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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.


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. 


Daily, 8:30am - 4:30pm


(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 Fantastic Day Trips from Gulf Shores, Alabama

If you are looking for a break from the sand and surf of Gulf Shores, Alabama, there are plenty of great day trip options in the surrounding area. From state parks to historic landmarks, there is something for everyone within a short drive of Gulf Shores. Here are five fantastic day trips to consider on your next vacation.

1. Big Lagoon State Park  in  Perdido Key, Florida

30 minute drive from Gulf Shores

Located just over the state line in Florida, Big Lagoon State Park is a beautiful and peaceful destination for a day trip. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including dolphins, sea turtles, and alligators. Visitors can hike, fish, kayak, and enjoy stunning views of the lagoon and Gulf of Mexico.


12301 Gulf Beach Hwy, Pensacola, FL 32507


8am to 6pm daily


$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

For a glimpse into America's military history, head to the USS Alabama War Ship in nearby Mobile. This battleship served in World War II and is open to the public for tours. Visitors can explore the decks, see the guns up close, and learn about the brave men who served aboard the ship.


2703 Battleship Parkway | Mobile, AL 36602


$15.00 or less per person, $4.00 parking fee

Summer Hours:

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

Just a short drive from Gulf Shores, Fairhope is a charming town with plenty of shops, restaurants, and art galleries to explore. Take a stroll down the tree-lined streets and admire the historic homes, or head to the pier for a beautiful view of Mobile Bay. See my complete post on Fairhope here

4. Dauphin Island (Fort Morgan, Mobile Ferry, Fort Gains, Sea Lab)

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

Dauphin Island is a barrier island located just off the coast of Alabama, and it is packed with history and natural beauty. Visit Fort Morgan, a historic fort that played a key role in the Civil War, or take a ferry across Mobile Bay to Fort Gains on the island. Do not miss the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, a marine research facility that offers tours and educational programs.


110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542


Seven Days A Week



Adult $8
Seniors/child $5

Mobile Bay Ferry

For a unique and scenic day trip, take a ride on the Mobile Bay Ferry. This ferry service connects Dauphin Island to Fort Morgan, and the trip offers stunning views of the bay and surrounding landscape. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and other wildlife along the way.


Fort Morgan Side

110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Dauphin Island Side:

111 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, AL 36528


Varies, check here   


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.


51 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528


9AM – 5 PM daily


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.


102 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528

Hours vary from winter and summer. 

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


$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.


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.


1400 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561


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.


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


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

Happy Travels!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Exploring the Charm and Beauty of Bay St Louis, Mississippi

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.


1928 Depot Way, Bay St Louis, MS 39520


Monday – Saturday 10am to 4pm 

Alice Moseley Folk Art and Antique Museum


1928 Depot Way, Bay St Louis, MS 39520


Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 4pm



Serious Bread Bakery

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


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


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.


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 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.


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!


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.


229 N Beach Blvd, Waveland, MS 39576


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!


208 N Beach Blvd, Bay St Louis, MS 39520


(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.


100 Jody Compretta Dr, Bay St Louis, MS   

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

Happy Travels!