Fairhope Alabama is a boutique bayside resort, a flower bedecked slice of Southern charm with a surprisingly wide away of restaurants and sophisticated shops selling everything from up market clothing to antiques and fine wine. A former bohemian artists’ colony, it still has an artsy vibe and is home to an amazing number of painters and sculptors.
Fairhope is about 10 miles from I-10 on Hwy 98 (the four lane). The better alternative is the two lane Scenic 98, the oak lined road that winds through Daphne and Montrose before reaching Fairhope. Pensacola, Gulf Shores and Mobile are all about an hour’s drive from Fairhope.
All of the B &B inns listed in this article are on Mobile Bay and offer fully equipped cottages (mostly one bedroom), private beaches and piers. All have kitchens and most have washer and dryers. A word to the wise: Book up very early, as the inns are small and have a limited number of rooms/cottages.
If you enter Fairhope on Scenic 98 (coming from I-10), you turn right at Section Street, drive past a charming array of downtown Fairhope shops, then down a rather steep hill (2.2 miles from Section Street) until you reach Mobile Bay, Fairhope Pier and Mobile Street.
You can stroll down the long public Pier and eat at the Yardarm Cafe or enjoy the rose garden and the shaded walks. And as an added bonus the Pier and the inns offer breathtaking views of the sunset over the Bay. While most are child friendly, the B&B’s have a definite romantic getaway vibe.
Another word to the wise, even if the inn tells you that they are within walking distance of downtown Fairhope, remember you have got to get up the long steep walk up Fairhope Avenue to get there!
All the inns are owned and run by long time locals and so there is a wealth of information for you to tap into.
And the cost? You can expect to pay upwards of $150 a night at the inns. There are less costly motels, such as Holiday Inn Express, on the four lane Highway 98. And there are several downtown Fairhope B & B’s.
Exuding a Southern charm and elegance, these are the bayside B&B’s of Fairhope:
Away at the Bay
557 N. Mobile Street
The closest to downtown Fairhope on North Mobile Street (right at the Pier), is located in a residential area of Fairhope. Away offers 3 charmingly decorated cabins, a picnic area and a private dock. North Mobile Street sits high on a bluff overlooking the Bay. You can walk around the quiet tree lined neighborhood or walk down a winding path (and then back up again!) to access the beach. It offers a private New Orleans style walled courtyard complete with a fountain and bistro tables. You can even pick mint from the garden for your oh so Southern Mint Julep. Tip: Avoid the Magnolia Room, which is under another room. The place is described by some as “old and quaint”.
Bay Breeze Bed & Breakfast
742 South Mobile Street
6 cottage suites
At the Pier, turn left on Mobile Street. This stretch of Mobile Street offers tree lined walking/jogging paths on a bluff that overlooks the Bay. Bay Breeze is a mile down and was named one of the American Historic Inns 10 Best Waterfront Inns. Set on 3 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, its wide sandy beach and 462 foot pier are favorites with guests. Bay Breeze, a stucco front former home dating from the 1930’s, has spacious common areas decorated with family heirlooms and period antiques. And the breakfast is deliciously Southern. Forget counting calories! Try the potato, ham and cheese Lower Alabama Breakfast Pie or the Mobile Bay Crab Meat Eggs Benedict. 93% of their business is repeat business.
Point Clear Cottages
18129 Highway 98
1 room, 2 cottages
If you continue away from Fairhope past Bay Breeze Bed & Breakfast, you get to Point Clear, a bay front residential area where million dollar homes and elegant living abound. They “do” polo at Point Clear and it is home to the charming and rather “grand” Grand Hotel. Point Clear Cottages offers two Southern style cottages ($350 for two nights), a communal hot tub and a private beach and pier. Bayshore Cottage has a bay view front porch that comes complete with rockers, so you can sit and sip your Mint Julep and watch the sunset over the Bay. They serve breakfast Monday through Saturday (with a continental breakfast on Sunday). Sample the Bay Crab Omelet or the pecan waffles. Just down from the Cottages on Scenic 98, Punta Clara Kitchen (originally a bakery) is a Southern style restaurant. The cakes and pastries are to die for!