Alabama Food, Festivals and Fresh Gulf Air

03/16/2015  | 
TRAVEL USA
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Alabama’s 32 miles of pristine beaches on the Gulf of Mexico set the scene for vacation memories that last a lifetime. The cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are located on what’s known to locals as Pleasure Island. For visitors reaching the island, that first glimpse of the beach side condos and smell of the fresh Gulf air set in motion a sort of transformation. Life seems to slow down, and worries melt away.

This family-friendly beach destination has seen generations return year after year, and with so much to see and do, it’s no wonder. Beyond the beautiful beaches, there’s a wide variety of activities and attractions for all interests and ages, including a number of acclaimed festivals. And, of course, plenty of fresh Gulf seafood.

To experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the coast on a grand scale, plan your trip during one of spring’s festivals and events. The well-known Hangout Music Festival (May 15-17) features three days of music on six stages with more than 70 bands.

Boaters don’t want to miss The Wharf Boat and Yacht Show (May 19-22), the largest in-water display of any boat show along the upper Gulf Coast. Sample mudbugs during the City of Gulf Shores’ inaugural Waterway Village Zydeco & Crawfish Festival (April 18), or cruise on down for the Bama Coast Cruise (April 23) in Orange Beach.

While the beaches and festivals are reason enough for a trip to the Gulf Coast, they’re only part of the story. From zip lines and water parks to golf courses and fishing charters, there are entertainment choices and activities for everyone. For nature enthusiasts, there are miles of walking and biking trails, dolphin cruises, diving or snorkeling opportunities and more. History buffs can step back in time and explore the area’s rich history at historic Fort Morgan and the local museums. And for shoppers seeking the perfect souvenir, the island’s many boutiques, souvenir and specialty shops are perfect for treasure hunting.

Seafood is the star of the dining scene in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and an abundance of restaurants feature the fresh, local seafood for which the area is known. Area chefs and restaurants have garnered attention for their use of local cheeses and produce in creating their culinary delights, and several are included in the Alabama Department of Tourism’s list of “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die”. Restaurant varieties range from relaxed to upscale with choices for every dining style, including waterfront locations, open-air restaurants featuring live entertainment, and family-friendly options with children’s play areas, making many of them destinations of their own.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer a wide selection of accommodations from waterfront beachfront condos and national hotel chains to private beach houses and full-service resorts. Whether planning a romantic getaway or large family reunion, there are options for travel parties of any size.

Plan Your Escape and visit GulfShores.com to learn more about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. While there, be sure to request a copy of the 2015 vacation guide, a 96-page magazine that features a photographic tour of the area, and includes complete listings of accommodations, things to see and do, and great places to eat.
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