Two Fun Ways to Splash into Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

Everyone loves the Alabama Gulf Coast for its beautiful white beaches, but how many visitors actually go beyond a dip in the water to cool off?

View of Alabama Gulf Coast

A water baby since my youth, I have always loved being near and on the water. Growing up, my family would camp every weekend at the lake, and spend our days water skiing, fishing and taking boat rides. Since that time, I never miss an opportunity to take to the water. Thankfully, the Alabama Gulf Coast offers plenty of ways to do just that. Yes, you can splash around in the Gulf of Mexico, but why not take it to the next level? For me, that meant a catamaran sail and parasailing.

Let's Go Cruising
For a sail along the Alabama Gulf Coast, I had the pleasure of enjoying a catamaran cruise with Sail Wild Hearts on a custom-built Gold Coast 53-foot catamaran. Sail Wild Hearts is one of several cruising adventures offered in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. We set off from the boat's dock in Orange Beach on Cotton Bayou for a dolphin cruise along the shores of Orange Beach. Although the boat has a covered cabin with ample seating, my preferred spot was stretched out on the netting located at the front of the boat. Here I could enjoy the sunshine, the sea spray and the view. The trip was more enjoyable, thanks to the camaraderie shared by Capt. Zack Smith and his crew.

During our leisurely cruise, we didn't spot any dolphins. But that's OK. Just sailing across the water with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face was more than enough for me. In fact, I could have stayed out on the water all day. Unfortunately, two hours is the limit for the regular cruise. You also can participate in a kayak adventure sail, a sunset cruise and – the one I'm dying to experience – the Dolphins and Angels Orange Beach sailing adventure where you sail to Pensacola, Fla., to watch the Blue Angels practice for their aerial shows.

Parasailing in Orange Beach, AL

Ready to Fly
During my visit to the Alabama Gulf Coast, I continued my love affair with the water by taking flight with Orange Beach Parasail, one of several companies in the area offering parasail adventures. This activity perfectly combined my love to be on the water with my love for adventure. I set out early one morning with Capt. Harold Rogers and crew member Paul Tollett from Sportsman's Marina to parasail along the shores of Orange Beach. I couldn't wait to take to the air.

We cruised out into the Gulf and, after reaching a safe distance from shore, I geared up to parasail. In a matter of minutes, I was ready to go. Before I knew it, I was high above the water taking in the view. And what a view it was! Floating in the air at the end of an 800-foot line is a fabulous way to enjoy the waters of the Alabama Gulf Coast. In fact, I gently rocked back and forth in the air for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, a guaranteed time afforded to every person who parasails with Orange Beach Parasail.

All told, the complete trip was between 45 minutes and one hour, though it seemed to pass by much quicker than that. I definitely plan to parasail again when I return to the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Of course, these are just two of the many water activities available along the Alabama Gulf Coast. To find and plan your own water adventure, check out more beaches and water sports fun in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

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