GET LOST IN ‘AMERICA’S AMAZON’
Mobile is the port city weekend you didn’t know you needed. Sitting right on the Gulf of Mexico, it's packed with a mix of French, Spanish, and American influences and its streets, shaded by towering oak tree canopies and historic Old South mansions, appear straight out of Gone With the Wind. While there, visit the “Mighty A” battleship, walk through the city’s historic and arts districts, and explore The Fort of Colonial Mobile, a French colonial post built in 1723. Surprising to many, the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the country isn’t in New Orleans -- it’s in Mobile. For that reason, make sure you check out the Mobile Carnival Museum, which documents the city’s Mardi Gras traditions from the day it all began. When you get hungry, try the local specialties: get Gulf shrimp and grits at The Noble South, barbecue sandwiches at Meat Boss, and a board of Alabama-made cheeses at The Cheese Cottage.
If you like the outdoors, go camping on Dauphin Island or explore Mobile’s acres of scenic waterways, woods, wetlands, and parks; it’s the reason this part of the country is called “America’s Amazon.” Five rivers meet here -- the Mobile, Spanish, Tensaw, Apalachee, and Blakeley -- so there are plenty of places for kayaking, nature walks, and paddle boarding. Fall brings a series of festivals to Mobile; in October, the weekly Park After Dark will offer family-friendly fun every Sunday, and the first weekend of November, the third annual Wine on the River Mobile and the Alabama Pecan Festival both return.
Where to stay: The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa is located downtown and has a high-end Southern restaurant, tavern, heated rooftop pool, spa, tennis court, and fitness center. Standard rooms are decorated in a traditional Southern style and start at $170/weekend night in the fall.