Discover Historic Fort Morgan Alabama

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Planning a vacation to Alabama’s beaches? Consider adding a day or two to discover historic Fort Morgan, Alabama. Located at the western end of Alabama’s gulf coast, Fort Morgan dates back to the early 1800s. The fort, still largely intact, also has a quiet beach, great fishing and some incredible views you won’t see anywhere else!

Aerial view of Fort Morgan including the battery, the museum and the beach.

On my last visit to the Alabama coast, I headed west to explore Fort Morgan and discover why people love it so much. When I had to leave (as the park was closing), I was sad to go. I truly enjoyed the quiet solitude of Fort Morgan beach and its historic surroundings.

A brief history of Fort Morgan

When you tour Fort Morgan State Historic Site at Alabama’s beaches, you can take a deep dive into its history. I’m sharing a brief history of Fort Morgan here, because when it comes to planning travel, it sometimes helps to know why a place is important to decide if you want to go!

Construction at Fort Morgan began in 1819 and was completed in 1834. The battery is made of more than 46 million cubic yards of bricks, by skilled masons, many of whom were enslaved persons.

Entrance to the battery at Fort Morgan Alabama.

The fort played an active role in four wars: The Civil War, The Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. It’s most famous for the Battle of Mobile Bay in August of 1864, when Union Admiral David Farragut famously ordered his fleet to charge, saying “Damn the torpedoes…” Two weeks later, the Confederate troops surrendered to Union forces.

With the advent of air attacks and long range missiles, brick forts like Fort Morgan became obsolete. But, the fort’s history, architecture and views make it worth the visit.

Best things to do in Fort Morgan, Alabama

The main attraction at Fort Morgan is the historic fort, of course. But there are lots more things to do. Here are the best things to do in Fort Morgan AL.

Explore Fort Morgan

As a historical structure, Fort Morgan is not fully accessible. The stairs to the top of the fort are quite steep and don’t have security handrails, but the views from the top are amazing! There’s also signage explaining what each area is.

Steep stairs at Fort Morgan with oil drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the ground level, you can peer into rooms set up to show what life was like when Fort Morgan was active. Museum volunteers provide lectures sharing the history of the fort with engaging stories and great visuals. These lectures are accessible and offer covered seating out of the sun and large fans to help keep you cool. Though, in summer, the humidity usually wins the battle. Visit in winter, spring or fall to beat the heat.

Outside the fortress, you’ll see weapons that were used throughout the fort’s active years.

Canon at the Fort Morgan State Historic Site.

Other buildings on the grounds beyond the battery include the barracks, officer housing and the post bakery. Sadly, few buildings remain as most were destroyed in hurricanes over the past 100 years.

Post Bakery at Fort Morgan.
The Post Bakery at Fort Morgan with officer housing in the background.

The park grounds are flat, with paved trails, and easy to explore.

Admission to Fort Morgan in 2024 is $8 for adults and $5 for kids, college students and seniors. There are many discounts available, so check online for current information.

Visit the Museum at Fort Morgan

There’s also a museum on the grounds, fully accessible, which presents photos, artifacts and stories of the fort arranged by war. For military history buffs, the museum is a must see!

Military history museum at Fort Morgan Alabama.

When I visited, several teens were visiting Fort Morgan with their families. It was hit or miss whether they liked it. Those who knew something about guns or war seemed to enjoy the displays. Others quickly got bored.

I don’t think young kids would enjoy the museum much. If visiting with a history buff or military veteran, perhaps the kids can play outside on the beach while those interested in the museum explore it.

Enjoy the quiet beaches

Fort Morgan Alabama sits at the western end of Alabama’s Gulf Coast, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and Mobile Bay on the other. The natural beaches are great for playing in the sand and walking along the shore, but there are no lifeguard stations at Fort Morgan Beach and its location at the mouth of Mobile Bay means there’s a risk of rip currents.

Fort Morgan Beach.

But, for uncrowded, quiet beaches — it’s hard to beat Fort Morgan!

Go fishing!

For the best things to do in Fort Morgan, Alabama, you have to add fishing to the list! When I was there, several people were out enjoying the great fishing at Mobile Bay. They had chairs, coolers, several fishing rods and lots of patience!

Okay, I don’t really know about patience — I’m not an angler, so for me, it would take great patience. I do know there’s lots of Cobia, Redfish, Kingfish and Snapper just waiting for you to lure them in.

For all the fishing options in Fort Morgan, Alabama, check out Fishing Booker’s blog which shares it all: fishing charters, surf fishing, dock fishing and much more.

Take a hike

When I went to Fort Morgan, I knew I would enjoy the battery, which is the official name for the brick fort structure. I had no idea how much wide open space there would be — and I loved walking through the grounds and along the dunes, respecting nature, of course. It was truly beautiful and oh, so, peaceful.

Catch the Dauphin Island Ferry

Fort Morgan is home to the Dauphin Island Ferry, officially called the Mobile Ferry. The ferry runs multiple times daily between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan, a 30 minute ride that’s currently $6 round-trip per person. Vehicles are charged separately, though you don’t “need” a car to do most things at Dauphin Island. If you drove to Dauphin Island, the drive is a little over two hours around Mobile Bay.

Mobile Ferry in Mobile Bay coming back from Dauphin Island.

Stay at Fort Morgan

Well, you can’t stay at the Fort. But, there are lots of great vacation rentals near the Fort Morgan State Historic Site that provide spacious, quiet accommodations where families can really relax. If you want an old fashioned beach vacation where the family can unwind and truly relax, head to the Fort Morgan area on Alabama’s beaches.

Two places that I can confidently recommend are:

  • The Beach Club Resort and Spa — Located between Kiva Dunes Golf Course and Fort Morgan State Historic Site, this is a sister resort to Turquoise Place in Orange Beach. It offers luxurious accommodations, excellent service, pools and beach access for those who want to be pampered.
  • Surfside Pearl — This spacious, four bedroom home is part of a beachfront community providing easy access to the quiet beaches of Fort Morgan. It’s also got four bedrooms, two living areas and was recently renovated. For a true retreat, this lovely home is the place to go.
Family room at Surfside Pearl.
Second family room at Surfside Pearl.

When I think about a laid back beach vacation, Fort Morgan Beach is exactly what I envision. There are few restaurants or attractions in the area, though the many things to do in Gulf Shores mean activities and restaurants are minutes away. Fort Morgan State Historic Site is close by with easy hiking trails and an interesting glimpse into America’s past. And people who love to fish will appreciate the great fishing in the area. Whether you choose to stay here or just visit for a day, you’re sure to learn a lot as you discover historic Fort Morgan Alabama.

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