Beach Week Day 3: Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulfshoresalabama

(Photo courtesy of Fleur Design via Flickr)

I’ve been going to Gulf Shores, Alabama, since the early 70s, and I still love it as much as I did when I was a kid wearing floaties. Now I’ve got kids of my own, and the reasons for that affection are the same. While other beaches offer better shopping, more sophisticated dining, and more houses that belong on a magazine cover, Gulf Shores maintains a simplicity that’s hard to replicate. It’s very much a family place, with wide beaches and blue-green water. The vibe of the whole place is laid-back and very Southern. (Any place that proudly calls itself the Redneck Riviera is obviously without pretension.) In Gulf Shores, you’re left to enjoy the things that matter most at the beach: sun, sand, water, food, and family. That’s the equation for a perfect vacation.

Best dive
King Neptune’s Seafood is located in a small building with oyster-shell parking lot on Hwy 59, and boasts great oysters on the half shell, as well as Po-Boys. And one specialty worth a try is the Fried Green Tomatoes and Shrimp appetizer. The tomatoes come fried, served with fried shrimp and rĂ©moulade. (Map)

Best family dining and night life
Lulu’s at Homeport Marina is owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister and he occasionally plays there. Good live music, and she supports local shrimpers and serves Gulf-only shrimp. For a great appetizer, try L.A. Caviar: black-eyed peas in balsamic vinegar. It’s surprisingly great. (Map)

Don’t miss
The Wharf in Orange Beach offers big-name concerts, shopping, dining and more. (Map)

Best seafood market
Blalock’s market is right on 59 and they have great fresh Gulf fish, as well as French bread and a good wine selection. Crawfish in season, which is a plus. (Map)

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COMMENTS

  1. C Gallo

    My fondest childhood memories are at Gulf Shores. Raised in Mobile and spending most weekends there from the 60′s through the 80′s, it is safe to say I have seen a lot of changes. Despite the increase in tourism, which is good and bad, it is still a fantastic place to be. I now live on the east coast and it will never be as beautiful as Gulf Shores.

    June 18, 2008 at 7:02 pm
  2. cheryl

    I absolutely agree with you. In fact, on my blog this past week I listed my top 5 beaches and Gulf Shores was #1 for most of the same reasons you mentioned. This week, my family is actually heading out to a beach we’ve never been to before. We love to try new beaches and look forward to seeing what Ocean City, Maryland, is like.
    (btw, I’ve enjoyed all the Beach Week posts.)

    July 18, 2008 at 2:51 pm
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    April 26, 2010 at 3:39 pm
  4. diana hampo

    My family visited Gulf Shores last week. You are right about he beaches. Our trip was magical. perfect, beyond description, still I tried to write about the week at http://www.hampoland.com
    Gulf Shores, nobody is there, so you should be.

    September 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm
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    Seafood is the most delicious kind of food ever! By the way, There is no place better to have seafood than nearby the beach!

    November 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm