Located west of the Florida panhandle, Alabama’s Gulf Coast region covers slightly more than 50 miles of oceanfront shorelines. Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are two of the larger cities located on this stretch and are two little known gems in the region. The white sand beaches are made up of quartz grains that washed down from the Appalachian Mountains centuries ago. Spend your days learning about the history and culture of this region and experience some of the best fishing and seafood in the Gulf of Mexico.
Because of its strategic location on the southern border of the United Sates, this area is home to vast military history. The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is docked in Mobile Bay and allows visitors to experience what life was like on a WWII battleship. Tour the floors, explore the gun turrets, mess halls, and sailor bunks. A picnic area around the ship was modeled after a typical south Pacific island where the ship saw most of her action. In the spring of 1964, Alabama school children raised $100,000 to bring the ship here. Continue your journey to experience other military sites including; Historic Fort Morgan, Fort Gaines, and Fort Mims.
Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores was completed in 1834 and served as a post during the Civil War but was abandoned at the end of the 19th century. Shortly before the Spanish-American war it was brought back up to shape and remained a battery until the end of World War II. Today tourists can walk the site.
Fort Mims is the site of a major battle of 1812 known as the Fort Mims massacre when the site was ambushed and the white militia and settler were killed by a faction of Creek Indians known as the “red sticks” overtook the location. The modern day site is free to visit and has been reconstructed to appear as it did 200 years ago.
Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island is famous for its role in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War. Several artifacts, preserved weaponry, and a museum make this an interesting interpretive history site. The Audubon Bird Sanctuary is one of the top four locations in the US for bird migrations and is also housed on this island. You also can take a swim on one of the several beaches found around the island.
Finally if your journey leads you to the Orange Beach area visit the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum. The site is small and only open Tuesdays and Thursdays but holds memorabilia related to the Native American and fishing heritage of the area. You won’t want to miss some of the best beaches and fishing – the crowning jewel of the area.
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