Thursday, September 7, 2023

Jimmy Buffet Meeting of the Minds 2023

Parrot Heads at Meeting of the Minds Parrot Head Gathering
Parrot Heads
The annual Jimmy Buffet “Parrot Head Gathering,” also known as “Meeting of the Minds,” is coming to Gulf Shores, AL October 25-29. In the late 90s, Jerry Diaz and Scott Nickerson initiated this event in New Orleans. This year, Gulf Shores, where Jimmy spent his formative years on the beach and where is sister, Lulu, still runs the popular Lulu's restaurant & bar, will host a fantastic gathering of Parrot Heads celebrating Jimmy's life. Registration closes on September 15th, and you can find more information at www.MOTM.rocks

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Where to Shop | Beach Girl at Home

Gulf Shores Shopping | Beach Girl at Home boutique
Located at 3947 AL-59, a short distance north of the Pelican Place Shopping Center, Beach Girl at Home is a one-of-a-kind boutique dedicated to coastal-inspired home decor in Gulf Shores. This charming establishment is a tribute to the spirit of the Beach Girl within all of us. The boutique has meticulously curated an assortment of the region's most vibrant and individualistic home accessories, furniture, artwork, lighting solutions, tableware, area rugs, and an array of other items for your living space.

Beach Girl at Home excels in crafting holiday-themed decor, creating captivating tablescapes, and expertly staging or revitalizing your existing decor. The boutique also takes pride in providing a platform for local artists to showcase their talents. Beyond this, they offer a distinctive selection of unique gifts that capture the essence of the coast.

Beach Girl at Home extends its services beyond the physical store. They facilitate shipping, along with complimentary delivery options, ensuring your purchases reach you conveniently. Additionally, their signature gift wrapping adds a touch of elegance for those seeking the perfect present.

LEARN MORE about Beach Girl at Home

SEE MORE local favorite shopping spots

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The Cove Bar & Grill | A Local Favorite

The Cove Bar & Grill | A Local Favorite
The Cove Bar & Grill is a local favorite dive located on Cove Avenue off Hwy 59 in Gulf Shores. Owned by local restauranteurs with 30 years of experience, The Cove is a place where locals and visitors hang out to have a drink (or 3), shoot some pool, enjoy live music, and eat some great food in a fun and welcoming environment. The Cove offers excellent cheeseburgers, Tuna Nachos, Wings, Fish Tacos, Wraps, multiple salad options, and more.

LEARN MORE about The Cove

Hurricane Idalia Update

Hurricane Idalia Update | Gulf Shores
Photo by AccuWeather
Hurricane Idalia is currently gaining strength as it moves westward off the coast of Cuba. According to experts from AccuWeather specializing in hurricanes, the storm is predicted to undergo rapid intensification and transform into a major hurricane by Tuesday, while positioned over the Gulf of Mexico. Subsequently, the hurricane is forecasted to make landfall on the west coast of Florida.

The region, situated between the Gulf coasts of the panhandle and the peninsula in Florida, now faces an 'extreme' risk for various impacts due to the impending storm. This area is particularly vulnerable to life-threatening storm surge flooding, destructive winds, and heavy rainfall as Idalia advances and is projected to reach hurricane status by Wednesday morning.

In accordance with AccuWeather's RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes in the United States, meteorologists have assigned Idalia a level 3 rating. This assessment takes into account the expected consequences such as extensive flooding, damaging winds, the potential for life-threatening storm surges, and the overall toll on infrastructure and economy.

Presently, a hurricane warning has been issued for Florida's west coast, spanning from the eastern part of the Panhandle down to Tampa Bay and the regions further south.

Note: Unless the track of Idalia shifts significantly west from its current forecast, the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach region should experience relatively good weather this week. This unqualified opinion is in no way intended to be taken as advice. 

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Tropical Storm Alert

August 24, 2023 - 10:50am

The National Hurricane Center is tracking a tropical development in the western Caribbean and eastern Gulf of Mexico for the possibility of increased threat to the northern Gulf Coast in the coming days.

A cluster of thunderstorms on the Pacific side of Central America has the potential for gradual development as it crosses into the Caribbean over the weekend. A tropical depression could form as it moves slowly northward.

The NHC gives the disturbance a 50% chance of development over the next seven days. If further development occurs, any resulting storm could threaten the northern Gulf Coast as early as the first half of next week (Aug 28-30).

Click for News Alert

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

National Shrimp Festival | Dates and Times

Gulf Shores National Shrimp Festival
Credit: Gulf Shores CVB
Looking for an autumn getaway filled with seafood, music, art, and more? Look no further than the Gulf Shores Annual National Shrimp Festival, a four-day extravaganza that promises an unforgettable experience for all who attend. Whether you're a seafood lover, a music lover, an art lover, or simply someone in search of a fantastic time, this festival has something for everyone. Mark your calendars for October 12th through 15th, 2023, and get ready to indulge in a feast for the senses!

Seafood Galore: Indulge your taste buds in the freshest Gulf seafood at the Annual National Shrimp Festival. Drawing in over 300,000 visitors, this festival is a seafood lover's paradise. From succulent shrimp to a variety of other mouthwatering delights, the event showcases the finest culinary creations from 50 local and regional vendors. The boardwalk along the public beach transforms into a haven of flavors, where you can savor the Gulf's bounty while enjoying the breathtaking views.

Live Music: There will be over 100 hours of musical entertainment that will have you dancing and singing along. With a lineup featuring national, regional, and local acts, the festival caters to diverse musical tastes. From the soulful notes of blues and Motown to the energetic rhythms of southern rock and zydeco, and the timeless melodies of jazz and country, the musical variety is bound to resonate with every palate. The tunes will fill the air from Thursday through Sunday, ensuring that each day is infused with the magic of music.

Artistic Treasures: For those with an eye for art, the Annual National Shrimp Festival delivers a visual feast with nearly 200 booths of fine art and arts and crafts vendors. Stroll through the booths and discover a world of creativity, from captivating paintings to unique handcrafted pieces. Whether you're looking to add a special touch to your home or find the perfect gift, the array of artistic treasures is sure to captivate your imagination.

Save the Date: Make sure to reserve your spot at this year's Annual National Shrimp Festival, taking place from October 12th through 15th, 2023. Gather your friends and family, and get ready to immerse yourself in the ultimate celebration of Gulf seafood, music, art, and community. With each passing day of the festival bringing new experiences and memories, this is an event you won't want to miss. Embrace the fall vibes, relish in the flavors, and let the music and art sweep you off your feet. See you there!

WHERE TO STAY: Resorts or Hotels

OTHER THINGS TO DO

Monday, August 21, 2023

Beach Restoration | Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Beach Restoration Winter 2023/24
Beach Restoration
If you’re a regular visitor to the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area in the winter months, or planning a getaway during that time, this year (Winter 2023/2024) might not be the best time to come. A massive beach restoration project, complete with heavy equipment and plenty of noise, will be conducted between November and April. 

However, if you plan appropriately and are flexible on when you come, and where you stay, you may find some spots and times to visit that enable you to avoid the construction project (see below).

Consisting of dredge barges off the coast, pumping thousands of metric tons of sand onto the beaches, which is then spread by bulldozers and other heavy equipment, this vital restoration initiative aims to address the extensive damage done by Hurricanes Nate and Sally. The focus is to repair and rehabilitate the beaches, which lost a lot of height and width to the hurricanes.

According to plans released by the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the project's implementation timeline is as follows:

November: Initiation of beach restoration activities, with a primary focus on the severely impacted area east of Little Lagoon Pass.

December: Continuation of beach restoration activities, shifting the efforts to the west of Little Lagoon Pass.

January: Gradual transition to beach restoration within Gulf State Park.

February: Initiation of beach restoration along Romar Beach.

March: Progression to beach restoration along Perdido Key.

April: Phasing out of equipment and concluding the project operations.

So, if you plan your dates and locations carefully, with a little luck that the project stays on schedule, you may find that you can have a relatively normal experience on our beaches this winter. The map below illustrates the schedule for the planned work outlined above. 

Beach Restoration Map and Schedule
Click to enlarge photo

NOTE: This is advice, not a promise. Projects like this experience delays and revisions all the time. Come at your own risk!

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Beach Wedding in Gulf Shores | A Guide

Gulf Shores Beach Wedding
Credit: Paradise Beach Weddings
Considering having a beach wedding in Gulf Shores, AL? This article will help you decide and start your planning. 

The combination of soft white sands, gentle waves, and stunning sunsets creates a romantic backdrop that's hard to rival. But before you say "I do" with your toes in the sand, there are several important things to consider. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about planning a beach wedding in Gulf Shores, AL.

How to Set Up a Beach Wedding

Setting up a beach wedding requires thoughtful preparation. Start by choosing a reputable local wedding planner who specializes in beach weddings. These experts can handle the logistical challenges that come with outdoor ceremonies, ensuring your big day goes off without a hitch. Websites for local beach wedding planners like Your Dream Beach Wedding, Paradise Beach Weddings, and Gulf Shores, Orange Beach Weddings offer valuable insights and services for couples looking to tie the knot on the beach.

Best Month for a Beach Wedding

Selecting the right month for your beach wedding is crucial. The months of April to October tend to be the most popular due to warm temperatures and longer daylight hours. Keep in mind that peak months (June-Aug) will mean higher costs for accommodations and crowded beaches, so consider a slightly off-peak time to enjoy a more intimate ceremony, cheaper accommodations, and more pleasant temperatures.

Is a Beach Wedding a Good Idea?

Opting for a beach wedding is a fantastic idea if you're captivated by the idea of a natural, breathtaking backdrop. The soothing sound of waves and the salty breeze can add an unparalleled romantic ambiance to your special day. Beach weddings also allow for a more relaxed and casual atmosphere, giving you the freedom to be creative with your dress code, d├ęcor, and overall vibe.

Getting Married on a Gulf Shores Beach

Yes, you can absolutely get married on the beaches of Gulf Shores, AL. The area offers a range of picturesque locations where you can exchange your vows with the ocean as your witness. From public beach access points to private beachfront resorts, Gulf Shores has options to suit every couple's preferences. You'll need to obtain the necessary permits and adhere to any local regulations, so it's advisable to work closely with your chosen wedding planner to ensure a smooth process.

Important Considerations

Before committing to a beach wedding, it's important to be aware of a few key factors. Weather can be unpredictable, so having a backup plan for indoor or covered spaces is essential. Wind and sand can also impact your ceremony, so consider providing guests with comfortable seating and footwear options. Hiring a professional photographer experienced in beach settings will ensure your photos capture the magic of the moment.

In conclusion, a beach wedding in Gulf Shores, AL offers a unique and enchanting experience for couples seeking a memorable way to say their vows. By partnering with reputable wedding planners such as those found on Gulf Shores' official wedding page, you can navigate the logistics with ease. Whether you choose to wed during the popular months or opt for a more intimate ceremony in the off-peak season, the natural beauty of the Gulf Shores beaches will make your special day truly unforgettable.

Remember, the decision to have a beach wedding is as personal as your love story. If you're captivated by the idea of a beachside celebration and embrace the unique challenges and charms it offers, a Gulf Shores beach wedding could be the perfect choice to start your happily ever after.

For more insights and tips on planning a beach wedding, be sure to check out the article "Important Things to Know Before You Plan a Beach Wedding". This resource offers valuable information to help you make informed decisions as you embark on your journey to create the wedding of your dreams.

Sources:

Your Dream Beach Wedding

Paradise Beach Weddings

Gulf Shores, Orange Beach Weddings

Gulf Shores Official Wedding Page

Important Things to Know Before You Plan a Beach Wedding

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Bahama Bob's Restaurant Fire | When Will it Re-open?

Bahama Bobs restaurant fire
Photo by WKRG News
Approximately one month following a July fire that forced the closure of Bahama Bob’s Beachside Cafe in Gulf Shores, there are promising signs of a revival for the iconic restaurant in Alabama.

In an interview with WKRG's Debbie Williams, Whit Spellman, the manager of the establishment, expressed strong optimism about the restaurant's future. He affirmed, "We are committed to making a comeback. Currently, we are in the process of evaluating the extent of the damage. However, as we gradually clean up the aftermath, the situation is progressively improving."

Tina Wesner, another manager at Bahama Bob's, acknowledged the restaurant's history of encountering adversity. She stated, "I've experienced challenges like [hurricanes] Ivan and Katrina, but, as my colleague mentioned, this is an unprecedented situation for us." According to both Spellman and Wesner, it is estimated that the fire caused significant damage to around 30 to 35 percent of the building.

The incident occurred on the evening of Sunday, July 16, during dinner service when patrons began to notice the emergence of smoke within the popular tourist destination. Beverly Cross, who was present at the time, recollected, "We were enjoying our meal when the scent of smoke reached us. Soon after, there were urgent shouts instructing everyone to evacuate. It's truly unfortunate. Thankfully, everyone managed to escape."

When will Bahama Bob's re-open in Gulf Shores
Photo by Gulf Shores FD
The staff promptly guided customers out of the premises, with Cross observing the unfolding events from across the street. She recounted that it took merely seven minutes before flames engulfed the restaurant. Matt Mauller, vacationing with his family, had a similar experience. He shared, "Right after placing our orders, we detected smoke. Before we knew it, the entire area was filled with smoke and the front of the building was ablaze. Despite the chaos, the team at Bahama Bob's exhibited remarkable efficiency in evacuating and ensuring the safety of everyone. Even the wait staff ensured that all their assigned tables were accounted for amidst the fire."

Firefighters managed to extinguish the flames within a span of 30 to 40 minutes after the evacuation.

In the aftermath of the disaster, the local restaurant community came together in a remarkable display of support, absorbing all 60 of Bahama Bob's employees into their establishments.

Tina Wesner expressed lightheartedly, "When we are ready to reopen, they'll need to return to us." However, the reopening date remains a distant goal. She added, "Although it might take some time, we are dedicating our efforts to expedite the process as much as possible."

LOCAL NOTE: Rumor around town is Bahama Bobs is likely to be closed until next tourist season (sometime between Memorial Day and Labor Day).

Monday, July 24, 2023

Best Restaurants by Category

best restaurants in Gulf Shores | Orange Beach
A reader suggested that it would be helpful to post an article here that outlined some of the locals' favorite restaurants by category, so here it is! We will continue adding more categories to the list, but here are some great ones to help you get started on your planning so that you can eat and celebrate like a local.

Best Seafood Restaurants 

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants

Best Fine Dining Restaurants


Thursday, July 20, 2023

Gulf Shores Resorts

Gulf Shores Resorts
Click to enlarge photo
Gulf Shores
offers a lot of great beach resorts. From Orange Beach, throughout Gulf Shores, and out to Fort Morgan, you'll find the perfect beach resort for you. To make your vacation truly unforgettable, we've compiled a list of some of the very top resorts for you to consider. 

  1. Perdido Beach Resort: Located in Orange Beach, this luxurious waterfront retreat offers breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico, elegant rooms, a private beach, multiple pools, a full-service spa, and renowned dining options. Whether you're lounging by the pool or exploring nearby attractions, this resort caters to all your needs.
  2. Gulf Shores Plantation by Vacasa: Situated in Gulf Shores, the Gulf Shores Plantation resort is a family-friendly gated resort community that offers comfortable condos and townhouses with access to amenities such as pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, and a championship golf course. With its serene atmosphere and proximity to the beach, it's an ideal choice for a relaxing vacation.
  3. The Beach Club Resort & Spa: Located on the Fort Morgan Peninsula, The Beach Club Resort & Spa is a beachfront oasis offering well-appointed accommodations, a full-service spa, multiple pools, a fitness center, and a variety of dining options. Guests can indulge in activities including beach volleyball, kayaking, or simply basking in the sun on the resort's private beach.
  4. Kiva Dunes Resort & Golf: Nestled just west of Gulf Shores, toward Fort Morgan, Kiva Dunes is a golfer's paradise. With a stunning 18-hole championship golf course one the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, this resort offers comfortable accommodations, a clubhouse, a restaurant, and access to private beaches. 
  5. Southern Shores Beach Resort: Located in Gulf Shores, the Southern Shores Beach Resort offers excellent beachfront condos with spectacular Gulf views. With direct beach access, a pool, and spacious accommodations, this resort provides a relaxed and intimate atmosphere for a memorable vacation.
  6. The Beach Club: Another gem in Gulf Shores, The Beach Club offers a wide range of vacation rentals and amenities. From well-appointed condos to spacious cottages, guests enjoy access to pools, a spa, restaurants, and easy access to the beautiful sugar sand beach.

Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan, AL, are home to several of the best resorts along the Gulf Coast. Whether you're seeking a luxurious vacation, a family-friendly get-away, or a golfing adventure, these resorts have something for everyone. From pristine sugar sand beaches to luxurious amenities and activities, these resorts will make your stay in Gulf Shores' coastal paradise truly unforgettable.

VISIT OUR WHERE TO STAY PAGE for a list of additional accommodations 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Best Seafood Restaurants | Local Favorites

best Gulf Shores seafood restaurants
There are a ton of great seafood restaurants in the Gulf Shores area, but not all are equal. Locals tend to avoid the tourist focused restaurants in favor of smaller, locally owned places that tend to offer really great locally sourced seafood that is fresh and more reasonable priced. Here are the local favorites that you should consider trying.

Mikee's Seafood - located in Gulf Shores near the intersection of  Gulf Shores Pkwy & West Beach Blvd, is a local family-owned establishment, offers an extensive menu featuring a wide selection of fresh catches from the nearby Gulf of Mexico. From succulent shrimp to fresh oysters and the catch-of-the-day, the seafood is sourced locally, ensuring freshness, and supporting the community's fishermen. This writer particularly loves grabbing a seat at the bar and enjoying a cold brew (or 3) with a plate of the best fried cheese sticks in the area (5 stars!).

Doc's Seafood Shack  - located in Orange Beach, Doc's is a longtime local favorite that has been voted among the Top 10 seafood restaurants in America for its delicious fried local shrimp, fresh oysters, and its "Create Your Own" seafood platters. Like other restaurants, in peak season, the waits can be long, so this local advises you to skip lunch and hit Doc's with a starving belly at 4:30pm. You'll get in much faster and the food will taste all that much better.

Bahama Bob's - Unfortunately, Bahama Bob's suffered a fire in July, 2023 and has not re-opened yet. We'll update you on that as we learn more.

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