With much of the country still swathed in winter gloom, Alabama’s Gulf Coast offers a fun beach getaway for family travelers. Contrary to popular belief, Gulf Shores isn’t just white sandy beaches and clear blue skies; it is a hotbed of historical attractions, giving the whole family a vacation to remember.
Fort Morgan is a must for any family visiting the area, not just to learn about the region’s unique place in American history, but also to enjoy a day in the outdoors, taking in the beautiful local landscape dotted with rolling sand dunes and patches of sea oats. Standing sentinel at the entrance to Mobile Bay, Fort Morgan dates back to the early 1800s and was witness to some of America’s most significant military history after playing roles in the War of 1812, Civil War and Spanish American War.
Today, visitors can freely explore the sprawling grounds and masonry buildings of the fort to get a firsthand glimpse at what life was like for military troops once stationed there. Many troops protected the militarily significant Mobile Bay from invasion.
Adults can visit for $8 while admission for children ages 6–18 is just $6. Package tickets for families of four are available for $20. The fort and grounds, located just outside of Gulf Shores, gives impressive views of both Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and are open daily, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., with the exception of major holidays.
In between picnics on the beach, visits to Gulf Shores’ great restaurants and fun shops, and visits to Fort Morgan, be sure to stop by Gulf Shores Museum. Located in a home that not only showcases the unique history of the area, but also lets you get a true feel for the laid-back lifestyle of Gulf Shores, this free museum is open Tuesday–Saturday, except for major holidays.
The museum’s exhibits showcase local lore and history about fishing families who settled in the area. Visitors also learn about how the community rebuilt again and again as hurricanes impacted the area. In addition to an interactive exhibit showing what it is like for a hurricane hunter to fly through the eye of a hurricane, visitors can also enjoy a stroll through the tranquility of the butterfly garden. There are also plenty of fun programs and activities for kids.
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