Travel dates :: February 8 – 11, 2016
We had a wonderful 10 days in Montgomery but with a deadline of getting to Phoenix by March 20 we needed to keep on moving down the road west. After Montgomery we headed south back to the coast to Mobile, Alabama for a few days.
We had a wonderful spot at Meaher State Park right on the water with beautiful views. I think knowing that this was one of the last places camping on the coast for awhile made us appreciate it even more. There were signs by the water that said something like “watching for alligators. . .” so we didn’t play much near the shoreline. 🙂
The first day that we got to Meaher State Park we got a tip from an Instagram follower that the nearby town of Fairhope was having a Mardi Gras parade that night. I was a little hesitant at first because I assumed all Mardi Gras parades were filled with debauchery, flashing and drinking. I also didn’t realize that Mardi Gras is a multi-week celebration across many communities – not just New Orleans. I was assured that the Fairhope Mardi Gras parade was very family-friendly and a lot of fun. . . so we ended up going that first night in town!
Liam reading at the bookstore in downtown Fairhope
We got to downtown Fairhope a few hours early and scored a great parking spot near the parade loop. We spent a couple hours walking around and browsing the charming businesses located downtown. We especially liked the bookstore the Page and Palette – definitely look it up if you make it to Fairhope.
We settled into spots along the parade loop about an hour before the parade was set to start, enjoying hot chocolate and popcorn, and trying to stay warm – it was a cold and windy day!
The parade started around 7 p.m. and it was SO MUCH FUN! The floats were all family-friendly, the music was wonderful and they tossed out SO MUCH STUFF.
None of my photos turned out, but I’m sharing them anyway, because I think they really show just how much fun we were having.
We started with just a couple grocery bags . . .as it was recommended we bring bags for items being tossed out. Half-way through the parade those bags were full and Jeremy ran back to the truck for more.
I had no idea we would get so much stuff – beads galore, moon pies, stuffed animals, toys and more. The kids spent the night jumping up and down, waving their hands in the air and squealing with delight as they caught treasures from the floats. Who are we kidding? We spent the evening doing the same thing. 🙂
The kids proclaimed Mardi Gras was better than Halloween because they got a bunch of FREE stuff AND they got to hoot and holler. . .
We went home exhausted and frankly overwhelmed by all our stuff. We all kept a few of our favorite things and donated/gave away the rest. Next time we’ll be better about giving it away to other people at the parade instead of bringing home so much – but we were completely caught up in the excitement of it all! This fun night will definitely be a lifelong memory for us all and I’m so grateful for the tip about the Fairhope Mardi Gras parade!
The next day in town we had the great pleasure of having a big feast with the Long family (a local Mobile family who is planning to go full-timing in the near future) and the Bareneckers who we’ve met up with often since meeting in the Florida Keys. It was a wonderful group and the kids had so much fun playing together.
We all pitched in and the Long family brought a big ole helping of local cajun style crawfish and shrimp (both regular and royal red shrimp) – and we had a great cajun feast. Liam loves shrimp and thought it was the coolest thing ever.
The Long Family also brought a King Cake to celebrate the official day of Mardi Gras. It was our first time eating crawfish and King Cake and we couldn’t think of a better place to experience this than right on the gulf coast!
Our last day in Mobile we toured the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. What a sight to see! Located just a few miles from our campground on the western side of Mobile Bay, the Battleship Memorial Park is a military historical park and museum with an extensive collection of aircraft and ships.
Most notable are the battleship USS Alabama and submarine USS Drum – which are the two ships that we toured while we were there. It was a wonderful facility and the USS Alabama was HUGE. . .many floors and great exhibits inside to showcase what working/living on the ship would have been like. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area!
We were only in Mobile, Alabama three nights but we had a wonderful time before heading west again . . . this time to New Orleans! Stay tuned for the a post on our time in New Orleans!
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Have you been to a Mardi Gras parade? If so, where did you go to a parade at? Have you had crawfish or King Cake? What do you think of it?