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Beyond the Beach

From Alligator Alley and the Biophilia Nature Center to the Mobile Bay Ferry and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, the Alabama Gulf Coast Area has much to offer beyond the beach. Check out the Mobile, AL attractions, such as queens, art and battleships galore; go back in time at the Baldwin County Heritage Museum; and don’t forget to fly with the blues in Pensacola, Florida.

Alabama’s Coastal Connection: A National Scenic Byway
Alabama’s southern tip is one of those places where even first-time visitors find a connection. Here, you’ll experience the link between the traditions of the Deep South and a more laid-back island lifestyle. Beautiful beaches, authentic downtowns, wildlife preserves, historic sites and the freshest seafood you’ll ever put in your mouth are all yours to enjoy on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Visit the Coastal Connection to take in the natural beauty and experience all there is to see and do here.

Commune with Mother Nature
Captain Crunch wants to take a bite out of you. Instead just visit him and his other alligator friends at Alligator Alley in Summerdale. Your next stop in Elberta will land you at the Biophilia Nature Center, Native Nursery, and Bookstore, which has 20 acres of carnivorous plants and other native plants and wildlife. End your nature exploration in Spanish Fort with the Five Rivers - Alabama's Delta Resource Center. This new facility is your gateway into the vast Alabama Delta with hiking trails, canoe explorations, and rotating exhibits. Across the street is Meaher State Park, a 1,327-acre park on scenic Mobile Bay.

Go Back in Time
Explore Baldwin County's rich and diverse history that dates to 1809 at the Baldwin County Heritage Museum in Elberta. This facility, which resembles turn-of-the-century barns, features a working windmill and several outdoor agricultural exhibits. Then travel north to Historic Blakeley State Park in Spanish Fort. With almost 11 miles of hiking and bike trails and a boardwalk next to the Tensaw River, visitors will be able to fully explore the site of the Civil War's last major battle. Also, visit Fort Mims Historic Site in Stockton, where Creek Indians killed over 500 pioneer settlers

Shop 'Til You Drop
Devote a day (or the afternoon) to shopping by traveling north on Highway 59 to the Tanger Outlet Center in neighboring Foley. Peruse through over 120 brand name factory stores. Then, head to the new Eastern Shore Centre in Spanish Fort, which features about 70 stores (including Williams & Sonoma, American Eagle, Victoria's Secret and Pottery Barn) and restaurants. Children love to play in the dancing water fountain. Finally, travel through the quaint downtown boutiques and galleries of Fairhope. Don't miss this picturesque Southern-town setting nestled on Mobile Bay.

Queens, Art, Battleships & More Attractions in Mobile, Alabama
Take a day trip over "the Bay" (a.k.a. Mobile Bay) to discover the Mobile, AL attractions. Just before entering the downtown area, visit Memorial Park, which has the USS Alabama (from WWII), the submarine USS Drum, and restored aircraft. Move on to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center for hands-on fun and exploration. Be sure to catch an IMAX film before visiting a queen or two at the Mobile Carnival Museum (Mobile is the founding city of the Mardi Gras). Then, educate yourself on Mobile's 300+ year history at the Museum of Mobile. End your day with a relaxing walk through Bellingrath Gardens and Home, which features 65 acres of fragrant blooming flowers year-round, a 45-minute cruise aboard the Southern Belle, and a 10,500 square foot home with original furnishings.

Any time your tummy rumbles the familiar "feed me," experience some of the local cuisine such as an "upside down hot dog" (at the Dew Drop Inn) or the fried, stewed or nude oyster (at Wintzell's Oyster House).

Mobile Bay Ferry, Fort Gaines & Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Also, venture into Mobile County via the Mobile Bay Ferry, which departs from Fort Morgan. Once you arrive on Dauphin Island, explore Fort Gaines or the interactive exhibits at the Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Fly with "The Blues" in Pensacola, Florida
The National Museum of Naval Aviation offers everyone from comrades to children the opportunity to experience the powerful and fascinating history of naval aviation. Experience more than 150 beautifully restored aircrafts from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard on the numerous guided-tours. Why not become a pilot in the flight simulators or rest your feet (but not your eyes) in the IMAX Theater? Then refuel at the authentic Cubi Bar Cafe before browsing through the Flight Deck Museum Store.