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.