Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Alabama
Down south the weather is warm all year round so it's all about embracing the great outdoors and hitting the beach. Alabama's best kept secret is its beaches. The resorts of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach comprise 32 miles of pristine bright-white sand beaches accessed by wooden boardwalks and backed by waving sea oats.
The beaches are in adjacent resort towns, each with a huge choice of restaurants and bars. However, development is controlled and along the sugary straight is just a single row of condos and a few hotels with direct beach access. In fact, part of the coast stretching inland between the two resorts is a state park. A great spot to spend the day is at Gulf State Park Pier, where sun-wrinkled fishermen haul in their catch and you can spot schools of fish sparkling under the hot sun. The park has 10 miles of trails and lakeside cabins and it's just a 10-minute bike ride to the beach.
From Orange Beach, jovial Captain Bill runs Cetacean Cruises. His boat Alabama Cruzin' is just one of many specialising in nature trails, letting visitors see wild dolphins up-close and venturing into the dappled shade of the area's inland swamps and creeks to watch for more wildlife. You can even spy on the residents as you glide past some of the area's most affluent and idyllic waterside homes!
The 5 River Delta Centre, located in the Mobile Tensaw Delta, is a winding labyrinth of peaceful reeded and wooded waterways where alligators lurk. The centre operates guided kayak and boat trips, ranging from short sunset cruises to several days camping overnight in the wilderness with 'gator bites' and other refreshments laid on.
There is also deep-sea fishing and diving off the coast of the resort towns of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, where you can also take a coastal kayak, rent jet skis or go parasailing.
USA Today list the 10 Best Southern Beaches
Given the South's frequent heat and humidity, it comes as no surprise that most of the region's beaches receive a steady stream of visitors. Quality among beaches varies but there are several worthy options offering everything from rugged, wild terrain to affordable, family-friendly activities. USA Today listed 10 of the best beaches the South has to offer, and of course the Gulf Shores in Alabama was listed, here is what they had to say:
Gulf Shores, Alabama - White quartz sand, shallow waters and wide stretches of uncrowded beach draw in-the-know types to Gulf Shores. Visitors can spot dolphins, cruise on a pontoon boat, or learn to catch shrimp. More than just a beach destination, Gulf Shores features quaint waterside restaurants, cultural attractions such as the Ohr-O'keefe Museum and Walter Anderson Museum and casinos.