The Gulf Shores: Fishing, Hiking, and Just Relaxing

The Gulf Shore area is of course famous for its beaches, but it has a remarkable array of things to do from hiking to historical sites to fishing to music. We only had a couple days to scratch the surface but it was overwhelming.

The beaches are of course the focus of many who come to this area. The soft sand and warm Gulf waters make this place an ideal vacation destination. I am used to the cold Atlantic Ocean so it is really incredible to enter the Gulf with its bathtub temperature. I recommend a couple of dawn hikes along the beach. If you come with the usual stress from life, it tends to melt away with the morning light.

It does get hot and the sun is pretty intense. Storms can also happen quickly. We had a couple days of brief but exciting storms. I loved it. Our room overlooked the Gulf and my son Jack and I watched these massive storms come off the Gulf. It was quite a display.

We walked to the pier (which was partially destroyed in a hurricane) and spoke with many of the fishermen. From the pier you can see shark and sea turtles. The sharks feed just off the shore along a sand bar and in the vicinity of the pier. We saw one shark bite off part of a small fish being pulled out by one of the fishermen. He showed us the teeth marks.

We also went hiking. The Lodge (which I will write about later) is located in the Gulf Shore Park and you can hiking or ride a bike literally across the road in the Gulf Shore Park and see an abundance of wildlife. We also did short hikes in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.  It gets really hot and humid so bring water.  Sun block is a must.  We saw some incredible lily pad ponds and great local flora and fauna. The fun thing is that, when we were coming out, the Blue Angels were given a show along the coast and we watched the jets do fantastic runs as we had snacks and water. The timing and view was perfect.

We also went parasailing off the beach. This is not for those who tend to get seasick. You ride a banana boat off the beach rodeo style (straddling the ride of the rubber boat while holding on a rope). It is a lot of fun as you crash over the waves. You then transfer to the parasailing boat. They lift you right off the boat. Again, the ride on the larger boat is very bouncy and even the flying can hit those prone to motion sickness.  You sit in a harness on the deck and he are literally lifted off by the parachute and later deposited directly on the boat. It is pretty exciting.  You go up around 450 feet (500 feet is the legal limit). It is really quiet and spellbinding. Jack and I were together and saw a giant sea turtle beneath us when we coming down. It was a lot of fun.

I will leave the music and historical sites of the next additions, but here are some of the pictures from around the Gulf Shores.


14 thoughts on “The Gulf Shores: Fishing, Hiking, and Just Relaxing”

  1. Jonathan: Enough of the travel brochure for Alabama’s Gulf Shore! What we want to know is why you would accept an invitation from the Electric Cities of Alabama (ECA) to be the keynote speaker at their meeting? I ask this question because ECA says on its website that it is a “coalition of the state’s municipally owned electric utilities”. “Municipally owned” is a misleading description. The largest utility in Alabama is Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Southern Power, the largest private company producing electricity in the South. Recently Alabama Power received state permission to raise customer rates to add $1.1 billion in new unneeded generating capacity that will be good for shareholders but bad for rate payers. The new generating capacity will come from gas. Local environmental groups are fighting the rate increase because it is unnecessary and promotes gas over renewables. Power companies in Alabama generate most of their power and profits from fossil fuels. They like it that way and oppose clean energy policies.

    Now the ECA, the lobbying arm of Alabama’s power companies, held a “Legislative Rally” last year in Washington, D.C. They held their meeting at Trump’s International Hotel. No mere coincidence. They wanted to pad Trump’s pockets to show support for Trump/Republican policies of denying climate change and fighting Democratic proposals to finance and promote clean energy. To further show their support ECA attendees at the DC meeting had lunch at the National Republican Club.

    Power companies in Alabama are at the bottom of states promoting renewable energy policies. In 2019 the Institute for Local Self Reliance published a report ranking states based on their energy policies. States that promote clean energy could get a potential score of 38 based on a number of criteria. Massachusetts got the highest score of 32 points, followed by California with 31. Alabama tied with Louisiana at the bottom with only 2 points. So it is clear power companies in Alabama are still addicted to profitable fossil fuels–refusing to convert to clean energy sources.

    So I renew my question. Why would you want to address a group that apparently thinks climate change is not an existential threat to our planet and our way of life here in the US? They are pursing profits over the long term health of the planet. This is important since you are promoting the pristine beaches, fauna and flora of the Gulf Shore that you call “an ideal vacation destination”. Sounds counter-intuitive to me because the scenes shown in your photos will eventually disappear as climate change causes more intense heat and more destructive hurricanes along the Gulf Shore. As an avid hiker and outdoors person I would think you would not want to address a group that is threatening the very places you so much enjoy. Doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you were desperate for a speaking fee!

    1. DennisMcIntyre, look in your Garage and pull out the battery that will power Alabama’s cities. Then, please tell us how you abhor the ever increasing energy prices in the wonderful liberal state of California. The Valley outside of Las Angeles commonly gets to over 105 degrees but the illegal residents there can’t afford to run their air conditioners because of the high cost of electricity. This situation is directly caused by the policies of California’s leftist leaders. In The Valley entire families go to Walmart to escape the heat. Now Walmart is closing early because of the shoplifting. Oh well, the death of a Latino grandmother from heatstroke is the price we have to pay to save the environment. Dennis, we do so appreciate your empathy. It’s understandable, Dennis doesn’t have to be their to watch his grandmother’s agony.

    2. “. . . thinks climate change is not an existential threat to our planet . . .”

      The only “existential threat” is ignoramuses who couldn’t plug in an appliance (e.g., AOC, Kerry) in control of our power grid.

      Here’s their nihilistic playbook: Handcuff and destroy the fossil fuel industry. Then announce to great fanfare — “See, the fossil fuel industry can’t produce reliable and inexpensive energy.”

      They’re like a malicious child who pulls wings off a butterfly, then tells everyone: “I don’t know what happened. It can’t fly.”

  2. Professor Turley, was there a “jubilee” during your stay? Jubilees occur in summer, on the Mobile Bay side of Gulf Shores. Crabs, shrimp, and flounders amass at the water’s edge, and make easy pickings for celebratory feasts.

  3. The elderly will love the town of Fairhope, a short drive up Mobile Bay where everything is as laid baaaack as possible and within walking distance. Northern folks from say New England just won’t believe the size (or low price) of the oysters, Try them.

  4. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Professor Turley! It does look very relaxing. How is the shelling?

  5. Great pics, Turley. Sounds like an awesome place. Huge fan ocean settings, myself. Life is a way to stay busy until the next time you can get in the water.


  6. Shush….no more talky……you keep this up and t here shall be another invasion of the South by the North…..assuming there is anyone at all left in New Jersey and New York.

    Note to those infiltrating the South these days……we do not care to. hear about how it is done up North….not a single word.

    Do not try to change down South here into what you ran away from up North….just slow down, relax, and assimilate our way of life and accept you shall always be an outsider even it granted recognition by the locals.

    Buy up our property, take our jobs, marry our Women, but please….don’t raise taxes or vote Democrat.

    1. TRUE THAT! But sadly, South Carolina and large swaths of Georgia already have been transformed into pockets of blue that are growing like The Blob (same thing happened in the west in AZ, CO, and is happening in UT). A better analogy for the times since most don’t know about that early Steve McQueen film, would be to compare those that wish to transform their new homes with viruses. A virus invades a healthy cell, replicates with its RNA, then kills the cell. It dies and bursts, sending the viral progeny onward to more healthy cells. Eventually, as with many viruses, the host is killed if it’s not stopped. In any case, the new residents still look at us Southerners as though we are direct descendants of Simon Legree. One need only listen to what Biden said in PA to know that.

    2. Hey, wait a minute. I really don’t like the first part of that last sentence. The last part is right on.

    3. Amen! It’s summed up in a recent T-shirt sighting at the FloraBama: “Don’t New York My Florida.” Same for Alabama. If you can’t be polite, don’t bother to come because we WILL “put you in your place.”

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