The Fort Morgan Ride

The below is from member Kirk Iversen published in Bicycling:

The Fort Morgan Ride

This 40+ mile, out-and-back ride leaves and ends in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The route is flattish with paved shoulders and is not very heavily travelled except during special coastal events. The western end of the ride is at Fort Morgan on the southeastern side of the entrance to Mobile Bay. If you like, a ferry ($5 round–trip for bike & rider) will take you across the bay to Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, where one can ride several miles and enjoy the island before returning to Ft. Morgan and heading east back to Gulf Shores.

Along the way are convenience stores and restaurants. Bon Secure National Wildlife Refuge offers a small visitors center, hiking trails, and paved roads to the white-sand beaches, where sea turtles and their nests are protected. Alligators live here, too. Forts Morgan and Gaines, which defended the Bay (for awhile – Admiral Farragut made it famous with, "Damn the torpedoes – full speed ahead!"), can be toured. Dauphin Island offers an estuarium, Audubon refuges to walk through, restaurants, and a laid-back atmosphere.

If 40-ish miles is too short or long, Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores has about 10 miles of paved bike trails that go through different ecozones. The towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer miles of bike lanes along the beaches and intracoastal waterways and lots of restaurants. One is Lulu's, owned by Lucy Buffet. Good food & music. Sometimes her brother, Jimmy, drops in.

The Ft. Morgan ride is on AL Hwy. 180, beginning at the intersection with AL Hwy. 59. The Gulf State Park ride begins at the same intersection, going a west a half-mile to the park entrance. At the intersection is a shopping center with lots of parking. There are also several motels there, including a very bike-friendly Holiday Inn Express.