We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

Peoria, Illinois
Level Contributor
110 posts
14 reviews
Save Topic
Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

We'll be arriving in Gulf Shores on Saturday, July 7, staying in a condo on West Beach Boulevard. We're coming from Illinois, through Mobile. I'm strongly considering taking AL-193 to Dauphin Island, then taking the Mobile Bay Ferry over to Fort Morgan and driving in that way. Looks to be much more scenic, and I think my daughter would enjoy the ferry & the long Dauphin Island bridge. My only concern, though - will there be a terribly long wait to get onto the ferry on a Saturday afternoon? I'm guessing we'll arrive at the ferry somewhere around noon. We can't check in to the condo until after 3:00, so as long as the wait isn't several hours, we should be fine. But could it possibly be a multi-hour long wait?

Thanks for your help!

Tyler, Texas
Level Contributor
7,456 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

If you are coming down I-65 from Montgomery you will not need to go to Mobile!.. You will get off on a Bay Minette exit at 287 or 59. Going to the ferry will be MILES out of your way

Google map it

Tyler, Texas
Level Contributor
7,456 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

I see it is more likely you are coming from Lucedale--you still do not need or want to go into Mobile. Instead of turning south on I-65 go north to I 165 and take a route that has you go over the Africatown bridge and join I-10 or 98 on the east side of the tunnel/river. Cross the delta on I-10 or the causeway (98) and see the USS Alabama on your right. If you want follow 98 thru Daphne Fairhope Barnwell to Foley and meet 59 and go to GS

Peoria, Illinois
Level Contributor
110 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

You make a good point, we won't actually be going through Mobile. Directions have us bypassing Mobile and taking the interstate until AL-193. I misspoke. It does seem to add some time to our trip (about 45 minutes), but since we have time to kill before we can check in to our condo anyway, I thought it might be worth it to take the more scenic drive and the ferry. Do you think it wouldn't, in fact, be worth it? Keep in mind we're landlocked Midwesterners who don't get to see the water nearly as often as we like! :) And any idea how long the wait for the ferry might be? If it's significant, we probably wouldn't want to take this route, as we're already adding time to our drive. Thanks for your help!

Tyler, Texas
Level Contributor
7,456 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

Sorry..in 30 years of living there i never went near the ferry and this forum is divided about using it. But the route i described is mostly over water Google image the Africatown bridge and the "delta" is water Thete is a very good state park on 98 near the battleship...Meaher State Park almost free ..great walkway over the " marsh"

Edited: 22 June 2012, 21:10
Tyler, Texas
Level Contributor
7,456 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

Kill your time in Fairhope --walk out the great pier on Mobile Bay--wander arouind the cute downtown http://www.cofairhope.com/

Little Rock, AR
Level Contributor
1,145 posts
121 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

I'm always against using the ferry on a Saturday in the summer. My family has had awful experiences trying to use it. One year, we drove all the way to the bridge to cross over onto Dauphin Island and a flashing sign told us the ferry was broken. We had called the number earlier and gotten no answer, so we went miles out of the way and still ended up having to drive back to Mobile and go down the usual way. The next year, we tried again (yes, we should have known better!) and the ferries were running but the wait was over 3 hours. We again gave up and drove back the other way.

Our only good ferry experience has been using it to leave Gulf Shores. We got to the Ft. Morgan waiting area very early on a Saturday morning and got on the first ferry of the day. It was great! I've also known people who have used it with no problems during the week days in the summer. Good luck and have a great trip!

Fairhope, Alabama
Level Contributor
477 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

Wind & waves this weekend will probably keep the ferry at the dock & out of service.

Gulf Shores, Alabama
Destination Expert
for Gulf Shores
Level Contributor
1,034 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

I can almost guarantee you will have a long wait on a Saturday in July. As Felschurch said, stop in Fairhope (maybe even have lunch at the beautiful Point Clear Hotel) then drive Hwy 98 (pretty drive) to Hwy 59 in Foley, take a right and it will take you to GS

BTW- I'm a local and was born/raised in Chicago

Tyler, Texas
Level Contributor
7,456 posts
119 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

At Fish River on 98 look for Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve ...free...displays...walkway .. good for up to an hour. Halfway between Fairhope anf Foley

We can also give precise instructions on how to avoid foley and most of 59

Edited: 23 June 2012, 17:07
Indianapolis...
Level Contributor
355 posts
68 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Mobile Bay Ferry - Saturday Wait?

How old is your daughter? If she is younger than 12 I'd probably skip Fairhope (much as my husband and I love it) there isn't all that much to do there for kids. Quaint shops and the pier is OK, but not really kid stuff.

If you decide to skip the ferry -- then I recommend coming across on the causeway rather than I-10

Weeks Bay is an excellent suggestion too.

Have fun!

PS - I tend to like the ferry, but almost always take it from Ft. Morgan going West rather than the other way around.

Get answers to your questions about Gulf Shores