At the furthest point south there is a little known vacation spot that few people know about outside of the southern states surrounding it. While on a business trip to Orange Beach in Alabama I discovered that the best beaches aren’t only in Florida. It didn’t take me long to find out that this was a really great place to kick back and relax.
The Alabama beach line isn’t very long. If you exclude Mobile the beach stretches from Fort Morgan to Florabama at the state line. That whole area in between is filled with some of the best seafood and luxury beachfront condominiums in the area. During my stay I found that Florida has been the name everybody thinks of when they think beach vacation or spring break. You might have heard of Panama City. It’s because of this that Florida cities have become more run down from the wear and tear that thousands of 18 year olds can inflict. I’m going to share a secret with you. Orange beach and Gulf Shores are basically right next door and are virtually unknown to the spring breakers. This stretch of beach is more family oriented, clean, and classy. If you have kids and just want to relax this is the place.
Normally I take about two trips a month building a future for my business. I have seen a lot of great places and every once in a while I can talk my wife into going along. I’m not sure why but I didn’t really have to talk her into this one. She started packing as soon as I said beach.
We arrived at our condo in Orange Beach on Saturday and it seemed pretty calm. We notice on the way down that there were tons of people going the same way that we were. We drove down through Pensacola and were caught up in a bottleneck for about fifteen miles. That last stretch took us about an hour because traffic was only moving about ten miles an hour.
Apparently condos are rented in weekly cycles from Saturday to Saturday. Everybody comes in at the same time and the weekends can be pretty insane. You can tell when the house people come in on the weekend. Lines at the restaurant lines double in size. If you want to avoid the big weekend crowds come during the week.
The Best Condo in Orange Beach
There are many different kinds of condos and what is best for you may not be the best for someone else. We stayed at The Turquoise Place for 3 nights and loved every minute of it. Some people want to stay in a place that is nice but won’t break the bank. Lei Lani is mostly owned by people just like you and me. They rent out their condos in week blocks for a decent price and the condos are really pretty nice. If you look around enough you will find something that is perfect for you and your budget. Here’s a helpful tip for you: look on VRBO.com and find a condo that looks good to you. Then google the name and condo number and read the reviews for that condo on other sites. You can get a ton of good info this way.
Best Place to Eat in Orange Beach
While we were in Orange Beach we heard about a place the locals like to go called Docs. We decided to go ahead and try it and boy were we glad we did. The food was superb. The only thing that we didn’t like so much was how worn out and dirty it looked. We went at 5:30 and that was a mistake.
Here’s a helpful hint for eating out when you’re at the beach: Be at the restaurant at 4 or 430 and you will get a table right away. Wait later than that and you will wait at least an hour.
For our second night at the beach we chose to eat at Cobalt which is right next to Perdido Pass. It has an awesome view and even better food. It was our favorite of the trip. Even though she had a terrible headache she still loved it. It was very special to her. On our third night we went to The Hangout and wished that we hadn’t. That was awful. The music was way too loud and there was just way too much going on. Oh and the parking was terrible too. The Hangout is definitely not recommended. Gulf shores has great places to eat as well. If you decide to take the short drive over to Gulf Shores I recommend stopping at The Oyster House. The food is fantastic!
Fun things to do in Orange Beach
This might sound childish but my wife and I took a dolphin cruise after dinner at the Cobalt. We chartered a boat that a fellow writer had recommended. He told us that they had taken their two year old son for a cruise. When they arrived for the cruise they found that they were the only ones. The owner, Captain Bart and his wife, took them out even though they were the only customers. Captain Bart knew he wasn’t going to make enough to even cover the gas cost but he took them anyway. He even let their son sit in the Captains seat and pretend he was driving. He slept like a baby that night, with a big ole smile on his face.
There are many things that you can do at the beach that we didn’t do. You can rent a boat or a pontoon boat that has water slides if you want. You can parasail if you have a death wish. I would like to do some deep sea fishing next time we go. We will be going back. There is much more to do but not enough time to cover everything. Go explore!
There are only three ways into the area. Through Pensacola, through Gulf Shores, or across the new toll bridge in Gulf Shores. The toll bridge is much faster, but will cost you a few bucks. That’s what I recommend doing.
Over all our entire trip was really good. I didn’t have enough time to write in as much detail as I would like, but I do plan on continuing later on. I have more tips that will make your stay more pleasant, and less of a pain in the neck please put it in the comments below.