Just off the coast of Mobile Bay you’ll find Fairhope, Alabama. With its charming downtown, Spanish moss-draped live oaks, antebellum architecture, and a population of only 21,000, the waterside community has all the hallmarks of a classic Southern town. But don’t mistake Fairhope’s quiet tranquility for dullness. There’s plenty to do in Fairhope that makes it the ideal location for a weekend getaway marked by delicious food, gorgeous views, and the kind of R&R that only comes with time spent by the water. Here’s how to spend a weekend in Fairhope.
What to Do
Whether your idea of relaxation is popping price tags or reeling in a big catch, Fairhope has something for everyone.
If city culture is more your speed, start at Fairhope’s French Quarter. The cobblestoned courtyard surrounded by 12 shops is home to the largest crepe myrtle in the South, as well as Fairhope Chocolate, a sweets shop known for its delectable goodies. Local bookshop Page & Palette, and its adjoining bar the Book Cellar, are also must-visits for fans of Southern lit or well-mixed cocktails. For glimpses into the city’s vibrant maker and artist community, head to Lyons Share Gallery or Gallery by the Bay.
For those drawn to the outdoors, check out nearby state parks and reserves that show off the area’s distinct flora and fauna. Explore wetlands, forests, and marshes at Weeks Bay Reserve or Meaher State Park.
No trip to Fairhope is complete without a sunset stroll on the 1,448-foot Fairhope Municipal Pier, where you can fish off the dock, picnic in a nearby rose garden, or lounge on the sandy beach.
Where to Eat
In Fairhope, Southern food is the name of the game. Start your morning at the iconic Panini Pete’s restaurant. Order a basket of piping-hot beignets; just don’t forget the signature lemon squeeze! If you’re around for lunch, a chef-driven panini like the roast beef with onion confit and gorgonzola spread will do the trick. Breakfast lovers can also get their fill at Warehouse Bakery & Donuts, where bacon and eggs are served all day.
Southern staples abound at Mr. Spud’s. The Nolte family has been a longtime contributor to Baldwin County’s farming, seafood, and beverage industry, but their country fried steak and cornmeal-crusted catfish may be our favorite contributions. Barbecue is a main food group in the Southern food pyramid, and there’s no better place for sauce-slathered meat than TexarBama. The Austin transplants behind the joint are known for their smoked brisket and melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork.
Lower Alabama’s first brewery, Fairhope Brewing Company is your spot for a cold pint. Look out for special small batches like the signature Mardi Gras Hurricane Cider and Virtual Funnel Cake Wheat Ale.
There couldn’t be a more apt name for Sunset Pointe. Located on Fly Creek Marina, spend happy hour on the restaurant’s expansive outdoor patio, bushwhacker in hand. For dinner, taste the bounty of the Gulf Coast with barbecue Gulf Coast shrimp, snapper throats, or crispy oysters.
Where to Stay
Often referred to as the “Queen of Southern Resorts,” The Grand Hotel wraps up all the beauty, history, and charm of Fairhope into one 550-acre property. With an award-winning spa, resort-style pools complete with waterslides and cabanas, and a Robert Trent Jones golf course, it’d be easy to spend an entire weekend without ever leaving The Grand’s immaculate grounds. Their breakfast buffet and bayfront beach are just two more reasons to book your stay.