We stay 9 days in the Gulf Shores/Mobile Alabama area at an Escapees-owned RV park and explore the bay area.
Our three months at Winter Garden, Florida, closed out at the end of February 2022 and that is WAY too early to head back to Wisconsin. Since the month changed over on a Monday this year, we decided to head out a few days early from Florida on a weekend, and we made our way to Southern Alabama. We first stayed for 9-days about 30 minutes from the Gulf Shores area on the East side of Mobile Bay, also about 30 minutes from Mobile, Alabama. Leaving the Orlando area always requires us to change our mindset from urban life to a much quieter rural setting, but not far from water.
Escapees Rainbow Plantation
The Escapees Rainbow Plantation Park in Summerdale has great AT&T cell service, spacious level sites, and ample room to move around, plus being out in the county it is very quiet. As an Escapees/Xscaper member you can not really beat the member price here.
Another campground without any picnic tables, this seems to be a thing now. Provide no amenities at the sites and you don’t have to maintain them? The sites here are packed sand and there is very little grass anywhere. There is adequate shade from the trees at the sites. The Escapees RV section is on the south end of the SKP area. The SKP program is a more permanent land lease sort of program and that is where the clubhouse and laundry are located. Self-contained units are required as there are no adjacent comfort stations to the RV park.
The Gulf Shores area is a tourist attraction in itself by being on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Here you will find the typical beach high-rise condo buildings facing the ocean, countless beach bungalows for rent, and many restaurants making the claim they have the best seafood in the area.
Both of us prefer our seafood to be fresh-caught, locally, and not deep-fried and breaded. In this area, they are proud of their chicken-fried anything and that goes for the seafood too.
Granted we did not try a bunch of different seafood restaurants, but we did read reviews for at least a hundred different options in the area before picking this one. De Soto’s Seafood Kitchen in Gulf Shores was a great place for a sit-down local fresh-caught option.
Best Frozen Supplier
Surprisingly the best locally caught (frozen) seafood that we found was at Piggly Wiggly in Summerdale! There is a fish shop that sells locally caught gulf shrimp and many other frozen seafood options too. They also sell some pre-packed meal sides like hush puppies, crawfish casserole and the like.
Around Mobile Bay
We specifically stayed in this area to have a slower pace and save up some money after the Disney draining months in Florida. However, we did have one weekend day that had nice weather in which we did a drive around Mobile Bay. This was a great driving day trip including some good food and some new sights. We left the campground at about 8 AM and we returned again at 5 PM, a nice comfortable 169-mile day trip. (You can save an hour or two by not looking for half-crazed Mississippi squirrels.)
Since we would be going counter-clockwise around the bay we started out North from our campground and had breakfast al fresco at a quaint little restaurant in Daphne, AL, on the east side of the bay. With how cold the weather had been in the week up to this, the warm sun in the morning was welcome. The East Shore Cafe would be very tough to get to with any sizable RV, but it is a great place to take the Jeep and enjoy a meal. They advertise a Saturday night prime rib as well.
From Daphne, we then went up and picked up I-10 to cross over the bay but under the Mobile River via the George Wallace Tunnel. This tunnel is very steep down into it and then back up the other side of the bay as we crossed Westbound. The tunnel alone is rather a marvel and an experience in itself. The tunnel allows for the interstate to cross under the busy shipyard traffic that is big business in the area.
After crossing over into Mobile we continued Southeast to Pascagoula Mississippi to see if we could find ourselves any half-crazed squirrels! Both of us are Ray Steven’s fans and especially enjoy the music video for The Mississippi Squirrel Revival, so we had to visit Pascagoula just to say we had been there. The jury is out on exactly which church was filmed in the video, especially now that it is almost 40 years after the fact! We drove down to the Beach Front Fish Pier Park and checked out the shipyards that had numerous Navy ships in the dock for repairs. We were very surprised how big this “sleepy little town” is since it boomed in World War II and continues to be in support of the Navy.
Pascagoula was the furthest Southwest we went and then we turned back to the Southeast and headed to the Dauphin Island to find some seafood for lunch and to catch the ferry back over to the Gulf Shores side of the bay. Reel Deal BBQ & Seafood is an outdoor eatery on Dauphin Island, with great fried seafood. We had their variety basket with hush puppies, coleslaw, and potato salad. The portion sizes were insanely large and we could have split a basket between the two of us. We would pick up a couple of decadent malts at the Billy Goat Concessions at the Mobile Ferry dock waiting for the ferry to come in.
As we headed East on the ferry across the bay to Fort Morgan we passed several oil rigs up close. Amazingly we were that close to the oil being pulled out of the earth and yet the price of gas and diesel was the highest in the country in this area!
Next time we will be in Northern Alabama and we won’t be enjoying the gulf shores breezes anymore!