Coastal Festivals, Spring Blooms, Beach Volleyball

Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival in Foley

From NCAA championship beach volleyball action in Gulf Shores to roses in bloom at Bellingrath Gardens, Coastal Alabama is your spring destination for fun events and festivals.



Here in Coastal Alabama we tend to get a head start on the calendar by celebrating spring events well before the season is official. And now that the calendar agrees with us, it’s time for even more spring festivals.

Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival in Foley
Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival in Foley. Photo: GCHABF


Dauphin Island calls you to enjoy a spring day at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Estuarium on April 7 for Discovery Day. This annual event gives the public the chance to tour the research facilities and learn about our coastal environment. Also on April 7 head to North Baldwin County for the Stapleton Bluegrass Festival for community fun.

The weekend of April 13 – 15 brings the SouthSounds Music & Arts Festival to Mobile. The tunes will cover the best emerging and independent Southern music and art.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are celebrating all spring long with the Waterway Village Zydeco & Crawfish Festival on April 14, the Hangout Music Festival on May 18-20, the C Spire Concert Series at The Wharf and many more.

Reconnect with our natural world at the 10th Anniversary Delta Woods & Waters Expo on April 28. The expo is held at 5 Rivers Delta Center on the Causeway in Spanish Fort. Here you can try more than 25 hands-on activities.

May 4-6 all eyes are on the skies around Foley for the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival. The family fun includes balloon flights, glows, tethered rides, arts and crafts and more.  The following weekend (May 12-13) brings the popular Art in the Park arts and crafts event to downtown Foley. More than 110 exhibitors will be displaying their works.

As the calendar turns to June, head to Bay Minette on June 1 for lip-smacking goodness at the Crawfish Bash.


Each year tens of thousands of locals and those from many miles away flock to Bellingrath Gardens and Home in South Mobile County to marvel at the annual azalea season. But what is there to see after those blooms have faded?

The answer: plenty!

Bellingrath roses
Roses in bloom at Bellingrath Gardens. Photo: Bellingrath Gardens and Home


On the heels of the azalea bloom, guests to the 65-acre gardens can enjoy the fragrance of more than 2,000 roses representing 75 varieties. April is also a great time to view the Begonias, Cape Daisies, Delphinium, Dianthus, Easter Lilies, Fuchsia, Hydrangeas, Marguerite Daisies, Petunias, Roses, Sunpatiens and Verbena. May adds Caladiums, Calibrachoa, Cape Jasmine, Coleus, Hibiscus, Mexican Heather, Morning Glory Bush, Scarlet Sage, Southern Magnolia, Shrimp Plants and Zinnia.

Not sure what all those plants look like? That’s another good reason to make the drive southwest of Mobile to take a stroll through the grounds. While there, include a tour of the Bellingrath Home to see the collection of porcelain and other furnishings.


Typically Gulf Shores’ sunny beaches are all about relaxing. But from May 4 – 6, the competition will be fierce at the 2018 National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship as the white-sand beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast host eight of the country’s best women’s teams. LEARN MORE

National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship
National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship in Gulf Shores. Photo: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission



From a hearty brunch to a late-night snack, Mobile knows how to put out a spread to feed an army. So rally your troops, and head to the Port City to check out several new eateries.

The Cheese Cottage, Mobile
Cheesy goodness from The Cheese Cottage in downtown Mobile. Photo: The Cheese Cottage


Your shopping trip to the Shops at Bel Air just got tastier because sports legend Bob Baumhower has opened Baumhower’s Victory Grille, serving up those famous wings. Downtown has a new monger at The Cheese Cottage on St. Louis Street, and Old Shell Road just welcomed a bit of Ireland with the Dublin Irish Pub and Eatery.

Check out this great article from to see the 25 spots open now or opening soon in the Mobile area.



Each month the merchants in downtown Fairhope invite the public to shop, dine and mingle late with the Fairhope First Friday Art Walk. The event is held on the first Friday from 6:00-8:00pm.

Fairhope's First Friday Art Walk
Fairhope’s First Friday Art Walk. Photo: Eastern Shore Art Center


A long-standing tradition along the Eastern Shore, the Art Walk gives people the opportunity to visit their favorite stores during extended hours. They can enjoy a meal out at one of Fairhope’s restaurants and relax with friends. A popular addition in the spring and summer months is to make the drive down to the Fairhope pier to catch the sunset over Mobile Bay, and then come back into downtown to stroll the art walk.



The Boardwalk Talk series at the Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a free, public program on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. Attendees will hear from researchers, graduate students, educators, aquarist and others.

Boardwalk Talks at the Estuarium
Boardwalk Talks allow for informal interaction. Photo: Dauphin Island Sea Lab


The informal chats are designed to cover a broad range of science topics and to encourage questions from the audience. Check out the Estuarium’s website for upcoming topics and to learn about their Summer Excursions.



Each year on the Saturday before Father’s Day, cyclists come to Bay Minette to turn their pedal power into real power for change at RIDEYELLOW, Alabama’s largest charity bike ride.

RIDEYELLOW charity bike ride
RIDEYELLOW pedals through Bay Minette June 16. Photo: North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce


The June 16 ride will begin at Halliday Park with a six-mile tribute ride. Those wishing to continue for a longer ride can participate in the 10-, 20-, 37- or 62-mile routes at their own pace. Rest stops are available along the way and food, beverages and vendors will be available when riders return to the park.

Since its founding in 2007, RIDEYELLOW has donated more than $500,000 to cancer charities. Learn more about this event and its history at



A day at the beach can be anything but easy if you have difficulty crossing the sand to get to our beautiful Gulf waters. Now the City of Gulf Shores has an Access Mat to help make that journey a lot easier.

Gulf Shores Beach Access Mat
Beach Access Mat allows for easier visits to the beach. Photo: City of Gulf Shores


Located at the West End of Gulf Place Public Beach, the mat is designed to make the beach more accessible for those in wheelchairs, parents with strollers, those with a cart in tow and others with mobility concerns.



Fresh from the farm and from the Gulf, the Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermens Market in Foley is your one-stop place for fruits, veggies, shrimp, oysters and so much more.

Farmers Market, Foley
The market is open on Saturdays 9:00 am-2:00 pm and Tuesdays 2:00-6:00 pm.


Conveniently located on County Road 20, near OWA, the market is open on Saturdays 9:00 am-2:00 pm and Tuesdays 2:00-6:00 pm. Stop by during your Saturday errands or Tuesday afternoons to browse the selection from local farmers and fishermen. You can also expect to find baked goods, honey, flowers and organic beef.

The market is covered so a rainy day doesn’t slow things down. The hours change in the winter months. Find out more on their website.