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Mobile, Alabama- The Azalea City
Credit: Danita Delimont / Getty Images

Situated in that small section of Alabama that steals the Gulf shoreline away from Florida, Mobile is a treasure that often remains under the radar. The Port City offers visitors a quaint escape full of history, seafood, and Spanish moss—oh, and a family-friendly, annual Mardi Gras Carnival with a saga that started long before New Orleans.

From azaleas to Antebellum homes, here are eight reasons to make Mobile your next adventure:

Colonial Fort Condé

The Port City has seen many flags flying over its bay during its culturally rich history, and Colonial Fort Condé is a reconstructed nod not only to French influence but many battles since. The recreated, red-brick French fort was originally built in 1723 by French colonists and it protected the city for a century. The fort is operated by The History Museum of Mobile, where visitors can go on an informative tour. In this hands-on history tour, you'll learn about the significance this site played during the American Revolution, Civil War, and more.

Mobile Bay

Straddling the line of fishing rivers to the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, Mobile Bay offers great sites and spots for strollers, sitters, historians, and fishers alike. The mouth of Mobile Bay is formed by the Fort Morgan Peninsula on its eastern side and Dauphin Island on its western side. You can anchor down on a park bench and watch pelicans and large freighters float past, or grab a line or cast a net and hope for a catch. You can also take a step back in time at the bay's Memorial Park by visiting the Battleship USS ALABAMA, Submarine USS DRUM, and more than 25 aircrafts full of military pride and history.

Battleship Parkway

Cruise the scenic Battleship Parkway, known popularly as "The Causeway," that cuts through Mobile Bay. The Battleship Parkway is home to Battleship Memorial Park, a military history park and museum. The parkway also boasts many of the area's popular seafood restaurants with some of the freshest seafood in the region. You'll find everything from laid-back patios serving fresh fish al fresco to upscale dining on the scenic stretch.

Callaghan's Irish Social Club

Disguised as a humble pub, Callaghan's Irish Social Club offers a mix of comfort and dive bar classics that will immediately lure you through the door. If the easygoing air of the place isn't enough, its legendary L.A. (Lower Alabama) Burger should be reason enough on its own for Mobile travelers to stop by.

Mardi Gras

When you think of Mardi Gras, you likely picture New Orleans streets packed with parades and parties. But Mobile locals claim that stateside Mardi Gras celebrations originated in their neck of the woods. Tracing the traditions back centuries, the Mobile celebration of the Mardi Gras season provides everything from parades and masked balls to mystic societies and kings and queens, all in a bit less rowdy of an atmosphere than its French Quarter equivalent.

The Mobile Carnival Museum

Not able to make it into Mobile for the Mardi Gras season? You can still experience the history and highlights of the birthplace of Mardi Gras at the Mobile Carnival Museum, where you can "immerse yourself in the rich history and traditions of carnival." Here you can go behind the masks to discover the art of float and costume design, play dress-up with the kids, and even climb aboard a rocking float.

Bayou La Batre

Forrest Gump fans, rejoice! In Mobile, you're just a few miles from the hometown of "Bubba" Blue, which in real life, is a small town with big views. Colorful shrimping boats bob among drawbridges and scenic views for a picturesque trip outside the city.

Mobile's Majestic Historic Districts

From iron cast balconies to historic homes that showcase the intermixing of cultures over centuries of time, it's easy to understand why there are seven nationally recognized historic spaces in Mobile. The area boasts neighborhoods ripe for the architectural enthusiast and the everyday stroller alike. Be sure to visit the recently revitalized De Toni Square Historic District, where the allure of architecture, walkable theaters, like the Saenger and Crescent theaters, and shops are a can't miss. Many of the district's original sidewalks and gas lanterns still remain. The Oakleigh Garden District is a must-stop as well, with 60 blocks of cottages, mansions, and live oak canopies waiting to be explored.