
- Play golf. End the day at the Mobile Mystery Dinner Theater.
- Time your visit to coincide with the springtime Mobile Historic Homes Tour, which gives access to private homes and gardens not generally open to the public.
- Or, make that a visit coinciding with the Annual Festival of Flowers, which includes, besides the gardens and floral exhibits, a number of gardening seminars.
- Of course, tour the Mobile Carnival Museum.
- Combine interests in sports and art, and see the American Sport Art Museum and Sculpture Park in Daphne.
For more information, consult the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.mobilebay.org