Alabama Coast

Alabama Coast

Roll over any links and click to open in new page – some great info!!
LOCAL WEATHER:  10-DAY FORECAST
LOCAL BEACHES are fairly calm with mild surf, higher only when a storm system is coming through.
Sand is sugary white and has the consistency of salt or sugar –
and our waters are normally emerald green and very clear.
Click here for LOCAL BEACH CONDITIONS including SURF & WATER TEMPS.

LOCAL PHOTOS:  https://vacationsbydana.smugmug.com/GulfShores-OrangeBeachLocal/
Turtle Nesting Season May to October, see yearly stats and info HERE: TURTLE NESTING

 LOCAL RESTAURANTS/ GROCERIES (scroll down for ACTIVITIES)
Regardless of which area you stay in (Gulf Shores or Orange Beach), there are  approximately 30 restaurants within a 5-minute drive – PLUS Super Walmart (GS) or Walmart Market (OB), Rouse’s Market (GS) or Publix (both GS and OB), Walgreens ( both GS and OB), Seafood markets, etc.  You’ll find  fast food, seafood, sandwich shops, donut and ice cream shops, pizza, beach bars, family restaurants, high-end and romantic dinner and dancing restaurants, etc. 
All the below I mention are in the link at top of this page, with websites (sometimes menus on website) and address/phone number.  EXPECT LONG WAITS in summer around dinner time so plan accordingly or go a little earlier or later than usual if you need a shorter wait.  The worst waits are 6 – 8 pm, FYI.  All restaurants in our area are pretty casual with only a few exceptions. Some we recommend are below – take with a grain of salt and this is never an all-inclusive list – but just a good start!
WANT YOUR FOOD DELIVERED?  Check out GulfToGo.com for delivery from local restaurants.

Gulf Shores listed first, then more toward Orange Beach at bottom:

  • Bahama Bobs (just 1/2 mile west of the Hwy 59 “T”, on the beach) – http://bahamabobs.com/ – try the pecan-crusted Panga and one of the best burgers around.  Try a Bushwacker frozen drink – a local recipe!
  • The Beach House Kitchen & Cocktails – closest restaurant to our Sanibel and Lagoon Tower condos. Casual and inexpensive, bargain for happy hour, very tasty food! Sometimes has music, good TVs for watching a sports game, and there doesn’t seem to be long waits (yet!) as many don’t know about it.  Grouper Tacos are some of the best in town!!  http://beachhousegs.com/#_=_
  • Flip-Flop Deli – on the beach road, tiny building that packs some punch with deli sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs, nachos, ice cream and shaved ice plus specialty coffees and lattes: http://www.flipflopdeligulfshores.com/
  • Original Oyster House, has a salad bar and good lunch specials, long waits for dinner: https://www.originaloysterhouse.com
  • Flying Harpoon is directly behind Original Oyster House, dive local’s joint/pub, but good food with a cajun flare, very inexpensive and bargain for happy hour. https://www.facebook.com/theflyingharpoon
  • Drunken Shrimp is very reasonably priced, super good food, and also serves breakfast. https://drunkenshrimpseafood.com/
  • LuLu’s (Jimmy Buffett’s Sister’s restaurant) is probably the largest restaurant I’ve ever seen, complete with indoor AND outdoor dining areas along the intracoastal, multiple bar areas, gift shops, climbing apparatus and sand pits for kids, live music, volleyball courts, etc. and the food is OK. Big on entertainment!  LONG WAITS in peak season so check out the BACK bar on the intracoastal water that most people don’t know is there! http://lulubuffett.com/
  • Big Beach Brewing Company – microbrewery, industrial vibe, live music at night, awesome patio with string lights up under the trees.  Last I was there, they don’t serve food BUT you are allowed to bring food in.  Check before you go:  https://www.bigbeachbrewing.com/copy-of-home
  • The Diner -good food, reasonable prices, quaint atmosphere and cute back patio, getting rave reviews! https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g30582-d7914404-Reviews-The_Diner-Gulf_Shores_Alabama.html
  • Gulf Shores Seafood Market – has fresh seafood by the pound, or they offer meals to go that are very tasty and reasonably priced: https://www.gulfshoresseafood.com
  • The Yard Milkshake & Ice Cream Bar – long waits unless you go at an off time and not cheap, but really unique idea and hard to resist! Very customized treats. https://www.theyardmilkshakebar.com/
  • Acme Oyster House is somewhat of a vacuous atmosphere and it’s a chain, just so-so food in my opinion, on the intracoastal across from LuLu’s. http://www.acmeoyster.com/gulf-shores-menu
  • Tacky Jack’s Gulf Shores is next to Acme Oyster House on the intracoastal across from LuLu’s.  Really good bar food, live music at downstairs bar sometimes, and also serves a great breakfast!  Sand pit for the kids right next to the downstairs bar, very family-friendly for the waits if needed. http://www.tackyjacks.com/locations/gulf-shores-al
  • Gulf Island Grill – waits are not as long here and I’ve never had a bad meal, seafood with a Caribbean flare.  Very small bar, reasonable costs. http://www.gulfislandgrill.co/
  • King Neptune’s for royal reds (shrimp), and overall good seafood, I’ve never had a bad meal there. No atmosphere and not an indoor place to wait but inexpensive.  https://www.kingneptuneseafoodrestaurant.com/
  • Hog Wild for breakfast, and my favorite barbecue at the beach!  Their BBQ chicken tacos are tasty and a regular go-to for me.   http://www.hogwildgulfshores.com/
  • Royal Oyster Bar  for fresh oysters any way you want them, cute deck on a bayou, great food and atmosphere in general; live music some nights.  807 Gulf Shores Parkway: https://www.facebook.com/TheRoyalOyster/
  • Mellow Mushroom chain (by outlet mall) & Pappa Rocco’s (couple blocks up Hwy 59 from beach) which is a dive but both have good pizza; Pappa Rocco’s has live music frequently
  • The Hang Out is great to entertain the entire family and is a favorite place for teens, including live music, game areas, souvenir shop, and a massive sand pit for little tykes, but the food is very average and a little overpriced.  http://www.thehangout.com/
  • Sunset Cork Room (wine bar) has live music and great atmosphere but is not kid-friendly.  In the past, they had great Tuesday wine specials.
  • Mikee’s has good food but is a little dark and dank, lacking in atmosphere.   Try the Trigger fish if they have it, local delicacy.
  • Pink Pony and Sea-n-Suds are perfect beach-front ‘dives’ for cheap drinks and fried seafood, right on the beach where you can watch sunset!
  • Tin Top is off the beach area headed toward Bon Secour River, more of a local’s restaurant but has wonderful food.

        — BELOW ARE MORE TOWARD ORANGE BEACH SIDE —

  • The Gulf Restaurant & Bar   251.424.1800    Less than a mile east from Turquoise Place, my favorite place, OUTDOOR DINING ONLY,  blue buildings before you go over the bridge. Views of the boats in the pass, very casual, all outdoors. Great atmosphere.  Grouper sandwich is one of the best in town, try the hummus also.  http://www.thegulf.com/
  • Sassy Bass Grill   251.981.1910   Caribbean flair with really reasonable prices, good seafood, and water views, next to Tacky Jacks off Marina Rd.  http://www.sassybassmarketplace.com 
  • Shrimp Basket 251.974.1833
    http://shrimpbasket.com/menu.php
    Come out of Turquoise Place and go just two blocks right.  Serving seafood, oysters, burgers, poboys, full bar, casual atmosphere.
  • Wolf Bay Lodge 251.965.5129
    http://wolfbaylodgeorangebeach.com/Home.aspx
    located at Zeke’s Landing/Marina just a few blocks from Turquoise Place, walk behind Shrimp Basket. Sit on the marina and watch the boats while enjoying fresh catch, steaks, a salad bar, and a full service bar.
  • Cobalt 251.923.5300
    http://www.cobaltrestaurant.net/
    Best waterfront sunset view in town, exceptional patio/tiki bar area overlooking the pass. Adjacent to Caribe the Resort (east-bound from Turquoise Place, hook left back under the bridge).  Cobalt offers American cuisine, fresh seafood, in a bayfront setting. One of my favorite places for Grouper. Full service bar and extensive wine list.
  • Big Fish  251.981.5516
    http://www.bigfishrestaurantbar.com/
    25814 Canal Road Orange Beach
    Nice courtyard patio for outdoor dining and great atmosphere. On the pricier side, an Asian-inspired menu.
  • Cosmo’s Restaurant and Bar 251.948.9663
    http://www.cosmosrestaurantandbar.com
    Local’s place but the tourists have found it! Eclectic setting, nice patio space. Talented chefs serve up quite a variety including sushi, fresh local seafood, daily specials, succulent steaks, savory chicken and much more at reasonable prices. Specialty martinis, extensive wine and beer selection. Always a long wait, be prepared! Frequent live music.
  • GT’s on the Bay –   on the intracoastal with a huge fish tank in the middle, nice water views.   gtsonthebay.com/
  • Cafe’ Grazie at San Roc Cay 251.981.7278
    www.cafegrazie.com
    “Seafood Italian Style!” Featuring a special mix of seafood, pasta and pizza in a casual family setting.
  • Fin and Fork  251.981.1213
    https://www.finandfork.com/
    New as of fall 2018, same owners as the old Shipps Harbor Grill at Sportsmans Marina.  Cute bar area with nice atmospher, great food, try the Grouper dishes.
  • Fisher’s at OB Marina 251.981.7308:
    http://www.fishersobm.com/dockside/dock.php
    Fisher’s has a more formal upstairs setting, and then dockside/downstairs  is very casual. Definitely one of the more trendy and expensive spots in town (upstairs). At Orange Beach Marina, take a walk after dinner to check out the monster boats there, great setting and wonderful food!
  • Master Joe’s (SUSHI) 251.981.8889, Well known for their sushi!:  http://masterjoesrestaurantgroup.com/masterjoes-ob/index.cfm
  • Louisiana Lagniappe at San Roc Cay 251.981.2258
    http://www.thelouisianalagniappe.com
    Specialty seafood and steak entrees. On the pricier side, but a beautiful restaurant with an incredible menu. Full service bar.Franco’s Casual Italian Restaurant 251.981.9800
    http://www.francoscasualitalianrestaurant.com/
    Frequent live music. Try the “take to bake” items so they are “fresh from your oven”. Endless salad bowl, hand tossed pizzas, seafood pasta dishes, hand cut steaks prepared “ole country way”.  Full service bar and large wine list. We don’t always think “Italian” at the beach, but this is one of our favorites.
  • Moe’s Original Bar B Que 251.981.7427
    http://www.moesoriginalbbq.com/locations/orangebeach.html
    Traditional BBQ plus Southern fried catfish, shrimp Moe boy sandwiches, wings, hush puppies and more.
  • Rotolo’s Pizzeria 251.981.8891
    http://www.rotolos.com/locations/orangebeachal
    Dough made fresh daily. Hand-tossed pizzas (they have a whole wheat crust choice), calzones, pasta, salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
  • Pizza Hut 251.981.8900
    http://www.pizzahut.com/
  • Ginny Lane Bar and Grill at The Wharf 251.224.6500
    http://www.ginnylanebarandgrill.com/
    A neighborhood gathering spot. Sports on multiple channels including 120” projection screen TV.  Seafood, certified Black Angus beef, sandwiches, gourmet salads and pasta. Full bar with over 40 crafts
    brews and excellent wine selection.
  • Villaggio Grille at The Wharf  251.224.6510     http://www.villaggiogrille.com/    Mediterranean/Italian fusion of flavors prepared in a wood burning stove and grill. Seafood, steaks, sandwiches, salads and brunch.
  • Bimini Bob’s at The Wharf (251) 424-1900   http://www.biminibobs.com/menu.php
  • Live Bait at The Wharf      251.224.2248
    http://www.livebaitrestaurant.com
    Steaks, seafood, gumbo, pasta, sandwiches and salads.
  • Oso’s at Bear Point Marina – brand new (took the place of Flippers), water views, have not been but menu looks good!   https://osorestaurants.com/
  • Voyagers Restaurant   251.981.9811
    http://www.perdidobeachresort.com/dining/voyager.asp
    Featuring local farm fresh ingredients. Seafood, salads, lamb, veal, pork, and more.
  • Tacky Jack’s – Orange Beach 251.981.4144
    http://www.tackyjacks.com/locations/orange-beach-al
    Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Seafood, steaks, sandwiches, burgers, salads and more. Full bar.  Great view of bay.
  • Grape Escape Deli and Wine Cellar  251.980.3354
    http://www.grapeescapedeli.com/
    Breakfast, lunch and very early dinner. All types of gourmet sandwiches, salads, wraps, espresso, homemade desserts and wine cellar.
  • I personally believe everyone needs to at least SEE the FLORA-BAMA, famously mentioned in Jimmy Buffett and many other artists’ songs, and it straddles the Florida-Alabama border.  See Big Earl there if you can – but he’s not for the faint of heart!
  • BREAKFAST at the Ruby Slipper (beach road) or Brick and Spoon (Canal Rd) – both expensive but super menus, brunch, mimosas, etc.  https://therubyslippercafe.getbento.com/location/ruby-slipper-orange-beach/

                LOCAL ACTIVITIES – CHECK FOR SEASONAL HOURS BEFORE YOU GO

~ #1 Recommended activity to leave both kids and adults mesmerized!:
Dolphin-Watching Cruise on the Cold Mil Fleet
at Bear Point Marina (Oso’s restaurant is located at this marina, also).  See my photo album below and please choose SPECIFICALLY this dolphin cruise because any others will disappoint you since they run the only 2-boat system in town!  (251) 943-3510
http://dolphincruises.com/ 
MY PHOTO GALLERY HEREDOLPHIN CRUISE PHOTOS

~ Gulf State Park weekly activities schedule: https://www.alapark.com/gulf-state-park-activities

~ And Gulf State Park interactive maphttps://www.alapark.com/parks/gulf-state-park/trails

~ Tubing, boat rides, sunset cruises, picnic cruises, fishing, etc  ON OUR LITTLE LAGOON, get picked up by Captain Tom or his parents at the public dock if you’re staying at Sanibel, and at your private dock if you’re staying at  Lagoon Tower Penthouse – Tom’s Coastal AdventuresCaptain Tom: 251.233.1716

~ OWA Amusement Park:  
In addition to 21 amusement park rides, The Park at OWA features a great selection of traditional Midway games plus Wacky Waters, a new, interactive splash pad that makes OWA cooler than ever!  https://visitowa.com/explore/park-at-owa/
Downtown OWA for shopping and dining:  https://visitowa.com/explore/downtown-owa/

~ DEEP SEA FISHING:  I highly recommend The Intimidator for a wide variety of deep sea, trolling, or light tackle fishing trips.  Call well in advance if you want to go during peak seasons. Johnny is a child-hood friend of mine and will treat you great!  Kid-friendly and G-ratedCAPTAIN JOHNNY GREENE on The Intimidator.  http://www.fishorangebeach.com/   Captain Johnny: 251.747.2872

~ FISHING – in-shore or back-bay/intracoastal and Little Lagoon.  Call well in advance for peak season trips.
          CAPTAIN TOM can take up to 6 people, but 4 – 5 people is probably the most comfortable.  Can also take you offshore if the weather is right. He will fish the lagoon but also goes inshore down at the pass in Orange Beach, the intracoastal, back bays, or offshore, depending on what’s biting and what time of year.  Captain Tom: 251.233.1716.
         CAPTAIN DARRYL can take up to 6 people, but 4 – 5 people is probably the most comfortable. Also lagoon, back bay, intracoastal.  Captain Darryl: 251.269.3700
         Both these guides catch Redfish, speckled and white trout, flounder, sometimes spanish mackerel – and depending on the season, possibly red snapper/grouper/trigger and Cobia.  They will target whatever you want depending on the season. 
NEW 300-ft fishing PIER
right by Sanibel complex has new walking path to reach it – OR access by parking at the Little Lagoon state park (small parking fee): 
https://www.fox10tv.com/news/foot-fishing-pier-centerpiece-of-renovated-lagoon-pass-park-in/article_05c9f974-4132-11e9-b07e-171442a13137.html

Waterville Water and amusement park, seasonal hours http://watervilleusa.com/flash.html.

Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf (putt-putt): This is one of the best putt-putt operations I have ever seen – fun for both kids AND adults! I like the one in Gulf Shores but there is one in OB also.  http://www.adventure-island.com/

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is small but wonderful, with one-on-one animal encounters in the spring and summer; hold a baby lemur, kangaroo, tiger, etc. for a small fee of usually $5 – $10 per child, tiger may be higher – the highlight of my kids’ trip!: http://www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.org/

The Track (go-karts, mini-golf, bungee jumping, bumper cars, etc.): http://www.gulfshorestrack.com/

The Factory Trampoline Park –  also has arcade, dodgeball, teen night, foam pits, and a variety of activities all indoors!  http://thefactorygulfshores.com/activities/

FREE LIGHT AND SOUND SHOW only peak seasons so check before you go!  At THE WHARF, plus other various entertainment.  Details here: http://alwharf.com/spectra.php
Their Facebook page here will keep up-to-date about other fun things going on: https://www.facebook.com/alwharf

GULF STATE PARK PIER – longest in the Gulf, take a walk and see what’s biting (this is always educational), or find out for yourself since they’ll rent you a fishing pole, or just go for great sunset views!  Just a 5-minute drive east from our G.S. condos (3.5 miles) and appx 7 minutes from Turquoise Place:
Gulf State Park Pier

Escape the Room – At The Wharf, great family or group fun! http://www.gulfcoastescaperoom.com/

~ Cobb MOVIE THEATRE in G.S.: At the Target shopping center just north of the intracoastal on Hwy 59, there are some shops, a sports bar, along with a movie theatre (Cobb), and a Starbucks inside the Target.
Cobb Pinnacle Movie Theatre

MOVIE THEATRE IN ORANGE BEACH: At THE WHARF Shopping and Entertainment complex, there is a 15-screen movie theatre, a concert venue, restaurants, boardwalk and shopping, all on the intracoastal where the Foley Beach Expressway meets Canal Rd in Orange Beach.
THE WHARF

Pensacola N.A.S. Naval Aviation Museum, about a 35 – 45 minute drive – FREE, but additional fee applies to flight simulator and IMAX theatre on site: http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/

Blue Angels (Naval Flying Performance Squad) Open to the Public Practice Schedule and information: http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/PlanYourVisit/Activities-%281%29/BlueAngelsPractices.aspx
MY PHOTO GALLERY HERE: BLUE ANGELS PRACTICE

GOLF, FISHING, LOCAL INFO:
http://www.gulfshores.com/
~ GOLF: http://www.orangebeach.biz/Golf.htm

~ Fishing Charters, Party Boats, Sunset Cruises, Boat Rentals @ Zeke’s Landing:  http://www.zekeslanding.com/

~ Boat rental companies, Orange Beach (none on the Gulf Shores side):

Orange Beach Boat Rentals: this one a little off the beaten path so if you want to just explore the back bay and relax, it’s the best option: https://www.obboatrentals.com/

Wallace Boat Rentals: if you want to be where all the action is, park at the islands with lots of other boats, and stop at some restaurants, this is the best option: http://wallaceboatrentals.com/wbr_2015/index.php

The Tanger Outlet Center (Riviera Center) over 120 stores is about 15 minutes north of the beach road on Hwy 59.
TANGER OUTLET CENTER

~ Fly the Beach – Aerial Tours with Trident Aircraft
at Jack Edwards Airport in Gulf Shores, 7 days a week, 251-948-3522
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzCtAF55GNs

Fort Morgan Historic Site famous for defending in the Battle of Mobile Bay, take a walk back in history
http://fortmorgan.org/

The USS Alabama (Battleship Memorial Park on Mobile Bay): http://www.ussalabama.com/

Ike’s Beach Rentals for kayaks, cribs, beach wheel chairs, etc. http://www.ikesbeachservice.com/services.aspx

BIKE RENTALS – delivered to the building with a lock and helmet
www.beachbikerentals.net in G.S. or
http://infinity-bicycles.com/product-list/bike-rentals-1238/
if you’re in O.B.

Lakewood Stables for horseback riding or pony rides: (251) 945-6711

NATURE CRUISE on SAILAWAY CHARTERS takes you in the back bay, drags a shrimp net and puts the sea life into an aerated aquarium on board as a teaching tool for you and your kids.  We caught baby puffer fish, baby flounder, shrimp, oysters, stingrays, all kinds of fish and other sea life, saw ospreys and other birds of prey, and were surrounded by dolphins on several occasions!  Your kids can look at the flounder’s eyes – both on the top side of its body –  as it wiggles in their hand for a moment before being released back into the bay!  Was the highlight of one of our trips!  (251) 974-5055 – sailorskip@yahoo.com

DIVE SHOPS: http://www.downunderdiveshop.com/
the Oriskany air craft carrier is a deep-water dive with the top of the structure in about 70 feet of water, but is definitely a unique experience
http://gulfdiver.net/oriskany.cfm

LOCAL CHURCHES: http://www.al.com/gulfshores/churches.html
We usually go to Romar Baptist Church, so it’s the only one I can vouch for, small and intimate, has an incredible view of the beach and they do great things there with a retreat center with a sleeping dormitory for over 100 people on bottom level.  They do immersion baptisms in the Gulf – kinda neat!

~ George C Meyer TENNIS CENTER in Gulf Shores – VERY NICE!
MAP TO TENNIS CENTER
5000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, 12 Hard Surface courts and 6 RUBECO courts (4 covered, 2 open), Seating for 150 – also has Observation Deck, Lighted, Covered Pavilions, Tennis Lounge and Restrooms