Written by Tom Murphy
October 2017

Mobile Bay, an inlet off the Gulf of Mexico, rewards a wide range of interests, from nautical to natural to historical. Just west of the Fort Morgan Peninsula, the Bay’s laid-back atmosphere is a stark contrast to the busy sands of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

The eastern shore of the Bay is home to the picturesque Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa, located on over 550 acres of scenic property. Perennially ranked among the top luxury hotels in the southeast, the Grand is ideal for overnight trips.

Travelling north along the eastern shore, boaters will arrive in Fairhope, where fine dining and eclectic shops helped the city earn the title of “Best Small Town in the South” from Southern Living magazine in 2016. Dock and dine at either the Fairhope Yacht Club or Flycreek Marina. If you’re going inland to downtown Fairhope, try Thyme On Section or Camellia Café. For a quick drink, pop into the Fairhope Brewing Company for some local brews.

The Mobile-Tensaw Delta comprises the north end of the Bay. Dubbed “America’s Amazon,” it is home to over 120 species of fish, 68 species of reptiles, and at least 300 different birds. Exploring this intricate system of rivers and streams requires smaller craft and an adequate GPS. A better way to see this natural wonder is through a guided tour — try 17 Turtles Outfitters or WildNative Delta Safaris.

The city of Mobile rests on the western shore of the Bay. Those with an interest in history should visit the Battleship Memorial Park and board the USS Alabama. In downtown Mobile, you can get a unique view of the city by land and sea on a duck boat tour. There are some great dining options downtown — try The Noble South, Dumbwaiter, or NoJa. For dinner with a view, head to Dauphin’s, which offers a panoramic look at the city and bay from the 34th floor of the RSA BankTrust Building. Also discover the true birthplace of Mardi Gras at the Carnival Museum in Mobile.

A visit to Mobile Bay provides something for everybody. You can go at your own pace, and enjoy the people, food and attractions that will make it a regular detour on your travels.

Where to Dine

  • NoJa (6 N. Jackson St.)One of the best fine dining spots in downtown Mobile, NoJa’s sophisticated menu blends Mediterranean and Asian styles.
  • BLUEGILL Restaurant (3775 Battleship Parkway) Located on the water, BLUEGILL offers fresh seafood in a casual atmosphere and live music.
  • Wash House Restaurant (17111 Scenic Highway 98) This cozy restaurant has long been a local favorite in Baldwin County — southern coastal cuisine at its finest.

Where To Dock

  • Dog River Marina (251-471-5449, dogrivermarina.com)
    North of the ICW, this full-service marina and boatyard features a Ship’s Store, courtesy car, 24-hour guard service and shore power. Dog River Marina can also accommodate vessels up to 150 feet and offers painting, yacht sales, electronics repairs, engine and generator repair, custom outfitting, prop repair, and fiberglass.