A Travellerspoint blog

Fun at a Public Beach

Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA

As much as I love to relax on a quiet beach in front of a private beach house, sometimes I long for the energetic bustle found at a fun, public beach. One of my favorite spots is the Gulf Shores Public Beach. Lots of activity, shopping and beachside restaurants—a great opportunity for people-watching.

This is how our week’s vacation usually plays out for us: We spend the first couple of days at our rented beach house, enjoying the peacefulness of the beach, playing in the waves, building sandcastles. Then we get a little restless, and we start looking for other things to do. And one of the first things we do is head over to the public beach, where we do things like play volleyball and picnic at the designated picnic areas. Gulf Shores Public Beach also has bathrooms, showers and beach attendants, so it really is a nice experience.

The Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area has many public beach locations. Just go to www.thebeachiscalling.org to start exploring them.

Posted by Carol W 14:21 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)


I want to get back in touch with the ocean. I love the ocean, but I’m afraid of it. It wasn’t always like this. As a child, I loved the ocean. I’m really not sure why my feelings have changed over the years. I guess, like many other things in my life, maturity has caused me to become much more cautious—too cautious, I think.

I’ve been kayaking a few times, and I’m planning to take the “Learn to Kayak” class in Orange Beach this summer. There’s something both empowering and therapeutic about being alone in a kayak, paddling across the water. But I haven’t done this in the ocean yet—only lakes and rivers. So the plan is to take the class, learn some safety rules and get comfortable with my kayaking skills, then take on the Gulf. I mean, there’s really no reason to be afraid of the water off of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. We just need to be re-aquainted.

Information about the kayak class can be found at www.thebeachiscalling.org. Just search the calendar of events.

Posted by Carol W 20:28 Archived in USA Tagged boating Comments (0)

The Joy of Grandparents

I have so many great memories of my grandparents at the beach. They were always at our annual seaside family reunions—in 15 years, not once were they absent. And they were your typical loving grandparents: always telling stories about when they were growing up, always spoiling all of us grandkids. They were awesome.

They’re not around anymore, and for a while the yearly family reunions stopped. Luckily, in the last few years, we’ve started the tradition again, and I’m making a point to capture those special moments between my kids and their grandparents. And the Alabama Gulf Coast has lots of opportunities for this. I have video footage and photographs of my parents playing with my kids on the beach, building sandcastles, fishing off of the pier, flying kites, and exploring the history at Fort Morgan. We even had a family portrait made on the beach by The Picture Man. Our meetups in Gulf Shores are one of the few times we get to see my parents, so we really try to make the most of our time there (lots to do there—check out www.thebeachiscalling.org).

My kids have lots of fun with their grandparents now, and I know one day they’ll appreciate being able to look back on the memories.

Posted by Carol W 22:51 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

The Music Scene on the Alabama Gulf Coast

I always try to make a point to plan family activities, particularly when we are on vacation. That’s one of the main reasons for vacation—to help our little family stay connected. But it seems that as the kids get older, it’s getting harder to please everyone. I have to be careful that my attempts at bringing everyone together do not actually cause division due to fighting over what to do!

So I try to listen to everyone’s ideas, and one thing I have found is that music is almost always a big hit. And there are lots of music options at the Alabama Gulf Coast. Music festivals and concerts by various artists from a range of genres are frequent in the area. I’ve always found these events to be a great way to break up a vacation and entertain the entire family.

The next time you visit Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, I highly recommend checking out one of these music events. You can begin your musical exploration at www.thebeachiscalling.org.

Posted by Carol W 08:29 Archived in USA Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

Photographing Wildlife

I have become an amateur photographer since we bought our new camera. The old camera lasted almost eight years, so it was definitely time for something new. We splurged a little and bought a good digital camera—and I am so glad we did! The quality of the photos is amazing. We haven’t been to the Alabama Gulf Coast since buying the camera, and I can’t wait to see what kind of pictures I end up with the next time we visit.

I am particularly interested in photographing the wildlife at the Gulf. Pelicans, seagulls, herons and cranes are fascinating to watch and make great pictures. I’ve taken some nice pictures of these creatures in the past, but I’ve developed a small photographer-ego and I’m hoping to capture a really superb wildlife moment—a heron in flight might be nice.

Of course you don’t need a fancy camera to take great pictures of Alabama Gulf Coast wildlife. Any camera will serve the purpose of preserving these memories. The best part is just being there to experience the remarkable wildlife.

And if you have a great wildlife photo (or obtain one in the next few weeks), you might consider entering in the “Show Us Your Best Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Vacation Ever” contest. Just go to www.thebeachiscalling.org.

Posted by Carol W 10:31 Archived in USA Tagged photography Comments (0)

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