Sometimes we just can’t break away for a full week-long vacation. And, while a long weekend might not sound “worth the time,” I am going to share a pre-planned three-day itinerary for the perfect Gulf Shores trip! And, yes…it will be so worth your time!
I have prepared this itinerary for a couple – mainly because couples don’t always feel like they get a real vacation, especially when they have little kids in tow. It’s ok to grab your spouse and runaway for the weekend. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to tackle the real world again. (NOTE: this can certainly fit a gal pals getaway as well!)
Day One (Thursday)
Arrive and check-in hotel or condo. Usually check-in is around 3 pm and I recommend coming in an hour early. If your room is ready, they’ll check you in. If not, they’ll usually let you change into your swimsuit and enjoy the pool until your room is ready.
I love for the first day to be super relaxed. After all, you’ve likely spent hours in the car traveling to your destination. Make the most of pool time, relax in the hot tub, worry less about your phone and have more conversation.
Grab a quick shower and head to Nolan’s Restaurant at Sawgrass Landing for a lovely fine-dining experience complete with an extensive wine list. It is some of the best cuisine in Gulf Shores and offers an ambiance that caters to romance and great date nights as well as stress-free times to catch up with friends. The menu is thoughtfully prepared with delectable entrees or choose to order an appetizer to share, a Greek or Caesar Salad and dessert.
Head back to the room and tap into that bottle of chilled wine you brought with you. You did bring a bottle of wine, didn’t you?
Day Two (Friday)
I always like to bring from home (or stop at a local grocery) a couple of favorite breakfast foods and some coffee and/or juice. One less meal to go out for equals more beach time. Head to the beach and enjoy the sand, sun and gorgeous water.
If you are adventurous, rent a kayak, paddleboard or other water toy from Go Go Kayak Rentals (they’ll deliver to you) or just enjoy the beach itself. Take a long walk, look for seashells or jump in a pick-up game of volleyball.
Head to King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a reduced-price lunch special (the tilapia is great). You’ll enjoy a casual restaurant with plenty of food choices. And, it is the perfect precursor to your next adventure – the spa!
The Beach Club Spa makes its home at The Beach Club on the Fort Morgan Peninsula. You can find it inside the main club house. You’ll need to have an advance reservation to ensure your spot. The have a full menu of services from hair and makeup to pampering massages and facials. The relaxation room is complete with a Jacuzzi and you’ll get complimentary mimosas while you wait. A couple of suggestions for you: the Island Breeze Facial is fabulous and the Hot Stone Massage is over-the-top. Don’t forget to tip!
When you get back to your room (if you can even walk after all that relaxing and pampering), take a few minutes to sit on your balcony or poolside and just soak in the sweet goodness. I would recommend a little later dinner, especially if you ate lunch closer to the 2 p.m. mark. Head on over to Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s Gulf Shores for a fun evening full of fresh seafood or a Cheeseburger in Paradise, terrific frozen concoctions and live music! Don’t be upset if there’s a wait. Grab a drink at an outdoor bar, listen to music and walk around (a/k/a shop in the LARGE gift shop). Waiting is half the fun at LuLu’s!
Day Three (Saturday)
Take an early morning walk on the beach, then scoot over to one of the best and most affordable weekend brunches in the area. Bill’s By The Beach in nearby Orange Beach serves up some flavorful and hearty portions of brunch foods from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Uniquely-crafted twists on old favorites are fantastic! I love the Pancakes (sometimes they have Banana Fosters and sometimes Butter Pecan) and the Biscuit and Gravy. Typically, Bill’s has really inexpensive Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas available at brunch as well, so ask about that.
Grab your camera, a water bottle and your walking shoes for the next adventure on the agenda – Gulf State Park! Take a long or short hike on one of the many trails. Prepare to see wildlife in natural habitats with no rush or hurry. Meander around to the Butterfly Garden and spend a little time. You’ll enjoy this back-to-nature side of Gulf Shores.
Grab a quick shower and prepare for a sunset sail with one of two companies that I highly recommend. Sail Wild Hearts is a 53’ catamaran with a great crew in search of glorious sunsets and maybe some dolphins. Also, Cetacean Cruises offers a beautiful sunset cruise with dolphins and snacks. You’ll need an advance reservation (maybe even before you leave home) for either of these excursions.
After the cruise, you’ll be taming a growling stomach, so you’ll want to be headed straight to the restaurant – Mikee’s Seafood. Mikee’s isn’t glamorous, but it’s where the locals go, so you can be assured it is good! Generous portions and lots of choices along with good service make this a superb choice for your last dinner night at the beach.
When dinner is done, head back to the room and grab one more visit to the hot tub. Congratulations – you made it through a long weekend at the beach! Told you it was worth it!
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