Man-tripping Along Alabama’s Gulf Coast

Toss the tie and button-down and leave your razor at home. It’s time to hit the road for a “mancation” along the Alabama Gulf Coast.

The phone’s been ringing, the e-mails and texts flying. You and your buddies have decided: it’s time to get away. And whether you’re planning a serious fishing expedition, golf getaway, bachelor beach bash, or tame-by-comparison father/son weekend, the coastal hideaways of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer it up.

Now, first things first: when to go and where to stay? The good news is that Alabama’s Gulf Coast swings year-round, with sun-drenched springs and summers perfect for the beach, and temperate fall and winter conditions tailor-made for golf and fishing.

For lodging, the sky’s the limit. All budgets are welcome here, with great rates at exclusive golf course resorts, high-rise condos and gulf-front beach houses. Or keep things even more affordable with a bargain beach hotel or a cabin or campground rental at Gulf State Park. You could even pile into an RV for the ultimate road trip and stay at one of the area’s full-service RV parks complete with internet access, clean bathhouses, and paved sites and roads.

Once you arrive, claim your bunk, put the beer on ice and hit the beach for a game of beach volleyball, or surf-cast for pompano and redfish right from shore. Daring types can flex their (underused?) muscles and try parasailing, jet-skiing, or surfing Alabama’s waves. When the sun goes down, beat it to the great restaurants, bars, and juke joints lining the island. Don’t miss famous beach dives like the state-line straddling Flora-Bama, where the music is live, the oysters fresh, and the beer ice-cold. Or try Lulu’s, a local restaurant and watering hole owned and operated by Jimmy Buffett’s sister. Music fans can seek out live local artists performing around the island, or take in big-name acts appearing at The Amphitheater at The Wharf in Orange Beach. Gulf Coast Western

If fishing’s your thing, dawn will come early. The pros offer daily fishing charters and know just where to go for hooking a prize-winning catch. This stretch of coastline offers up some of the nation’s best inshore and offshore fishing, with blue marlin, yellow fin tuna, amberjack, cobia, and red snapper just waiting to be snagged. Or take it easy and fish for trout on back-bay and trolling trips along local canals and quiet waterways. In Gulf Shores, check out Little Lagoon or visit the fishing pier near Fort Morgan State Historic Site, or head to the Orange Beach waterfront park and fishing pier and Alabama Point. You can even steer your own craft by docking at one of the area’s top marinas. But before you cast your line from shore or climb aboard a charter, remember that even visitors must first have an Alabama fishing license.

After a long day on the water, gather outside with a cooler of beer and cook up your catch by throwing it on the grill or frying it up in a pan. No one at home has to know your cooking skills extend beyond burgers and scrambled eggs!



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