Showing posts with label News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News. Show all posts

Monday, May 6, 2024

What are Gulf Shores' Beach Rules?

Gulf Shores beach rules
As tourist season approaches, it's important to familiarize yourself with the beach guidelines set forth by the City of Gulf Shores. These regulations may be subject to updates or revisions by the City Council or relevant departments. It's advisable to keep a reference guide handy for potential visitors seeking information on social media or other platforms.

Here's a summary of pertinent information provided directly by the City of Gulf Shores:

The Beach Safety Division of Gulf Shores endeavors to ensure a safe and enjoyable beach experience for all residents and visitors throughout the year. Seasonal lifeguard services operate from March to October, and swimming in designated public areas with lifeguards present is encouraged.

Gulf Shores boasts eight public beach access points, including Lagoon Pass and various streets such as West 13th, 12th, 10th, 6th, 5th, and 4th, along with Gulf Place West and East Beach.

Residents within the city limits of Gulf Shores, possessing valid Hurricane Re-Entry / Beach Parking Decals, enjoy free parking at all paid city public parking lots. For non-residents, paid parking options are available at designated locations from March 1 to November 30 each year.

Free parking is offered in specific on-street areas such as East 1st Avenue, East 1st Street, East 2nd Street, West 1st Avenue, West 2nd Avenue, West 1st Street, West 2nd Street, and West 5th Street north of Beach Boulevard.

Pets are prohibited on all sand beaches and public beach areas in Gulf Shores, including Gulf Place. However, the Gulf Shores Dog Park provides an alternative for outdoor enjoyment with pets.

Weddings are generally not permitted on public beaches but may be allowed on private properties with the owner's consent. Gulf State Park offers pavilion rentals suitable for various events, including weddings (permit required).

Tent and shelter regulations dictate specific size and placement criteria, with certain restrictions and recommendations to ensure safety and preservation of the beach environment.

Various items and actions are strictly prohibited on Gulf Shores public beaches, including glass containers, alcoholic beverages*, oversized tents/canopies, fishing at Gulf Place, tobacco/e-cigarettes, motorized vehicles, digging deep holes, fires/grills, fireworks, drone operation, solicitation, and walking/standing on sand dunes. Additionally, leaving structures or equipment unattended on the beach after sunset is not permitted and may result in removal by beach patrol.

By adhering to these guidelines, visitors can contribute to a safe and enjoyable beach experience for all. For further inquiries, individuals can contact the City Clerk's office for additional information from the City of Gulf Shores.

*LOCAL TIPS: Regarding alcohol, technically it isn't allowed on the beach, but if you are discrete and don't behave like you're at a frat party, you'll be left alone by the beach police. DON'T smoke weed. It isn't legal here, and it won't be ignored by the beach police. It happens nearly every day - someone comes on vacation and leaves on probation. Don't let it be you :)

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Spring Break 2024 Travel Guide


Spring Break 2024 Gulf Shores Orange Beach AL
Photo by Bill Sutton
Gulf Shores
/Orange Beach, Alabama stands out as a top spring break destination, drawing thousands of visitors with its extensive white sand shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and pleasant springtime weather. Whether you seek adventure, history, culture, or relaxation, the Alabama Coast offers a diverse range of activities year-round, and spring is no exception.

Weather

Springtime along the Alabama Coast generally boasts near-perfect weather, with temperatures ranging from 75-80 degrees. Mornings and evenings can be cool, so it is advisable to bring clothing you can layer. Plus, springtime is not generally a rainy season for the area.

Essentials to Pack:

Layered clothing

Flip flops

Comfortable shoes

Light rain jacket

Beach necessities (sunglasses, sunscreen, swimsuits, etc.)

Outdoor Enjoyment

For active families or groups, spring is an optimal time to visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. With lower temperatures compared to summer and vibrant foliage, spring provides an excellent backdrop for exploration.

Parks and Trails to Explore:

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Gulf State Park

Wade Ward Nature Park

Alabama's Coastal Connection Scenic Byway

Eastern Shore Trail

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Spring Events & Festivals

Experience several notable annual events during spring:

Orange Beach Festival of Art: March 9-10, 2024

Annual Outdoor Art Show at the Eastern Shore Art Center: March 15-16, 2024

National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship: May 3-5, 2024

Orange Beach Billfish Classic: May 14-19, 2024

Photo Credit: Bill Sutton

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Valentines Day Planning

Valentines Day Beach Sunset
Gulf Shores Beach Sunset
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach provide an idyllic setting for a romantic retreat, surrounded by pristine white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters that create an ambiance of tranquil serenity. The mild temperatures, exceptional dining choices, and the natural beauty of the Alabama Gulf Coast come together to offer a Valentine's Day experience unlike any other. Here is your guide to planning a getaway you'll never forget.

Select a Room with Scenic Views

Indulge in a room with a view for you and your valentine during your romantic beach escape. Fortunately, February marks the off-season, bringing fantastic deals on accommodations. Seize the opportunity to pamper yourselves with the room you've always desired for your couples' getaway, ranging from beachside cottages and luxurious hotels to resorts and spacious condos. Check out these local favorite places to stay.

Delight in Beachfront Fine Dining

Valentine's Day calls for a delectable meal, and what could be better than a memorable dining experience at one of the finest beachfront restaurants? Enjoy fresh Gulf seafood, mouthwatering steaks, or handcrafted cocktails while relishing waterfront views, live music, and breathtaking sunsets. Explore the array of upscale dining establishments along the beach, and prepare for an extraordinary culinary experience. Check out these local favorite restaurants.

Book a Relaxing Couples Massage

Indulge in a bit of self-care during your couples' vacation with a rejuvenating massage at one of the outstanding spas in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach. Select from a comprehensive menu and relish a morning, afternoon, or a full day of pampering, including spa and beauty salon services for you and your valentine. Check out this local favorite spa.

Embark on Unique Experiences

While the beach may be a familiar destination, your vacation doesn't have to be ordinary. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer a plethora of distinctive activities and attractions to make your visit unforgettable. Explore the waters on a guided dolphin and wildlife kayak tour, interact with the furry residents at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, or indulge in an intimate, upscale dining experience with a meticulously crafted menu. Discover the signature experiences available and craft an unforgettable Valentine's Day trip. Check these local favorite things to do.

See the Sunset

Sometimes, the most meaningful moments come at no cost, and the sunsets on the beach are genuinely mesmerizing. Experience the romance of holding hands while strolling the beach in anticipation of a gorgeous sunset, or savoring a cocktail at dinner as the sky lights up in pinks and oranges over the water. Cherish these simple yet enduring moments that will become fond memories—moments that will always hold a special place in your heart. The best sunset viewing spot for Valentine's Day is Jesse's on the Bay (the downstairs bar is an ideal after dinner sunset spot) but here is a list of all the best local favorite fine dining restaurants. Make RESERVATIONS early if you want to get in!

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

State Record Caught from Shore

musgrove bluefish, Alabama state record, surf fishing, shore fishing
Photo by Chris Vecsey
A local resident has caught the apparent new state record bluefish from the shore near Alabama Point/Perdido Pass. Rustin Musgrove, a resident of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, fishes regularly – and successfully - from the shore for pompano, bluefish, and redfish just after dusk. 

Caught on the evening of January 26th, Musgrove’s massive bluefish measures over 37 inches and, pending formal certification, will surpass the existing Alabama state record by 4 ounces. Perhaps more impressively, the fish was not weighed until 60 hours after being caught while Musgrove sought a certified scale.

When finally weighed, the bluefish came in at 17 pounds, 8 ounces at the Alabama Marine Resources Office in Gulf Shores. Research indicates that a bluefish of this size is likely 12 to 14 years old and nearly doubles the typical mature Alabama bluefish length of 18 inches.

Fishing with a frozen finger mullet on the bottom using a "Carolina rig" with a monofilament leader to target redfish, Musgrove unexpectedly hooked the colossal bluefish. Musgrove said the battle with the fish took him nearly 1,000 feet along the east jetty, with the fish making two spectacular jumps clear of the water. Fortunately, the circle hook secured the fish in the corner of the mouth, preventing the monofilament leader from encountering its razor-sharp teeth.

LEARN MORE about fishing in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach

Monday, January 15, 2024

Margaritaville Restaurant/Bar Coming Soon

Margaritaville Gulf Shores
Click to enlarge photo
Gulf Shores is getting a new highly anticipated attraction. Jimmy Buffet’s world-renowned Margaritaville restaurant/bar company will be opening a new Gulf Shores location in 2024 or early 2025, putting Gulf Shores on par with other top destinations around the world that enjoy the Margaritaville experience. It will be located at the also brand-new Legendary Marina and Yacht Club on the Intracoastal Waterway just west of the Hwy 59/Gulf Shores Parkway bridge. The full-service marina will feature:

- Onsite fuel dockings

- Launch requests through an app

- Indoor boat storage for boats up to 50 feet

- Complimentary waste pump-outs

- Complimentary freshwater fills

- On-site service and parts department

Located on the water with beautiful views of the marina will be the new Margaritaville restaurant/bar will feature:

- Island themed décor

- Coastal-inspired, made-to-order food

- Hand-crafted cocktails

- 5-0’Clock Somewhere Bar

- Great live music & fun party atmosphere

Situated just west of the famous LuLu’s restaurant & marina by Jimmy Buffet’s sister, LuLu, the new Margaritaville restaurant/bar will give Gulf Shores’ visitors the opportunity to experience the full Buffet Family experience.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MARGARITAVILLE

LEARN MORE ABOUT LEGENDARY MARINA & YACHT CLUB

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Pedestrian Bridge Delayed

Gulf Shores pedestrian bicycle bridge
Pedestrian Bridge
Gulf Shores is planning a pedestrian/bicycle bridge that will run parallel to the Hyw 59/Gulf Shores Parkway Bridge that will cross the Intracoastal Waterway just east of Lulu's and Tacky Jack's restaurants in Gulf Shores. The bridge is part of the ongoing development of Gulf Shores' "Waterway Village" the goal of which is to create a "second waterfront" in Gulf Shores that will attract more restaurants, bars, boutique stores, entertainment attractions, art galleries, and the like. 

The idea is create a beautiful park-like area where visitors can park their cars and spend their time walking from place to place, perhaps with a drink in their hands, enjoying food, shopping, live music and other entertainment similar to what you find in cities like New Orleans or Nashville. The pedestrian/bicycle bridge is the key element connecting the new village's northern and southern banks along the Intracoastal Waterway.

Unfortunately, there has been significant delay in the project because construction bids have come in far above what the City estimated. The key factor in the cost of the bridge is the requirement that it be at least 72 feet tall to allow commercial vessels and tall-mast sail boats to pass beneath it. 

The beginning of construction was originally planned for this year, but it is now delayed until 2025 with a target of completion in 2026.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

New Year's Eve in Gulf Shores | Orange Beach |2023

New Year's Eve in Gulf Shores | Orange Beach | AL
The Wharf New Year's Eve
It’s time to make a New Year’s resolution that's both refreshing and easy to uphold this year. Begin by ushering in the New Year with a rejuvenating vacation in the picturesque Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

While things might be winding down in your locale, the New Year in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is just gearing up. Celebrate New Year's Eve and New Year's Day surrounded by sandy shores, crashing waves, and delectable food and drinks, setting the tone for a promising and inspirational start to the new year.

New Year's Eve at Live Bait in Orange Beach - Celebrate the New Year at Live Bait with live music, a mid-night countdown and a champagne toast. Club will be open with late night food and karaoke in the Tiki Bar.

LEARN MORE ABOUT LIVE BAIT'S NYE PARTY

Experience the 12th Annual Noon Year's Eve at LuLu's in Gulf Shores—an event filled with fun for both kids and adults. Engage in crafts, enjoy kid-friendly "fireworks" (made from bubble wrap), and participate in a lively sandcastle-building contest. When the clock strikes noon, witness a colorful beach ball drop, followed by live music, face painting, balloon animals, and more at LuLu's to kick off your New Year's celebration.

LEARN MORE ABOUT LULU'S NOON YEAR'S EVE

For a high-energy New Year's celebration, check out Reelin' in the New Year at The Wharf in Orange Beach. The carnival vibe comes alive with activities for kids, including bouncy houses, a mechanical bull, camel rides, rock climbing walls, face painting, and more. Top DJs provide the soundtrack, and live music sets the tone for a memorable New Year's Eve. Don't miss the epic fireworks display and the midnight Marlin Drop as the calendar turns.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WHARF NEW YEAR'S EVE

Experience Flora-Bama's Non-Stop New Year, where celebrations extend from New Year's Eve through New Year's Day. Enjoy the New Year's Eve Bash with an all-you-can-eat buffet, free breakfast sandwiches, complimentary champagne, cool party favors, souvenirs, and three stages of live music. The festivities continue with the Flora-Bama Polar Bear Dip on New Year's Day, featuring a plunge into the Gulf of Mexico followed by a unique spread of ham, cornbread, black-eyed peas, and various sides.

LEARN MORE ABOUT FLORA-BAMA NEW YEAR'S EVE

Brave the Annual Kiwanis New Year's Day Polar Bear Dip starting at noon at The Hangout. Dry off and recharge with complimentary hot chocolate and chili, and join the after-dip party with live music, a customized New Year menu, football on the big screen, and Polar Bear Dip merchandise—all while supporting charitable donations to the Gulf Shores Kiwanis Club and Alabama Special Olympics.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NEW YEAR'S POLAR BEAR DIP

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

What Gulf Shores Restaurants Open on Christmas?

Gulf Shores Restaurants open Christmas
Image from Doc's Seafood & Steaks
Wondering what Gulf Shores restaurants will be open over Christmas? Look no further! Here is what we know about dining opportunities during your beach holidays:

HANGOUT HOSPITALITY GROUP

During Christmas Eve, The Hangout, Sunliner Diner, and TheGulf will remain open, while Picnic Beach will close at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve. All establishments will be closed on Christmas, with the exception of Sunliner Diner.

FLORA-BAMA LOUNGE AND OYSTER BAR

Join the longstanding Christmas Day potluck dinner tradition at the iconic Flora-Bama. Bring a side dish for 10-12 people, and the Bama will provide ham and turkey. Serving starts at 1 p.m. on Christmas Day.

DOC’S SEAFOOD SHACK AND OYSTER BAR & DOC’S SEAFOOD AND STEAKS

Both sister restaurants, Doc's Seafood Shack and Doc's Seafood & Steaks will open at noon on Christmas Day, serving from their regular menus.

BUBBA’S SEAFOOD HOUSE

Bubba’s Seafood House will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas, featuring a special menu with options like New York strip, a seafood tower with crab legs, shrimp, grilled oysters, mussels, and Conecuh sausage. Notable dishes include the royal reindeer, a grouper filet fried and topped with Hollandaise, a skewer of shrimp, and lump crab meat. Specialty drinks include the Grinch Hopper Bushwacker and the Salty Santa with vodka, Irish cream, caramel drizzled glass, and a sea salted rim.

WOLF BAY LODGE

Both Foley and Orange Beach Wolf Bay Lodge locations will be closed on Christmas Day, but the Orange Beach location is offering to-go meals daily during the off season. For $35, feeding four to six people, you can choose from entrées like shrimp and grits, chicken or plain Alfredo, beef medallions with mushroom gravy, country fried steaks and white gravy, chicken tenders, chicken Parmesan, and a soup of the day. All meals come with a choice of house salad or Caesar salad and bread, with individual sides available for $12 per quart.

BOLO STEAKS AND SEAFOOD

Bolo Steaks & Seafood, a new addition to the beach restaurant scene will host a special dinner on Christmas Eve, offering a choice of three appetizers and three entrées, including duck confit, Beef Wellington, or Trout Almondine, along with two desserts for $60 per person.

And here are several well-known Gulf Shores area restaurants that WILL NOT be open: Big Fish Restaurant and Bar will close from Dec. 17-26, reopening on Dec. 27. LuLu's Gulf Shores will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. De Soto’s Seafood Kitchen will be closed from Dec. 16-25 for maintenance and repairs, and Duck’s Diner will be closed on Christmas Day. COASTAL in Orange Beach will be closed on Christmas day. Finally, Bahama Bob's is still closed as they recover from a July 2023 kitchen fire.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Gulf Shores Lighted Boat Christmas Parade: Where to Watch

Gulf Shores Lighted Boat Parade | Where to Watch
Photo by LuLu's - Click to Enlarge
One of the coolest things we do here in Gulf Shores for the holidays is the annual lighted boat parade for Christmas. Local boat owners go all out rigging their boats with generators and tons of creative holiday lights for your enjoyment. The parade departs from LuLu’s in Gulf Shores and travels east down the Intracoastal Waterway to The Wharf in Orange Beach. This year’s parade starts at dusk on Saturday, December 9th.

The map below shows where the best viewing areas are, along the canal, with plenty of parking. Of course you can watch the parade leave from LuLu’s and arrive from The Wharf, where the whole place is lit up with Christmas lights and decorations, too.

Where to View Gulf Shores Lighted Boat Parade
Lighted Boat Parade Viewing Areas


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

Friday, September 1, 2023

Best Sports Bars | Local Favorites

Wondering where the best places in Gulf Shores are
The Sloop sports bar local favorite
The Sloop
to watch the NFL playoffs, Super Bowl, March Madness
, and all the other sports? There are several sports bars that offer the games (Google them), but the locals’ favorites (at least in this writer’s opinion) are listed below. So, read on and find your favorite spot to watch the big game like a local.

The Sloop is a locally owned unicorn (part dive, part fantastic food, part sports bar, part live music venue) with TVs everywhere, all the sports packages, and a crowd that is heavily local, friendly, and welcoming. Fair warning to get there EARLY on game days. The Sloop is not large, parking is not plentiful, and when people get their seats they tend to stay until their game is over (and longer).

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SLOOP

Island Wing Company sports bar Gulf Shores
Island Wing Company

Island Wing Company offers everything you expect from a quality sports bar. The food is good, the service is good, there are TVs everywhere, and the place is huge with plenty of parking, so you don’t have to worry too much about being able to get a seat to enjoy your game, even if you are running a little late. It's little bit up Gulf Shores Parkway/Hwy 59 from the heart of Gulf Shores, so plan (and pace) accordingly for that drive home after the game - better yet, consider using that ride-sharing app on your phone!

LEARN MORE ABOUT ISLAND WING COMPANY


Gulf Shores sports bars | The Cove Bar & Grill
The Cove
The Cove Bar & Grill is a nice little dive in Gulf Shores that locals love for its friendly atmosphere, great food, pool tables, and live music – but it also doubles as a great game-day spot with plenty of TVs and fans rooting for (and against) the teams that excite them. The burgers are especially good, and the drinks are cold and delicious. Tucked away on Cove Ave in the heart of Gulf Shores, the Cove is not a large place, nor is there a ton of parking, so if you want to watch the big game like a local, get there early.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COVE

Big Beach Brewing | sports bar | Gulf Shores
Big Beach Brewing

Big Beach Brewing in Gulf Shores is a terrific brewery offering great locally made craft beers and wine. The atmosphere is classy, open-air (when it’s warm) and offers plenty of comfortable seating (including couches) inside and outside where you can watch your games in style. Its a laid-back place complemented by an on-site food truck for those moments when hunger strikes. Located across from Tacky Jacks in Gulf Shores, Big Beach has more parking availability on-site and down the street than some of the other local favorites detailed in this article, but you will still want to be there early to secure you favorite seats. And one last bit of advice from this writer’s personal experience: Pace yourself! Those craft brews pack a punch!

LEARN MORE ABOUT BIG BEACH

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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
UPDATE 11/1/23: See link below for live updates of the ongoing progress/locations of the 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!


Wednesday, August 2, 2023

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

Bahama Bobs restaurant fire
Photo by WKRG News
UPDATE 5/14/24: GREAT NEWS! Bahama Bob's is NOW OPEN AGAIN AND BETTER THAN EVER!

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."