Many travelers bypass Mobile for points farther south on the beautiful Gulf Coast, but the city has much to offer. Founded by the French in 1702 on the west side of Mobile Bay, the city was first called Fort Louis de la Mobile. Its French heritage is celebrated with an annual Mardi Gras festival. Mobile's small celebration actually predates the festivities in New Orleans.

Be sure to stroll along Government Street and the surrounding neighborhoods to enjoy the historic flavor of the town. In early spring (Mardi Gras through April), drive along the absolutely beautiful 35-mi/85-km Azalea Trail, which is alive with color.

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