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A Gulf Shores Cruise for Gourmands

A Gulf Shores Cruise for Gourmands


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Oysters are the shapeshifters of the sea. Ingenious and ever-adaptable, they’re born male, but can switch to female and back to male again.

This is just one of many “gee-whiz” facts I learned on a Sailaway Charter through the bayous of Alabama. Skip Beebee, captain of the Miss Janet, offered our crew an up-close-and-personal tour of the oysters, shrimp, and blue crabs that Gulf Shores restaurants offer on their menus.

It’s one thing to slide a plump, buttery mouthful of jiggling oyster down your throat, but to see where it grew up, to learn how it attaches itself to rocks, to piers, to anything that’s not moving, and to actually participate in raking it onto a culling table adds a whole new dimension to the dining experience.

Beebee has been offering his nature tours of Longs Bayou and Wolf Bay since 1996. Guests have a choice of two vessels: the Windy Ways, a 48-foot ketch he lived on for six years while sailing from San Diego through the Panama Canal, or the cruiser he named after his wife, Janet, whom he met at a bus stop in Guatemala.

After sailing throughout Honduras, Belize, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, the happy couple docked in Orange Beach, Alabama, and have been giving nature tours ever since. Besides dispensing little-known facts about transgender oysters and advice on the best restaurants at which to enjoy the Gulf of Mexico’s famous royal red shrimp, Captain Skip teaches his passengers to tong for oysters, seine for shrimp, and pull up baskets of blue crab. Bottlenose dolphins, especially an old-timer Beebee calls “Mr. Friendly,” often come along for the ride too.

“We ought to call him Mr. Hungry,” the captain said about the eight-foot dolphin he recognizes by the white scrape on his dorsal fin. (Although, in retrospect, shouldn’t we also be calling Captain Beebee “Skipper Skip”? It has a nice ring to it.)

Whatever you do, Beebee instructs us, don’t interfere with Mr. Friendly’s food. Once, he got so mad at the gulls that were snatching up Beebee’s rejects that he jumped up and grabbed one by its leg.

Another word to the wise about these tours: Do not wear white. In Alabama, oysters are harvested with a process called tonging, and let’s just say it’s a bit messy. Lots of mud and gunk comes up with the oysters that Beebee harvests using nine-foot poles with rake-like tongs that open and close like scissors and are scraped along the bayou floor.

A bright orange buoy with an “S” (for Sailaway Charters) on the side is our next destination. Although more than 60 varieties of crab inhabit Alabama waters, we’re on the hunt for the famous blue crabs, whose meat is soft, sweet, and juicy all the way out to the claws. Beebee pulls up a metal cage with a half dozen blue crabs complete with gigantic front pinchers that lash out in angry consternation.

Avoiding their wrath, he manages to flip one over, revealing a T, which indicates that this particular specimen is male; the females in the cage have round underbellies. After properly examining the blue crabs whose brethren will be featured on tonight’s dinner plates, Beebee bravely tosses them — pinchers wildly grasping — back into the bay.

Next, with seagulls flocking overhead, he throws out shrimp nets (weighted doors keep them open) from the back of the boat. A few minutes of trawling later, he hauls in the net and empties it into a seawater tank. Jellyfish, puffers (they feel like the Pillsbury Doughboy), squid, eels, and ribbonfish drop from the nets along with several varieties of shrimp.

Beebee may call the two hours on the lazy bayous a nature tour, but for a gourmand, they’re the perfect introduction to area menus.

So sure, by all means, enjoy the seafood while visiting Gulf Shores. Just never forget whence it came.


Gulf Shores, Alabama – A Classic Family-Friendly Destination

Gulf Shores, Alabama has been a classic, family-friendly beach destination for folks in Alabama and surroundings states for years, but every now and then it’s great to take a fresh look at this state gem and all the things it has to offer – some new, some old.

There just about isn’t a bad time to visit – but fall is special. It was still warm, the water was warm, but the heat was not oppressive and crowds were smaller wherever we went. As usual, the sand and water were as gorgeous as ever.

Of course, the beach is the main attraction in Gulf Shores. But when you want to get away for a few hours, a half-day, get out of the sun, do something different or even due to rain, there are some fun activities worth considering.

We had a lot of fun painting – of all things, Christmas trees – at Hammer and Stain. This fun store hosts individuals or parties. Be sure to call ahead for hours open for walk-ins. This shop is very kid-friendly, but adults can have fun too and take home a new hand-painted treasure (hammerandstaingulfshores.com 251-948-0483).

Just across from Hammer and Stain was a surprisingly fun shop called The Photo Op Shop. This is the place for selfies and family photos on your own. Pay a small fee to go through all their backdrops and props for both funny and beautiful photos you can make and post right away to your social media! (www.thephotoopshop.com www.facebook.com/thephotoopshopgs 251-979-5223).

A “don’t miss” next time you go to Gulf Shores is the NEW Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo! The “Little Zoo that Could” is now in its new, expanded and beautiful, roomy location, complete with an amazing gift shop, restaurant, carousel and playground, several animal encounters options (we loved the sloths and the kangaroos) and so much more than before, thanks to contributions of great organizations and plenty of space. Spend a few hours or a whole day. (www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com, www.facebook.com/AlabamaGulfCoastZoo, 251-256-7008).

You may want to spend a little time at The Wharf (alwharf.com/) in neighboring Orange Beach. With restaurants, fun specialty shots, an arcade, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the Southeast and more, this can be an evening or day destination. Two new activities there are Civil Axe Throwing (www.facebook.com/CivilAxeOrangeBeach) and the Outer Limits VR Arcade (www.facebook.com/vrfuntime) that just opened last year.

If your family is all about the great outdoors – biking, fishing, hiking and more, you should visit Gulf State Park, right across from the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores www.alapark.com/parks/gulf-state-park www.facebook.com/GulfStatePark, (251-948-7275). You can “bike share” a bike there rather than renting or bringing your own for up to 3 hours. Beautiful trails and even camping and rental cottages can be found here. There are also great educational opportunities from the same folks that serve area schools here.

No trip to the beach is complete without a sunset cruise, and Anonyme Cruises Inc. is your perfect host (www.facebook.comanonymecruises/, 251-223-6673). You may encounter a dolphin or two, and you’ll see wildlife and beautiful homes and scenery along the way.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of the Coastal Crafters (www.gulfshores.com/things-to-do/coastal-crafters.) A great source for gifts, that special souvenir to take home and more.

For more information about Gulf Shores & Orange Beach tourism, visit www.gulfshores.com.

Carol Muse Evans is publisher/editor of Birmingham Parent.


Gulf Shores, Alabama – A Classic Family-Friendly Destination

Gulf Shores, Alabama has been a classic, family-friendly beach destination for folks in Alabama and surroundings states for years, but every now and then it’s great to take a fresh look at this state gem and all the things it has to offer – some new, some old.

There just about isn’t a bad time to visit – but fall is special. It was still warm, the water was warm, but the heat was not oppressive and crowds were smaller wherever we went. As usual, the sand and water were as gorgeous as ever.

Of course, the beach is the main attraction in Gulf Shores. But when you want to get away for a few hours, a half-day, get out of the sun, do something different or even due to rain, there are some fun activities worth considering.

We had a lot of fun painting – of all things, Christmas trees – at Hammer and Stain. This fun store hosts individuals or parties. Be sure to call ahead for hours open for walk-ins. This shop is very kid-friendly, but adults can have fun too and take home a new hand-painted treasure (hammerandstaingulfshores.com 251-948-0483).

Just across from Hammer and Stain was a surprisingly fun shop called The Photo Op Shop. This is the place for selfies and family photos on your own. Pay a small fee to go through all their backdrops and props for both funny and beautiful photos you can make and post right away to your social media! (www.thephotoopshop.com www.facebook.com/thephotoopshopgs 251-979-5223).

A “don’t miss” next time you go to Gulf Shores is the NEW Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo! The “Little Zoo that Could” is now in its new, expanded and beautiful, roomy location, complete with an amazing gift shop, restaurant, carousel and playground, several animal encounters options (we loved the sloths and the kangaroos) and so much more than before, thanks to contributions of great organizations and plenty of space. Spend a few hours or a whole day. (www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com, www.facebook.com/AlabamaGulfCoastZoo, 251-256-7008).

You may want to spend a little time at The Wharf (alwharf.com/) in neighboring Orange Beach. With restaurants, fun specialty shots, an arcade, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the Southeast and more, this can be an evening or day destination. Two new activities there are Civil Axe Throwing (www.facebook.com/CivilAxeOrangeBeach) and the Outer Limits VR Arcade (www.facebook.com/vrfuntime) that just opened last year.

If your family is all about the great outdoors – biking, fishing, hiking and more, you should visit Gulf State Park, right across from the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores www.alapark.com/parks/gulf-state-park www.facebook.com/GulfStatePark, (251-948-7275). You can “bike share” a bike there rather than renting or bringing your own for up to 3 hours. Beautiful trails and even camping and rental cottages can be found here. There are also great educational opportunities from the same folks that serve area schools here.

No trip to the beach is complete without a sunset cruise, and Anonyme Cruises Inc. is your perfect host (www.facebook.comanonymecruises/, 251-223-6673). You may encounter a dolphin or two, and you’ll see wildlife and beautiful homes and scenery along the way.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of the Coastal Crafters (www.gulfshores.com/things-to-do/coastal-crafters.) A great source for gifts, that special souvenir to take home and more.

For more information about Gulf Shores & Orange Beach tourism, visit www.gulfshores.com.

Carol Muse Evans is publisher/editor of Birmingham Parent.


Gulf Shores, Alabama – A Classic Family-Friendly Destination

Gulf Shores, Alabama has been a classic, family-friendly beach destination for folks in Alabama and surroundings states for years, but every now and then it’s great to take a fresh look at this state gem and all the things it has to offer – some new, some old.

There just about isn’t a bad time to visit – but fall is special. It was still warm, the water was warm, but the heat was not oppressive and crowds were smaller wherever we went. As usual, the sand and water were as gorgeous as ever.

Of course, the beach is the main attraction in Gulf Shores. But when you want to get away for a few hours, a half-day, get out of the sun, do something different or even due to rain, there are some fun activities worth considering.

We had a lot of fun painting – of all things, Christmas trees – at Hammer and Stain. This fun store hosts individuals or parties. Be sure to call ahead for hours open for walk-ins. This shop is very kid-friendly, but adults can have fun too and take home a new hand-painted treasure (hammerandstaingulfshores.com 251-948-0483).

Just across from Hammer and Stain was a surprisingly fun shop called The Photo Op Shop. This is the place for selfies and family photos on your own. Pay a small fee to go through all their backdrops and props for both funny and beautiful photos you can make and post right away to your social media! (www.thephotoopshop.com www.facebook.com/thephotoopshopgs 251-979-5223).

A “don’t miss” next time you go to Gulf Shores is the NEW Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo! The “Little Zoo that Could” is now in its new, expanded and beautiful, roomy location, complete with an amazing gift shop, restaurant, carousel and playground, several animal encounters options (we loved the sloths and the kangaroos) and so much more than before, thanks to contributions of great organizations and plenty of space. Spend a few hours or a whole day. (www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com, www.facebook.com/AlabamaGulfCoastZoo, 251-256-7008).

You may want to spend a little time at The Wharf (alwharf.com/) in neighboring Orange Beach. With restaurants, fun specialty shots, an arcade, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the Southeast and more, this can be an evening or day destination. Two new activities there are Civil Axe Throwing (www.facebook.com/CivilAxeOrangeBeach) and the Outer Limits VR Arcade (www.facebook.com/vrfuntime) that just opened last year.

If your family is all about the great outdoors – biking, fishing, hiking and more, you should visit Gulf State Park, right across from the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores www.alapark.com/parks/gulf-state-park www.facebook.com/GulfStatePark, (251-948-7275). You can “bike share” a bike there rather than renting or bringing your own for up to 3 hours. Beautiful trails and even camping and rental cottages can be found here. There are also great educational opportunities from the same folks that serve area schools here.

No trip to the beach is complete without a sunset cruise, and Anonyme Cruises Inc. is your perfect host (www.facebook.comanonymecruises/, 251-223-6673). You may encounter a dolphin or two, and you’ll see wildlife and beautiful homes and scenery along the way.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of the Coastal Crafters (www.gulfshores.com/things-to-do/coastal-crafters.) A great source for gifts, that special souvenir to take home and more.

For more information about Gulf Shores & Orange Beach tourism, visit www.gulfshores.com.

Carol Muse Evans is publisher/editor of Birmingham Parent.


Gulf Shores, Alabama – A Classic Family-Friendly Destination

Gulf Shores, Alabama has been a classic, family-friendly beach destination for folks in Alabama and surroundings states for years, but every now and then it’s great to take a fresh look at this state gem and all the things it has to offer – some new, some old.

There just about isn’t a bad time to visit – but fall is special. It was still warm, the water was warm, but the heat was not oppressive and crowds were smaller wherever we went. As usual, the sand and water were as gorgeous as ever.

Of course, the beach is the main attraction in Gulf Shores. But when you want to get away for a few hours, a half-day, get out of the sun, do something different or even due to rain, there are some fun activities worth considering.

We had a lot of fun painting – of all things, Christmas trees – at Hammer and Stain. This fun store hosts individuals or parties. Be sure to call ahead for hours open for walk-ins. This shop is very kid-friendly, but adults can have fun too and take home a new hand-painted treasure (hammerandstaingulfshores.com 251-948-0483).

Just across from Hammer and Stain was a surprisingly fun shop called The Photo Op Shop. This is the place for selfies and family photos on your own. Pay a small fee to go through all their backdrops and props for both funny and beautiful photos you can make and post right away to your social media! (www.thephotoopshop.com www.facebook.com/thephotoopshopgs 251-979-5223).

A “don’t miss” next time you go to Gulf Shores is the NEW Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo! The “Little Zoo that Could” is now in its new, expanded and beautiful, roomy location, complete with an amazing gift shop, restaurant, carousel and playground, several animal encounters options (we loved the sloths and the kangaroos) and so much more than before, thanks to contributions of great organizations and plenty of space. Spend a few hours or a whole day. (www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com, www.facebook.com/AlabamaGulfCoastZoo, 251-256-7008).

You may want to spend a little time at The Wharf (alwharf.com/) in neighboring Orange Beach. With restaurants, fun specialty shots, an arcade, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the Southeast and more, this can be an evening or day destination. Two new activities there are Civil Axe Throwing (www.facebook.com/CivilAxeOrangeBeach) and the Outer Limits VR Arcade (www.facebook.com/vrfuntime) that just opened last year.

If your family is all about the great outdoors – biking, fishing, hiking and more, you should visit Gulf State Park, right across from the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores www.alapark.com/parks/gulf-state-park www.facebook.com/GulfStatePark, (251-948-7275). You can “bike share” a bike there rather than renting or bringing your own for up to 3 hours. Beautiful trails and even camping and rental cottages can be found here. There are also great educational opportunities from the same folks that serve area schools here.

No trip to the beach is complete without a sunset cruise, and Anonyme Cruises Inc. is your perfect host (www.facebook.comanonymecruises/, 251-223-6673). You may encounter a dolphin or two, and you’ll see wildlife and beautiful homes and scenery along the way.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of the Coastal Crafters (www.gulfshores.com/things-to-do/coastal-crafters.) A great source for gifts, that special souvenir to take home and more.

For more information about Gulf Shores & Orange Beach tourism, visit www.gulfshores.com.

Carol Muse Evans is publisher/editor of Birmingham Parent.


Gulf Shores, Alabama – A Classic Family-Friendly Destination

Gulf Shores, Alabama has been a classic, family-friendly beach destination for folks in Alabama and surroundings states for years, but every now and then it’s great to take a fresh look at this state gem and all the things it has to offer – some new, some old.

There just about isn’t a bad time to visit – but fall is special. It was still warm, the water was warm, but the heat was not oppressive and crowds were smaller wherever we went. As usual, the sand and water were as gorgeous as ever.

Of course, the beach is the main attraction in Gulf Shores. But when you want to get away for a few hours, a half-day, get out of the sun, do something different or even due to rain, there are some fun activities worth considering.

We had a lot of fun painting – of all things, Christmas trees – at Hammer and Stain. This fun store hosts individuals or parties. Be sure to call ahead for hours open for walk-ins. This shop is very kid-friendly, but adults can have fun too and take home a new hand-painted treasure (hammerandstaingulfshores.com 251-948-0483).

Just across from Hammer and Stain was a surprisingly fun shop called The Photo Op Shop. This is the place for selfies and family photos on your own. Pay a small fee to go through all their backdrops and props for both funny and beautiful photos you can make and post right away to your social media! (www.thephotoopshop.com www.facebook.com/thephotoopshopgs 251-979-5223).

A “don’t miss” next time you go to Gulf Shores is the NEW Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo! The “Little Zoo that Could” is now in its new, expanded and beautiful, roomy location, complete with an amazing gift shop, restaurant, carousel and playground, several animal encounters options (we loved the sloths and the kangaroos) and so much more than before, thanks to contributions of great organizations and plenty of space. Spend a few hours or a whole day. (www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com, www.facebook.com/AlabamaGulfCoastZoo, 251-256-7008).

You may want to spend a little time at The Wharf (alwharf.com/) in neighboring Orange Beach. With restaurants, fun specialty shots, an arcade, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the Southeast and more, this can be an evening or day destination. Two new activities there are Civil Axe Throwing (www.facebook.com/CivilAxeOrangeBeach) and the Outer Limits VR Arcade (www.facebook.com/vrfuntime) that just opened last year.

If your family is all about the great outdoors – biking, fishing, hiking and more, you should visit Gulf State Park, right across from the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores www.alapark.com/parks/gulf-state-park www.facebook.com/GulfStatePark, (251-948-7275). You can “bike share” a bike there rather than renting or bringing your own for up to 3 hours. Beautiful trails and even camping and rental cottages can be found here. There are also great educational opportunities from the same folks that serve area schools here.

No trip to the beach is complete without a sunset cruise, and Anonyme Cruises Inc. is your perfect host (www.facebook.comanonymecruises/, 251-223-6673). You may encounter a dolphin or two, and you’ll see wildlife and beautiful homes and scenery along the way.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of the Coastal Crafters (www.gulfshores.com/things-to-do/coastal-crafters.) A great source for gifts, that special souvenir to take home and more.

For more information about Gulf Shores & Orange Beach tourism, visit www.gulfshores.com.

Carol Muse Evans is publisher/editor of Birmingham Parent.


Gulf Shores, Alabama – A Classic Family-Friendly Destination

Gulf Shores, Alabama has been a classic, family-friendly beach destination for folks in Alabama and surroundings states for years, but every now and then it’s great to take a fresh look at this state gem and all the things it has to offer – some new, some old.

There just about isn’t a bad time to visit – but fall is special. It was still warm, the water was warm, but the heat was not oppressive and crowds were smaller wherever we went. As usual, the sand and water were as gorgeous as ever.

Of course, the beach is the main attraction in Gulf Shores. But when you want to get away for a few hours, a half-day, get out of the sun, do something different or even due to rain, there are some fun activities worth considering.

We had a lot of fun painting – of all things, Christmas trees – at Hammer and Stain. This fun store hosts individuals or parties. Be sure to call ahead for hours open for walk-ins. This shop is very kid-friendly, but adults can have fun too and take home a new hand-painted treasure (hammerandstaingulfshores.com 251-948-0483).

Just across from Hammer and Stain was a surprisingly fun shop called The Photo Op Shop. This is the place for selfies and family photos on your own. Pay a small fee to go through all their backdrops and props for both funny and beautiful photos you can make and post right away to your social media! (www.thephotoopshop.com www.facebook.com/thephotoopshopgs 251-979-5223).

A “don’t miss” next time you go to Gulf Shores is the NEW Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo! The “Little Zoo that Could” is now in its new, expanded and beautiful, roomy location, complete with an amazing gift shop, restaurant, carousel and playground, several animal encounters options (we loved the sloths and the kangaroos) and so much more than before, thanks to contributions of great organizations and plenty of space. Spend a few hours or a whole day. (www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com, www.facebook.com/AlabamaGulfCoastZoo, 251-256-7008).

You may want to spend a little time at The Wharf (alwharf.com/) in neighboring Orange Beach. With restaurants, fun specialty shots, an arcade, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the Southeast and more, this can be an evening or day destination. Two new activities there are Civil Axe Throwing (www.facebook.com/CivilAxeOrangeBeach) and the Outer Limits VR Arcade (www.facebook.com/vrfuntime) that just opened last year.

If your family is all about the great outdoors – biking, fishing, hiking and more, you should visit Gulf State Park, right across from the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores www.alapark.com/parks/gulf-state-park www.facebook.com/GulfStatePark, (251-948-7275). You can “bike share” a bike there rather than renting or bringing your own for up to 3 hours. Beautiful trails and even camping and rental cottages can be found here. There are also great educational opportunities from the same folks that serve area schools here.

No trip to the beach is complete without a sunset cruise, and Anonyme Cruises Inc. is your perfect host (www.facebook.comanonymecruises/, 251-223-6673). You may encounter a dolphin or two, and you’ll see wildlife and beautiful homes and scenery along the way.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of the Coastal Crafters (www.gulfshores.com/things-to-do/coastal-crafters.) A great source for gifts, that special souvenir to take home and more.

For more information about Gulf Shores & Orange Beach tourism, visit www.gulfshores.com.

Carol Muse Evans is publisher/editor of Birmingham Parent.


Gulf Shores, Alabama – A Classic Family-Friendly Destination

Gulf Shores, Alabama has been a classic, family-friendly beach destination for folks in Alabama and surroundings states for years, but every now and then it’s great to take a fresh look at this state gem and all the things it has to offer – some new, some old.

There just about isn’t a bad time to visit – but fall is special. It was still warm, the water was warm, but the heat was not oppressive and crowds were smaller wherever we went. As usual, the sand and water were as gorgeous as ever.

Of course, the beach is the main attraction in Gulf Shores. But when you want to get away for a few hours, a half-day, get out of the sun, do something different or even due to rain, there are some fun activities worth considering.

We had a lot of fun painting – of all things, Christmas trees – at Hammer and Stain. This fun store hosts individuals or parties. Be sure to call ahead for hours open for walk-ins. This shop is very kid-friendly, but adults can have fun too and take home a new hand-painted treasure (hammerandstaingulfshores.com 251-948-0483).

Just across from Hammer and Stain was a surprisingly fun shop called The Photo Op Shop. This is the place for selfies and family photos on your own. Pay a small fee to go through all their backdrops and props for both funny and beautiful photos you can make and post right away to your social media! (www.thephotoopshop.com www.facebook.com/thephotoopshopgs 251-979-5223).

A “don’t miss” next time you go to Gulf Shores is the NEW Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo! The “Little Zoo that Could” is now in its new, expanded and beautiful, roomy location, complete with an amazing gift shop, restaurant, carousel and playground, several animal encounters options (we loved the sloths and the kangaroos) and so much more than before, thanks to contributions of great organizations and plenty of space. Spend a few hours or a whole day. (www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com, www.facebook.com/AlabamaGulfCoastZoo, 251-256-7008).

You may want to spend a little time at The Wharf (alwharf.com/) in neighboring Orange Beach. With restaurants, fun specialty shots, an arcade, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the Southeast and more, this can be an evening or day destination. Two new activities there are Civil Axe Throwing (www.facebook.com/CivilAxeOrangeBeach) and the Outer Limits VR Arcade (www.facebook.com/vrfuntime) that just opened last year.

If your family is all about the great outdoors – biking, fishing, hiking and more, you should visit Gulf State Park, right across from the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores www.alapark.com/parks/gulf-state-park www.facebook.com/GulfStatePark, (251-948-7275). You can “bike share” a bike there rather than renting or bringing your own for up to 3 hours. Beautiful trails and even camping and rental cottages can be found here. There are also great educational opportunities from the same folks that serve area schools here.

No trip to the beach is complete without a sunset cruise, and Anonyme Cruises Inc. is your perfect host (www.facebook.comanonymecruises/, 251-223-6673). You may encounter a dolphin or two, and you’ll see wildlife and beautiful homes and scenery along the way.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of the Coastal Crafters (www.gulfshores.com/things-to-do/coastal-crafters.) A great source for gifts, that special souvenir to take home and more.

For more information about Gulf Shores & Orange Beach tourism, visit www.gulfshores.com.

Carol Muse Evans is publisher/editor of Birmingham Parent.


Gulf Shores, Alabama – A Classic Family-Friendly Destination

Gulf Shores, Alabama has been a classic, family-friendly beach destination for folks in Alabama and surroundings states for years, but every now and then it’s great to take a fresh look at this state gem and all the things it has to offer – some new, some old.

There just about isn’t a bad time to visit – but fall is special. It was still warm, the water was warm, but the heat was not oppressive and crowds were smaller wherever we went. As usual, the sand and water were as gorgeous as ever.

Of course, the beach is the main attraction in Gulf Shores. But when you want to get away for a few hours, a half-day, get out of the sun, do something different or even due to rain, there are some fun activities worth considering.

We had a lot of fun painting – of all things, Christmas trees – at Hammer and Stain. This fun store hosts individuals or parties. Be sure to call ahead for hours open for walk-ins. This shop is very kid-friendly, but adults can have fun too and take home a new hand-painted treasure (hammerandstaingulfshores.com 251-948-0483).

Just across from Hammer and Stain was a surprisingly fun shop called The Photo Op Shop. This is the place for selfies and family photos on your own. Pay a small fee to go through all their backdrops and props for both funny and beautiful photos you can make and post right away to your social media! (www.thephotoopshop.com www.facebook.com/thephotoopshopgs 251-979-5223).

A “don’t miss” next time you go to Gulf Shores is the NEW Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo! The “Little Zoo that Could” is now in its new, expanded and beautiful, roomy location, complete with an amazing gift shop, restaurant, carousel and playground, several animal encounters options (we loved the sloths and the kangaroos) and so much more than before, thanks to contributions of great organizations and plenty of space. Spend a few hours or a whole day. (www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com, www.facebook.com/AlabamaGulfCoastZoo, 251-256-7008).

You may want to spend a little time at The Wharf (alwharf.com/) in neighboring Orange Beach. With restaurants, fun specialty shots, an arcade, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the Southeast and more, this can be an evening or day destination. Two new activities there are Civil Axe Throwing (www.facebook.com/CivilAxeOrangeBeach) and the Outer Limits VR Arcade (www.facebook.com/vrfuntime) that just opened last year.

If your family is all about the great outdoors – biking, fishing, hiking and more, you should visit Gulf State Park, right across from the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores www.alapark.com/parks/gulf-state-park www.facebook.com/GulfStatePark, (251-948-7275). You can “bike share” a bike there rather than renting or bringing your own for up to 3 hours. Beautiful trails and even camping and rental cottages can be found here. There are also great educational opportunities from the same folks that serve area schools here.

No trip to the beach is complete without a sunset cruise, and Anonyme Cruises Inc. is your perfect host (www.facebook.comanonymecruises/, 251-223-6673). You may encounter a dolphin or two, and you’ll see wildlife and beautiful homes and scenery along the way.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of the Coastal Crafters (www.gulfshores.com/things-to-do/coastal-crafters.) A great source for gifts, that special souvenir to take home and more.

For more information about Gulf Shores & Orange Beach tourism, visit www.gulfshores.com.

Carol Muse Evans is publisher/editor of Birmingham Parent.


Gulf Shores, Alabama – A Classic Family-Friendly Destination

Gulf Shores, Alabama has been a classic, family-friendly beach destination for folks in Alabama and surroundings states for years, but every now and then it’s great to take a fresh look at this state gem and all the things it has to offer – some new, some old.

There just about isn’t a bad time to visit – but fall is special. It was still warm, the water was warm, but the heat was not oppressive and crowds were smaller wherever we went. As usual, the sand and water were as gorgeous as ever.

Of course, the beach is the main attraction in Gulf Shores. But when you want to get away for a few hours, a half-day, get out of the sun, do something different or even due to rain, there are some fun activities worth considering.

We had a lot of fun painting – of all things, Christmas trees – at Hammer and Stain. This fun store hosts individuals or parties. Be sure to call ahead for hours open for walk-ins. This shop is very kid-friendly, but adults can have fun too and take home a new hand-painted treasure (hammerandstaingulfshores.com 251-948-0483).

Just across from Hammer and Stain was a surprisingly fun shop called The Photo Op Shop. This is the place for selfies and family photos on your own. Pay a small fee to go through all their backdrops and props for both funny and beautiful photos you can make and post right away to your social media! (www.thephotoopshop.com www.facebook.com/thephotoopshopgs 251-979-5223).

A “don’t miss” next time you go to Gulf Shores is the NEW Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo! The “Little Zoo that Could” is now in its new, expanded and beautiful, roomy location, complete with an amazing gift shop, restaurant, carousel and playground, several animal encounters options (we loved the sloths and the kangaroos) and so much more than before, thanks to contributions of great organizations and plenty of space. Spend a few hours or a whole day. (www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com, www.facebook.com/AlabamaGulfCoastZoo, 251-256-7008).

You may want to spend a little time at The Wharf (alwharf.com/) in neighboring Orange Beach. With restaurants, fun specialty shots, an arcade, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the Southeast and more, this can be an evening or day destination. Two new activities there are Civil Axe Throwing (www.facebook.com/CivilAxeOrangeBeach) and the Outer Limits VR Arcade (www.facebook.com/vrfuntime) that just opened last year.

If your family is all about the great outdoors – biking, fishing, hiking and more, you should visit Gulf State Park, right across from the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores www.alapark.com/parks/gulf-state-park www.facebook.com/GulfStatePark, (251-948-7275). You can “bike share” a bike there rather than renting or bringing your own for up to 3 hours. Beautiful trails and even camping and rental cottages can be found here. There are also great educational opportunities from the same folks that serve area schools here.

No trip to the beach is complete without a sunset cruise, and Anonyme Cruises Inc. is your perfect host (www.facebook.comanonymecruises/, 251-223-6673). You may encounter a dolphin or two, and you’ll see wildlife and beautiful homes and scenery along the way.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of the Coastal Crafters (www.gulfshores.com/things-to-do/coastal-crafters.) A great source for gifts, that special souvenir to take home and more.

For more information about Gulf Shores & Orange Beach tourism, visit www.gulfshores.com.

Carol Muse Evans is publisher/editor of Birmingham Parent.


Gulf Shores, Alabama – A Classic Family-Friendly Destination

Gulf Shores, Alabama has been a classic, family-friendly beach destination for folks in Alabama and surroundings states for years, but every now and then it’s great to take a fresh look at this state gem and all the things it has to offer – some new, some old.

There just about isn’t a bad time to visit – but fall is special. It was still warm, the water was warm, but the heat was not oppressive and crowds were smaller wherever we went. As usual, the sand and water were as gorgeous as ever.

Of course, the beach is the main attraction in Gulf Shores. But when you want to get away for a few hours, a half-day, get out of the sun, do something different or even due to rain, there are some fun activities worth considering.

We had a lot of fun painting – of all things, Christmas trees – at Hammer and Stain. This fun store hosts individuals or parties. Be sure to call ahead for hours open for walk-ins. This shop is very kid-friendly, but adults can have fun too and take home a new hand-painted treasure (hammerandstaingulfshores.com 251-948-0483).

Just across from Hammer and Stain was a surprisingly fun shop called The Photo Op Shop. This is the place for selfies and family photos on your own. Pay a small fee to go through all their backdrops and props for both funny and beautiful photos you can make and post right away to your social media! (www.thephotoopshop.com www.facebook.com/thephotoopshopgs 251-979-5223).

A “don’t miss” next time you go to Gulf Shores is the NEW Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo! The “Little Zoo that Could” is now in its new, expanded and beautiful, roomy location, complete with an amazing gift shop, restaurant, carousel and playground, several animal encounters options (we loved the sloths and the kangaroos) and so much more than before, thanks to contributions of great organizations and plenty of space. Spend a few hours or a whole day. (www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com, www.facebook.com/AlabamaGulfCoastZoo, 251-256-7008).

You may want to spend a little time at The Wharf (alwharf.com/) in neighboring Orange Beach. With restaurants, fun specialty shots, an arcade, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the Southeast and more, this can be an evening or day destination. Two new activities there are Civil Axe Throwing (www.facebook.com/CivilAxeOrangeBeach) and the Outer Limits VR Arcade (www.facebook.com/vrfuntime) that just opened last year.

If your family is all about the great outdoors – biking, fishing, hiking and more, you should visit Gulf State Park, right across from the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores www.alapark.com/parks/gulf-state-park www.facebook.com/GulfStatePark, (251-948-7275). You can “bike share” a bike there rather than renting or bringing your own for up to 3 hours. Beautiful trails and even camping and rental cottages can be found here. There are also great educational opportunities from the same folks that serve area schools here.

No trip to the beach is complete without a sunset cruise, and Anonyme Cruises Inc. is your perfect host (www.facebook.comanonymecruises/, 251-223-6673). You may encounter a dolphin or two, and you’ll see wildlife and beautiful homes and scenery along the way.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of the Coastal Crafters (www.gulfshores.com/things-to-do/coastal-crafters.) A great source for gifts, that special souvenir to take home and more.

For more information about Gulf Shores & Orange Beach tourism, visit www.gulfshores.com.

Carol Muse Evans is publisher/editor of Birmingham Parent.


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Comments:

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  2. Stamford

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