The Alabama Gulf Coast prides itself, not only on the beautiful white sandy shores or deep blue hues and emerald green waters, but on the family oriented atmosphere it promotes. There’s a wealth of activities families can sink their teeth into—whether they’re baby teeth, teeth with braces, or even dentured teeth; there’s something for every member of the family. Here, ten family-friendly activities along the Gulf Coast that are sure to generate some picture perfect moments and pearly white smiles.
1. Camping on Dauphin Island
Dauphin Island is within a ferry ride of Fort Morgan. The 155-acre campground includes its own private beach, a boat launch, and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. Hiking and running trails weave around the natural habitats and through tree canopies. Explore the history of Fort Gaines or dive into the educational tours of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Estuarium for some fascinating lessons.
2. Tour the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
The USS Alabama Battleship Park is filled with opportunities. Board the Battleship for hours of exploring up and down stairwells and through narrow passages and open banquet areas. The ship offers an amazing tour. The USS Drum Submarine is full of history as well, and not to be missed. Over 25 types of aircraft are on display throughout the park, and there’s also an indoors collection. The park is equipped with picnic areas, a fishing pier, and a nature observatory.
3. Chartered Fishing Trips
Known around the world for its excellent fishing and seafood, there are many choices when it comes to chartering a fishing trip. Fish one of the back bays, bayous, or lagoons. Stay close to the shore in the gulf. Go for an all day trip or for a couple of hours. Learn how to dress your catch or leave that to the crew. Feel safer in a larger vessel or go for the kayak feel? Endless alternatives with endless possibilities. Do a bit of research to find the perfect trip for you and your family.
Around for about fifteen years, geocaching still may be new to many or possibly unheard of to some. Geocaching is a treasure hunting game that includes the use of a GPS device, which most cell phones have. Participants find hidden caches and keep a log. Membership is required. Once that’s done, type in your zip code, and follow the trails. A scavenger hunt for the whole family to enjoy makes exploring the trails more adventurous. Several geocaching trails are located in the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails, on the Eastern Shore Trail, and Fort Morgan Road Trail.
5. Eco Tours
Guided eco tours can be a hands on experience or an easy scenic outing by boat. Various tours cover marshlands, estuaries, bays, bayous, canals, lagoons, and swamps. Learn about the beginnings of the small fishing village named Bon Secour and the meaning behind the name. Find out if pirates really did visit Alabama shores and why. Mysteries abound in the inlets and rivers flowing into the gulf. Only the seasoned guides can tell them.
6. Fort Morgan Civil War and Candlelight Tours
Watch as reenactors take you back in time. Walk through the grounds of Fort Morgan in the shoes of foot soldiers and nurses. Hear stories from those long gone and how things worked from cooking to shooting. Finish the day with the firing of the fort’s artillery. Here, the stories of ghosts that linger the halls at night can give you goosebumps for days.
7. Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley
This little diamond in the rough is tucked away only minutes from the beaches. The 500 acre preserve has its own launch for kayaks, canoes, or Stand Up Paddleboards. Graham Creek becomes Graham Bayou and eventually flows into Wolf Bay. A 5-mile hiking trail and a 7.5-mile bicycling trail gives you a few more options. Pack for the all day experience, as picnic areas and disk golf will complete the experience.
8. The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail
This trail covers over 200 miles with six different loops and fifty stops. Loops are divided into categories of ecosystems for various types of species. Trails lead to nesting, migratory, and feeding grounds. A website is provided for rare bird sightings and bird checklists are provided at some of the stops and online. For more information, you can download the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail Guide Book.
9. Bartram Canoe Trail
Located in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the Bartram Canoe Trail is comprised of swamps, wetlands, and marshes. The trail explores the second largest river delta in the United States. It is divided into day trips and overnight trails with floating campsite platforms. Rivers, streams, lakes, and bayous make up the Delta Canoe Trail. Launch at the new 5 Rivers Bartram Landing.
10. Outpost Campsites, Gulf State Park
A brand new edition to the Gulf State Park’s many amenities, the three Outpost Campsites can be found near the Cotton Bayou Trailhead. This camping experience is sure to make lasting memories. Primitive tents include four cots, an outdoor sink, and fire pits with log benches. Bathrooms and bathhouses are located within the campgrounds a short drive away.
The beach offers many activities for families. Why not choose one that will make a lasting impression for a lifetime, one that may not be the normal beach experience? The perfect fit for your family.