A First-Timer’s Guide to Mobile, AL

Mobile is quickly becoming a hotspot for vacations. We want these travelers to enjoy their time here as much as we love living here, so here are some things first-timers must do when they visit us.

guide to visiting mobile al

Mardi Gras — We Started It!

In Mobile, we let the good times roll as Mardi Gras lights up the town! Mardi Gras is a tradition that has been in the Port City since 1699 — before Mobile was even founded (and for our friend New Orleans to the west, well before they are credited with starting it). Mardi Gras started off as a little party thrown by a French explorer and has since grown in popularity as New Orleans later started celebrating it as well. Parades usually start in February or March and continue until the day after Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday in French. Hundreds of thousands of people visit during this time to celebrate Mardi Gras and Joe Cain Day.


Wait… Joe Cain Day?

Joe Cain is often considered the founder of Mobile’s modern-day Mardi Gras. After the Civil War, the city of Mobile was in a deep, dark era. The city had suffered great loss, including a large explosion at an ammunition depot in downtown Mobile. The explosion killed over 300 people, sunk several ships on the Mobile River and left a 30-foot crater where the depot had once stood. Joe Cain took it upon himself to rejuvenate the city. In 1866, dressed as ‘Chief Slac,’ Joe Cain paraded through Mobile. The city was still under Union occupation, and his costume was an attempt to insult the Union soldiers. Along the way, Joe was joined by other Confederate veterans who decorated a coal wagon and played drums and horns. This celebration rejuvenated the city and Joe Cain has become the unofficial mascot of Mobile.

Shrimp Kabobs, Shrimp Creole, Shrimp Gumbo…and more!

Just like Bubba Blue said in Forrest Gump, shrimp is the fruit of the sea in Mobile! Mobile is one of the largest seafood providers for the United States as Mobile Bay is one of the USA’s largest ports. If you come to Mobile, you can find at least one seafood restaurant on every road. If something smells fishy here, it’s probably because you’re in Bayou la Batre where shrimp boats line the canal as they come in each day. If you’re visiting anytime between February and June, be sure to get some local crawfish. Trust me, you don’t know seafood until you have tried it on the Gulf Coast.


The Crichton Leprechaun

Ever since that original news story aired in 2006, Mobile has been the home of the Crichton Leprechaun. As the story goes, a local news affiliate was alerted to large crowds gathering around a tree in the Crichton community of Mobile. Several people reported seeing the leprechaun playing a special flute that was thousands of years old. The video went viral, eventually making its way to media like MSNBC, Howard Stern and The New York Times, just to name a few. The city of Mobile has embraced the Crichton Leprechaun and is now a major spot for St. Patrick’s Day parties.


Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island is one of the best places in Mobile to visit. The Island is great for family, friends or even if you just want to be alone for a while. Dauphin Island has a ferry that can take you, your crew and your ride to Gulf Shores and back, and the ferry drops you off at some of the most beautiful places on both ends! The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a fun and educational experience where you can interact with and learn about the different types of sea creatures, as well as their habitats and afterward you can have a picnic on the beach or on their patio. Historic Fort Gaines is also right around the corner with fun knowledge awaiting you. The fort played a big role in the Civil War and now its history is yours to explore. So while you are here, take a dive into all the fun adventures you may have on Dauphin Island.


Fort Conde

Fort Conde has been around for generations as it was used as a base in many wars that have been fought on American soil. The Fort is easy to access right in the heart of Downtown Mobile and is close to many more things your family might want to look at or take part in. The Fort hosts many events throughout the year and is great for just about anyone. Take a dive into the history of the battles that have been both won and lost here, as well as how the great city of Mobile became what it is today.


USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

Ahoy matey! The USS Alabama is one of the most recognizable places in Alabama today as it draws more and more visitors every year. More than 15 million people have come to visit the park and the stories that it holds. Legend has it that the ship is haunted with several crewmen from WWII. Several visitors have reported seeing and hearing strange things including footsteps coming up behind them when no one was there and apparitions appearing in the Galley. Employees swear that the USS Alabama is not haunted and that these stories are just that — stories. Be sure to visit and see for yourself.


As you plan you plan your trip to the port we want you to know everything that we can offer you and your family on your next vacation. If you cross everything off your list be sure to check out more of the amazing events and attractions that you are sure to fall in love with, and if you don’t do everything you wanted, do not worry because you’ll want to come back for more.

Author: Michelle Murrill

Author: Michelle Murrill

CEO Southern View Media

Michelle Murrill is the head honcho at Southern View Media. She and her team work on digital marketing strategies for local businesses.  She has lived on the Gulf Coast for 31 years. Her favorite things about living in the Mobile area include being near the beach, eating at all the great local restaurants and all the great events and community involvement! 
advertise with the mobile rundown

Disclosure:  this article might contain links to the resources discussed.
Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning that we will make a small commission if you purchase a product or service by using the link. You get the same price whether you use our special link or not, and sometimes we’re able to get you an even better deal through our relationships!  More info in our privacy policy.

Mobile Rundown Patrons

Join us on The Rundown Podcast

More Posts You’ll Like

The 10 Best Mexican Restaurants in Mobile AL

The 10 Best Mexican Restaurants in Mobile AL

Mexican cuisine started gaining global popularity around the 60s, and it’s not hard to imagine why. Mexican dishes are vibrant and fiery, two qualities that will have you craving for more. It’s also worth noting that Mexican food is mainly healthy. With staple...

read more
Where to Find the Best Burgers in Mobile Alabama

Where to Find the Best Burgers in Mobile Alabama

We owe a lot to the person who came up with the idea of putting a ground meat patty between two buns. No one is really sure who that person is or where the hamburger was invented. All we know is that it's flippin' delicious.  The burger is quintessentially...

read more

Get The Rundown

Want to know what's going on around the bay?  Then Join Us! We send out a FREE weekly email with the top events, ways to do good, contests, and more. [you can also text 'Rundown' to 33222 to get the Rundown via text].

Great! One more thing. Go check your email and click the link to be added to the community.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This