1st Timer’s Guide to Fort Morgan State Historic Site

Harris Vacations Staff Writer">Harris Vacations Staff Writer | April 15, 2024

When you book a Gulf Shores vacation, sun, sand, and surf are to be expected. But what else can you add to your visit? If you extend your family-friendly adventure down Alabama’s coast, you’ll find a historical gem just waiting to be explored: Fort Morgan State Historic Site.

If you want to fill your vacation with a blend of history, natural beauty, and adventure, this iconic landmark is the spot for you. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique excursion during your getaway at the Gulf of Mexico, this star-shaped landmark promises a day of adventure as you explore the well-maintained barracks, robust museum, and breathtaking natural surroundings.

About Fort Morgan State Historic Site

Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators

Fort Morgan, a historic property of the Alabama Historical Commission, stands as a testament to Alabama’s eventful past, involving many historical conflicts throughout the years, starting in the early 19th century.

Constructed between 1819 and 1834, the historic fort played a strategic role in no less than four wars, perhaps most notably the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Once the formidable guard of Mobile Bay, Fort Morgan now stands as a well-preserved site that allows visitors to glimpse into Alabama’s history.

You can make this a half or full-day trip depending on whether you want to just browse the museum and informative portions or extend your visit to the surrounding nature. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop on your way out!

Some intriguing facts about the fort:

Getting There

Fort Morgan is only a brief 30-minute drive from Gulf Shores, AL. With a quick drive, you can return to your accommodation in time to catch the sunset!

Why Include Fort Morgan on Your Gulf Shores Trip?

A trip to Fort Morgan, just south on the map from Gulf State Park, isn’t just about exploring a historic site; it’s about enriching your whole experience. It’s a chance to connect with the nation’s history, immerse yourself in nature, and create lasting memories with loved ones. Because it is so close to Gulf Shores, it’s also quite an easy fit for any Gulf Shores vacation itinerary.

What to Do at Fort Morgan State Historic Site

Photo Credit: Steven Frame

As soon as you arrive, you might have to stretch your neck back to take in the imposing walls of the fort, which are drenched in history. From your first step inside, you’re transported back in time. As you wander through the labyrinthine corridors and expansive ground, it’s easy to imagine them echoing with the footsteps of soldiers and the sounds of battle.

Interactive Experiences

While you can do a self guided tour through Fort Morgan to get the most out of your visit, take advantage of their guided tours. Those passionate about the past at the museum have put together an active living history program.

For those excited about history, reach out to one of the enthusiastic tour guides so that you can get a deeper understanding of the fort’s artifacts and how it functioned for peak strategy in its heydey. Learn about facts and stories as you tour the halls of this national historic landmark! If you prefer to be more independent, you can pick up a self-guided tour brochure either in person at the fort or online.

Commemorative Reenactment

If your Gulf Shores vacation coincides with early August, definitely look into specific dates of the Battle of Mobile Bay reenactment! Fort Morgan played a key role in this pivotal Civil War Battle, and the community came together to display a piece of living history. This naval clash gave us one of history’s most famous lines as the Union Admiral David Farragut proclaimed, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”. Visitors can watch classic drills–and maybe even a skirmish!

Military Museum

This museum provides an in-depth insight into American military history from 1814 to 1945. Spend your afternoon delving into the collection of letters, uniforms, photographs, and an extensive array of weapons. A visit to the Fort Morgan museum provides insight into combat life right in the place where it took place!

Enjoy the Surrounding Nature

Photo Credit: trac3y via Flickr CC2.0

It may be hard to tear yourself away from the historical aspect of Fort Morgan, but it would be a shame not to explore the surrounding nature as well. Fort Morgan may have been placed on Mobile Point for strategic reasons during wartime, but nowadays, this location makes it perfect for enjoying the spoils of nature.

If there are any nature enthusiasts in your party, there are many acres to explore the surrounding wilderness, home to diverse flora and fauna in this coastal haven. The expansive grounds are a perfect place for picnicking, fishing, beachcombing, utilizing the boat launch, or just soaking up some sun. It can even be especially exciting for birdwatchers as the fort is listed as one of the 100 globally important bird areas by the American Bird Conservancy. Bring your binoculars! Whatever you choose, you’ll have the breathtaking backdrop of the Gulf Vistas behind you.

There’s also a chance to get out on the water! If you have extra time, take the ferry across Pelican Bay to Dauphin Island. Known as the sunset capital of Alabama, this small barrier island is famous for its long stretches of white sand beaches.

More Historic Sites to Enrich Your Visit to Gulf Shores

Photo Credit: Art Planet by EY

If you can’t get enough of Gulf Shores’s storied history, there are other sites within reach! Explore nearby surroundings to see:

Explore History and Stay in Gulf Shores

If you can pull yourself away from the beach during your Gulf Shores vacation, Fort Morgan is definitely one of the most convenient and interesting historic landmarks to visit.

Book your beach stay with Harris Vacations today!


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