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Are you ready to tour the assorted wonders of Alabama and northwest Florida? In Mobile, explore scientific marvels and the famed battleship, the U.S.S. Alabama. See colorful birds on Dauphin Island, cagey lions in Gulf Shores, and playful dolphins in Orange Beach. Pensacola, Florida is noted for its aircraft museum and Gulf Breeze for its Civil War fort. Before you depart from Alabama and Florida, be sure to sail away for part of a day from the sparkling shores of Destin or Panama City Beach.
We think Mobile, Alabama, is a great place to start. While you probably wouldn’t think of the region as a hotbed of naval history, the National Historic Landmark U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is here, with a displays of the namesake ship, as well as the U.S.S. DRUM submarine, assorted military hardware, and strategic aircraft. The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center offers a practical introduction to the entertaining side of science. Be sure to watch a film in the center’s IMAX Dome Theater. Before departing the city of Mobile, retreat to the area’s fine Gulf beaches for a breezy stretch of relaxation.
From Mobile, travel east on Hwy 10 to Panama City Beach, home to mini-golf at Coconut Creek Family Fun Park, sea lions performing at Gulf World Marine Park, aquatic absurdity at Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and musical entertainment and sea views with your evening meal found onboard the Lady Anderson Dining Yacht.
From there, take Hwy 98 west to nearby Destin, board a glass-bottom boat to scope the waters for dolphin, take a charter fishing excursion, or go for a breezy ride on the historic wooden Sailing Schooner, the Daniel Webster Clements. The city provides a nice spot to shop till you drop in an open-air environment at 70 unique shops in Destin Commons. While here, be sure to visit America’s biggest designer outlet center at Silver Sands Factory Stores.
Keep on Hwy 98 through Pensacola and Gulf Breeze, Florida. (See attraction information for the cities of Pensacola and Gulf Breeze in the Florida travel section under Panhandle Beaches to State Capital Run).
Heading west, you will soon reach Dauphin Island. Explore the trails at Dauphin Island’s Audubon Bird Sanctuary, board a sightseeing cruise or deep-sea fishing boat, and go crabbing or fishing for the likes of speckled trout and flounder on the town’s Fishing Pier.
Travel east via ferry from Dauphin Island across to Fort Morgan, then continue east/northeast through Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. You can see lions, tigers, and birds from the tropics at Gulf Shores’ Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, while at Bart Rockett Dinner Theater, every meal is accompanied by a variety show featuring music, magical acts, dancing, and comedy.
Orange Beach obliges water lovers with sail away opportunities as part of a dolphin watch or fishing cruise in the waters. Learn about local Native American culture at the Indian & Sea Museum. Swim with dolphins at Gulf World or cool off at the water park at Riverwalk Orange Beach.