Everyone is thinking about their next holiday and our summer vacation last year is going to be a hard one to beat this year…..3 states, 2 kids and 1 amazing road trip! After spending two nights in New Orleans (which you can read about here) we continued our family road trip along the Gulf of Mexico and I’m very excited to share with you our family holiday in Gulf Shores, Alabama – such a beautiful, fun place to visit.
We’ve loved New Orleans but everyone is ready to hit the beaches and pools and soak up some sunshine! We followed the coastal road from New Orleans through Mississippi to Alabama, arriving at our Lighthouse Condo in Gulf Shores. The apartments are amazing…a real home from home feeling, with a balcony overlooking the beautiful sandy white beaches and the pier. The Lighthouse Condo can be booked through Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals and is great for families or group bookings. The Gulf Shores Orange Beach CVB are also extremely helpful with providing guides and recommendations for your holiday.
With two pools, two hot tubs and a boardwalk to the soft white sandy beaches and warm sea we were spoilt for choice for our afternoon’s activities.
Our apartment was walking distance to The Hangout, a lively, family friendly bar and restaurant located on the beach. This is very popular, especially on the weekend and there’s plenty to do other than just eating! There were people playing table football, ping pong and dancing on their chairs….Sam even discovered a love of the bimini ring game (google it!).
We’re booked in for zip lining at the Gulf Adventure Centre at Gulf State Park with Hummingbird Ziplines, home to coastal Alabama’s only zip line tour. I’m not usually a daredevil but there’s something strangely appealing about sailing high in the air over breathtaking views! Seven towers & six zip lines over the length of one mile…..seriously amazing fun and their photographer managed to get some great photos too. Sam was too young to join in the zip lining but he loved swimming in the lake with Dad while we zip lined over him!
We spent another afternoon chilling by the pool before heading to Bill’s By The Beach, a restaurant with casual ambiance and great hospitality with a vast wine list. Highly recommend the macaroni cheese balls for a starter!
We are starting our third day with a guided kayak tour with Go Go Kayaks. We arrive at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge to follow the Jeff Friend Trail. My husband and Sam had a tandem kayak and we all ventured out on the water. It’s a great way to start the day with the warm sunshine on you and we spotted several jumping fish! There are lots of hidden beach spots that we found and it’s a lovely way to see more scenic views of Gulf Shores. We kayaked back to the shore after a couple of hours and decided to attempt the stand up paddle boards too – everyone managed to stand up….eventually and most of us fell in but a lovely way to cool down before heading home!
After a fun filled morning we decided to lunch at LuLu’s. LuLu’s is known for great food, great music and great fun….plus there’s a beach for the kids! You can arrive by land or sea as it sits on the shores of Portage Creek. If you’re visiting in the evening there’s live music too and the food here is very delicious….highly recommend a visit here if you’re on holiday.
Today my husband and son have decided to do some sea fishing. You can fish from the Gulf State Park Pier, which is walking distance from our apartment, and we didn’t need to book in advance you just pop along to the office at the beginning of the pier and the guys are very helpful at helping you get kitted out. With Sam being only 7 it’s all about the quantity of fish caught so he was given a rod with 2 hooks. We all walked along the pier and there was a variety of fishermen and when we looked over the edge there were so many fish in the clear waters! Molly and I had a walk to the end of the pier to see what people where catching and you can even see sharks & sting ray swimming around. The highlight for us was seeing a sea turtle swim to the top for air and dive back down…..such beautiful creatures. We left the boys to it as they were reeling the little fish in pretty regularly – a total of 34 in 4 hours so a very happy little boy!
Our last activity for the day was to go on a dolphin and nature tour along the beautiful back bays of Orange Beach at sunset with Cetacean Cruises. You are looking for wild dolphins so it’s not guaranteed you’ll find any but we managed to find four, one pair which was a mum & her baby. The first time my children have seen dolphins in the wild and watched them jumping out the water in such beautiful surroundings. We were out for 2 hours, watched the sun set and also saw a racoon along the banks. A really lovely end to the day.
It’s our last day at Gulf Shores, Alabama and we really have had the best family time together. We don’t very often return to the same place as there are so many amazing places to see in the world but I can guarantee we will definitely be going back, the whole family had such a great time and we have so many wonderful memories.
We then continued our road trip to Florida to go swimming with manatees in Crystal River which was such an amazing experience, then topped it off with even more family fun in Orlando….so where will we end going up this year?