Thursday, July 05, 2012

Top 10 Beach and Beyond Vacation Tips for Gulf Shores

You plan for months to enjoy the sand and surf at your favorite beach in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key. What do you do if red (warning) flags are flying one or more days and actual swimming in the gulf is prohibited? Here are my top 10 tips for the beach and beyond.

1. Go to the beach.
Even when swimming in the gulf waters is off limits, the relaxed feeling of being at the shore continues. Take a stroll or gather interesting shells. Feel like a kid again by building a sandcastle. Read the book(s) you can’t get to at home. Simply smell the salt air and feel the soft sands under your feet.

2. Go swimming.
A few alternatives to gulf swimming include Lake Shelby at the Gulf State Park, a day-pass at Bodenhamer Center in Gulf Shores, or Waterville USA waterpark.

3. Go to the zoo.
Experience our quaint Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo—“The Little Zoo That Could” as featured on the Animal Planet series—where you can see 290+ animals including lions, tigers, monkeys and exotic birds. For an extra fee, book an up-close encounter with lion cubs, lemurs, kangaroos and various baby animals.

4. Go antiquing.
Step back in time when you visit the Foley antique stores that include Old Armory Antique Mall, Gift Horse Center and Antique Stalls and Hollis Ole Crush Antique Mall. There is even an antique rose trail that follows the old railroad line and is lined with antique heritage roses and an old-fashioned soda fountain at Stacey’s Drug Store.

5. Go play golf.
Nine signature courses are located a short drive (pun intended) from the beach, where resort golf means vistas and terrain challenges not experienced on your home turf. Play a round or two of mini-golf with friends or family at Waterville USA, Adventure Island, The Track, Shrimpy’s, Zooland (yes, next to the zoo) or Pirate’s Island.

6. Go kayaking.
The back bays, lagoons and rivers are excellent for watersports such as kayaking, and a wide variety of rental companies provide all the equipment you need for a fun water adventure just beyond the beach.

7. Go fishing.
Orange Beach is home to the largest charter fishing fleet on the Gulf of Mexico, plus you’ll enjoy inshore charters, surf fishing, and pier fishing at the Gulf State Park on the 1,540-foot pier.

8. Go for the thrill.
Choose your level of thrill at local attractions: Mountain of Youth (ropes course) at LuLu’s at Homeport Marina, the roller coaster at Waterville USA, Skycoaster at The Track, Ferris wheel at The Wharf, or go-carts at Waterville USA, The Track and Adventure Island.

9. Go birding.
Birding by land and by water is very popular on our coast, and signage will guide you to the best birding opportunities. Follow the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail to 22 local spots—and be sure to bring your camera.

10. Go dolphin watching.
A coastal retreat is not complete without a boating adventure to watch dolphins frolic in their natural habitat. You’ll find dolphin cruise opportunities at most marinas.

1 comment:

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