Warm breezes and white sand beaches

06/26/2015  | 
TRAVEL USA
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Vacations have a way of reminding us of the important things in life. And a beach vacation on the Alabama Gulf Coast does just that. From the moment one steps onto the soft, sugar-white sand, a transformation is set in motion. Life seems to slow to the rhythm of the waves and worries melt away.

The Alabama Gulf Coast boasts 32 miles of pristine white sand beaches, a laid-back attitude and family-friendly atmosphere. Coupled with a heaping helping of genuine Southern hospitality, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the perfect destinations for refocusing and reconnecting with the ones you love. And although the beaches are reason enough to make the trip, visitors will also find a wide variety of activities and attractions the entire family will enjoy.

From zip lines and water parks to golf courses and fishing charters, there are entertainment choices for all interests and ages. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy miles of walking and biking trails, dolphin cruises, diving and snorkeling trips, and birding opportunities. 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.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are home to several acclaimed festivals, and each provide a great opportunity to experience the music, food, art and culture of the area. The well-known Hangout Music Festival takes place in May and features three days of music on six stages with more than 70 bands.

The Annual National Shrimp Festival in October attracts more than 250,000 guests and features arts, crafts, children’s activities, live entertainment and, of course, lots of fresh, local shrimp.

November’s Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival features Grammy Award winning songwriters as well as up and coming artists performing in intimate settings across the island. Visit during the Annual Oyster Cook-Off in November and sample the creations of celebrity chefs from across the U.S. as they compete for prizes and bragging rights.

No trip to the area would be complete without enjoying local seafood, fresh from the Gulf. Area chefs 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. Many of them are destinations of their own.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer a wide selection of lodging options from beach front condos and national hotel chains to private beach houses and full-service resorts, with accommodations to fit any travel style. Amenities vary by property, and many include indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, lazy rivers, on-site dining, fitness rooms, full-service spas, children’s activities and more. But perhaps the most popular feature is the view from a private balcony or deck. Whether overlooking the Gulf of Mexico or watching the boats pass by on the back bays, the landscape of the Alabama Gulf Coast takes you to a whole new state of relaxation.

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 featuring a photographic tour of the area, including complete listings of accommodations, things to see and do, and great places to eat.
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