Mobile, Alabama, is one of America’s oldest port cities (it celebrated its 300th anniversary with a blowout in 2002) and a cultural hub on the Gulf Coast. Nature, museums, and fresh seafood can easily fill your days pre- or post-cruise. Carnival Cruise Line is the only major line using the city as a departure port, with Western Caribbean sailings out of Mobile beginning in November 2016.
What We Love
Mobile Bay: From fishing and crabbing to airboats, kayaking, and dinner cruises, being on the water is part of life in Mobile. Catch a sunset … and the catch of the day from one of the many seafood restaurants that line the causeway.
Dauphin Street: Going for a stroll down this downtown street — also a historic district — is like taking a walk back in time. The architecture on the street is reason enough to visit, but you’ll also find lots of bars, restaurants, shopping, and galleries — the second Friday of each month is ArtWalk.
Best Known For
USS Alabama: This World War II battleship was retired in 1962 and moved to Mobile Bay, where it opened as a museum in 1965. Now the Navy vessel is a historic landmark and one of the most memorable sites in Mobile. Visitors can take self-guided tours of the battleship, a submarine, and an aircraft collection.
Carnival: New Orleans may have the nation’s most famous Mardi Gras, but Mobile — once home to French colonial settlers — lays claim to the oldest Carnival celebrations in the United States. Visit the Mobile Carnival Museum to see how the south Alabama town has celebrated the elaborate holiday for centuries.
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Who It's Best For
Nature Lovers: There is no shortage of visible nature in and around Mobile. Visit the region’s wildest residents — alligators, bald eagles, and pelicans — in their natural habitat with a trip through the swamps and marshes of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. The charming Dauphin Island, a barrier island in Mobile Bay accessible by ferry, is home to several bird sanctuaries. And, 32 miles of white sand are the big draw in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Science and History Buffs: Aside from the USS Alabama, there is also the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum, Fort Morgan, and Fort Conde for those looking for lessons of the past. With more than 150 interactive exhibits, the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center is the place to visit for hands-on learning.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Summers Are Hot and Humid: Summer days and nights can be uncomfortably muggy in Mobile. Visitors may also want to pack an umbrella — it rains an average of 120 days every year and, like many of its Gulf Coast neighbors, Mobile is affected by major tropical storms and hurricanes.
Kristen Boatright is the New York City-based senior video editor of ShermansCruise.com.