Mardi Gras on the Gulf Coast

While many consider New Orleans the hub of Mardi Gras in the U.S., you might be surprised to learn that it actually began in the Gulf Coast town of Mobile, Alabama. Mardi Gras has been celebrated with parades, balls, food, drinks, and overall revelry for years…and that tradition continues today. Not too far from Gulf Shores, this celebration is unlike any other, and it offers something for both adults and children.

One great thing about staying with us in Fort Morgan while you’re here for the Mardi Gras celebration – you can avoid the crowds when you want, but join in on the fun anytime! If you’re heading to Gulf Shores for Mardi Gras, read on to see what’s in store for you.

The Mardi Gras parades in Mobile features a huge lineup of guests, including many local groups and societies. The parades will run from Friday, January 30, until Tuesday, February 17, with exciting events each day. Groups will parade through this Gulf Coast town with their best float work, offering tons of entertainment along the way. Each day, many of the groups will also host balls to celebrate Mardi Gras. While some balls are by invitation only, some groups sell tickets to the public, so you can join in on the fun! Another interesting part of Mardi Gras on the Gulf Coast is the throwing of MoonPies®. It’s a long-standing tradition at the parade that children will especially love. Of course, there will be plenty of other booty tossed out, so get ready to take home some fun mementos.

For more information about Mobile’s Mardi Gras celebrations, check out Here you’ll find parade routes, schedules, and more. You can also visit the Mobile Carnival Museum and learn all about the history of Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama!

If you want to celebrate Mardi Gras but want to stay a bit closer to Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan, LuLu’s will be hosting its 3rd Annual Birds of Paradise Mardi Gras Ball on February 11. Admission is $60 and the celebration will include a buffet dinner, open bar, and entertainment by The Tip Tops! It’s just for those 21 and over, and it’s sure to be a fun night to remember. For more information, call 251.967.LULU (5858) or go to The “Krewe De Lu Roux’s Mardi Gras Ball” will be one event you won’t want to miss!

The Battle of Mobile Bay

Built in the aftermath of the War of 1812, Fort Morgan was designed to protect the port of Mobile and the shipping channels of Mobile Bay from attacks. It would be 30 years before the fort would be needed for defense. Then, on August 5, 1984, Fort Morgan sealed its place in history. A fleet of four ironclad monitors, led by U.S. Navy Admiral David Farragut, approached the fort for an attack. The lead ship, the U.S.S. Tecumseh, was hit by a torpedo and sunk. It was then that Admiral Farragut said the famous line, “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!”

Although their fleet seemed to be battered and defeated, they pushed through before coming up against the Confederate ironclad C.S.S Tennessee. The C.S.S Tennessee fell to the Union Navy, and eventually Fort Morgan was taken by Union troops as well. In 2014, the fort commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay with a touching reenactment, a surrender ceremony, and a salute to the colors.

Today, the fort in Fort Morgan, Alabama, offers self-guided tours, reenactments, tours, and field trips. There is even a museum and gift shop! The fort is a fascinating place, with batteries, tunnels, cannon, lookout points, and recreation opportunities. From young kids to adults, it will entertain and impress! It’s a fantastic way to spend a day in Fort Morgan, Alabama.

Museum & Gift Shop
The Fort Morgan Museum holds thousands of artifacts, donated and recovered, that represent the history of the fort, Mobile Point, and Mobile Bay from the War of 1812 to World War II. It is in the shape of the Citadel that once stood in the middle of the fort, and it’s the location for the education for Fort Morgan State Historic Site. The museum features letters from colonels, sections of the C.S.S. Gaines, and artifacts from the U.S.S. Tecumseh and U.S.S. Philippi.

The gift shop inside the museum offers books, prints, jewelry, and Fort Morgan memorabilia. Guests can even get their Lighthouse Passport Books stamped for a small donation! Also inside the gift shop is the United States Lighthouse Society Official Stamp with the Fresnel Lens.

Offering opportunities for birding, boating, hiking, fishing, picnicking, and enjoying the beach, Fort Morgan is more than just a military point. Guests can explore the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail, the nearby Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, or the lovely bayside beach. They even encourage taking driftwood as souvenirs!

Hours & Admission

Sunday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed for the Christmas holiday, December 25 and 26
Closed New Year’s Day
Tuesday Twilight Tours – June 3 through July

Adults – $7
College students (with ID) – $5
Seniors (65+) – $5
Military (active with ID), plus one – FREE
Military (reserve, retired, or veteran with ID) – FREE
Children (ages 6-12) – $4
Children (under 6) – FREE
Family (2 adults and 2 children under age 12) – $18; $3 for each additional child

*Admission prices include parking and access to Fort Morgan, the Fort Morgan Museum, beach, and picnic areas.

3…2…1…Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve is time to celebrate the past year and welcome in a new one. It’s a time for families and friends to gather, reminisce, and let loose! If you’re looking to mix it up this year, check out the New Year’s Eve events on the Gulf Coast. Located just a short drive from Fort Morgan, these parties are the perfect way to end 2014 at the beach.

NYE Hangout Peace Out
$35 in advance, $50 VIP
Where: The Hangout in Gulf Shores, AL
When: December 31 at 9 a.m. until January 1 at 2 a.m.

Featuring live entertainment by Kristy Lee and Dirt Road Revival, The Mulligan Brothers, and The Hussy Hicks, the NYE Hangout Peace Out is sure to be a blast. Spend the evening on the Gulf Coast listening to great live music, chowing down on a midnight buffet, and enjoying a balloon drop (with Hangout Music Fest tickets). End the night with a champagne toast by the beach! You can get tickets online, so buy them before they sell out!

8th Annual Noon Year’s Eve
Where: LuLu’s in Gulf Shores, AL
When: December 31 at 10 a.m.

A New Year’s Eve celebration appropriate for the entire family, LuLu’s 8th Annual Noon Year’s Eve features games, great food, and live music. Instead of a countdown at midnight, LuLu’s celebrates with a countdown at noon, complete with kid-safe fireworks and a beach ball drop! There will be face painting, games for kids, clowns, a sand castle contest, and more. Call Lulu’s at 251.967.LULU for more information.

New Year’s Eve Bash
Where: Flora-Bama
When: December 31

Celebrate with the party of the year at the New Year’s Eve Bash at Flora-Bama. The party will feature live music on all three stages throughout the entire night, along with champagne, party favors, and food. Tickets are $35 for people 21 and older, and $45 for people 18-20.

New Year’s Eve | Baytowne Countdown
Where: The Village of Baytown Wharf
When: December 31 at 7 p.m.

A free New Year’s Eve event for families, the New Year’s Eve Baytowne Countdown will end the year with a bang! Celebrate the end of 2014 and usher in 2015 as you dance and watch a fantastic fireworks display over the lagoon at midnight! What a way to spend New Year’s Eve at the beach!

Reeling in the New Year
Where: The Wharf
When: December 31 from 5 p.m. until 12 a.m.

Featuring live entertainment by Dee Jay Silver and 4 Barrel Funk, the New Year’s Eve celebration at The Wharf is a fun street party with fireworks, the Marlin Drop, and family activities. It’s free to the public and offers something for everyone – a kids’ area, live music, and an adults-only area. From 10 a.m. – 12 a.m., kids can enjoy ice skating in Palm Plaza ($10 for two-hour skate session; $12 for two-hour skate session and Ferris wheel ticket). The kids’ area will be open from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. and feature face painting, bouncy houses, a gyro machine, a mechanical bull, and Holiday SPECTRA playing at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m. Adults can hang out in The Miller Lite Beer Garden by Marlin Circle on Main Street or upgrade the New Year’s Eve experience with VIP tickets to the Jim Beam Kentucky Fire VIP Club. VIP tickets are $90 and include: access to a lounge area with club seating in the Palms, hors d’oeuvres, complimentary beer, wine, and mixed drinks, party favors, and more!

With so many fun things for kids and adults to enjoy during New Year’s Eve at the beach, you’ll want to start planning your trip to the Gulf Coast now! While you’re planning, check out our beach houses and condos that offer tons of amenities to enjoy before you head out for the night. On New Year’s Day, you’ll have a comfortable place to wind down.

Holiday Events at the Beach

The holidays are all about family and fun, and Christmas vacations at the beach are no different! Fort Morgan is a scenic and relaxing place to spend the holidays. You can sit back and enjoy the gorgeous beach views or sink your toes in the sand during morning walks. But you don’t have to be a total beach bum to enjoy Christmas at the beach. Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, and surrounding towns offer jam-packed community calendars, hosting holiday events throughout December.

Christmas Shows
Your little princess will love Cinderella (Enchanted Edition) at the South Baldwin Community Theatre beginning December 5. On December 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14, watch Rodgers & Hammerstein’s timeless fairy tale come to life! On December 8, head to the Foley Civic Center for the Baldwin Pops Christmas Concert: Frozen Christmas – a free Christmas concert for the whole family! And Christmas with the Nelsons comes to the Erie Meyer Civic Center at 7 p.m. on December 9, taking guests on a digital sleigh ride with live vocals and hilarious stories of the Nelsons’ family Christmases.

Santa Claus is coming to town!
December 11 boasts one of the biggest holiday events when Santa Claus comes to town! SanRoc Cay in Orange Beach, Alabama, will welcome Santa and invite children to get photos taken with Santa and his elves with Vacation Beach Portraits. Until December 21, you can also have Winter Wonderland photos with Santa taken at The Wharf – just $10 per photo! Find more Santa fun on December 13 at Tea with Santa at Villaggio Grille at The Wharf or the Santa Drop at Flora-Bama! On December 13, LuLu’s will welcome Billy Claus, the big brother of Santa Claus, who will be on hand to take photos and take kids’ letters from the letter writing station to his brother in the North Pole! At dusk, the Nautical Night of Lights Boat Parade will begin, so there will be plenty for both children and adults to enjoy. On December 20, kids can have another chance to meet Santa before he heads back to the North Pole to prepare for Christmas Eve. A hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bacon, and eggs will be served before it’s time to take photos with Santa! Admission is just $5, and children under three years old are free!

More holiday fun
If you need to pick up some Christmas gifts, be sure to stop by the Merry Market at The Wharf from December 12-13, where you’ll find unique gifts, handmade arts and crafts, and fine art pieces. Admission is free, so you could spend hours browsing here. Get in the holiday spirit with horse and carriage rides at The Wharf on December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, and 21. As you ride, take in the beautiful holiday lights and decorations!

Interspersed throughout these exciting holiday events are karaoke and open mic nights at area restaurants and bars, so you can belt those holiday tunes all you want! Lulu’s will feature new live entertainment throughout the holiday season, and local restaurants will feature some of your favorite holiday foods. Round out your Christmas at the beach with the Christmas Potluck at Flora-Bama – complete with turkey and ham. Those attending are encouraged to bring a covered dish to share, making the potluck feel so much more like a family affair! What a wonderful way to spend the holidays during your vacation to Fort Morgan!

Tips for Holidays at the Beach

The Gulf Coast is a fantastic place to spend the holidays. Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan, Alabama, are beautiful year-round, even when the warm ocean breezes have been swapped for chilly waters and cool sand. Holidays at the beach mean fun family events, beautiful beach scenes, and delicious seasonal foods.

Instead of freezing in the snow back home, head to Gulf Shore and Fort Morgan for a change of pace. The beach is the perfect backdrop for family holiday photos, and the sounds of the ocean will settle you after all that holiday shopping! For a wonderful Christmas vacation in Fort Morgan, check out our tips for holidays at the beach!

Find the holiday events. Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and the areas around Fort Morgan host lots of winter events. When you’re ready to get out of the beach house or condo for a little while, check out the exciting family-friendly attractions in town! Listen to seasonal music at Coastal Christmas with Aaron Neville, enjoy the 29th Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade, or explore the Winter Wonderland at The Wharf!

Don’t miss the beach. Just because it’s not 90 degrees outside doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beach. The sand will still feel fantastic between your toes, and the views are always wonderful. Get up early, take a walk during sunrise, and enjoy the peacefulness that Fort Morgan provides. It will be just the relaxing escape you’ve been seeking from your hectic holiday schedule! It’s also a great time to toss around the football or search for seashells, sea glass, and driftwood for beach-themed Christmas trees and holiday décor.

Bundle up. Although you’re at the beach, it will be chilly. Depending on where you’re traveling from, it will likely be much warmer than home. But you still want to stay warm while you enjoy beach days. Don’t forget to pack jackets, scarves, gloves, and warm shoes. Of course, days could warm up, so it’s best to pack light layers. And don’t forget – you can still get sunburned in winter! Always wear sunscreen when you’ll be spending a good amount of time outside during the day.

Pack the presents. If you’ll be spending the holidays in Fort Morgan, don’t forget your presents! Imagine being gathered in a comfortable beach house, with the sounds of the ocean outside, as you open your Christmas gifts with family. You’ll create so many wonderful memories during your holiday at the beach.

Make your favorite treats. Full kitchens in our beach houses and condos are ready and waiting for fresh-baked Christmas cookies, apple and pumpkin pies, and all your favorite holiday foods. Stop by the store on your way into town, or use Home Away Groceries to get all the ingredients you’ll need. What a wonderful way to spend holidays at the beach! Let kids get in on the fun, bringing holiday cookie cutters and letting them mix the dough!

Seasonal Selections by the Sea

When you think Thanksgiving, you think of all your favorite holiday foods – turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, casserole, cornbread, dressing, collard greens, mac and cheese, pumpkin pie, and other holiday treats. And while you may think that seafood would be on the menu for Thanksgiving dinner at the beach, several restaurants serve up delicious and traditional Thanksgiving meals! All of these restaurants are just a short drive from beautiful and relaxing Fort Morgan, offering all your favorite foods. Of course, you can still get delicious local seafood on Thanksgiving as well. So whether you’re craving turkey or shrimp, check out our picks for some of the best Thanksgiving dinners near Fort Morgan.

Bahama Bob’s Beachside Cafe
601 West Beach Blvd
Gulf Shores
Enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey and sides, along with Bahama Bob’s regular seafood menu!

Bubba’s Seafood House
24621 Perdido Beach Blvd
Gulf Shores
Fill up on Cajun fried turkey, sides, and Bubba’s Seafood House’s regular menu.

The Hangout
101 East Beach Blvd
Gulf Shores
Serving up a traditional Thanksgiving buffet with all your favorite fixings, The Hangout will feature roast turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted prime rib, cornbread dressing, collard greens, carrots, mashed sweet potatoes, Cajun rice pilaf, mac and cheese, rolls, salad, and dessert! Make reservations now!
Adults: $24.99
Kids: $12.99
Under 6: FREE

Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina
27075 Marina Road
Orange Beach
Sit down for a traditional Thanksgiving Day buffet upstairs at Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina. There will be limited walk-in seating, so reservations are suggested. The menu boasts brined turkey roast, ham, roasted shallot mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, pancetta mac and cheese, smothered local collard greens, oysters and corn bread dressing, mixed local greens, green bean casserole, sausage dressing, gravy, and a huge variety of delicious desserts!
Adults: $45
Kids (4-12): $16

Cobalt the Restaurant
28099 Perdido Beach Blvd
Orange Beach
Open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Cobalt the Restaurant will be offering a traditional Thanksgiving buffet with all your holiday favorites! Make your reservations now!

If you’d rather prepare your own Thanksgiving dinner at the beach, our condos and beach houses have kitchens to accommodate you and your family. Just stop by the store on the way into town and pick up all the ingredients you need. Then head to the condo or beach house and start preparing a family meal to remember. Enjoy the meal around the dining table or step out onto the deck to enjoy the views. It is sure to be a Thanksgiving to remember!

Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show in Alabama

Known for their impressive air skills and long-standing traditions, the Blue Angels pilots of the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron have a mission to “showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach.” Their first show was at Craig Field in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1946, and the Blue Angels have been stunning crowds ever since! It’s estimated that 11 million people see the air shows each year, not counting the 50,000 people the Blue Angels visit during school and hospital visits.

This November, the Blue Angels will be performing their Homecoming Air Show at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida. Admission is free, and gates open at 8 a.m. each day. When the show begins at 9 a.m., spectators will be in for a treat! The Blue Angels Flight Demonstration team will fly at 2 p.m. and sign autographs after. Along with the amazing flying skills, the Homecoming Air Show includes static aircraft displays, food and drink, vendor booths, attractions, and virtual reality experiences! There is even a Kids’ Zone that features virtual games and a bungee jump.

What to bring
Air shows are very loud, so those with young children are encouraged to bring protection for their ears. Layers of clothes help protect against the wind on the tarmac, and blankets and chairs are allowed. You can also bring small camera and diaper bags, but coolers, backpacks, pets, food, and drinks are not allowed.

Blue Angels aircraft
Over the years, the Blue Angels have flown more than 10 different aircraft. They originally flew four aircraft in the “Diamond” formation and then began flying six aircraft to include solos and precision formation flying. Today, the Blue Angels fly the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet and the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules with their own modifications, including an inverted fuel pump, a smoke-fluid system, a stop watch, an adjustable constant-tension stick spring, and the Blue Angels paint scheme.

Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show
November 7 – 9
National Museum of Naval Aviation
1750 Radford Blvd
Pensacola, FL 32508

If you need a great place to stay while you’re in the area, check out our condos and beach houses near Gulf Shores, Alabama. Instead of staying near the traffic of Pensacola, you can stay in the peaceful town of Fort Morgan. Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Fort Morgan, along with the many activities in the area, before heading to Pensacola for an exciting show!

Fill up on bold flavors at the 3rd Annual AL Festival of Flavor!

Who doesn’t love great food, good drinks, and live music? This October, the 3rd Annual Alabama Festival of Flavor brings all that and more to historic downtown Foley! From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on October 18, sample menu favorites from local restaurants, listen to live entertainment, and learn more about sustainable living. With kids’ activities and beer and wine tastings for the adults, the Festival of Flavor offers something for everyone just a short drive from the sandy beaches of Fort Morgan, AL.

A fix for those on a budget, 2014’s Alabama Festival of Flavor offers FREE admission and free parking for the festival. Live entertainment all day will fill the air with sounds to tap your toes to. For the kids, enjoy face painting and interactive entertainment and activities! There are even volunteer opportunities if you want to lend a helping hand. At 1 p.m., cheer on your favorite team as you watch the competition during the Tailgate Corn Toss Tournament.

Throughout the day, the Edutainment Seminars (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.) teach a bit about sustainable living. Learn about raised-bed gardening, canning, fiber weaving, and hydro and aquaphonic gardening, participate in the rain barrel workshop, and become more educated on the perfect food and wine pairings.

Of course, going to the Festival of Flavor calls for trying lots of delicious foods. With the Foodie Fix tickets ($1 each, $5 for 6, $10 for 15, and $20 for 40), sample fare from local restaurants, including:

  • Oak Hollow Farm
  • The Wash House
  • Portabella’s
  • The Hangout
  • Gabby’s Tortillas
  • Jimmy Jax
  • Gelato Joe’s
  • Derailed Diner
  • Villaggio Grille

Pair your delicious selections with beer and wine tastings, with treats prepared by Chef Chris Sherill, Chef Brandon Thrash, and students from the Gulf Coast Culinary Institute. Beer and Wine Tastings are just $25 for the VIP Experience tickets and $15 for General Admission tickets.

If you want to test out your own culinary skills, check out the online recipes from the South Baldwin Chamber.
*Sorry, no pets, smoking, or outside coolers allowed.*

With delicious local fare, beer and wine tastings, kids’ activities, seminars, and live entertainment all day, the 3rd Annual Alabama Festival of Flavor in downtown Foley has something for everyone. Enjoy the beautiful Gulf Coast weather, Southern tastes, and family fun this fall!

For a great place to stay in Fort Morgan, browse our condos and beach houses. Fort Morgan’s beautiful beaches will offer a peaceful escape from the busy streets of Gulf Shores and Foley. Have fun at the festival and then head back to a quiet beach rental where you can listen to the sound of the waves.

3rd Annual Alabama Festival of Flavor
October 18
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Historic downtown Foley
Foley Heritage Park
112 East Laurel Avenue
Foley, AL 36535

Guardian on the Bay – Historic Fort Morgan

Originally established as a Third System Coastal Defense Fort, Fort Morgan served to provide a stronger line of defense along the eastern and southern coastlines. The fort’s star shape allowed fort defenders to fire a heavy concentration of artillery on the enemy as the enemy approached. Its isolated location with a large amount of land defenses enabled it to stand up against a siege.

When the Civil War occurred, however, Fort Morgan’s brick defenses could not withstand cannon fire and steam-powered warships. Over time, the Army worked to improve the coastal defenses once again, making major updates to Fort Morgan in the process. Concrete batteries were built in 1896 and 1905 and were used during the Spanish-American War and World War I.

Today, Fort Morgan stands as a peek into the past. Some wooden structures from the beginning of the 20th century still remain, along with the batteries and several cannons. While touring, guests can check out batteries, the Lightkeeper’s House, cannons, cisterns, and the Brick Lighthouse Site. Views out over the water show what an incredible vantage point fort protectors would have had during wartime.

In 2014, Fort Morgan celebrated the Battle of Mobile Bay and Siege of Fort Morgan 150th Anniversary. The anniversary event featured reenactments, including artillery and aerial pyrotechnic explosions! On the average visit, guests can learn more about the history of Fort Morgan in the Fort Morgan Museum and while exploring at the annual Confederate Garrison living history event (check the calendar for dates). Self-guided tours at the fort include a tour map and plaques throughout, and field trip groups can enjoy special rates.

After a day at the fort, be sure to pick up some souvenirs (picking up driftwood off the beach is encouraged!) at the gift shop in the museum. Find everything from books and toys to home goods and accessories. A day at Fort Morgan is fun, educational, and interesting for people of all ages. The beautiful backdrop of the beach and water is an added perk!

Recreation at Fort Morgan
Along with tours of Fort Morgan, visitors can enjoy recreation in and around the fort. Boating, birding, hiking, fishing, and picnicking are some of visitors’ favorite activities here. There is even a dog-friendly beach between the Engineer’s Wharf and the Fishing Pier on the bay side of Mobile Point.

Admission Prices
Adults: $7
College students: $5 (with ID)
Seniors: $5 (age 65+)
Military: FREE, plus admit one (active, with ID)
Military: FREE (reserve, retired, or veteran, with ID)
Ages 6-12: $4
Under 6: FREE
Family: $18; each additional child $3 (2 adults and 2 children, under 12 years old)

110 State Highway 180
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. CST

October Events in Fort Morgan

Ahh, the summer season…sweltering temperatures, busy beaches, and plenty of traffic. The arrival of the beautiful fall season in Fort Morgan, Alabama, is wonderful for a number of reasons – but particularly the absence of the things listed above! Many families only think of vacationing to the beach during the summer, but believe it or not, the month of October is a wonderful time to pack your bags and vacation to Alabama’s pristine Gulf Coast.

The fun doesn’t stop with the arrival of fall in Fort Morgan and surrounding towns; in fact, the coast is still very much alive with activities and events! There are many great October events you may want to take part in, from the annual and much-anticipated bird banding to art shows, music festivals, and more. Reserve your Fort Morgan vacation rental today and check out these spectacular October events!

Fall Bird Banding
First and foremost, one of Fort Morgan’s biggest attractions is bird banding! This biannual event takes place once in the spring and once in the fall, with the coast being a very important stop for migrating birds making their treks to Central and South America. The fall bird banding takes place from October 4 through October 11, starting around 8:00 a.m. and usually wrapping up around 4:00 p.m. The bird banding is free to enjoy, but there is admission charged to historic Fort Morgan. Bring along a lawn chair, binoculars, and a mind ready to learn all sorts of new things about these migratory birds!

20th Annual Bayfest Music Festival
At home in Mobile, Alabama, for its 20th year, the Bayfest Music Festival is the largest in Alabama. This year’s artists and performers include some big names, from Alabama, Ludacris, and Joan Jett to Kid Rock, Brantley Gilbert, and more! Multiple stages are set up throughout the weekend, giving you a variety of artists to check out no matter when you come by. The festival kicks off on October 3 and ends on October 5. More than 150,000 people are expected to attend this October event! There will be activity areas for the children along with plenty of vendors and food. You won’t want to miss this one – consider it your last hurrah of the summer before preparing for next year’s Hangout Festival!

10th Annual Halloween Pumpkin Patch Express and Ghoul Family Night Train
Itching for some Halloween fun amidst your October events? Head to the Wales West RV Resort in Silverhill from October 3 through 31. Climb aboard an authentic steam train to venture into the haunted barn where ghouls and ghosts are abound! There is also a kid-friendly pumpkin patch and plenty of activities for you to enjoy. Decorate your own pumpkin, try out the impressive pumpkin cannon, sing songs on the hay ride, or grab a bite to eat at the snack shop – the possibilities are endless!

Annual National Shrimp Festival
Who comes to the beach without enjoying a plate of fresh, Gulf-caught seafood? No one who attended the Annual National Shrimp Festival (Shrimp Fest), that’s for sure! Presented by Zatarain’s and hosted the second weekend in October, this event is definitely one not to be missed. Here you will find dozens of restaurants and vendors serving up your favorite shrimp dishes, a retail marketplace, arts and crafts section, and much, much more. The 2014 music lineup for Shrimp Fest is also sure to impress, bringing names such as Keith Anderson, Fly By Radio, and the Shrimp Idol singing competition!