Down along the Gulf Coast is a 32 mile stretch of white, sugary sand that attracts locals and tourists alike for fun in and out of the sun. In an article posted by Southern Living, Alabama’s Gulf Shores and Orange Beach get a long-deserved profile to highlight the sights, seafood, and sounds that the south’s best kept secret has to offer.
Once along that Alabama shoreline, there are plenty of outdoor riches to explore, such as the picturesque beachfront, bountiful bayours, winding rivers, and luxurious lakes. Interested in paddling? The new Coastal Alabama Back Bay Blueway offers at least four different trails for paddling so that you can take in the scenery at your own, measured pace.
Apart from the waters, visitors can delight in exploring the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, the name of which comes from the French words meaning “safe harbor,” very appropriate considering the sanctuary for native flora and fauna found within.
Travel closer inland, and visitors can take in 28 miles of paved nature trails within Gulf State Park, where there’s something for every member of the family to enjoy. The beach pavilion provides picnic tables as an escape from the beach, the nature center is a great place for the kids to learn, the swimming pool provides refreshment for guests and the Lake Shelby day use area offers kayaking and canoeing. For a change of pace while visiting check out the fishing and education pier, miles of biking on the Backcountry trail, beautiful flowers in the butterfly garden, and additional education at the learning campus, interpretive center in the near future.
Want more exotic sights, visit the new 25 acre Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, a non-profit zoological park that is far and away from a little community zoo; it’s home to over 199 species, 31 subspecies, and haven to 8 endangered species.
On the cuisine side of its summer offerings, it’s hard to imagine the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores coast without its synonymous dining establishments. Back in the 1970’s, Alabama’s Gulf Coast offered little else beyond its campgrounds and the occasional ma-and-pop motel, with its now-famous dining scene practically nonexistent. Since Hurricane Fredric struck in 1979, the coast rebuilt, developed, and accelerated, and now there’s every kind of lodging and restaurant a family can fathom. Alternatively, the Hangout Music Festival and attractions like The Wharf are drawing a new generation down south annually.
Once hungry, it’s easy to spot the locals and follow these repeat visitors to enjoy breakfast at places like Ruby Slipper Cafe, Brick & Spoon, and Duck’s Diner. The same crowd will likely recommend lunching at decades-old Sea-N-Suds, located right on the beach, Doc’s Seafood Shack & Oyster Bar, Tacky Jacks, Mikee’s Seafood, Original Oyster House, The Gulf, or Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s. For dinner? Don’t miss Cobalt, The Restaurant or Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marinafor stunning views of the water and you plan your return next summer.
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