Labor Day weekend we decided to head to the coast for a few days of R+R. It’s been such a busy summer for us that a little time to recharge, before the fall and upcoming holiday season, was totally needed. The perk to being back in the south is that we are only a short and easy days drive from the beach! And since Asher’s been to the Atlantic and the Pacific, we decided to take him on his first Gulf trip to the beautiful Orange Beach, Alabama, which is nestled right smack-dab in the middle of Alabama’s beautiful coastal beaches. If you haven’t been yet, it’s a must!
* all sources linked at bottom of post*
We had three goals planned for this little mini vaca – relax, eat good food and spend quality time together, which we most certainly did. Our days were filled with watching the sunrise, coffee on the beach, sandcastles (lots and lots of sandcastles), afternoon naps, delicious dinners, evening sunsets, and crab hunting. It was magical. The weather this trip was a little so-so (thanks Hermine), but our days were still great. There’s just something about slow, overcast beach days that are good for the soul.
I always try my best to plan ahead with our vacations. It just makes it easier when there’s a little one in tow, so here are some things we planned ahead that made this vacation easy, fun and saved us a some $$!
STAY – Stay at a kid friendly hotel. The perk to the Alabama’s Coastal Gulf is that is very family friendly. With that in mind, we opted to stay at the Perdido Beach Resort, located by the Perdido Key, for that very reason. The resort is clean, affordable, convenient, on the beach and beautiful! From the parking, to the service, to the amenities, everything is effortless and great – making it easier on us! Total win! Thanks Perdido Beach Resort for a wonderful time!
TIME – I figured the beach would be packed since it was a holiday weekend, but boy were we wrong! Being the start to the “off season”, as most locals would call it, going in early September was a great idea. The beach wasn’t crowed, there were hardly any lines anywhere, parking was fantastic and there were some days that we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. I definitely recommend going this time of year, especially if you have little ones and are on a budget! Most places start their “off season” rates, which can save you quite a bit of moolah!
EAT – One thing we love to do when we go on vacation is eat. I mean who doesn’t love to eat?! With that being said we made a meal map ahead of time so we knew each night where we wanted to eat and what they had to offer! I highly recommend that you do this if you have little ones. Asher is usually ready for dinner around 5pm so we made sure to get to places a few minutes early to beat any lines or get our names on the list! A few of the places that we ate at that I highly recommend are –
- GULF SHORES STEAMERS – Fresh, local, steamed seafood – absolutely zero fried anything on the menu. Jacob and I both voted that this was, hands down, our favorite place to eat. It’s a small, not fancy – semi hole in the wall kinda joint, kid friendly place that serves great food at great prices. The oysters were to DIE FOR.
- COSMO’S – This place is fun. You will immediately be drawn in by the quirky decor, open bars, but yet kid friendly environment. The food was fantastic! (I highly recommend the Ahi Tuna salad) and the prices are spot on! Not many places serve $1 PBR’s which was a total hit with Jacob. 😉
- THE GULF – If you want a laid back, let the kids play, have a few drinks and just relax outside by the water, then this is the place for you. The concept here is great and the flow is smooth and easy. I would recommend this place more for lunch, than dinner, but it is still a great place for both!
- BRICK + SPOON – Let me just say BRUNCH. Brunch is my favorite! I love a good late breakfast and this place serves up some pretty killer dishes. From the eggs benedict, to the incredibly fluffy pancakes, to the custom – build your own Bloody Mary’s (don’t worry, I didn’t have one, but next time I will!), everything here is pretty delish. Catch an early sunrise and then head here for some morning fuel! You won’t be disappointed!
I also recommend that you pick up some of the brochures that the hotels and welcome center offer! They are full of coupons and other great insider deals, which is a great way to save!
PLAY – Do all the fun things that Orange Beach has to offer. The dolphin cruises, deep sea fishing, go carting.. do it all! Orange Beach is full of tons of great things to do, aside from the amazing beaches, so you will not get bored! Since we had just a few days we opted to do the whole putt-putt golf, go carting, arcading one evening and it was so fun! Asher’s found a new love for putt-putt golf now thanks to our little vacation!
PACK – I could share a whole post on what to pack, but the one thing that I am so glad that I packed this vacation was a quality beach bag, specifically THIS ONE from Plum + Sparrow! (pictured above) This bag came in so incredibly handy on our many trips back and forth to the beach. It’s large, easy beach friendly – to shake the sand out of, and so stylish! You can get yours HERE! And be sure to check Plum + Sparrow out on Facebook HERE and Instagram HERE.
The other thing that I was really glad that I packed was a quality beach toy set. These beach toys (pictured above) from Green Toys were amazing for sandcastle building! They are durable, made from recycled materials and the perfect size for my beach tote! You can find them HERE.
WEAR – Of course you know to wear swimwear at the beach, but since I was almost 6 months pregnant on this trip, getting into any ole swimsuit wasn’t the easiest thing. I needed something that was comfortable, cute and made me feel good to wear. I packed this Kortni Jeane swimmers set for myself and these swimmer shorts for Asher and my goodness were they comfy + dried quickly! I actually felt good wearing them to the beach and even received a few compliments, which hey, I will take!!
Overall our little mini getaway was exactly what we needed. I will forever cherish these precious memories we make as a soon to be family of four!