We’ve visited Gulf Shores/Orange Beach in Alabama about five times since we learned about this little secret in the South… and three of those five times we were vacationing with other families at one of two Spectrum Resorts.
I remember about 15 years ago, when we vacationed in a big house with other families on the Atlantic. It was fun. But with kids (our older kids, then) it was still hard.
Now that I have these two experiences to compare… our time at The Beach Club Resort & Spa and at Turquoise Place – both Spectrum Resort properties on the Alabama Gulf Coast – were WITHOUT A DOUBT easier on us as parents and more fun for the kids.
If you’re thinking about a family escape… either with just your family, or with another family (related or not) then keep reading.
Like I said, I’ve been with other families THREE times now, and in fact just returned from a spring break adventure with Crazy Family Adventure so this is fresh on my mind.
I’m going to tell you 7 reasons why you can save yourself a world of headache by following my approach!
(We’re going to focus on The Beach Club Resort & Spa since that’s the last place we were at and it’s my favorite for kiddos, but Turquoise Place is also another option for you from the same property management company that we have grown to LOVE.)
You’re on the beach. Duh!
Let’s begin at the beginning, right? All the condos face the Gulf, and they are just steps away from the soft sand of the Alabama beaches.
As you and your family make your way down to the water’s edge, you’ll immediately feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and the cool breeze coming in off the Gulf.
Our kids played in the surf, boogie boarded, skim boarded, played volleyball, built sand castles, and buried each other in the sand 100 times.
We took long walks along the beach, heading east in the mornings toward Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge… and lounged toward the west in the evenings in order to watch the setting sun.
The condos are HUGE.
We’ve stayed in a 3-bedroom condo at The Beach Club Resort & Spa, while our friends stayed in a condo on a different floor. That was fun.
But the most fun?
That’s when you and your friends stay together!
(And good grief, I don’t even point out how it could save you a TON of cash, as well!)
This last time we visited, we stayed in the 5-bedroom penthouse at The Beach Club with our vacay partners-in-crime.
There were supposed to be three families on this journey, but one had to bail at the last minute. Party pooper, but this baby could have housed all 14 of us!
There was one clear “master” bedroom – but the other three bedrooms on the lower level also had ensuites. One of those three bedrooms was bigger than the others – making it ideal for the second set of parents.
(Who gets the main master? When we travel with other families, it’s always the person who does the planning, communicating and funding of the space that gets to claim the master. I planned this leg of our multi-family trip, so Dan and I got the big master. After we left Alabama, we also visited Memphis with Crazy Family Adventure. Bryanna planned all that, and commandeered the master suite in that rental house. But no matter who “pays”, we still settle up 50/50 after the vacation.)
Ok – I’m not even done telling you about this condo!
I covered where the parents slept… and we had one teenager older than everyone so he got one bedroom, and one girl among a sea of middle-school boy energy, so we gave her the other bedroom. That’s the bottom floor.
BUT… there was a second floor!
Spiral stairs lead to a small second-floor space that included a bunk room for the other four kiddos – each with their own bed, as well as a shared bathroom. (That’s the photo above!)
Beyond that, the condo included a large dining area, a huge counter for more eating space, a gigantic living room and a workable kitchen and pantry (which also included a washer and dryer.)
I’ll be honest, most of the time that we were indoors (which was not much), the kids took total control of the living area – playing games, lounging on the sofa, or watching YouTube Shorts on TV.
So, we adults spent that time on the balcony with coffee (or a cocktail), and the sound of the ocean waves. Our corner unit had a wrap-around balcony, but like all of them, we could see the Gulf and the sunset beautifully.
See the layout here: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cpkpe5NrqvG/
There are SIX pools (plus an arcade)
Yeah, you read that right! Six pools!
Each of the four towers at The Beach Club have pools, and the Clubhouse (which sits between the towers) has 2 pools – one outdoor and one indoor.
The pool areas also include hot tubs and gated wading pools for the littlest of visitors.
Our families spent most of our pool time at the Clubhouse pool. It felt centrally located, and there was a bar where we could order pina coladas and fried green beans to our heart’s content.
(Don’t even get me started on those fried green beans. Those are the best things on planet earth. Even my veggie-avoiding Elliot could not resist an order every day that we were there.)
The adults contented themselves at the pool and hot tub much of the time, and the teens moved back and forth between the outdoor pool, indoor pool, and arcade (next to the indoor pool).
Sometimes they wanted a trip to the beach, and we felt comfortable leaving our things behind for the short walk down the boardwalk to the beach. If that makes you uneasy, then you can bring your things with you or lock them in the lockers which are in the Clubhouse (Don’t get sidetracked by that amazing sauna. Wow!)
The kids also enjoyed a few games of ping pong and pool, also on the deck of the Clubhouse pool area.
Additionally, the Clubhouse is home to a great gym, a heavenly spa and one of the best restaurants in the area (more on the spa and restaurant below!)
You can enjoy a beach bonfire
I want to be clear that this is a paid add-on, and does not come “free” with your Spectrum Resort stay, but WOWZA it is worth it – especially if you’re doing a multi-family adventure.
According to Clean Island, beach fires are not permitted in Orange Beach, however, Spectrum has a special permit that allows them to do this so it is the only way you can enjoy it here.
First, let’s talk about what’s included when you schedule a beach bonfire. You’re going to get 2 hours of fire-side time. A spectrum staff member will have your fire waiting, 10 chairs, a cooler of water, everything you need for s’mores, and tiki torches to light your way.
We headed down about 6:30pm, so there was just a little light when we started and we were able to watch the sunset.
We brought a cocktail from the room (plastic only!) and watched the kids make s’mores, chase crabs in the night with a flashlight, tell spooky stories… and we just relaxed!
We had a beach fire in Oregon last year, and I tell you, having someone ELSE responsible for making the fire, tending the fire, and cleaning up is worth its weight in gold!
I think I mentioned above that there were supposed to be 14 of us… had that been the case, we could have added chairs for a nominal fee. You can also add another s’mores kit or an additional fire pit.
You can see our campfire video here: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cpnv_2brxPI/
There are plenty of lawn and court games
The kids have the beach and the pools, but sometimes they want just a little more – especially when visiting for an extended time.
The Beach Club offers multiple volleyball nets and basketball courts where our kids played every day of our visit.
Eight lighted Rubico clay tennis courts are also open day and night, and are free to Spectrum guests. You can even show your wristband for complimentary racquets or restringing of your own racquet. Drills and lessons (even for the kids) are also available at affordable rates.
You’ll find table tennis, a giant chess set, corn hole… there are bike rentals… and during the summer months the Kids Club activities are free, as well. From yoga and fitness to shark tooth necklaces and tie dye t-shirts- there is something for every age. Just check the resort calendar for details.
Multiple restaurants make it easy
There is no shortage of restaurants in Gulf Shores, so you’ll want to venture out for sure.
However, there is comfort and ease in knowing you’ve got a full kitchen in your condo as well as multiple restaurants on the resort property.
Gulfside Bar & Grill is where we ate the most. It’s located at the Clubhouse pool, so it’s easy to order lunch there and have them bring it out to you, poolside.
The burgers are fantastic, and I recommend getting one with a side of those fried green beans I mentioned earlier.
We also enjoyed a salad with blackened Mahi and the Caesar chicken wrap. There is also a kid’s menu with a ton of options that they will love.
The Village Hideaway is another spot we frequented. Decked out like a sports bar, this family-friendly spot is near the entrance of the resort. You can drive, but we liked walking along the sidewalk and enjoying the breeze.
The menu here is more vast than the Grill, with appetizers, pizzas, salads, pastas and more. For the adults, there is a full bar. It’s a great place to have a few beers while the kids play at the on-site arcade.
There is a golf simulator, tabletop shuffleboard, racing games and more to keep the kids occupied for hours (or as long as their $10 takes them, in our case!)
Right next door is The Village Creamery where we visited a few afternoons for ice cream. Don’t forget that when you book through Spectrum Resorts, all the kids in your party get their first scoop for free!
If you visit in summertime, The Village Lawn offers three food trucks for even more options. We were too early in this last visit, but we’ve been there in the past and loved spending time on the lawn.
The kids can run around and play games, there is live music, and cool cocktails.
There is one final restaurant, Coast, which I’ll talk about below. Kids are welcome, but it is more of an upscale option so let me tell you our secret (if your kids are old enough).
Make reservations for the adults at Coast, and send the teens off with some cash to Village Hideaway to order a stack of pizzas! Our kids did this, then took the pizza boxes and sodas to the basketball court for some full-court action. We met them there after dinner to finish the game and make sure all the trash made its way into a dumpster.
It’s not just for the kids
If you’re thinking about visiting without kids… or you’re hoping for some adult-only time while you’re away, I assure you The Beach Club is awesome for that, too.
Coast Restaurant is at the Clubhouse on the top floor, and is the perfect adult dining escape.
Now, I’m not saying they don’t allow kids; if you want to bring the kiddos they are welcome here, and there is a kids menu.
But for us, it made sense to make this a double-date dinner with our friends. (And yes, it was voted the most romantic restaurant in the area – so this isn’t just our bright idea!)
Fresh Gulf seafood is showcased on the menu, but if that’s not your jam there are plenty of other options.
I want to mention that on this trip Dan and I tried raw oysters at a number of places off-property, but the best ones BY FAR were at Coast Restaurant!
Between the four of us we tried the Snow Crab legs, New York Strip steak, Chicken Piccata and the Fresh Catch of the day – everything without fail was delicious!
You can dine inside, but if the weather is working in your favor then opt for the patio seating, where you sit with the pool beneath you and the sunset to the west.
But that’s not all!
I also HIGHLY recommend scheduling some time at The Spa & Salon at The Beach Club. You can schedule time for a manicure/pedicure (and the kiddos are welcome to join you), set up a hair appointment, or arrange for a professional makeup application (great for brides and those in the wedding party).
But the creme-de-la-creme is scheduling a massage and facial, friends!
I loved -LOVED- my Aromatherapy Stress Fix Massage with lavender infused aromas and Swedish and Deep tissue massage. They use all Aveda products (yes, I am part of the Aveda cult – I use Aveda myself!) and it was pure heaven.
I also got their Signature Facial, which extended my relaxation time and was the hydration my skin needed after so much time in the sun. You can roll these up into a package, helping save a little cash.
After your massage and facial, plan to spend a little time in the relaxation room with a complimentary mimosa and relaxing hot tub (bring your swimsuit).
A few final notes: There are men’s services, but not an area for a couples massage. There is also a CBD massage, which I highly recommend for pain relief, and it’s one of their most sought-after services. Also, look online for specials. For example, this spring you can save $15 on that CBD massage I mentioned.
That’s a wrap, friends! Can you see why a single OR multi-family vacation at The Beach Club Resort & Spa is so much more than just a weekend (or week) at the beach? They make it easy to relax, unwind and really enjoy yourself, whether you’re with one kiddo or six (like us!)
We make no guarantees of any price listed on our site. We are not responsible for content on external web sites linked from ours, including linked resources, an external blog post, any partner site, hotel property sites, or affiliate sites. We only write about places we love in an attempt to help you in your adventures, but we can’t guarantee you will love them, too.
Posts may contain affiliate links at no cost to you. Several of our trips are also compensated by the respective tourism boards for the city or state we are visiting. This never impacts how we share the destination with you – opinions are always our own and we pride ourselves on that. We do not sell links or accept unsolicited guest posts under any circumstances. Don’t even ask.
United States Copyright, 365 Atlanta Family, LLC