Photography by Devin Ford.
WHY SHOULD ONE VISIT this unique waterfront destination in Alabama? The Scout Guide Mobile Bay editors Katie McNeil and Jamie Conger can name a few reasons. Both editors agree that the water is a big draw, whether you’re gathering with loved ones on the wharf or enjoying sunset rides with boat drinks, “Mobile Bay is a place to slow down, surround yourself with family and friends, and enjoy the view,” Jamie says. With multiple beaches and waterways a short drive away, the opportunity to unwind is never far off. If you’re an epicure, you’re in luck. Mobile Bay is home to fresh seafood at every turn and a thriving local food scene, with new restaurants, bars, and venues popping up on both sides of the Bay. History’s your thing? Mobile Bay delivers there, too. The USS Alabama is anchored in Mobile Bay and just about every Mobilian will share that the original Mardi Gras celebration was founded in Mobile over 300 years ago.
Ready to plan your visit (or staycation)? Here, Katie and Jamie share their favorite local finds and activities for taking in their city.
*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc.
WHEN TO GO // If you can, try to visit either during festive Mardi Gras or the summer when it’s wonderful to walk around and explore. No matter the time of the year, the area is a spectacular, fun place for a weekend getaway.
WHERE TO STAY // Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa (One Grand Boulevard, Point Clear). You’re guaranteed beautiful accommodations and renowned sunsets at this gorgeous resort, which includes cascading pools, an 18-hole golf course, and a luxurious spa.
Malaga Inn (359 Church Street). This historic inn offers many charming features. Book a balcony room that overlooks the old courtyard for an especially wonderful treat.
The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel and Spa (64 South Water Street). This is a great hotel if you’re looking for a modern spot right in downtown Mobile.
The Fairhope Inn and Restaurant (63 South Church Street). Located in the heart of downtown Fairhope, this warm and elegant B&B is housed in a historic home built circa 1906. True Southern hospitality awaits your arrival as you enter the quaint town.
The Bay House & Bungalows (107 South Mobile Street). Perched on the bluff overlooking Mobile Bay, Fairhope’s big pier, and the wall-maintained city park, you will find this special getaway spot that’s within walking distance from downtown Fairhope.
WHAT TO DO // Carnival Museum (355 Government Street). The original Mardi Gras celebration, dating back to 1703, was founded in Mobile, so exploring this festive museum is a fun and educational way to spend a few hours. You can even climb an actual float for the perfect Instagrammable moment.
Point Clear Boardwalk (Starts at the Grand Hotel). While strolling underneath beautiful moss-draped oak trees on the boardwalk, you can admire some of the oldest homes in Mobile Bay. It’s also a superb spot to watch the sunset.
Fairhope Pier and Park (4 North Beach Road, Fairhope). Designed for both strolling and fishing, the pier features covered areas to escape the sun and benches to rest upon while taking in the boats in the marina. Meanwhile, the park is home to a lovely rose garden, duck pond, tree trail, and a large sandy beach. There are plenty of spots for families or couples to spend a few hours.
The USS Alabama “Mighty A”at Battleship Memorial Park (2703 Battleship Parkway). This vessel served in WWII, and the surrounding park is dedicated to all Alabama citizens who’ve served in the United States Armed Forces.
Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Dog River, Dauphin Island, the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Weeks Bay, Fowl River, and Magnolia Springs. Visiting any of these beaches and waterways is a must-do activity while in Mobile.
WHERE TO SHOP // Charles Phillips Antiques and Architecturals (4505 Laurendine Road, Theodore). It’s a bit of drive, but they have eight warehouses with antiques and treasures from all over the world, so it’s well worth the effort.
Atchison Home (921 Dauphin Street). This interiors shop features a 20,000 square foot showroom stocked with European antiques and accessories.
Chapel Farm Collection (19130 Scenic Highway 98). A locally owned and operated shop with a carefully curated assortment of gifts, jewelry, art, and antiques.
Sadie’s (5 South Section Street, Fairhope). A quaint women’s boutique that’s a favorite among the locals.
Gigi and Jay’s (400 Fairhope Avenue, Fairhope). You’ll find a classic collection of children’s clothing from infants up to juniors in this charming boutique.
East Bay Clothiers (39 North Section Street, Fairhope). On the quest for amazing tailored men’s and women’s looks? You’ll find it here.
Vellum and Velvet (404 Fairhope Avenue, Fairhope). Home decor shop and interior studio that provides endless design inspiration.
The Holiday (4513 Old Shell Road, Mobile) Long-running boutique selling contemporary clothing and accessories for women and children.
WHERE TO EAT // Wash House Restaurant (1711 Scenic Highway 98). Southern hospitality meets coastal cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere.
The Hope Farm (915 Nichols Avenue, Fairhope). Serves farm-to-table fare that highlights seasonal, local ingredients. The wine bar is a must-visit.
Provision (100 North Section Street, Fairhope). Taking inspiration from a beloved American icon, the general store, this space features a cafe, wine bar, coffee shop, and a market with gourmet goods and is ideal for a quick bite.
Noble South (203 Dauphin Street). Chef Chris Rainosek brought the farm-to-table concept to Mobile at this restaurant, and as such, he creates amazing dishes with local ingredients.
The Dew Drop Inn (1808 Old Shell Road). This spot is a Mobile-native staple that’s been around for generations. Order the basics done right—especially the fried seafood.
Bluegill (3775 Battleship Parkway, Spanish Fort) and Felix’s Fish Camp (1530 Battleship Parkway, Spanish Fort). Both serve some of the region’s freshest catches and provide the quintessential bayside meal with a gorgeous view of the Bay and Delta. Ordering blue crabs, a local delicacy, at either is a must.
Dauphin’s (107 Street Francis Street, Suite 3400). Snagging a table at this spectacular restaurant ensures views of the Mobile River, the Bay, and downtown Mobile from 36 stories high.
Master Joe’s (21 North Section Street, Fairhope). Known to locals for its creative and delicious sushi rolls.
WHERE TO DRINK // The Hope Farm (915 Nichols Avenue). Gather for a glass of wine or share a farm-to-table plate.
Provision (100 North Section Street, Fairhope). This cafe mentioned above, is a great spot to grab a latte or a selection from their extensive wine bar.
The Haberdasher (113 Dauphin Street). The bartenders at this place whip up some spectacular drinks. Jamie’s favorite cocktail is the “Jerk Store”—both refreshing and a Seinfeld reference.
Tongue & Groove Drinkery (77 South Section Street, Fairhope). Another great spot for handcrafted cocktails. Katie likes to ask for the bartender’s choice martini.
LOCAL PRO-TIP // Mobile Bay is the birthplace of Mardi Gras and celebrates accordingly.