Located west of Pensacola, just about a day’s drive from Central Florida, is the Alabama Gulf Coast, an area with some of the most pristine beautiful sugar white beaches in the world. Having earned the nicknamePleasure Island, people come from all over for family vacations, concerts, conventions and corporate functions. Prepare yourself for Southern hospitality at its finest in surprisingly upscale Gulf side communities that cater to families who want to enjoy the beach in an entertainment, dining and history-rich environment.
Whether you are a person who enjoys a vacation filled with activities or someone who wants to lounge at the beach, or sit in a chair beside a pool sipping a cold beer or a tropical drink, The Alabama Gulf Coast has something for every member of your family.
Do you enjoy wildlife, birds, and history? Take a cruise with Sailaway Charters. Captain Skip will wow you on a two-three hour nature tour aboard a 48-foot ketch that holds six passengers. The whole family will see different fish and sea birds while navigating Longs Bayou and Wolf Bay. Captain Skip demonstrates, crabbing, harvesting oysters and throwing out a shrimp net. Sometimes dolphins come by to say hello. www.geocities.com/sailorskip
For more water adventures, Dolphin Express Cruise www.dolphinexpresscruises.comor the Schooner Corsair, built by Cajun fisherman and boat builder, Captain Mike Broussard www.corsaircharters.comfor encounters with Dolphin, seagulls and all kinds of aquatic life.
Are you looking for a destination resort? Do you like to arrive at a place and spend the next few days not even having to get into your car yet have all the amenities at hand?
Among Alabama Gulf Coast upscale venues to choose from, The Beach Club,on Fort Morgan Peninsula in Gulf Shores, sits among beautiful white sand beaches, dunes and natural wetland area. Each residential tower has its own pools, hot tubs and whirlpools. Many of the cottages on site have their own private pools and spas. There is a Clubhouse, a Spa and salon, a fitness center, several bars and restaurants, a Children’s Club and a Park with playground picnic tables and out door grills. The Restaurant at The Beach Club, The Village Market and Grill, and several other causal dining spots round out the service. The Beach club hosts many events from corporate meetings to weddings, family reunions and private retreats. www.beachclubal.com
The Wharfis known as a gateway to the best of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. You can arrive and never leave the campus if you choose. Beautiful luxury waterfront condos and superior amenities over-look the marina. Throughout the property are specialty shops, over fifteen restaurants and coffee shops, and an ice cream parlor. A Fusion Spa salon serves guest and visitors everything from haircuts to massage, manicure and body wrap. For music lovers there is live entertainment every weekend and a concert amphitheatre that seats 10,000 that can rock out the most vigorous fan. A Conference Center accommodates large corporate meetings and conferences for up to 2000 attendees, weddings and other events. Watch the latest blockbuster at the RAVE movie theaters. The Wharf is also home to one of the top ten tallest Ferris Wheels in the nation, largest in the southeast.
The whole family can swim and relax at The Oasis pool complex where you can ride the surf at the wave pool or float peacefully the more traditional one. For those who want to venture out, ten minutes shuttle ride will take you to the white-sands at the Gulf. If you golf, The Wharf’s plantation style-clubhouse, a true southern classic is only about five miles from the main buildings. www.TheWharfAL.com
For great educational opportunities, Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research and Education Center www.weeksbay.org, Fort Morgan, a National Historic Landmark site of the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay and Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge supports the conservation of endangered sea turtles’ nesting areas, particularly the Loggerhead and Kemp’s Ridley varieties.
And if that is not enough to do, there is kayaking, fishing, biking, antiquing and souvenir shopping!
For a really wonderful evening of gentile dining take a short drive over to Magnolia Springs to Jesses Restaurant. “Whiskey Steak”, a signature dish, is recommended as one of the 100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die. Or try Shrimp and Goat Cheese Grits, or Caesar Salad with Pecan Encrusted Catfish Nuggets. Jesse’s has also won Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast awards 2005-2008. www.jessesrestaurant.com
Magnolia Springs developed on the headwaters of the Magnolia River in the early 1800s and until just recently delivered the mail by a water route. For a truly unique experience stop off at the Magnolia Springs Bed & Breakfast and be pampered. www.bbonline.com/al/magnolia
Also highly recommended King Neptune’s, The Captain’s Gallery, Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s, at Homeport Arena, The Hangout, and Cosmo’s.