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Traveling to Alabama’s Gulf Coast? How to Get Here and Where to Stop!

May 2, 2023

There’s nothing like a road trip to kick off your vacation. After all, it’s not just about the destination; the journey is half the fun, particularly if traveling to the Alabama Gulf Coast! Although many visitors commute from nearby states, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach welcome travelers from all over, many driving all day to see our beautiful beaches.

Fortunately, we’ve got some great pit stops to help break up the trip and remember, some of the best surprises happen on detours. Don’t be afraid to alter the course just a bit, and be sure to hit the stops below!  

Getting to the Alabama Coast from Texas and Louisiana

Our friends from the Lone Star state come in droves, and those traveling from Dallas don’t seem to mind the 10-hour drive. A few stops along the way make the trip an adventure! Hop on I-20 until you reach Shreveport. Check out the Shreveport Aquarium or hit the exhibits at Sci-Port Discovery Center before traveling to Jackson, the halfway point. Once there, select from a wide range of restaurants featuring delicious Southern fare. Continue your journey until you reach the sandy shores of the Alabama Gulf Coast!

The drive from Houston is shorter, at eight hours, and you’ll catch beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico. New Orleans is your halfway point, and you’ll find no shortage of fun in ‘The Big Easy.’ Take a carriage tour through the French Quarter, explore the Children’s Museum in the Lakeview District, or savor beignets at Cafe’ du Monde.

If coming from New Orleans or Baton Rouge, hop on I-10, and you’ll be lounging on the beach in three or four hours, respectively. A stop isn’t necessary, given the short distance, but you’ll pass right by the Infinity Science Center, and the interactive exhibits, galleries, theaters, and demonstrations are worthy of a visit. If the kids start getting antsy, stop at Big Play Entertainment Center in Biloxi before resuming the scenic drive along the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, no trip for those traveling the I-10 corridor would be complete without a stop at Buc-ee’s. Beyond a super-sized gas station, you’ll find delicious eats, gifts, souvenirs, and more. Trust us; it’s worth the stop!

Getting to the Alabama Coast from Mississippi

The trip from Jackson will take about four and a half hours, but a break or two will help renew and re-energize everyone in the car. Hop on SR 49, travel to De Soto National Forest, hike through the pine woods, see cypress swamps, and let the kids burn off that extra energy or hit the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile. Young and old will find the tanks, artillery, and memorabilia fascinating and a nice reprieve from the travel.

Getting to the Alabama Coast from Tennessee

If you’re coming from Memphis, hop on I-22 to the Alabama Gulf Coast and break up the seven-hour commute midway in Meridian. Home to numerous Civil War sites, restaurants and shops, and plenty of outdoor activity, the “Magnolia City” is a beautiful town and a lovely stopping point. Embark on a history or food tour or rent a bike, explore the trails, and grab a bite before heading on your way!

From Nashville, take I-65 on a delightful journey with fun stops along the way. The seven-hour trip will fly by with a stop in Birmingham. Take the kids to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens or the Birmingham Zoo, with over 500 animals, including sea lions, bears, elephants, and more. Eateries on site will have you back on the road in no time, or just swing by Andy’s Farm Market for fresh peaches and apples, among other seasonal delights.

Although the drive’s a little longer, at eight-and-a-half hours from Knoxville, a quick hop on I-75 will have you on your way. Take a break and stretch your legs in the charming town of Tucker, Georgia. Browse the shops and pick from the many fruits and veggies at Sherry’s Produce. In operation for over 17 years, this family-run business is an excellent opportunity to pick up snacks for the rest of your journey. Travel until you reach Montgomery, where the options are endless. Museums, commemorative attractions, boutiques, and eateries dot the landscape, with little gems just waiting to be discovered!

Getting to the Alabama Coast from Northern Alabama

Travel time from Birmingham is about four and a half hours, while from Montgomery, it’s only three, but the routes are the same. Simply hop on I-65, inhale the scent of sweet magnolias, and enjoy the southern breezes as you travel closer to the Gulf of Mexico. Make a point to stop at Priester’s Pecans to pick up a few items along the way. Anything from this lovely shop would make a wonderful gift for your Alabama hosts or a delicious treat to enjoy in your beautiful vacation home.

Getting to the Alabama Coast from Georgia

Georgians flock to the Alabama Gulf Coast, many making the five-and-a-half-hour journey from Atlanta daily via I-85. Drive a few hours, then stop to enjoy the great outdoors and let the kids run around at Hickory Dickory Park in Auburn or take in the trails at Tuskegee National Forest. Either way, a little fresh air will do everyone some good, and it’s a great way to take in the gorgeous Alabama scenery.  Swing by the Alabama Safari Park midway through your journey in Montgomery, a 300-acre drive-thru adventure. View zebras, giraffes, and llamas from the comfort of your car!

Getting to the Alabama Coast from Kentucky

If you’re coming from Louisville, the midway point will land you at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, featuring one of the largest rocket and space memorabilia collections. Take in a show at the Planetarium, check out the exhibits, or experience a host of simulator experiences. Try the flight or rocket launch simulators, grab lunch on-site at the Mars Grill, and share your experiences during the rest of the journey!

Getting to the Alabama Coast from Oklahoma and Arkansas

Take I-40 from Tulsa to Little Rock, and although you’ll still have an eight-hour drive ahead, Jackson is a great stopping point. Follow a visit to the Jackson Zoo with a trip to Sal & Mookie’s for New York-style pizza and ice cream treats they’ll be talking about for the rest of the trip!

Miss something on the way down to the Alabama Gulf Coast? No worries, you can hit it on your return trip. Safe travels!

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