We decided to take a driving trip of the area. We started at about 9am. I chose this route from reading the Reader's Digest book, See the USA, The Easy Way written in 1995. In order to do the tour justice, we should have taken longer. However we did it all in one day. There is much more to do and see especially in Mobile.
This is what we did. We started from Gulf Shores on Rt. 180 and went to Fort Morgan. Ft. Morgan was build in the early 1800's to guard the entrance to Mobile Bay. It is here that during the civil war that Admiral David Farraut said, "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" Interesting place and good for kids.
From there, we took the ferry to Dolphin Island. We found that it was cheaper for all of us four adults and three children to pay for a round trip ticket of $25. We were going to be circling the bay so we were not going to return this way. On this trip we stayed in the car. We thought the ferry was a little "tippy."
On Dolphin Island is located Ft. Gaines. It is very much like Ft. Morgan, so we limited our time here. Dauphin Island Sea Lab is also here. From the island via Rt. 193, we drove over a very long bridge with good view of the bay to Alabama Port where we took Rt. 59 to Theodore, AL and visited The Bellingrath Gardens. The 900 acres includes 65 acred of cultivated and landscaped gardens. We only viewed the gardens for lack of time, but the mansion is also open and they also have a river cruise. I would love to come back when the azaleas were in bloom. Nevertheless, the gardens were beautiful. The three children were getting a little tired at this point, so Bellingrath gave them a wagon to sit in. At times the grandparents (us) got tired of covering up to two miles of trails, so a kind man in a golf cart came by to give us a ride to the next stop. If you are in the area, this is a must see. Leaving via Rt 59, we jointed Rt 163 to Mobile. We then joined interstate 10 briefly. We took several bridges with again good views of the bay, joining ALT 98.
This followed closely Mobile Bay. Somewhere along this route we had lunch at a Ruby Tuesday. We were the only ones in the place so we had excellent service and food. We went through many small towns and villages which was truly the scenic view of both towns and water. From ALT 98, we joined Rt. 59 and thus arrived home at 8pm. We were all tired by what a wonderful driving trip.