One could say I am biased since I have lived in Alabama all my life, but having visited beaches from the east to the west coast of our country as well as one or two in the Caribbean while on mission trips, I can honestly say that my favorite beaches of all are right here in my home state, the sugar white sands of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Both of these towns (literally, next door to one another) are extremely family friendly, which makes our visits there far more enjoyable, of course! The beaches are pristine and the waves are just right. Don’t even get me started on the food, shopping, and things to do (Dolphin cruise, anyone?).
Coming up later this week, I’m joining some other bloggers on twitter to talk with you about some of the great things Alabama Beaches offer. We’ll be giving away Visa Gift Cards, too! Details about that are at the bottom of this post. But just in case you can’t make it and are scheming away on a vacation in your head right now, I wanted to share with you my personal top ten Must Do’s while visiting Alabama’s Beaches.
My Alabama Beach Must Do’s
1. Get the kids a boogie board (These cost around $10-$15) – My whole family loves boogie boarding on the waves and this is a perfect place for it! (minus me, I take photos!)
2. Early Morning Sea Shell hunts – Folks don’t start gathering on the beach until late morning so if you get out there around breakfast time, you can easily fill a bucket with lots of fun seashell finds. Katy and I do this every morning while the boys sleep in, and then we share our shell haul with them later. Oftentimes there will be locals walking along the beach who will pass on any particularly beautiful shells they found on their morning jaunt, too!
3. Late Night Sand Crab Hunts – okay, we don’t really hunt or capture them or anything but if you walk along the beach at night you’ll see lots of little flashlights. That is folks looking for sand crabs. They are tiny little clear crabs that skitter across the sand in the dark. We like to walk around and look for them. If we find one, we enjoy watching it a few minutes and then move on to look for more :).
4. Lambert’s! Home of the Thrown Rolls. This restaurant is legendary for a reason. Good old country food with lots of “pass arounds” that are free for the asking. Be sure you get a cinnamon roll, affectionately dubbed “hub cap” to go. You won’t be able to eat it there because you’ll be too full, anyway. One is easily enough for four people to split as a late night treat or early morning breakfast before hitting the sand again.
5. Dolphin Cruise – This was AMAZING! We all really enjoyed it and at one point it even became an on ship dance party for the younger kids! There are several companies offering dolphin cruises and I cannot recommend Cetacean Cruises highly enough. They are very good with children and on the rare chance that dolphins are scarce, your whole family is sure to be kept entertained!
6. Eat, anywhere, the food is amazing! – The food scene in Gulf Shores is one of the best. Fresh seafood to locally sourced country favorites, there is something for everyone. My best advice is to ask around. “Where is the best….?” will always get you a list of excellent choices.
7. Tervis store – okay this may just be a “me” thing but I’m a Tervis junkie and I LOVE visiting the Tervis store when I’m there. They have a HUGE selection so this is usually my one souvenir.
8. Shopping – if fashion and good deals are your thing, the high end ones in nearby Foley are sure to thrill the shopper in your family.
9. Watch The Sunrise Together – Every time we go, we choose one morning to all get up early and watch the sun rise over the ocean. Even the teenager (who is definitely NOT a morning person) counts these memories among his most treasured ones.
10. RELAX! It took us a while to figure out how to enjoy the beach because we are accustomed to going on vacation with a GO GO GO attitude. A few years back, we finally got the hang of it and enjoyed our first Alabama beach vacation where we just went to relax, rejuvinate, and enjoy the area. Both of my kids have begged to go back every year since. There one complaint is that we usually go during “off” season and sometimes it can get quite cool. We hope to head there this year and do the one thing we haven’t really done yet – visit Alabama beaches when it’s actually hot outside! 🙂
Join us for our Twitter chat this Thursday!
Join me this Thursday, April 9th from 2:30-3:30 CST when we will be talking about Alabama Beaches on Twitter! I’ll be joined by the following amazing bloggers (some will be joining us live from the beach!) and we’ll even be giving away Visa Gift Cards during the event! You don’t have to be eligible to win, Just tweet in and follow along with @AlabamaBeaches on Twitter using the #VisitALbeaches hashtag.
Karon Warren, All Things Lifestyle
Karen Dawkins, Family Travels on a Budget
Shannon Entin, 100 Routes Across America
Jennifer Sikora, Jen’s Journey
Sara Broers, Travel with Sara
Becky Beall, Travel Voice by Becky
Christy Jordan, SouthernPlate (Hey y’all, that’s me! 😉
Don’t forget to follow the official Alabama Gulf Coast Twitter page, too! Once you’ve followed all the bloggers, follow the #VisitALbeaches party hashtag, too. Join in the conversation! Tell us all the reasons you love Alabama’s white-sand beaches or tell us why you want to join us in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach!
What to Do:
- Follow the bloggers listed above if you’re on twitter.
- Join us on Twitter this Thursday, April 9, for one hour: 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time
- Follow #VisitALbeaches and use this hashtag in all of your posts.
- Answer questions to win prizes!
For more information, check out Gulf Shores.com! I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may like to ask me personally about planning your visit in the comments below!