Get ready for a fascinating Southern adventure in Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Start your trip in Mobile, where you can paddle the lower section of America’s longest river trail, then take a nice long break in Foley, where you’ll experience all the charms of small-town Southern living. Shoot straight down to the Gulf of Mexico to Gulf Shores, a lovely resort town where you can wander through nature preserves, tour a Civil War fort and gaze south over the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.
The Alabama Scenic River Trail is the longest river trail in the U.S. — over 631 miles from one end of Alabama to the other, from whitewater to the wide-open Gulf of Mexico. At the southern-most section, the Bartram Canoe Trail winds through the Tensaw-Mobile Delta area. Most crafts are welcome, including motorboat, canoe, kayak, raft, sailboat and inner tube. Along the way, you can relax and check out the abundant wildlife. Bring your own boat or take advantage of rentals.
Drive 41 miles, 46 minutes
On your way south to the Gulf of Mexico, make Foley one of your stops. Take a taste of small-town charms, Southern-style. Stroll through Foley’s Downtown Historic District and taste-test from among Foley’s 70 dining establishments and food emporiums. Order up a sundae at Stacey’s Old Tyme Soda Fountain. Watch local sports competitions at the town’s sports complex or shoot a round of golf at a local golf club. The area’s Graham Creek Nature Preserve has nearly 500 acres of mixed habitats, including natural pine savannas, wetlands, forests and tidal marshes.
3. Gulf Shores
Drive 12 miles, 24 minutes
How about a ripping down a zip line high over sandy dunes? Do it in Gulf Shores. This beach town is a treasure of ocean-side adventure. Catch some early morning sun as you stroll Gulf Shores’ white-sand beaches. And for the wildlife fans in your party, we highly recommend visiting Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. You can spot flights of migrating songbirds and even endangered animals like sea turtles. Gulf Shores even boasts a birder’s haven, the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail.