Why Gulf Shores is My Beach

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

When I was growing up, I thought all beaches had sparkling, clean, white sand. Raised on the Gulf Coast made me an expert and somewhat of an inadvertent beach snob when it came to the quality and beauty of the coast. When I traveled for the first time to an exotic, world-famous beach, I thought, "Really? This is it?"

Gulf State Park Alabama

I didn't mean to be an elitist, but when you've been raised on the most beautiful, shimmering-white beaches in the world, your standards are set pretty high. I was totally spoiled and didn't know it.

I can honestly say I know every single one of the communities scattered along the Gulf of Mexico like the back of my hand, but when it comes time to sink my toes in the sand these days, my choice for relaxation, fun and soaking up the natural beauty is, without a doubt, Gulf Shores, Alabama.

You see, not only is Gulf Shores beautiful, but it also has plenty of extras, or as we like to call it around here, "lagniappe."

Gulf Shores isn't just the most gorgeous beach in the world (don't take my word for it, ask the mermaids - they'll back me up), but it also has plenty for the kids to do; shopping for the entire family; world-class, award-winning chefs whipping up one-of-a-kind meals; and accommodations that range from cozy campgrounds (with free starry skies thrown in) to luxurious penthouses that overlook that famous blue-green water.

Even though we live within an hour's drive, my family still likes to book a room in Gulf Shores several times a year. Sometimes we share a large house with extended family and friends, or we'll reserve a condo for a weekend getaway. Once we've completed the obligatory exercise of sitting in a lounge chair, wiggling our toes in the sand and deeply inhaling the salty air, my teens like to plan adventures of exploring historic forts or booking a trip on a deep sea fishing excursion.

Family Beach Vacation

I'm always partial to visiting the zoo and getting one-on-one time with some cuddly critters, and, of course, blocking out time for shopping in the unique and fabulous gift and clothing boutiques in the area.

My husband considers himself to be quite the foodie, pouring over the online menus he finds for the local restaurants. Whether it's a hand-tossed pizza or a five-course candlelight meal for the two of us (the boys are conveniently at the movie theater or zipping around the go-cart track), there are plenty of chances to indulge.

The truth is, all beaches aren't created equally, and all vacations aren't, either. Why travel the world looking for the perfect place to relax, explore and find adventure, when we've got it all right here in Gulf Shores? And one more tip from a local: When you arrive, stand about knee-deep in the surf so the mermaids can get a good look at you. They recognize quality folks when they see them and will send a bubbly, foamy welcome your way.

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