Some places just keep calling you back over and over; Alabama’s beaches do that for me.
My Midwest heart loves many places, but the ones I always find myself drawn to include stunning outdoors, delicious food, and of course, white sandy beaches. (It’s not a cliche!) Heading to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is something I find myself dreaming about, and I catch myself planning my next escape from the Midwest to this magical destination practically daily. Yep, when I fell, I fell hard.
One of the first things you’ll find me doing on a return trip is heading straight to the beach to step off the wooden boardwalk onto the sand. Feeling the cool squeaky sand between my toes gets me every time. Curling my toes into the shoreline, you’ll find me scanning the horizon looking for my first dolphin of the visit.
While I might be there for the beaches, the Gulf State Park always gets some of my time. I can’t come here without taking a day to explore. Six thousand one hundred acres of diversity keep me busy enjoying nature’s beauty. One of my favorite ways to get around is renting a bike from Beach Bike Rentals or using one of the complimentary bikes located within the state park. With the bike-share program, riders aged 16 and older can use a bike to explore the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails for up to three hours. Download the Bloom Bike Share App before your trip, and you’ll be all set. On my first trip, I biked 13 miles of trails before I even realized it!
You never know what you’ll see while biking and exploring. On my last trip to Gulf Shores, I saw an armadillo for the first time in my life on the Backcountry Trails. Armadillos are not something we typically see in the Midwest! I couldn’t help myself but slam on the bike’s breaks and slowly walk up to admire all his movements.
All that biking can really work up an appetite. But, throw in a full day of building sandcastles, soaking in the sun, and being immersed in nature, and this Midwest-girl is famished! The food scene calls! After coming to Alabama beaches, my taste buds will never be the same. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are a foodie’s dream.
My first stop in the mornings is The Southern Grind at The Wharf, and it is the perfect way to get the day of beach-going started. With their specialty fixin’s, Chronic Tacos bring me in for a beach break at lunchtime, and at supper, I go to LuLu’s for a heaping helping of shrimp and grits. Being from the Midwest, shrimp and grits is a treat! Every mouthful of this southern dish is like a bite of heaven.
You know the old saying, “home is where the heart is”? Well, my Midwest heart is always packed and ready to go to one of Alabama’s white sandy beaches.