Have you ever heard of Magnolia Springs, Alabama? Chances are you haven’t, and that’s a good thing for residents who want to preserve their tranquil way of life. While some of its neighboring communities are dealing with incredible growth, this gorgeous little town remains off the beaten path. At least for now, that is.
The town has its share of curious visitors, though. Let’s find out what people will encounter when they make the short drive off scenic U.S. Highway 98.
About Magnolia Springs Alabama
We love it when places have names after some of their natural features. In this case, it’s the towering, shady magnolia trees and the abundant freshwater springs that deserve this honor. As the name implies, this town is lush and vibrant, with an inviting aroma that fills the air.
This tiny town is a small dot on the map along Highway 98 between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida. It’s near the Gulf Coast but not directly on it. It’s about a half-hour drive to either the Gulf of Mexico or Mobile Bay, and other waterways are even closer.
The scenic Magnolia River runs through town, so many homes are on the water.
Resting on the former site of a plantation, Magnolia Springs had few inhabitants until after the Civil War. It saw a tourist boom as a resort area a few decades later but has never seen a considerable expansion. By contrast, nearby cities like Fairhope, Foley, and Daphne are experiencing massive growth. Magnolia Springs’ last reported population is 829 residents, and that’s not likely to change drastically.
What Is Magnolia Springs Known for?
You could argue that this is a place people don’t know for anything in particular, and that’s part of the charm. For many, it’s a small community on the way to beach destinations like Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
If the name rings a bell, it might be because you’ve seen something online or in a magazine about the unique custom of mail delivery there. It tends to get attention, and it’s coming up first on our list.
Pro Tip: Head to one of these 5 Cool Places in Alabama while in the Heart of Dixie.
Fun Facts About Magnolia Springs, Alabama
There’s not much in Magnolia Springs, but what the town has is unique. Here’s a sampling of what you can expect to encounter in this quaint, one-of-a-kind community.
River Mail Route
The town established a post office in 1885 and started delivering mail a few decades later. In those early years, the roads were pretty poor, so it was easier to deliver mail by water.
The tradition continues for nearly 200 area residents who live along the Magnolia River, the Fish River, and Week’s Bay. This is the only place in the country where a mail carrier uses a boat to travel from dock to dock.
Quiet Small Town Vibe
Magnolia Springs, Alabama, is primarily residential, with a few businesses and a gorgeous old church building. Most residents know one another or recognize each other when making the rounds.
Those regular stops include the casual but sophisticated Jesse’s Restaurant and bar, which shares its name with another local attraction. Next door is the busy corner store, Moore Brothers Village Market. You’ll have to drive a few miles outside town to shop at a supermarket or dollar store.
Great Photo Ops
Besides those namesake magnolias, the town’s thick canopy of live oak trees also leaves a significant impression. You can catch a stunning view along Oak Street a few blocks off the highway. This is one that you’ll want to preserve with some photographs, along with the cypress trees at the river’s edge. If you’re lucky, you might also get a shot of that mail carrier. Another popular backdrop is the stately St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, which designers built in 1902 in the Carpenter Gothic architectural style.
Can You Swim in Magnolia Springs?
When someone wants directions to “the Cold Hole,” they might be looking for the bar that adjoins the restaurant. If they’re wearing a swimsuit, however, they’re probably trying to find a famous swimming hole by the same name. It’s past the bridge on County Road 49, where a spring flows into the river.
Farther downstream, the Devil’s Hole is another refreshing spot for swimming. Unfortunately, sometimes these areas close to swimmers because of bacteria in the water. An environmental group, Mobile Baykeeper, takes regular samples and reports whether the water is safe for swimmers.
Where to Stay in Magnolia Springs, Alabama?
Magnolia Springs, Alabama, hasn’t changed much since people first started living there. Staying overnight at the Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast will give you a feel for those early days. You can relax on a porch swing or rocking chair, take strolls, and enjoy magnificent sunset views.
The home that houses the inn dates to 1897, and the owners restored it to its original splendor with modern traces. Stay the night in one of four guest rooms or book their two-room suite.
Pro Tip: After exploring Magnolia Springs, check out these 10 Unusual Things To Do in Alabama.
Is Magnolia Springs, Alabama Worth Visiting?
We love visiting Magnolia Springs, and we can’t imagine anyone not enjoying it. It’s undeniably pretty, and the slow pace has a calming effect.
We have a friend from Mississippi who visited years ago and still talks about that lovely drive near the B&B. He wonders if Magnolia Springs has changed, and we’re happy to report that, so far, it hasn’t. That’s excellent news because all kinds of development are happening in other beautiful towns and cities in coastal Alabama.
No one knows what the future holds for this area, but it’s still an excellent time to visit Magnolia Springs.
Will you add Magnolia Springs to your bucket list? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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