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.
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