Places To Visit On The Way To Gulf Shores

For many, the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is the closest beach to home.

In fact, the Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key Gulf Coast region is only about a five-hour drive from Birmingham, Ala.; a 6.5-hour drive from Atlanta; a 4.5-hour drive from Baton Rouge, La.; and a nine-hour drive from Houston.

Just for fun, we’ve condensed the drive on U.S. Interstate 65 from Birmingham into a two-minute video, noting a few fun stops at landmarks along the way.

Next time you’re planning a beach trip, remember, we really are just a short trip away! Journey to the beach in the video below. Then, read on to learn more about these Alabama landmarks.

Priester’s Pecans – Fort Deposit

Visible from U.S. Interstate 65 in Fort Deposit, Ala., Priester’s Pecans is a major landmark south of Montgomery for those headed to the beaches of Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key.

It’s worth pausing your journey to pick up a sweet pecan roll, a pecan pie or brownies, or even a bag of honey glazed pecans for the family to enjoy as a special treat while at their condo or beach house.

You’ll feel like you have taken a trip back in time when you step up onto the porch of the quaint Country Store. Here, you can purchase anything from pure virgin pecan oil, homemade jams, jellies and preserves, snack mix, pies and so much more.

Priester’s Pecans got it start back in the early 1900s when L.C. Priester decided to offer refreshments and a little taste of the South at his Texaco gas station that serviced travelers headed between Mobile and Montgomery. When customers began asking for the pecans to be cracked, L.C. had to begin hiring some helpers who sat on his back porch cracking pecans. Soon, the back porch could no longer handle the volume, and a larger facility was purchased, and the rest is history.

Fort Deposit is only 2 hours and 45 minutes from the beach.

Bates House Of Turkey – Greenville

You know you’re about halfway between Birmingham and Gulf Shores when you see Bates House of Turkey in Greenville, Alabama, just south of Montgomery.

Bates House of Turkey serves free-range turkey raised right on the nearby Bates Turkey Farm. The farm has been in the Bates family since 1923.

The family’s landmark restaurant opened in 1970 and serves only turkey from their farm and all the tasty “fixins.”

Enjoy an old-fashioned roast turkey dinner with cornbread dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, vegetables, rolls or corn muffin. Or, a Southern-style hickory smoked turkey sandwich or hot open-faced turkey sandwich may be more to your liking.

Whatever your preference, Bates House of Turkey is a great place to stop for a healthy, tasty meal. You can even pick up a whole turkey, sliced ham, turkey sausage, peppered turkey jerky or a smoked turkey breast for sandwiches at the beach.

This is one down-home dining experience you won’t want to miss on your way to the beach.

Greenville is only two hours and 35 minutes from the beach.

Hank Williams Boyhood Home & Museum – Georgiana

Just east of U.S. Interstate 65 in Georgiana is the Hank Williams Boyhood Home and Museum, where you can see the church pew where Hank Williams stood and sang as a child and the front porch where he learned to play guitar.

The facility is dedicated to the memory of Hank Williams Sr. and contains memorabilia and artifacts such as the country and western singer and songwriter’s cowboy hats, album covers, newspaper clippings, sheet music and more.

This 1850 house is the only home remaining that Hank Williams lived in prior to becoming a Nashville star. It opened as a museum in 1993.

Georgiana is only two hours and 22 minutes from the beach.

Burris Farm Market – Loxley

If you’re looking for fresh fruits and vegetables to take to your beach house or condo, be sure to stop by Burris Farm Market on your way.

You won’t be able to miss this family-owned and operated local farm-fresh produce market, as it is in the center of town in Loxley.

Rick and Jeanine Stewart, owners of Burris Farm Market pride themselves on their constantly changing products and the opportunity to provide fresh quality, healthy meals to locals and visitors alike.

Burris Farm Market also offers homemade jams, preserves, pickles, sorghum, molasses, cheese, salads, and baked goods for sale.

Burris Farm Market will open a new location at The Wharf in Orange Beach on Memorial Day weekend.

You’re almost here! Loxley is less than an hour’s drive from the beach.

For a quick beach getaway, book a two-bedroom condo in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach or Perdido Key.

For a longer visit and a larger group, a four– or five-bedroom house could fill the bill.

Free & Fun Things To Do In Orange Beach

There are many ways to explore Orange Beach during a beach vacation without shelling out lots of cash. Here are a few places the locals said you should try:

Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum

Operated by the City of Orange Beach Parks and Recreation Department, the Indian and Sea Museum was originally built in 1910 as a schoolhouse. It has served as a museum since 1995 and was moved to its present location across from City Hall in 1999.

Open Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Wednesday during the winter months from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the museum houses local artifacts and memorabilia relating to the area’s Native American and fishing heritage. Families of early fishermen have donated supplies and collectibles that remind of the challenges and achievements of the earliest days of the local fishing industry.

Gulf State Park Beaches

There are two public beach accesses in Orange Beach, both falling within the operation of Gulf State Park.

Romar Beach, with a limited amount of free parking, is perfect for a quick beach stroll or last-minute lunchtime break. The access is located 6.8 miles east of Ala. Hwy. 59. Future plans call for construction of restrooms and rinsing showers.

Cotton Bayou is located at the intersection of Ala. Hwy. 182 and Hwy. 161. Nestled between condominium buildings, this access is a busy spot that offers restrooms and outdoor showers on site as well as ample free parking.

Alabama Coastal Birding Trail

The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail takes visitors throughout the region, including Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, which begins at the Perdido Pass bridge on Ala. Hwy. 182 and east of Ala. Hwy. 59.

Beginning at Perdido Pass – Alabama Point East, enthusiasts might see a Snowy Plover, a species of conservation concern, which nests in the area. Alabama Point also provides critical habitat for the Perdido Key beach mouse, and a wide variety of shorebirds are commonly seen in summer. In winter, common loons feed in the pass during changing tides.

Other spots to visit on this loop include Boggy Point, which offers an excellent view of Robinson Island, a roosting site for herons and egrets, the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails, where there are 11 miles of paved trails providing access from six entry points to habitats such as sandy oak hammocks, pine flatwoods, relict dune swales, seepage swamps and a pitcher plant bog. Interpretative signs placed along each trail identify many of the natural features of the maritime forest.

The loop also takes visitors to the Gulf State Park Pavilion, the Gulf State Park Nature Center/Education Center, Marsh Bridge, Shelby Lake Picnic Grounds, Gulf State Park Fishing Pier, Little Lagoon Pass and Wade Ward Nature Park.

From the loop sites in Gulf Shores, you would continue north on Ala. Hwy. 59 to the intersection of Ala. Hwy. 180/Fort Morgan Road to continue onto the Fort Morgan Loop.

SPECTRA Light Show at The Wharf

Take the kids to The Wharf for the SPECTRA Sound & Light Spectacular at 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m. SPECTRA incorporates sophisticated choreographed lighting effects with popular music to deliver an enlightening entertainment experience. Palm trees light up to the sound of the music.

Before, during and after the show, browse shops, stop in for a gelato or a cup of coffee from Southern Grind or enjoy dinner at one of many restaurants.

National Naval Aviation Museum

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the National Naval Aviation Museum is the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida.

At just over 20 miles from Orange Beach, the museum is located on the grounds of Naval Air Station Pensacola and contains more than 150 restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation displayed in 35,000 square feet of exhibit space and outside on the 37-acre grounds.

On-site attractions include the Naval Aviation Memorial Giant Screen Theater, flight simulators, Flight Deck Operations exhibit, cockpit trainers, Kiddie Hawk play area, Flight Deck store and Blue Angels 4D Theater.

Watch The Blue Angels Practice

The world-famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels are based at NAS Pensacola and can be seen practicing over the museum at NAS Pensacola most Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from March to November. Practices typically begin at 11:30 a.m., and last about 55 minutes. Admission to practice is free and open to the public.

The outside viewing area for the Blue Angels practice is located on the museum flight line north of the museum. Signs are posted to direct visitors to viewing and parking locations, including limited parking for handicapped visitors. Open bleacher seating is available for 1,000 people.

Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach, Clay Studio & Hot Shop

The Coastal Arts Center, located just east of the intersection of Canal Road and Hwy. 161, is home to a temporary gallery and gift shop in the construction trailer located at the front of the cultural campus. Once construction is complete on the center’s brand new building on Wolf Bay later this year, the gallery will become part of the permanent structure. Local and regional artists featured include watercolorists, potters, painters, photographers, sculptors and textile artists.

The Clay Studio showcases the work of in-house ceramics artist Maya Blame-Cantrell. The public is invited to make their own clay pieces. Call (251) 981-ARTS for reservations.

Enjoy a visit to the Hot Shop by appointment only. You can make your own glass creation during sessions at 9 a.m., Monday through Friday. The session includes a 30-minute live glass-blowing demonstration of an ornament, flower and paperweight. Then, choose which one you would like to create for yourself.

Kayak Or Canoe In Wolf Bay

There are 10 designated canoe trail sites posted along the shores of Wolf Bay, Bay La Launch, Arnica Bay, Bayou St. John and Cotton Bayou.

Load up your canoe or kayak and dock from one of the sites on Gulf Bay Road, Cypress Avenue, Waterfront Park, Palmetto Extension, Harrison Park, Mississippi Avenue, Look Rook Road, Wilson Boulevard, Boggy Point or Cotton Bayou.

Keep your eyes peeled to see dolphins or a variety of birds, like the brown pelican, egrets or herons.

Curl Up With A Good Book

If you came to the beach and forgot a book, stop by the Orange Beach Public Library to pick up a library card; residency is not required.

There are cozy spots indoors and outdoors at the library to read your selections. Check out the calendar for story time, book club meetings, and other gathering times and special events.

Perdido Key State Park

Perdido Key is a 247-acre barrier island near Pensacola on the Gulf of Mexico. White sand beaches and rolling dunes covered with sea oats make Perdido Key State Park a favorite destination for swimmers and sunbathers. Surf fishing is another popular activity. Boardwalks from the parking lot allow visitors to access the beach without causing damage to the fragile dunes and beach vegetation. Covered picnic tables overlooking the beach provide a place for family outings.

The park is open for daily use from 8 a.m. to sunset and features tow parking areas and eight covered pavilions. Big Lagoon State Park, just across the bridge on the mainland, is open for camping and hiking.

Walk, Jog or Bike Backcountry Trails

Orange Beach is a great place to explore the 16 miles of the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails.

A collaborative effort between the City of Orange Beach, Gulf State Park and property owners along the trail’s alignment, the trails were historically used by the area’s indigenous people as well as explorers and settlers.

With maps available at all trailheads, it’s easy to pick out a few trails to explore.

Along the (all paved) trails you will find restrooms and water fountain, bridges, interpretive signage, bike stands, places to stop and relax and a picnic pavilion.

You might even see a “Lefty” the alligator mom and her three babies along Rosemary Dunes Trail.

And, at the intersection of Cadman Road and Rosemary Dunes Trail is the new Boulder Park, which invites kids to climb on large boulders to enhance coordination, strength and flexibility. Located next to the Pavilion and Butterfly Garden about 1½ miles from the Catman Road Trail, Boulder Park is a favorite of local children.

Play At Waterfront Park

Located a quarter of a mile east of County Road 161 on Canal Road, Waterfront Park is a family park on scenic Wolf Bay.

Amenities include a 400-foot fishing pier with covered pavilions and seating, a bayfront beach, picnic shelters with grills, restrooms, a paved walking path and parking.

Enjoy A Round Of Disc Golf

On Canal Road adjacent to the dog-friendly “Unleashed” Dog Park, play a round of disc golf at the City of Orange Beach disc golf course.

The trees, shrubs and terrain changes located in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for players. There is no greens fee, and you won’t need a golf cart to enjoy this course. Bring your own discs, though.

Go Boating

The City of Orange Beach purchased Robinson Island and Bird Island in 2003 to preserve them from development. Today, the islands are a sanctuary for birds and wildlife and is used by residents and visitors as a gathering spot.

There are two public boat launches in the city, both of which offer paved parking and are operated by Gulf State Park: Boggy Point Launch at the end of Marina Road off Hwy. 61 and Cotton Bayou Launch on Hwy. 182 just east of the Hwy. 161 intersection.

The Boggy Point launch is the nearest to the Perdido Pass Bridge and is directly adjacent to the main channel with lots of marine traffic.

When visiting Orange Beach, bring the entire family and book a beach house. Or, if it’s a smaller crew, a condo could fill the bill.

Whole House, Whole Family, Whole Lot Of Room

Part of the wonder of a vacation, whether traveling alone or with family and friends, is experiencing something that takes you outside the realm of ordinary life—new destinations or exciting attractions, perhaps.

An important component of the overall vacation experience that builds anticipation and generates excitement is the joy of finding the perfect accommodations.

Vacation rental houses at the beach are gaining popularity among travelers who are in search of an accommodations experience that goes far beyond what the typical cookie-cutter hotel room can provide.

More Space, Less Money

In a Meyer Vacation Rentals beach house, you and your friends and family can stay under one roof, with everyone able to enjoy more space at a lower price than they would in a hotel room. When you rent a house from Meyer, you will pay up to 50% less per square foot than you would in the average hotel room, making traveling with others even more economical when costs are shared.

A typical hotel room, at just over 300 square feet, simply does not offer the space that a Meyer Vacation Rentals house, ranging from just under 1,000 square feet and one bedroom like Plum Cute all the way up to more than 10,000 square feet and 20 bedrooms like Pearl, can offer.

Some of Meyer’s houses with numerous bedrooms even have multiple master suites and balconies or decks, giving family branches the opportunity to enjoy scenic views of the Gulf, lagoon, bay, golf course or other vistas in the privacy of their own spaces.

In a beach house, vacationers may also huddle in spaces like the living room, kitchen, dining room, media rooms, private balconies or other spots designed especially for allowing friends and family to catch up, play games or even do nothing at all.

Making Meyer’s beach houses so unique is that each one is individually owned and decorated, with owners taking great care to incorporate a coastal themed decor.

With the ability to accommodate more guests comes the need for everyone to be able to wash clothes, towels and swimsuits. All Meyer houses are furnished with washers and dryers and sometimes even multiple units.

Cook In Or Have A Meal Catered

In a beach house, it’s easy to dine in or prepare meals in your fully equipped kitchen. Or, if you have a large group and have rented a house with a sizeable kitchen, you might even want to consider having a special meal catered, perhaps for a wedding party.

Many of Meyer’s houses feature kitchens that are caterer friendly, with more than one refrigerator, stove, icemaker and dishwasher, and lots of countertop and cabinet space.

The Extras

Beach houses often have many of the same amenities you would find in a resort-styled condo complex, either on site at the house or within the community.

Some have private pools and hot tubs, game rooms, Jacuzzi tubs, exercise rooms and more, while others offer access to amenities like golf courses, pools, hot tubs and tennis courts.

For example, vacationers staying at one of Meyer’s houses within the Cottages at Romar neighborhood in Orange Beach enjoy access to the community zero-entry, saltwater pool; a cozy fire pit; bathhouses; a private access beach with walkover; and gated entry.

If you want to bring your dog, Meyer has more than 50 houses that are dog-friendly, including many in Fort Morgan, where leashed dogs are allowed on the beaches.

Another bonus when renting one of Meyer’s beach houses is that the majority of them are equipped with coded keyless entry locks, meaning you are able to bypass the rental office and check in directly to your house. Key codes are provided via text or email for participating houses.

Meyer’s beach houses in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key fill quickly for popular vacation weeks. Make your selection now for your preferred week.

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Grant Money To Help Keep Gulf Coast Areas “Forever Wild”

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MONTGOMERY, Ala.—Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has approved more than $63 million for six Alabama projects that address high-priority conservation needs, including the acquisition and restoration of significant coastal habitats in key focal areas, and the continuation of fisheries monitoring.

“One of Alabama’s greatest natural treasures is its Gulf Coast, and it’s vital that we continue to provide the necessary funds to ensure our coastline is restored from the devastation caused by the 2010 oil spill,” Bentley said. “This $63 million from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will support long-term recovery efforts and provide for future efforts to return wildlife populations to their normal levels. I appreciate the efforts of our local, state and federal partners who are working so hard on the continuing resurgence of the Alabama Gulf Coast.”

In 2013, a U.S. District Court approved two plea agreements resolving certain criminal charges against BP and Transocean related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The funds represent the fourth installment from NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF). A total of $356 million will be paid into the Gulf Fund over a five-year period for conservation projects in the State of Alabama.

The number of awards from the GEBF in the state of Alabama now stands at 19, with a total value of more than $115 million. All projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Alabama 2016 Projects

Multifaceted Fisheries & Ecosystem Monitoring in Alabama’s Marine Waters and the Gulf of Mexico – approximately $4.4 million

This project represents the third and fourth years of the fisheries monitoring effort in the state of Alabama.

The data collected will be used to improve ecosystem-based management capabilities, assess the recovery of reef fish stocks in association with other fisheries restoration efforts, and improve and expand single-species stock assessments for managed fish species.

Bon Secour-Oyster Bay Wetland Acquisition Project – approximately $12.5 million

This acquisition project will protect and restore approximately 935 acres of diverse coastal habitat in the City of Gulf Shores.The tidal marshes, maritime forests, and freshwater swamps located in this project area are important habitat for many species of conservation significance including threatened and endangered species such as the Alabama red-bellied turtle and the eastern indigo snake, and various wading birds. The tidal wetlands and swamps serve as a nursery for commercially important shellfish and finfish and play a crucial role in the water quality and ecological function of the Oyster Bay, Bon Secour, and Little Lagoon watersheds.

The tidal marshes, maritime forests, and freshwater swamps located in this project area are important habitat for many species of conservation significance including threatened and endangered species such as the Alabama red-bellied turtle and the eastern indigo snake, and various wading birds.The tidal wetlands and swamps serve as a nursery for commercially important shellfish and finfish and play a crucial role in the water quality and ecological function of the Oyster Bay, Bon Secour, and Little Lagoon watersheds.

The tidal wetlands and swamps serve as a nursery for commercially important shellfish and finfish and play a crucial role in the water quality and ecological function of the Oyster Bay, Bon Secour, and Little Lagoon watersheds.

Dauphin Island Conservation Acquisition – approximately $3.5 million

This project proposes the acquisition of approximately eight acres of remaining undeveloped beachfront (1,200 linear feet) on a mid-island section of Dauphin Island.This primary barrier island provides important nesting, loafing, stopover, and foraging habitats for a variety of coastal birds, shorebirds, neotropical migrants, and other avian species, as well as nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles. In addition to the acquisition, funding is included to design and construct a dune walkover and fencing to protect habitat while allowing limited and appropriate public access.

This primary barrier island provides important nesting, loafing, stopover, and foraging habitats for a variety of coastal birds, shorebirds, neotropical migrants, and other avian species, as well as nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles.In addition to the acquisition, funding is included to design and construct a dune walkover and fencing to protect habitat while allowing limited and appropriate public access.

In addition to the acquisition, funding is included to design and construct a dune walkover and fencing to protect habitat while allowing limited and appropriate public access.

Lightning Point Acquisition & Restoration Project – Phase I – approximately $6 million

This project will protect and restore a key stretch of coastal shoreline at the mouth of Bayou La Batre River.Specifically, the project includes the acquisition of more than 100 acres of coastal habitat and the engineering and design for restoring approximately 28 acres of marsh and 1.5 miles of

Specifically, the project includes the acquisition of more than 100 acres of coastal habitat and the engineering and design for restoring approximately 28 acres of marsh and 1.5 miles of intertidal nearshore breakwater.The acquisition targets represent more than 2 miles of nearly contiguous undeveloped waterfront adjacent to existing protected lands owned by the State of Alabama, Mobile County, and the City of Bayou La Batre.

The acquisition targets represent more than 2 miles of nearly contiguous undeveloped waterfront adjacent to existing protected lands owned by the State of Alabama, Mobile County, and the City of Bayou La Batre.

Fowl River Watershed Restoration: Coastal Spits & Wetlands Project – Phase I – approximately $1 million

Restoration of important coastal spits and wetlands within the lower reaches of Fowl River is a significant priority action identified in the recently completed Fowl River Watershed Management Plan, funded under a prior GEBF award.

This project will fund engineering and design studies to develop a solution to stabilize and protect four priority in-river wetland spits and restore marshland throughout the intertidal portions of lower Fowl River.

Additionally, this project will fund hydrologic modeling and a marsh health and recovery study for the watershed to provide managers a valuable tool to guide and prioritize future restoration projects throughout the Watershed.

Gulf Highlands Conservation Acquisition – approximately $36 million

This project proposes to acquire, conserve, and manage 113 acres with 2,700 feet of Gulf frontage beach/dune habitat – the largest, privately held, undeveloped beachfront parcel remaining in coastal Alabama.Protection of this key habitat would benefit nesting sea turtles, migratory

Protection of this key habitat would benefit nesting sea turtles, migratory birds and shorebirds, as well as the endangered Alabama beach mouse.

In addition to the direct acquisition cost, the project includes funding to support future management and stewardship of these important coastal habitats, including but not limited to invasive species control, boundary postings, and human disturbance management via strategically placed dune walk-overs, fencing, and interpretive signage.

Once acquired, the parcel will be deeded to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State Parks Division for long-term management and inclusion in their Fort Morgan Parkway management area with limited public access.

Once acquired, the parcel will be deeded to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State Parks Division for long-term management and inclusion in their Fort Morgan Parkway management area with limited public access.

“This announcement today concludes over nine months of continued interaction with NFWF and our grant recipients to develop these outstanding projects,” Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner N. Gunter Guy, Jr. said. “They are the products of several of our watershed management plans funded in an earlier NFWF phase, as well as projects which build on the priorities outlined in the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program’s Coastal Conservation and Management Plan. It is exciting to be able to actually realize the benefits of those planning efforts which are designed to create a stronger, healthier coastal Alabama.”

Enjoy the diverse and beautiful coastal habitats found in and around Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach, Ala., and Perdido Key, Fla., by bringing the entire family to the area to stay in a five-bedroom house.

Places to explore the unique landscapes of the area include Gulf State Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Weeks Bay Reserve, and more.

Fabulous Fall Festivals & Fun This October On The Gulf Coast

Visit the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast in the fall and you may find so many fun adventures you could end up staying for the whole month.

The month of October, especially, is full of opportunities to explore festivals like the Alabama Coastal Birdfest, the Festival of Flavor, the Annual National Shrimp Festival and fun fall activities like corn mazes, hayrides and pumpkin patches.

Alabama Coastal BirdFest

Alabama Coastal BirdFestBird lovers rejoice in the annual John L. Borom Alabama Coastal Birdfest, which is held every October.

In 2016, the festival will be held Wednesday, October 5, through Saturday, October 8.

On Wednesday will be a Hummingbirds Workshop, where Fred Bassett, certified master bird bander, will present an overview of hummingbirds’ habitat, food and migration and discuss how to attract hummers to your yard.

A second workshop will provide an overview of the basics of birding for those who want to enhance their experience during BirdFest and beyond.

Festival events the following days take bird lovers on a variety of excursions and visits:

Wednesday, October 5
o  Hummingbirds Workshop
o  Basics of Birding Workshop
o  Orientation, Presentation & Welcome Reception

Thursday, October 6
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
o  Bayou La Batre, Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna, Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Point aux Pins
o  Mobile Bay, DISL Research Vessel Alabama Discovery Cruise
o  Blakeley Island Mud Ponds & Battleship Park
Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve/Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
o  Lagan Park & Environmental Study Center
o  Eagle’s Nest Kayak Tour
o  Weeks Bay Paddle
Bon Secour River EcoCruise
o  Alligator Alley Adventure
o  Weeks Bay Sunset Cruise

Friday, October 7
Dauphin Island/Trans Gulf Migration Flyaway
o  Mobile Bay, DISL Research Vessel Alabama Discovery Cruise
o  Splinter Hill Bog
o  Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
Gulf State Park & Perdido Pass
o  Middle Bay Lighthouse Boat Tour
o  Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Kayak Tour
o  Delta Discovery Cruise
o  Bird & Nature Photography Workshop
o  BirdFest Social with Speaker & Silent Auction

Saturday, October 8
o  Dauphin Island Shorebirds
o  Blakeley Island Mud Ponds & Battleship Park
o  Fort Morgan Peninsula/Trans Gulf Migration Flyway
o  Bayou La Batre, Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna, Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Point aux Pins
o  Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve/Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
o  Delta Discovery Tour
o  Alligator Alley Adventure
o  Wolf Bay Dolphin Cruise
o  Bon Secour River Paddle
o  Fairhope Fly Creek Exploration Paddle
o  Delta Sunset Wine Tasting Cruise

Annual Festival Of Flavor

Festival of FlavorThe Festival of Flavor, scheduled for Oct. 8 in downtown Foley, celebrates local and regional foods and this year is a qualifying event for a Golden ticket to the World Food Championships – The Ultimate Food Fight Experience.

The World Food Championship will be held Nov. 9-13 and highlight some of the most iconic cuisines around the world in categories like barbecue, chili, sandwich, burger, dessert, bacon, seafood, steak and recipe. The recipe category is based on a theme of food, which, this year, is “breakfast.”

A highlight of the Festival of Flavor is the farm-to-table dinner, which is held by the Chicago Street Supper Club. This ticketed event is the first of the festival, happening about two weeks before the actual weekend, and it features a special arrangement of expertly prepared foods for guests who purchase tickets to the meal.

In addition to the food displays and dinners, there are also a number of street vendors on hand to show off crafts and other works of art. Jazz performers and similar live entertainment provide the perfect background music for a relaxing day at the festival. Face painting and other kid-friendly displays are planned as part of the festival.

The Festival of Flavor will be held on October 8 and is open to the public. The festival will have sample tastes not only from competing chefs but also from local breweries, wineries, restaurants, mom-and-pop shops and much more.

45th Annual National Shrimp Festival

National Shrimp FestivalSlated for the second full weekend in October, the Annual National Shrimp Festival is always held Thursday through Sunday.

Free to attend, the festival was started in 1971 and today draws more than 250,000 people to the main Gulf Shores Public Beach area to browse exhibits, arts and crafts vendors, enjoy live music, enjoy kids’ interactive games and, best of all, indulge in the astounding variety of shrimp dishes. Those who don’t like shrimp will be able to enjoy foods like chicken, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, pasta, salads, nachos and even the now famous Cajun Pistol!

Kids are given the royal treatment at the Children’s Activity Village. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., this area features a sand sculpture contest on Saturday, interactive games, make-and-take arts and crafts, face painting, kids’ musical and dance performances, and more.

Locals weigh in on how to make the most of the Shrimp Festival experience.

Bring your best friends down to the beach for the weekend and reserve a three-bedroom condo in Orange Beach.

There are shuttle stops along the way making it easy to catch a ride to the festival site at your convenience.

Or, if the whole family would like to enjoy the festival, which is consistently rated among the top festivals in the country, consider a five-bedroom house in Gulf Shores.

There are plenty of conveniently located beach vacation rental options to suit every taste and size of group in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key.

See our Shrimp Festival deals and specials here.

The Original German Sausage Festival

Elberta German Sausage FestivalAnnually attracting an estimated 30,000 visitors, the Original German Sausage Festival is always held the last Saturday in October and March in nearby Elberta.

The festival is a town fundraiser spearheaded by the Elberta Volunteer Fire Department. Proceeds are used for improving the operations of the fire department as well as the quaint German heritage town located a few miles north of the beach.

Festival organizers sell about 7,000 pounds of German Sausage (with or without sauerkraut – your choice!) at each festival as well as German-inspired and American foods such as cabbage, potato salad, goulash, red beans and rice, hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue, ice cream, popcorn and peanuts.

Vendors at the festival feature everything from homemade crafts and jewelry to art and even clothing. Music is a big part of the festival, with polka, country, contemporary and German music entertaining festivalgoers. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to join in the dancing fun during for a Waltz or the Schuhplattler!

More October Delights

Magnolia Springs Corn Maze and Pumpkin PatchIn the weeks leading up to Halloween, the Gulf Coast area comes alive with opportunities to celebrate fall.

For example, the Magnolia Corn Maze this year will celebrate its eighth year as a fun local attraction.

Open from Oct. 1 through Nov. 5, the Magnolia Corn Maze is located at Magnolia Farms, a few miles north of the Gulf Shores beaches.

Families can enjoy

o  2 challenging corn mazes
o  Pumpkins
o  A hayride and cow train
o  A petting zoo, pig race and pony rides
o  Knocker ball
o  Jump pad
o  Bazooka ball
o  Corn cannons and duck races
o  Parties and campfires
o  Playground areas for all ages
o  Zombie paintball and the Field of Terror

All Aboard The Pumpkin Patch Express

Pumpkin Patch ExpressOpen from Sept. 30 through Oct. 31, the Wales West Light Railway invites visitors to board the authentic steam train to the kid-friendly pumpkin patch or the haunted barn maze.

Kids will enjoy Wales West’s mini train ride, hayride, refreshments, bounce house, pumpkin cannon, petting zoo and pony rides, café and gift shop.

Kids can also select their own pumpkin at other local pumpkin patches, including Hillcrest Farm, Magnolia Farms and Sanders Pumpkin Patch, for example.

If you’re going to be at the beach over Halloween, there are numerous neighborhoods that love opening their doors to trick-or-treating kids.

Stay On Top Of Gulf Coast News With Meyer Vacation Rentals

 

Sea Star

Stay on top of the latest headlines and issues affecting Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan, Fairhope, Perdido Key and the surrounding areas on Meyer Vacation Rentals’ News Page.

Here are a few recent headlines and news snippets from around the area:

 

Orange Beach Tops List For 2016 Vacations

TripAdvisor reviewers have named Orange Beach No. 2 on its top 10 list for travelers’ choice destinations on the rise. (MORE)

 

Poseidon’s Playground Gets A Little More Fun

A pyramid, a rocket and a steel structure were deployed at Poseidon’s Playground, an artificial reef located in Orange Beach, giving divers more unique statues to explore. (MORE)

 

2016 Hangout Fest Tickets On Sale

Want to attend Hangout Fest 2016? Buy your tickets and reserve your preferred accommodations before both run out. (MORE)

 

Shorts & Flip Flops For The Christmas Tree Lighting At The Wharf

It was a festive—and warm—scene at The Wharf in December as people enjoyed the annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Bands played, children sang and wrote letters to Santa, and more. (MORE)

 

Dune Restoration Underway At State Park

The Gulf State Park Enhancement Project team has begun work to restore the equivalent of more than 50 football fields of dunes flattened in 2004 during Hurricane Ivan. (MORE)

 

Stay tuned to our News Page for regular updates on local news.

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