This week we headed to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama to participate in a fan guided trip which was so much fun! You got to decide what we did during our trip by voting via social media. I must say that there was some stiff competition between some really fun activities and delicious restaurants.
On Monday we flew into New Orleans and drove over to Gulf Shores. As we were landing in Seattle the views of Mount Rainier were stunning! I love seeing the mountain in all of its glory early in the morning. Seeing the mountain on my morning commute is one of the things I miss from living near Seattle. There is just something so special about starting the day seeing Mount Rainier.
We flew into New Orleans and headed east to reach Gulf Shores. It was a quick and easy 3.5-hour drive with a stop at Starbucks of course for some chai tea. My kind of road snack..lol
When we reached Gulf Shores we headed into a Rouse’s Grocery store at 9:57 pm realizing as we walked in that they closed at 10 pm. They waved us in when we started to stop and told us to grab what we needed. After grabbing a few snacks we talked with the cashier for a few seconds she had us dying with laughter. It was our first introduction to the down-home wonderful residents of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Over our time in Gulf Shores, we realized how relaxed, happy and fun the residents of this city are. They made us laugh, smile, and taught us to take a second to breathe in the salt air and just relax.
Gulf Shores is a city that families return to year after year. They have their annual family vacation and come back to their beach as they like to think of it. Gulf Shores is a small town with a large beach that is ready for everyone.
We kicked off our trip with breakfast at the Sassy Bass! So good and so much fun! The 1st vote went live during breakfast and you all got to vote on our 1st activity. Here is a look at all of the things that were voted on during our trip!
I should let you know that weather did play a factor in what we were able to do during the trip. The first day we had some strong winds but thankfully no rain. We were unable to head out on the Coastal Eco-tour with Wild Native. I feel like this means that we have to head back to Gulf Shores soon so we can experience more of this great area.
Our first activity was meeting with Brittany from Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge for an eco-tour. Brittany is a fellow bird nerd who took us through the refuge showing us their amazing trail system through a sand dune and beach ecosystems. They have so many birds stop into the refuge on their migration including Scarlet Tanagers, Indigo and Rainbow Buntings and more!
After getting in our morning steps walking through the refuge we sadly had to leave for lunch. We could have spent hours exploring the refuge and trails. Lunch was calling our name after getting in some steps and we headed to the famous LuLu’s restaurant which has been on my must try list. I have seen so many friends post about LuLu’s on their personal Facebook pages while on vacation in Gulf Shores. I kept hearing how amazing the food and atmosphere was so I knew we had to check it out. LuLu’s did not disappoint at all! So much fun!
After a crazy amazing lunch, it was time to head to Fort Morgan to learn about the history of the fort and its impact in US History. One of the things I was really amazed by was how many activities they offer for visitors. When you head to Gulf Shores make sure and check out the activities and events at Fort Morgan!
Dinner brought us to the Original Oyster House for delicious food and some shopping. Dinner was so good and I had an Alabama Slammer in Alabama which totally made me giggle. They have a gift shop next to the restaurant and let’s just say I had a lot of fun shopping in there. I will show you what I picked up soon. I will hint that it is sparkly and has flamingos on it. lol!
After dinner, we had a choice of laying down and soaking up our gorgeous condo from Harris Properties that looked over the water or exploring the city a bit more. We decided to do a bit of both. We drove along the beach chatted about our day before checking out the local brewery. You know John can’t not stop at a local brewery..lol!
After a great stop at the brewery, it was time to relax in our condo. The condo from Harris Property Management was on the 16th floor looking right out over the Gulf of Mexico. The condo could easily sleep 8-10 people and would be perfect for a family vacation. We will share a ton of pics soon but until then make sure and check out this Facebook Live walk through of the room. We fell asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. I slept so good! When the alarm went off Tuesday morning I groaned, wiped the drool and rolled right back over to sleep with the snooze button.
I honestly could have spent the entire day lounging in the condo relaxing and listening to the waves crash outside. So peaceful!
Wednesday brought more adventures and exploration of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach! We tried Ruby Slippers Restaurant for breakfast and wow did they have a fun menu! Their benedicts were amazing. John had a pulled pork benedict and a corned beef benedict. Not your normal Benedicts which was so much fun! I had french toast that was stacked like a Jenga game. This is a must visit breakfast spot when you are in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
From breakfast, we rolled out to visit the Pier at Gulf State Park. I love that so many of our activities fit our life so well. You know John loved being in a state park and seeing how things are done in Gulf Shores. I feel like every time we are in a park my Husband is so beyond excited to learn about the park but also pick up any tools or tips he can bring back with him to work.
Gulf State Park pier was a bit of a bird nerds dream come true. Great Blue Herons walking among people with giant fish hanging from their beaks, pelicans soaring over you and the chance to look for shore wading birds. Though I do have to say be careful when you look up. A gentleman next to us almost got coated in some pelican poop. It missed him looking up at it by about 2 inches…eek!
Since it had been a few hours since breakfast it was time to eat again. One thing for sure when you are in Gulf Shores you will not go hungry. There is truly a restaurant for everyone to love. We had lunch at Fisher’s Dockside and it was delicious.
My favorite part of this restaurant was the James Beard winning chef being on a ladder fixing the TV so guests had the best experience. I felt like this was one more indicator of how down to earth and real the residents of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are.
After lunch, we decided to head back into Gulf State Park and explore more of the trails. Check out this boardwalk trail. Even in 85+ degree weather, it was super nice walking along the boardwalk. The coastal breeze was the perfect air conditioner to keep us cool and not bake us in the sun.
For dinner, we headed to Coast Restaurant at The Beach Club. It was so nice being able to sit outside and hear the waves during dinner. The food was amazing too! Key Lime Tart for the win!
Thursday was sadly our last day in Gulf Shores! We had to pack up all the fun things I bought and sadly leave our gorgeous condo!
We can’t wait to share more from our Gulf Shores and Orange Beach adventures soon! I have so many recipes swirling in my head that I want to try and make. There is just something special about Southern comfort food that makes me want to get in the kitchen and start experimenting.
Though I have to say this was not what I expected to have happened in our kitchen. Somehow on Saturday morning, I managed to bump the stove and turn it on without realizing it. I came out of the office a few minutes later to billowing smoke and the stove top on fire.
This was a life reminder to not leave anything on the top of the stove. I managed to melt/burn 2 pot holders. Thankfully we were still home when this happened and had a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Though life lesson #2 is make sure you remove the safety plastic from the extinguisher so you can use it quickly.
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen please look at getting one! This small can that we had mounted in the kitchen cabinet truly saved our kitchen and house this morning.
In case you missed it check out our Week 28 Real Life Travel and Adventure Diary