5 Kid Friendly Coastal Alabama Restaurants

One of the benefits of going on vacation is the luxury of dining out. Most people dread the everyday routine of cooking and cleaning on vacation and going out to eat while out of town is the easiest way to experience the local cuisine. And you don’t have to clean up afterwards makes it even more appealing.

Picture this… you spend the day relaxing on the beach or by the pool and the kids play their little hearts out. Right before dinner, everyone decides on a restaurant, gets ready and goes out. Once you arrive, you realize that you did not account for the wait time and everyone is getting ill because they are tired, sunburned, thirsty and hungry. What next?

When traveling with children, we suggest choosing a kid friendly restaurant when dinging out, especially during high volume seasons like summer and holidays. As many parents will agree, it is exhausting trying to entertain kids that are hungry, thirsty, tired and sunburned.

We see this all too often so here is a list of five kid friendly restaurants on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

  1. LuLu’s This family-friendly open air restaurant caters to all ages.  Kids can watch the boat traffic on the Intercoastal Waterway, browse the gift shop, hit the ropes course or visit the Fountain of Youth.
  1. The Hangout Located directly on the beach, The Hangout offers convenient beach access, foam parties, a wish wall, sand pit, a wall collection of unique treasures, courtyard games and much more
  1. Lambert’s Café The home the throwed rolls, Lambert’s Café is located in Foley just south of the Tanger Center.  With generous portions and throwed rolls, kids love to eat at Lambert’s.  Children are taught not to play with their food, but at Lambert’s, it is perfectly acceptable.
  1. The Village Hideaway Located at The Beach Club, The Village Hideaway has interactive video games, pool tables, shuffleboard and a High Definition Golf Simulator. Kids can share a pizza and even play life size chess on the front lawn.
  1. The Original Oyster House It is no secret the Oyster House loves kids. Located in the Bayou Village Shopping Center, The Oyster House is a great location for kids to watch for alligators and feed the fish. And, kids really appreciate the toy served with all of the kid’s meals.

For additional information on area restaurants, please visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism.

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You Should Book Your Summer Vacation Today – Here’s Why

Now that Spring Break is over, many families are turning their attention back towards work and school until Memorial Day.  This means that most families will also wait until late May or June to book their summer vacation.  Many vacationers believe that better deals can be had by waiting and booking a reservation at the last minute.  While that may be true for hotels, travelers looking to stay in a vacation rental are better off booking their trips further in advance.

There is More Inventory to Choose From

Privately owned condos and beach houses are usually decorated to the owner’s taste.  Even within the same building, the quality and comfort of vacation rentals can vary widely.   Savvy travelers know that the most desirable vacation rentals book earlier in the year when there is more inventory to choose from.  By waiting until the last minute to book your summer vacation, you will be limiting your available options and reducing the chances of finding the perfect location for your stay.

Rental Rates are Lower

Summer rates are typically lower the earlier you book.  That’s because management companies offer lower starting rates early in the year to encourage more guests to book in advance.  As inventory fills up and the demand for summer reservations increases, rental rates increase as well.  You can take advantage of lower starting rates by booking your vacation earlier and locking in a lower rate.

Cancellation Penalties are Small if you Cancel Far Enough in Advance

Most management companies have a 30 day cancellation policy.  That means that you will forfeit anywhere from 50% to even 100% of the reservation cost if you cancel within 30 days of your arrival date.  If you’re making your reservation within 30 days of your planned arrival, then you are locking yourself into your selected dates and rental unit the moment you book.  By booking further in advance though, you allow yourself more time to plan and adjust your reservation if need be.  Some rental companies even allow travelers that book more than 30 days in advance the ability to reserve a room risk free with no money down and no cancellation fee if the reservation is canceled more than 30 days in advance.  The rental companies that do require a deposit at the time of booking will typically still refund your deposit less a $50 cancellation fee if you cancel 30 days in advance.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t pay to procrastinate when making your summer vacation plans.  Booking your summer vacation in advance means that you will get the best room at the best price without the risk of a last minute vacation.  What do you have to lose?

Girls Getaway: Setting Sail to the Beach


Blog written by Heather Boothman

A Brit and a Southerner

Planning a girl’s getaway can be difficult especially when trying to come to an agreement on the best destination. Whether it’s shopping sprees or relaxing with spa day treatments, identifying a perfect location is critical before hitting the open road.

After much discussion, we all agreed that our chosen location required a beach, good shopping, fun attractions and of course great food! I soon realized that the choice was not difficult at all and the question had been answered in record time – Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Alabama. Having visited this stretch of coastline previously with my husband, I knew that taking my girls here was the perfect choice.  All we have to do now is plan our itinerary in an area that has endless possibilities.

Where to Stay

During my last visit to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, we stayed at The Beach Club by Spectrum Resorts and had an amazing experience there. We researched various other alternatives in the area but many of the resorts just didn’t compare to Spectrum Resorts high quality accommodation. A word of caution if you are planning a getaway for early May. Book early because this is the start of the peak season and this is a much sought after destination and you certainly don’t want to settle for something if it is not at the beach.

Spectrum Resorts has the ‘best of the best’ along the Gulf of Mexico so when we stumbled across another property of theirs I didn’t think twice. Turquoise Place is a luxurious resort that is located in the heart of Orange Beach. All the best amenities like a gas grill and your own private Jacuzzi are included, in addition to their Clean Bed Guarantee that is revolutionizing the market.

Have you ever wondered how frequently hotels and resorts actually wash your bed linens? Sometimes comforters may only be washed twice each year. However thanks to Spectrum Resorts, “Each guest bed will be made with a freshly washed duvet and linens prior to your arrival.”  Turquoise Place here we come! 

What are our Plans

When you make a trip to the beach of course there will be morning runs, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets and that amazing beach smell with the waves crashing while we are relaxing. What do you do when you venture away from the beach? 

We are hoping to save time for a little retail therapy in the nearby Tanger Outlet mall in Foley, as well as the local markets and boardwalks within the area.

There is something to be said for being one with the ocean and we are excited to have booked a sunset cruise with Sail Wild Hearts. The cruise will last around 1.5 to 2 hours on a 53-foot catamaran. Tickets are $35 to cruise around while we sooth our souls and embrace the moments with the ocean.

The Waves of Wine Festival will be taking place during our visit, featuring live music, food from a variety of local restaurants as well as craft beer and of course over 120 different wine selections to try. Tickets are also $35 and that includes a cruise around the bay during the event for you to enjoy the breathtaking scenery in the Gulf. An added incentive is the inclusion of a wine glass and bag to help cherish your memories from this experience. The festival will be at a Caribe The Resort, which is in close proximity to Turquoise Place.

Where to Eat 

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is spoiled for choice when it comes to fine restaurants and cuisine options. Seafood here is delicious and the hardest part is choosing which of the many establishments to sample.

One restaurant that I am really excited about trying is The Gulf, which is located directly on the beach. Serving food inspired by the Gulf of Mexico, this outdoor venue is just a really cool looking restaurant. Did you know The Gulf is made out of repurposed shipping containers? This beach bar has much to offer in terms of atmosphere and of course food selection, from burgers to tacos this place looks like it has it all and dinner is going to be amazing.

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Shave an Hour off of Your Drive to the Alabama Gulf Coast

Each year, millions of vacationers will pack their bags and head to the Alabama Gulf Coast.  With so many people all heading to the same destination, traffic can quickly back up and add hours to your trip.  If you and your family are planning on taking a trip to visit Alabama’s beaches this year, there’s good news.  Travelers can now completely by pass Highway 59, and all its traffic lights, via an extension to the Beach Express that opened in 2014.  This extension creates a direct connection between Interstate 10 and Alabama’s sugar sand beaches.

The Baldwin Beach Express

Regular travelers to the Alabama Coast are probably familiar with the Foley Beach Express.  This highway connects with Highway 59 just north of Foley and ends in Orange Beach.  The new extension has been named the Baldwin Beach Express and it connects directly to Interstate 10 just four miles east of Exit 44 (the Highway 59/Gulf Shores Parkway exit in Loxley).  Travelers on Interstate 10 can access the new Baldwin Beach Express via Exit 49.  From there, you will find a four lane highway with minimal traffic lights and businesses that can quickly congest travel routes.  The Baldwin Beach Express ends at an intersection with the Foley Beach Express which takes travelers all of the way to Canal Road in Orange Beach.  If Orange Beach is your destination, there is a toll bridge that you must pass through to access the island, but the $3.50 toll is well worth the time that you will save by using the express way.  You can even prepay the toll and use a mobile app to access the prepaid toll lanes which have significantly less traffic during the summer.

If you are heading to Gulf Shores, there is a back road route that will take you and your family back to Highway 59 only a half mile away from the Gulf Shores bridge.  This route will add a couple of miles to your trip, but you won’t encounter the same bumper-to-bumper traffic that you would by taking Highway 59 all the way from Interstate 10.

Traffic Times to Avoid

Saturday is the most popular day of the week for reservation arrivals and departures.  This means it is also the most popular travel day and the day that you are most likely to encounter heavy traffic.  If your schedule is flexible, you can save significant drive time and stress by altering your travel plans by a single day.  Coming in on a Friday means the interstates and highways are much less congested, and you’ll be settled in and ready to hit the beach by the time Saturday morning rolls around.  Since that’s the time most people are packing up and heading home, you and your family will find the beaches are less crowed on Saturdays as well.

Unfortunately, many vacation rentals restrict arrivals and departures to Saturdays during the peak season, especially for 4 and 5 bedroom rentals.  If you and your family are staying at a location that requires a Saturday arrival and departure you won’t be able to avoid traveling on this day, but you can still use the new Baldwin Beach Express to avoid the traffic nightmares on Highway 59.