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Friday, January 24, 2020

Florida’s Hot Spot for Viewing and Snorkeling with Manatees



Located in Crystal River, Florida, Three Sisters Springs is the hot spot for manatees in the winter months.




The 57-acre Three Sisters Springs refuge surrounds the springs and is the only way to access the land around Three Sisters Springs.




A nice boardwalk with viewing platforms takes you around most of the springs.







If you arrive as soon as they open and walk in, you will have a few minutes to walk around before the crowds arrive by trolley.




You can swim and snorkel in the manatees, but must enter through the waterway at the south end of the springs. There is no access on the refuge.






Boat/ Kayak launches can be found throughout Kings Bay. If you do one of the “snorkel with manatees” tours, chances are this is where you will wind up. Two tour groups and tons of snorkelers on their own, were there the morning we visited. 

Swim and snorkel tours:
 here & here.







Address:

Front Gate for Walk-in   

601 Three Sisters Springs Trail, Crystal River, Florida




.

We parked in a large parking lot on Kings Bay Drive between Little Caesars Pizza and Sonic and walked in. It's about a two block walk. 




Trolley Parking area


123 N.W U.S. Highway 19, Crystal River, FL. (behind City Hall)

This is where you can catch the trolley that departs every 30 minutes. 




Hours:

Daily, 8:30am - 4:30pm




Admission:

(November 15th- March 31st)
$20.00 Adult
$17.50 Senior (55+)
$15.00 Military
$7.50 Child (6-15)
FREE for Children 5 &under


Happy Travels!











Monday, January 20, 2020

5 Fun Day Trips from Gulf Shores, Alabama



Looking for something a little different to do while vacationing in the Gulf Shores or Orange Beach area?  Or even somewhere to stop on the way there or when heading home? Give one of these places a visit!



1. Big Lagoon State Park  in  Perdido Key, Florida

30 minute drive from Gulf Shores



This Park is a 705-acre located on the northern shore of Big Lagoon, which separates the mainland from Perdido Key and the Gulf of Mexico.

Address:

12301 Gulf Beach Hwy, Pensacola, FL 32507

Hours:

8am to 6pm daily

Admission:

$5.00 - $10.00 per vehicle, depends on number of occupants






2. USS Alabama War Ship Tour in Mobile, Alabama

1 hour drive from Gulf Shores





The Uss Alabama is a 1940 World War II ship that housed a crew of 2,500 men located in Mobile.


Address:

2703 Battleship Parkway | Mobile, AL 36602


Admission:

$15.00 or less per person, $4.00 parking fee


Summer Hours:

April-September
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Winter Hours:

October – March

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.



3. Fairhope, Alabama

45 minute drive from Gulf Shores




Located on the shoreline of Mobile Bay, Fairhope’s charm and inviting atmosphere make it the perfect place to visit. You can even visit a fairy tale castle. See my complete post on Fairhope here



4. Fort Morgan, Mobile Ferry, Fort Gains, Sea Lab, Ship Island beaches - Alabama


35 minute drive + 40 minute ferry ride from Gulf Shores


Leave early morning to see all of these in one day.

Fort Morgan State Historic Site



Fort Morgan is a masonry fort built between 1819 and 1833. Its main roll was in the Battle of Mobile Bay.

Address:

110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Hours:

Seven Days A Week

9AM-4:30PM

Admission:

Adult $8
Seniors/child $5



Mobile Bay Ferry





The Mobile Bay Ferry goes between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan at Mobile Point. It takes about 40 minutes. You can stay in your automobile or get out and walk around.

Address:

Fort Morgan Side

110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Dauphin Island Side:

111 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, AL 36528

Schedule:

Varies, check here   

Fees:

Regular automobile and driver is $16 + $5 for each passenger.


Fort Gaines


Established in 1821, Fort Gaines known is for its role in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the American Civil War.

Address:


51 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528

Hours:

9AM – 5 PM daily

Admission:

Children (Ages 5 -12) are $5.00
Adults (Ages 13+) are $9.00



Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium 



Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium is an educational public aquarium exhibiting the four key habitats of coastal Alabama.

Address: 

102 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528


Hours vary from winter and summer. 

Check here   https://www.disl.org/estuarium


Admission:

$6 - $12




Dauphin Island


At only 14 miles long and 2 miles wide, Dauphin Island lays at the entrance of Mobile Bay.




This is a great place to enjoy beaches without many people on them.

Bienville Beach (1501 Bienville Blvd)

West End Public Beach (Drive west on Bienville Blvd to the very end)



5. Pensacola, Florida Snorkeling & Fort Tour

45 minute drive from Gulf Shores


Escambia County Bay Snorkel Reef 





Located approximately 50 ft. off shore in Park West, just before the entrance of Fort Pickens. Great for beginner snorkeler.

Address:

Park West, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561




Fort Pickens State Park




This 1834 pentagonal historic United States military fort is located at the west end of Santa Rosa Island. It is named after American Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens.

After visiting the fort, enjoy some of the 10 miles of gulf and bay beaches leading to the fort. It's also one of the few places in the Pensacola area to find seashells.

Address:

1400 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561

Hours:

March 1 - October 31: 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (last entry at 8:00 p.m.)

November 1 - February 28: 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Hours:

Historic Fort: 8:00 a.m. to sunset

Admission:

Per person (pedestrian, cyclist, etc.) ............................$15
Motorcycle....................................................................$20
Private vehicle (capacity <15) .......................................$25



Happy Travels!






Thursday, January 16, 2020

Mississippi's Secret Coastal town – Bay St Louis



Bay St Louis is a small coastal town between New Orleans, Louisiana and Biloxi, Mississippi. My first visit was just a stop over on a road trip to Florida. I have since been back two times. 




I love to walk along the coast and down the streets lined with colorful beach houses. It is so peaceful and relaxing.





We seem to always have bad luck with the weather during our stays, but it never fails to be clear the morning we are leaving. Lol  I took photos of some of our favorite spots on our last visit. Most were taken in the rain….   Hope you enjoy them anyway.



Bay St Louis Historic L & N Train Depot 



The Bay St Louis train depot, built in 1928, houses the visitors center and Mardi Gras Museum. The bottom floor had a display of Mardi Gras costumes as well as some historical timelines about the area.


Address:

1928 Depot Way, Bay St Louis, MS 39520

Hours:

Monday – Saturday 10am to 4pm 





Alice Moseley Folk Art and Antique Museum


Address:


1928 Depot Way, Bay St Louis, MS 39520

Hours:

Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 4pm

Admission:

Free



Serious Bread Bakery



This place has the best artisan breads and muffins. A must try!

Address:

131 Main St, Bay Saint Louis, MS 39520-4545

Hours:

Tuesday – Sunday  7:30am - 5:30 pm



St Rose De Lima Church


This beautiful catholic church dates back to 1855. Mass is still held almost every day of the week.


Address:

301 S Necaise Ave, Bay St Louis, MS 39520



Angel Trees



Remnants of beautiful live oaks are now works of art by Chainsaw sculptor, Dayle K. Lewis. The Angel trees stand as a monument to Hurricane Katrina.



Walking Tour of Filming Locations


Robert Redford’s 1966 movie "This Property Is Condemned" was filmed mostly in Bay St Louis. Take a walking tour to see some of the locations and building used. Get map here.



 Beaches 



Beaches run along Beach Blvd with parking on the shoulder across from the sand. A parking area and pavilion are located at the Garfield Ladner Pier.

Address:


125 N Beach Blvd, Waveland, MS 39576



Bay Saint Louis Municipal Harbor





We love just walking around looking at the boats and visiting with fishermen. This is also the best place to watch a sunrise!

Address:

100 Jody Compretta Dr, Bay St Louis, MS 39520



Bay Saint Louis Bridge


The Bay Saint Louis Bridge connects Bay St Louis and Pass Christian.


Address:

229 N Beach Blvd, Waveland, MS 39576



Shopping



Clothing and specialty shops are scattered through the historic area.



Bay Town Inn






 We always stay at the Bay Town Inn. The place is gorgeous and they love to pamper you!

Address:

208 N Beach Blvd, Bay St Louis, MS 39520

Phone:

(504) 421-0960



Pirates Day in the Bay Festival 



The Pirates Day Festival is held in the spring each year. It is so much fun and has a true small coastal town feel. It will be held May 15th & May 16th this year.

Address:

100 Jody Compretta Dr, Bay St Louis, MS   



Hope you enjoy this charming little town as much as we do!

Happy Travels!