Located about 30 minutes west from the Flora-Bama line sits the little beach town of Gulf Shores, Alabama. With it’s white sand contrasting against the blue/green water of the Gulf of Mexico, this up-and-coming tourist destination is perfect for beach lovers of all ages. With a great balance of local hotspots mingled with “touristy” things to do, this area is also the perfect landing spot for exploring much of the southern coast.
When you arrive in Gulf Shores, you will immediately see small mom-and-pop tackle shops, a few tee-shirt shops, and smell the salt in the air before you can even see the beach. The town itself is not very large, so it is very easy to navigate and explore. Most of the oceanfront condo buildings are going to be on east or central beach boulevard, with beautiful vacation homes spotting the beach on the western side. If you want a condo in the middle of it all, or a home on what feels like your own private beach, both of those are very easy to obtain in Gulf Shores.
While you’re there, stop by the local farmer’s market in nearby Foley or stop in one of the many fresh seafood markets (We always stop at Blalock’s, best tuna dip around). You can cook up your own seafood specialty at your condo or vacation home. However, the local cuisine is part of what makes Gulf Shores great. Head out to Lulu’s, the resteraunt on the marina owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister. While you wait for your table, enjoy the nightly live music, bar, or gift shop. Food is amazing, which matches the atmosphere perfectly. Or, you can head over to the Original Oyster House, Tacky Jack’s, Sea-N-Suds (on the beach), The Hangout, or Bahama Bobs.
If you don’t want to sit on the beach all day, there are tons of activities for you to do within an hour radius. Gulf Shores has it’s own zoo, zip lining, or state park that is perfect for fishing. If you are a history buff, you can go to the USS Alabama Battleship in Mobile, or the National Naval Aviation Museum and Lighthouse in Pensacola, FL. Or, head 10 minutes east to Orange Beach, and visit The Wharf, a shopping and event venue with it’s own Ferris wheel, and sits on a golf course.
There are always events going on, including beachside concerts, beach volleyball tournaments, shrimp festivals, etc.
Gulf Shores is a great destination for anyone that enjoys good food, a good beach, and an overall great experience. Accommodations are often more affordable than Florida, and if you can drive there, the vacation ends up being an amazing bang for your buck!