Vacay Tips from a Long-Time Beach Visitor
Families, couples and even solo travelers who choose beach trips for their vacation usually have a few things in common: they love the sun, the sand and the water.
As someone who has visited Gulf Shores and Orange Beach often, I can assure you, those are all fantastic reasons to visit the area. Even more valuable, this long-time beach visitor can offer some great tips to help you plan and enjoy your next trip to Alabama’s coastal paradise.
Accommodations may seem like a no-brainer, but here are a couple of tips to help when planning where to stay.
- Perhaps you want a Gulf view on a certain floor of a particular resort or hotel. Book sooner rather than later to ensure the best rate and availability.
- Is there a fun or luxury property you’ve been dying to stay at, but can’t swing the cost? Go to their website a couple times a month and check for specials or deals. Many websites will have a tab that says just that, and sometimes you can snag a deal. Also, many luxury properties are so large that you can split a unit with another friend’s family. Half the cost, but all the same amenities!
- There are plenty of lodging choices between Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and the beautiful Fort Morgan Peninsula (actually part of Gulf Shores). If you want to get a little off the beaten path but give up nothing with regard to sugar-white, sandy beaches and amazing turquoise waters, consider a rental in Fort Morgan.
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Dining
There are so many fabulous places to eat on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Seafood is abundant and fresh, but you can also find a variety of other dining options as well. Here are a few tips that might save you a little money and a whole lot of time.
- Make at least a mental list of where you’d like to eat while in town. Popular places have a wait during high season, so check out their websites and see if there are early-bird dining options or ways around the long wait times. A good example is Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s, where they have something new called Beat the Wait – Go Online to Get in Line. It’s not a reservation, but you can go to their website and put your name on the wait list in advance of getting there, which is a big help.
- If you are on a tighter budget, consider eating out for lunch. Portions are, many times, the same as dinner, but lunch specials are a good bit less expensive. Also, many restaurants offer brunch, especially on the weekends, and often have drink specials such as bloody marys or mimosas for a couple of bucks.
- If you are staying in a condo and planning on preparing some meals in the room, make a grocery list for when you get to town. Also, make note of what things you can bring from home: salt and pepper, flour, sugar, paper towels, chips, etc.
- Look for Groupons! Often restaurants will offer discounts through Groupon (especially in the off season). I have saved up to 50% with Groupon in the past. (HINT: There are also good deals for things aside from dining, like fishing charters and spa treatments.)
- Stop by the welcome centers! The Gulf Shores Welcome Center and Orange Beach Welcome Center both offer rack cards with discounts and coupons.