Couple's Getaway in Gulf Shores
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the perfect places to plan a romantic couple's getaway to the beach. Check Angela Essington's itinerary for the best couple's beach trip!
There are three requirements for me to recommend a destination for a couple’s romantic getaway: outdoor adventure, fun bars, and mouthwatering food.
And guess what? Sprinkle in pristine beaches and breathtaking sunsets and ding, ding, we have a winner! Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have them all and more.
To help make the most of your vacation of romance, here's a three-day itinerary for you and that special person in your life to relax, refresh and reconnect. I highly suggest planning your trip from Friday to Sunday to get the best that the Gulf Shores has to offer for couples looking for romantic weekend getaways.
Cue the sound of seagulls and rolling waves, please.
Let's start your unforgettable trip at an unforgettable place. The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest undisturbed coastal barrier habitats in Alabama. Situated on Fort Morgan Peninsula, the beautiful sanctuary provides a safe haven for migratory birds and other animals.
Out of all the romantic things that Gulf Shores has to offer you on your first day, I recommend a leisurely stroll on my favorite trail. The Jeff Friend Trail is a short 1-mile loop through a longleaf pine forest that leads to a wooden boardwalk running parallel to a small inlet that connects to the Gulf of Mexico. It'll only take 30-45 minutes, but you'll witness the spectacular scenic views that this national park has to offer.
The Hangout is a Gulf Shores' classic. It’s one of those places that puts you in vacation mode the minute you arrive. Maybe because it’s right off the beach, or perhaps it’s the frozen drinks or the laid-back cheery vibe. Either way, you’ll know what I’m talking about when you get there.
There's perhaps a no better way to spend your first afternoon than soaking up your daily dose of Vitamin D at the beach. So throw on your suit, and don’t forget the sunscreen before checking out the main attraction. With 32 miles of one-of-a-kind beachfront, you'll have no issues finding an excellent spot to hang out for a few hours.
Dinner & Sunset
It may sound a little strange when I tell you to drive over to the big blue containers by the bridge for a romantic dinner but trust me. I'm not sending you on a wild goose chase.
The Gulf is a recycled shipping container restaurant right on the water. The food is excellent, the atmosphere is fantastic, and it's an ideal spot for catching a sunset. Made with seasonal, local and fresh ingredients, the menu offers a few standout items, but their seafood is a must.
If you want to keep the night going, mosey on over to Tacky Jacks, where the drinks are constantly flowing with some form of entertainment rocking, whether it be an open mic, karaoke, or live music.
There's nothing better than starting your day cozy with your partner and a well-crafted cup of coffee, so I suggest The Southern Grind at INDIGO. You can keep it simple and order a smooth house blend or kick it up a notch with a nitro brew or specialty drink like a salted caramel latte.
Pair your morning caffeine boost with one of the hearty breakfast sandwiches, and you'll be ready to roll. While you wait for your order, you won't be able to resist shopping around the charming nautical-themed store.
After fueling up, it's time for some outdoor adventure. With its lush oak and pine forests and picturesque marshland, the beautiful Gulf State Park is one of my favorite places in the area to take a romantic stroll. And there's no better way to explore the 28 miles of paved trails and wooden boardwalks than by bike.
Pop over to Gulf State Park Beach Pavilion right across the street to pick one up. How cool is it that the park has a bike-share program that allows visitors to borrow a bike for free for up to three hours? All you need to do is download the app. You’ll find easy-to-follow directions at the bike locations.
Be on the lookout for one of the many critters that call the park home. If you're lucky, you might even see an eagle or alligator on your outing.
When your stomach begins to growl, ride over to Woodside Restaurant, a hidden gem conveniently located inside the park. You’ll love to dine on the inviting patio with its tall oak and pine trees, fire pits, picnic tables, and hanging lights.
For an extra special treat, a visit to The Yard Milkshake Bar is a must. The over-the-top creations like the Birthday Cake that comes with a full-sized cupcake on top will have you snapping away in an impromptu photo shoot. It’s a fabulous way to cool down on a hot day, not to mention the ice cream is top-notch.
Afterward, make your way to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo for another memorable experience.
The zoo is an excellent addition to any vacation; and the animal encounters offer a rare opportunity to get intimate with several residents, including lemurs, giraffes, anteaters, kangaroos, and sloths, at a very reasonable price. As a lover of all cuddly things, holding and petting a baby kangaroo will go down as one of my most cherished memories from our travels, and it can be for you too.
Dinner & Sunset
If you're looking for a romantic escape with delicious food, look no further than the luxurious Voyagers at Perdido Beach Resort. Make reservations roughly 30 minutes before sunset and expect to be enchanted. With its fresh seafood, heavenly aged steak, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Gulf, it's the perfect date night experience.
Take a morning stroll along the beach hand-in-hand with your partner and savor the warm Gulf breeze and soft sand. You may even find a few intact shells to take home as a special keepsake to remind you and your loved one of your romantic getaway.
Afterward, time travel back to the 1950s at Sunliner Diner in the heart of downtown.
It's a full-blown retro throwback from the shiny classic cars out front to the old school diner inside. It’ll be hard to decide what to order off the large breakfast menu, but you can’t go wrong with any of the sweet or savory dishes.
A fun way to spend the rest of the morning is immersing yourself in the wilderness of the intercoastal on a kayak excursion with WildNative Tours. Discover the ecology and history of Oyster Bay on the Wildlife Experience while watching for Bottlenose dolphins, ospreys, eagles, and various other waterfowl.
Afterward, drive to Hog Wild Beach & BBQ for a phenomenal barbecue experience. You'll soon discover why it's a favorite place to dine among locals and visitors alike.
From the smoked tender meat to the homemade banana puddin’, everything at Hog Wild is finger-licking good. Even the barbecue sauces are made in-house from scratch.
As your third memorable day comes to a close, snuggle up and take a ride on the 112-foot-tall Ferris wheel at sunset. I can guarantee you'll already be planning your next visit back while taking in the panoramic views.