February seems like the month to escape the cruelness of winter and where better to escape than the beach? At the end of last month, we spent a long weekend at Orange Beach in Alabama. If you haven't been to the Alabama coast before it is beautiful. The beaches are covered in gorgeous white sands, the lodging is lovely and despite hurricanes there are plentiful options of dining out. We had an amazing trip. Here is where we recommend you STAY. EAT. and PLAY.
STAY : Phoenix Rentals
There are a few of these and I can only really comment on the one where we stayed, but it was amazing. We had two families with little kids. This apartment with four bedrooms, five bathrooms, and a large eating and living space were perfect. The space was clean, comfortable and well furnished. Even better were the amenities.
The hotel also included:
*laundry in unit
*outdoor pool with a lazy river, and a slide
*best of all, you could walk right out onto the beach.
EAT : Lucy Buffet's LuLu's
This fun, family friendly restaurant is the perfect spot for families with little ones. Not only is there a good menu, but the relaxed atmosphere and huge sand pit outside for play before and after are a bonus. Being a mama of a child with food allergies, my favorite part was their care and attention to food allergies. Our party had people with allergies to dairy, gluten, and eggs. A special menu is available, the staff did an excellent job communicating and the kitchen is also careful. One of the hardest parts about traveling for our family is having to eat out more often and the greater frequency with which my child is exposed to things they cannot eat. Lulu's approach to dealing with food allergies was a relief and the cherry on top of a wonderful evening.
PLAY : Gulf State Park
Gulf State Park has a little bit of everything. We enjoyed Orange Beach by stepping outside our hotel and this is where we spent most of our time, however if you are looking for something away from the beach Gulf State Park is a fun start. We started at the Nature Center. It is a small space, but it is full of small Alabama native animals. Our kids were delighted by the snakes, turtles, and alligators.
Then we took a short walk down one of the trails. Being used to the northern woods of Wisconsin, the nature in Alabama is strikingly different. The path was entirely paved which would be nice for walking with a stroller or for biking. For those so inclined, we also learned that there are a couple of geocatching spots along the way.
In the end, it was the beautiful beaches of Alabama that will send me back to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. We loved the soft sand, plentiful seashells, and waves.
MORE TO DO IN ORANGE BEACH & GULF SHORES:
*Places to Eat: Bahama Bobs, Shrimp Basket, Tacky Jacks, The Gulf, and Dog House Grill.
*To do: Gulf Coast Zoo
BACK AT HOME:
Here are some beach inspired activities.
*Water Inspired Mirror Painting
*Sandbox Play Ideas
*Loose Parts ideas for all those seashells.
*Sink and Float Experiment for infants and toddlers.
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