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Alabama's Gulf Coast Getaway
Alabama's Gulf Coast Getaway
Think Florida is the only southern state with great beaches? Wrong! Take a close look at Alabama's beautiful Gulf Shores, a bargain getaway.
Alabama's Gulf Shores region is one of the American South's most popular tourist destinations. Although this fully developed beach boasts reasonable prices for waterfront accommodations in the summer high season -- at least, compared to many resort areas -- there are even better bargains for beach lovers year-round. Families may want to skip the hurricane season, most active between August and October. Then, between November and March, the climate is pleasantly cool, and you might even get lucky and hit one of their 70-degree days.
Gulf Shores Offers Year-Round Fun
In winter, when air temperatures typically run in the 60's and 70's F (the gorgeous 80-degree weather comes May to September), most of the major condo complexes and hotels have a heated indoor pool and lots of fun stuff to do. In the fall, winter, and spring low seasons, families will typically find tennis, volleyball, Jacuzzis and usually a fitness center, well priced restaurants, and local sights to keep them busy.
Deep sea fishing, dolphin watching, Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo animal park, the 16th-century Fort Morgan, and the semi-tropical rain forest at Bellingrath Gardens (a 905-acre preserve) are some other nearby attractions for days away from the beach.
The Weeks Bay Estuary Reserve, one of 25 national wildlife reserves in the region, is where you might see some alligators. The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail attracts bird and wildlife fans and is particularly fun for younger children because the well marked trail follows the Mobile Bay shoreline and Gulf of Mexico beaches. To get out on the water, head to Orange Beach and join a fishing charter.
Dauphin Island is a barrier island three miles south of the mouth of Mobile Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly 14 miles long and 1 ¾ miles wide at the widest point, the eastern six miles are inhabited while the western 8 miles are privately owned. The island has been designated as a bird sanctuary and families enjoy nature walks along a scenic lake. Dauphin Island Pier offers facilities and there are miles of undeveloped , secluded beaches with sugar white sand, four group pavilions, bathrooms, outdoor showers, a playground and connecting boardwalks. This is the kind of beach where families, even those with toddlers, can enjoy a peaceful beach getaway.
You can read more about the region, its attractions and the state park's camping and cabin facilities at www.gulfshores.com
Great Deals for Families
One useful resource for lodging and attraction offers is the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau; their helpful site is at www.gulfshores.com. If you click on their "Packages and Hot Deals" section or call them at 800/745-SAND, they can fill you in on the latest specials for family-friendly lodging near the 35 miles of white sand beach.
For example, for the area's popular Shrimp Festival in October, the Gulf Shores Plantation offers discounts of 25% off already low fall rates on vacation stays at their posh seaside resort.
For more information on lodging in the area and seasonal specials, visit the Gulf Shores Plantation link above or check out www.resortquest.com (800/GO-RELAX) which handles bookings for many wonderful family-friendly condominiums in the area.