Pensacola Beach We began our day in Pensacola Beach looking at the emerald water from our hotel balcony. Once we got in the car, we drove north across Pensacola Bay to the city of Pensacola which looked to be a smaller city with some fun downtown options for eating and drinking along with some places on the water.
Points of Interest along the drive:
1. Perdido Key State Park
2. Gulf State Park
Perdido Key - Next we started our drive south on Florida 292 which hit the coast at Perdido Key and passing Perdido Key State Park. There are some high rises along the coast here but they're not so close together - I never got a closed in feeling like you can sometimes get at the beach with high rise upon high rise. We thought about visiting Gulf State Park and enjoying some more beach time but the weather wasn't cooperating so off we went.
Our first stop of the trip was at the Florida-Alabama line - at the infamous Florabama! I had heard all kinds of hype about this watering hole that straddles the state line - bras hanging up at the bar, live music, bushwhacker drinks and of course, the notorious Mullet Toss - where contestants throw a dead mullet (fish, not the haircut) over the state line. (The winner is the one who throws it the furthest) We were there the weekend before the Mullet Toss. And just as we arrived it started raining. And it was a Sunday at lunchtime. I expected the Florabama to be open but what I didn't expect was a church service being held at the bar. A real live church service with gospel music in a tent - at a bar. So we did a quick walk-around and then decided to leave - it was all a bit strange and definitely not what I expected of the venue for the Gulf Coast's legendary Greatest Beach Party. I think I just might have to return on a Friday or Saturday night to get a proper view of the Florabama.
We passed by Orange Beach and Gulf Shores before reaching the end of the road at Fort Morgan. Built for the War of 1812, Fort Morgan is a pentagon shaped fort that sits at the mouth of Mobile Bay. We were there to board a ferry across Mobile Bay to Dauphin Island, a barrier island in Alabama just south of the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay.
Crossing Mobile Bay
Our forty minute ferry crossing was a bit windy, and foggy - with limited views but we still enjoyed it.( We could see several off-shore oil rigs) Right on schedule we pulled into Dauphin Island, a town of about 1200, that is known as the Sunset Capital of Alabama. But no sunsets for us that day. So we kept moving on.
We headed north on Alabama 193 until we hit the coastal road of 90. Our goal was to find somewhere for a seafood dinner with water views. We passed by Pascagoula and Ocean Springs and the grand casinos in Biloxi,along with the famous Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art (no time for it this day but I would love to go back!) Interestingly, at least to me, is that the beaches along the coast here are narrow with very little hotel or restaurant development. I was expecting big, wide beaches like Florida or California but that's not so here - it was such a different coastal environment than I've seen before. We settled on eating at The Reef and were hoping for a table on the patio but the wind was so strong that the patio was closed. So a water view would do - and we learned that they are building a boardwalk here along this stretch of the coast.
Long Beach, Pass Christian and Bay ST. Louis
Onward we pushed, passing the genteel Southern towns of Long Beach, Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis where the road would veer away from the coast and take us to our final destination of New Orleans.
Another part of the United States that I'm happy that I was able to see!
How about you? Have you driven this part of the Gulf Coast?
Linking up with: WATW at Communal Global, The Weekend Wanderlust Weekend Travel Blog Party and The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond!