Vacations in the South and on the Gulf Coast
Favorite Beach Spots along the Gulf Coast of Florida, Alabama, Texas and MississippiThis year make like a bird and head South.
Find out for yourself why places like Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Destin Florida consistently rank as top beaches in annual travel lists, while attracting visitors from all over the world. With attractions that range from your laid back seafood shacks to Zagat-rated bistros, designer shops to antique flea markets, championship golf to championship lounging and more, the Gulf Coast certainly holds its own as a vacation destination. Fall in love with the warm sandy beaches and blue water. Beaches along Florida’s coast are some of the most beautiful in the world.
Another great thing about the Gulf Coast is both budget-hunters and business-types are welcome. Southeastern states like Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida area easy to get to, and offer plenty of lodging options, from beachfront condos to spacious beach houses to budget-friendly apartments and studios. And who can resist the South with its charm and hospitality, year-round sunshine and delicious food?
Sweet Home, AlabamaWhile it might not be the first place that comes to mind when considering beach destinations, Alabama might be your last - as soon as you discover what a breeze it is to vacation there. With a family-friendly atmosphere, you won’t have to worry about crowds like those at Ocean Beach Senior Week. With beaches at Gulf Shores and Dauphin Island (to name a few), it’s the perfect getaway for the under-twelve crew. For an educational opportunity disguised in fun (so they won't ever know they're learning), visit Fort Morgan, the site of a real life Civil War battle. Learn about marine life along the Gulf Coast at Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Or visit Alabama Gulf State Park Pier, between Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, for a glimpse of the longest fishing pier on the Gulf – at a whopping 1540 feet.
If you’re traveling without kids you can have some more flexibility. While it’s not New York City, the Alabama Gulf Coast has plenty to offer in the way of night life. Whether you're planning to take it easy in Orange Beach, try your hand at fishing in Dauphin Island, or check out Gulf Shores attractions, there's enough here to keep you and your group busy for days.
Deep in the Heart of Texas
The song says “Amarillo by morning,” but hopefully by the end of the day, you’ll be at the Texas Gulf Coast - where the beaches are hot and the water’s moderate temperature is welcoming nearly year-round. Whether you’re a lone traveler in the Lone Star State or a family of four who travels here each year, you'll find Texas summer vacations offer fun for all ages.South Padre Island, Corpus Christi and Galveston are popular beach towns and have as much to do offshore as on. South Padre Island is known for attracting young adults and has a thriving entertainment scene to prove it. Louie's Backyard is famous for its burgers and headlining acts and is family friendly. Or visit historical Galveston where the old fashioned Strand with its candy shops and novelty stores will take you back to the turn of the century. Tour Ashton Villa for a glimpse of life before the big Hurricane of 1900. Fishing buffs will feel at home at places like Port Aransas and Rockport, where catching bass is as easy as the Texas summer nights that follow. Vacation rental hint: Grill up what you catch at home in your fully equipped kitchen for a taste of the local flavor.
FloridaysLocals maintain that the Gulf side of Florida is Real Florida, where you’ll find white sand, sea grass, and locally owned seafood shacks serving up fried mullet and fresh grouper sandwiches quicker than you can say “Jimmy Buffet.” Places like Destin and Panama City Beach put the Florida Panhandle on the map, but it’s the small beach towns like South Walton Beach and Rosemary Beach that set Florida apart and make it truly a place worth visiting. Find out why not only East Coast snowbirds flock here; each year travelers from all over the world visit Florida. (Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not just for mousy amusement parks or Miami’s Latin vibe). Find a condo or beach house on the Gulf Coast and see what it’s like to live like a local.
You'll find several vacation rentals all over Florida's Gulf Coast, so deciding where to go is your only dilemma. Whether on the Florida Central Gulf Coast, Florida South Central Gulf Coast or along the Florida Panhandle, you'll run into the same Southern hospitality - you won't find a batch of unsweetened ice tea around these parts. Rent a vacation home along the beach or in a kitschy residential neighborhood and blend in with the locals; it's the people who live along the Gulf Coast that truly make you feel at home while you're visiting.
My Head’s in MississippiWhile your heart may belong to your hometown, it’s okay to find your head in Mississippi, especially during those summer months of picnics, cookouts and fireworks. Beaches like Gulfport and Ocean Springs make Mississippi a thriving beach community. And don’t forget, you can gamble here so take advantage of the good food, entertainment and table games at the casinos in Biloxi or Gulfport. For those who’d rather put their money where their mouth is, there are several restaurants in Mississippi that serve both down home comfort food and sophisticated international cuisine. Check out Emeril’s Gulf Coast Fish House in Gulfport for Southern-inspired seafood dishes from the famous chef.
Gulf Coast beaches in Mississippi are free and there are several vacation rentals available for all budgets. Visit the Gulf Islands National Seashore for an in-depth look at the marine-life between Mississippi and Florida, both amazing and enlightening. Fishing and hunting are also big sports in Mississippi if you’re looking to take a break from sight-seeing. After all, you came to the Coast for a reason; now it's up to you to discover more.