As an avid triathlete and runner, when I vacation I am always looking for ways to get in my workout. I consider fitness a fun way to see a new location and then, of course, reward myself with vacation eats and libations. I definitely take the whole “I work out to eat” mantra very seriously.
When I went to Alabama’s beaches, I was surprised to see just how many active options there were. The beaches offer far more than just watersports and sunbathing – and I took advantage of several of them. Here’s my list of five favorite fitness activities to experience the next time you’re on a Gulf Shores and Orange Beach vacation.
- Try a triathlon! While the triathlon (swim, bike, run) may not be for everyone, I loved racing through Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, taking in the views while I competed alongside other triathletes, both locals and tourists. Fortunately, there are a number of options on the calendar for those who enjoy the swim-bike-run life. I raced the Brett Robinson Alabama Coastal Triathlon and had a blast! (You can read my race report here.) Cycling over the Perdido Bridge offered a really great view of the area and I particularly loved the post-race party at The Hangout.
- Get stretched and relax with some beachside yoga. After that hard work at the triathlon, beachside yoga was a perfect way to stretch out and soothe my sore muscles, not to mention enjoy the view of the gorgeous sun, sand and sea. It’s a perfect activity for anyone looking to enjoy the beach more with a light activity. Several yoga studios offer yoga on the beach, or if you prefer, head inside for a more traditional practice.
- Hit up the local bike trails and sightsee at the same time. Located about 30 minutes from Gulf Shores, the Historic Blakeley State Park features 10.5 miles of trails that you can either hike or bike. This park is the site of the last major battle of the Civil War, so take advantage of a history lesson while staying active. Also bike the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails, which you’ll find right in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. These paved trails offer 25 miles of hiking and biking alongside freshwater marshes and coastal hardwood swamps.
- A trip to the beach wouldn’t be complete without getting out on the water! I personally love kayaking, but Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer a lot of different ways to set sail. Kayaking is my favorite way to explore the local waterways, as it can be a great workout depending on how far and fast you go. It’s also really nice if you just want to explore and relax on the water.
- While a great massage doesn’t exactly fit in with a fitness activity, it is a superb way to reward yourself for all of your active vacation workouts. I am a huge advocate of massage as not only a way to unwind, but also a way to help your muscles recover from all the hard work you’ve put them through. Fortunately, the Alabama Gulf Coast has no shortage of excellent spas.
Of course, vacations are meant to be relaxing, and what better way to burn off some steam than to get active and work up a sweat? Just don’t forget to add in that massage and maybe a few vacation treats. Have you seen the dessert options?