Dauphin Island on the Alabama Gulf Coast

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Dauphin Island was a great surprise on our roadtrip through the South last year. We had considered going to Gulf Shores or another beach along the Gulf Coast; I’d never been to the Gulf Coast, and it was on the way. But neither of us really like your standard day-at-the-beach beach. A co-worker instead recommended we spend the day on Dauphin Island (pronounced “dolphin” island by a lot of people I talked to about it.

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I would definitely go back again, given the chance. One part of the island had a beach-vacation community vibe, with houses on stilts and people riding bikes to and from the marina along sleepy streets. But then there was also the stunning Audubon Sanctuary, where we wandered through gorgeous swampy nature along boardwalks until the forest dissolved into a beautiful white sand beach. There were only a few other people within sight on the beach. We waded in for a bit until our poor pale skin started to overheat and we needed to retreat to the shade (where it was still ridiculously hot and mugggy, I should add).

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There is also a civil-war era fort and a nature center on the island, although we didn’t have the time to go in either. We also didn’t spot any alligators, sadly, even though there are supposed to be a fair number living in the Sanctuary.

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[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. For more photos of my 2016 roadtrip through the South, click here.]

Exploring Historic Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama

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Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham was one of the most unique places I’ve been in the US. Built in the 1880’s, the blast furnaces produced pig iron for 90 years before being shut down. The site was given historic designation in the 1980’s, and today a nice visitor center has some exhibits on its fascinating history worth checking out before you water around some minimally marked off paths that basically give you free reign to wander and climb in and out of different areas. Certain more dangerous areas are marked off, but mostly you are left to use your own common sense as you wander through tunnels, peer into furnaces, and climb up access stairs. It’s a surreal experience, and it’s all free! My photos didn’t turn out too well due to the bright noon sun, but the place is a photographer’s dream.

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[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. For more photos of my 2016 roadtrip through the South, click here.]