Travel Tuesday: A Weekend Getaway in Mobile, Alabama

by Kayla Elliott on April 5, 2016 in Travels,
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Mobile, Alabama is situated on the Gulf of Mexico and offers up fresh from the Gulf cuisine, a rich history, and famous Southern charm. Often overshadowed by other Gulf destinations like New Orleans, and Florida coast towns, Mobile has been working to revitalize their downtown and become a premiere Gulf city. Home to the West Indies Salad, Dauphin Island, and the first United States Mardi Gras celebration, Mobile offers something for everyone who visits.

We booked a stay at The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel and Spa. With recent renovations, The Battle House combines contemporary style with the rich history of Mobile to deliver a beautiful hotel with amazing service. Located downtown and near the port, the hotel serves as a great landing ground for any Mobile activities that might interest you.

Start your adventures at one of Mobile’s museums. If art is up your alley, stop by the Alabama Contemporary Art Center. Currently featuring History Refused to Die, the exhibit shows how the art world shunned African Americans, but they continued to produce art in their own way. Families with children (or science lovers who enjoy family friendly exhibits) should go to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center. The My Body Works exhibit gives a hands-on look at how all different parts of the human body function. Even adults can get in on the fun by trying out different exercises and visiting different stations to see how our bodies function. The Exploreum also features an Imax dome theater that shows films relating to science. GulfQuest: The National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico is also very hands-on and family friendly. With 90 interactive exhibits, several films, simulators, and displays, GulfQuest provides a deep dive into the entire Gulf of Mexico, but also teaches about ship navigation, weather patterns, and history of the area. The museum sits right on the water and the exhibits are in a replica container ship. You can visit the container ship exhibits and then step onto the deck to see the real container ships pulling into the port.

These little guys are a great addition to any meal. Photo by Kayla Elliott
These little guys are a great addition to any meal. Photo by Kayla Elliott

Head out towards the USS Alabama and stop by Felix’s Fish Camp for lunch. Whether you’re looking for a light seafood dish like West Indies Salad or something hearty like fish cakes, they have a little something for everyone. Plus, there are plenty of jalapeno and corn fritters (or as we like to call them: hush puppies) to eat. Also, save room for some Lemon Ice Box Pie or a Moon Pie a la Mode.

Be ready for some awesome photo ops on a visit to the USS Alabama. Photo by Kayla Elliott
Be ready for some awesome photo ops on a visit to the USS Alabama. Photo by Kayla Elliott

Next, hit up the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. I honestly don’t think I had much interest to go on a battleship, but I was so glad I did. While it is tight quarters inside the ship (and a lot of tiny doorways and narrow stairs), even strolling along the main deck is a sight to see. The park has a walking tour that can be accessed on your phone so you can go along at your own pace. On site, you can also go onboard the USS Drum submarine.

If you have energy left after a day of exploring, find a show playing in Mobile. The Saenger Theatre is not only the home of the Mobile Symphony, but brings in plenty of big name shows like Ben Folds, Weird Al, and Harry Connick, Jr. The downtown theatre underwent an $8 million restoration in 2005, and tried to stick as close to the original look as possible. Callaghan’s Irish Social Club is also a good spot if a dive bar is more your style. You can grab one of their famous cheeseburgers or just sit back and listen to a local band play while you sip a local brewed beer.

Start your second day by walking to A Spot of Tea. A downtown Mobile institution, you can get a variety of breakfast items including their fresh baked, insanely delicious scones. The restaurant also serves lunch while continuing to serve breakfast all day.

The serene views in the gardens will really help you appreciate the wonders of life. Photo by Kayla Elliott
The serene views in the gardens will really help you appreciate the wonders of life. Photo by Kayla Elliott

Then make the drive out to Bellingrath Gardens and Home to amble around their gardens. Mr. Bellingrath was Mobile’s first Coca-Cola bottler and built this estate for the couple in 1935. While the couple has passed on, the estate and gardens are kept open by a foundation as Mr. Bellingrath’s memorial to his wife. You can take the gardens in at your own pace and really get the beauty of all the amazing gardens Mrs. Bellingrath started while she lived at the house on the water.

Spend the afternoon back in downtown Mobile exploring the city. There are shops to pop into like Urban Emporium and Kabl & Company where you can buy clothes and accessories featuring larger name brands as well as local designers. While walking, notice the cast iron facades and French features on buildings lining downtown. It’s new meets old as the city continues to revitalize their downtown. Sit and enjoy a snack in Bienville Square and enjoy the calm pace of the city.

For a real treat, visit Dauphin’s for a spectacular view on the 34th floor of the RSA tower. Newly opened by former Miami Dolphin footballer Bob Baumhower, Dauphin’s pairs farm to table dishes with classic and modern twists. Whether you are interested in seafood or steak, Dauphin’s promises to give you a first class experience. Don’t leave the restaurant without trying the Gumbo Z’herb which I would happily eat at each meal.

Spend your final day in Mobile on the water. Stop by the 5 Rivers Delta Center where you can see the five rivers meeting point in Mobile Bay. 5 Rivers has education programs, classrooms, an exhibit hall, campsites, and a kayak and canoe launch. Then take an excursion with Wild Native Tours to see one of the most biologically diverse habitats in North America. The tour guides are informative and make the ride both interesting and relaxing. It’s a great way to end your weekend trip and see the beauty of this side of the Gulf has to offer.

A short plane ride from Texas to Mobile is the only thing standing between you and a fantastic weekend to Mobile. The Azalea City is just waiting to show you the charm traditions that make Mobile a great getaway.