When you need to just get away from it all, dip your toes in warm saltwater, and walk on soft, white sandy beaches, the Gulf Shores is the perfect escape, even if it’s just for a quick weekend. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this guide to having the best lazy weekend on the Gulf.
First stop: Alligator Alley in Summerdale, AL. Here you can see more than 400 alligators from atop a viewing platform. But you’re not just going to see fully grown gators; you can spot their little hatchlings, too! The gators are in their natural environment, sunning themselves, courting each other, and basically just relaxing, which is what your Gulf Shores getaway is all about! Keep your eye out for turtles, ospreys, owls, and bullfrogs, too.
Next stop: Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores, AL. This is a great stop for history buffs. Established in 1834, historic Fort Morgan served as the “guardian” of Mobile Bay throughout four wars. Walking around this ocean fort is like stepping back in time.
Then, it’s time to take a dip in the warm waters of the Gulf at Gulf State Park! The first thing you’ll notice is the blindingly white glow emanating from the soft and fine Gulf sands. Spend the day here picnicking on the beach, wading in the waves, building sand castles, or just lounging on a towel watching the seagulls. Life moves pretty slow here, giving you a chance to savor every moment.
When you’re ready for some delicious pub food, head to Flora-Bama Lounge in Pensacola, FL. This waterfront lounge first opened in 1964, and serves oysters and solid beach cocktails 365 days a year, from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. In addition, it’s a kid-friendly joint, and there's often live music to chill out to. The Lounge prides itself on its "flip-flop fine dining," so expect good food in a relaxed atmosphere. Pro tip: Try a frozen, boozy “Bushwhacker" beverage.
Take a break from the beach and bar scene, and head to the National Naval Aviation Museum. Its friendly tour guides provide great information about America’s aviation heritage. There’s also a gift shop and an onsite café, if you need a coffee. If you have time, try to catch a show at the 3-D theater. Before you go, ask the museum if the Blue Angels, the Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, will be practicing. Their impressive aerial show is something you definitely won’t want to miss!
Now that you’ve taken a little break from eating, it’s back to the bar for some pirate-themed fun. Peg Leg Pete’s in Gulf Breeze is a bar and seafood restaurant that also has a children’s play area. It opened in 1991 and has been a Gulf Shores fixture ever since. The fried shrimp platter, ribeye, and "Spicy Lafitte" oysters are highly recommended.
Work off all of that delicious food at the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The bright blue-green water here is completely mesmerizing. There are 12 areas to explore here, including historic forts, picnic areas, and hiking trails.
If you're looking for a fun night out, Seville Quarter is the place to go. This Gulf Coast entertainment venue has seven themed rooms, a pool hall, bars, restaurants, and a dance club. Insider tip for lovers of sweet treats: If you're eating at the restaurant, order the Bourbon Caramel Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream or the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Beignet Bites. They are to die for!
If you’re traveling with kids, and they’ve been good during your relaxing Gulf Shores getaway, you could reward them with a trip to Sam’s Fun City and Surf City. Here kids and kids at heart can ride go-karts, play arcade games or laser tag, or splash around in the water park. Adults can spend their time lounging in the 750-foot “endless river.”
The Gulf Shores/Pensacola West KOA is perfect for a Gulf Shores weekend getaway home base. This peaceful campground is in an idyllic country setting right on the water of Perdido Bay. You’ll drift off to sleep to the sounds of waves hitting the shore and then wake up just in time to catch the stunning sunrise. While you’re up early, take a walk to the fishing pier: There's a good chance you'll see dolphins swimming nearby. On Saturday nights, enjoy watching or singing karaoke in the club house. The campground is pet friendly, and even has a doggie playground for your pooch! It offers poolside Deluxe Cabins or waterfront cabins with air conditioning. Plus, you need to look no further than the campground for a slice of pizza at the recently added Cubby’s Pizza.
There you have it: your guide to a fun and relaxing Gulf Shores weekend getaway with your dog. From seafood to beach cocktails, historic forts to long walks on the beach, ultimate relaxation awaits. Whether you’re a snowbird, or a weekend road-tripper, there’s a little something for you and your pup at the Gulf.