Find your next big adventure on the Gulf Coast this fall and winter. The period of time spanning Oct. 1 all the way through Feb. 28 is a perfect opportunity to make the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast area your “Adventure Base Camp” for a weekend, a week, or even a month!
Not only is the weather outstanding this time of year — quiet beaches are accentuated by sunny and warm days, cool Gulf breezes, stunning sunsets and starry, starry nights — but it is also an incredibly affordable time of year to visit, with monthly rates priced significantly lower (as much as 86% less!) than peak season summer rates.
Why not make Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach or Perdido Key your home base for exploration? There are plenty of exciting activities and events to enjoy right here or within an easy drive.
Here’s a unique way to take advantage of the low rates, great weather and exciting activities and events: Reserve a vacation beach property as your long weekend home base for a month. Work Monday through Thursday or Friday. Drive to the beach after work. Wake up at the beach and get busy exploring…
Hook A Deal
Say you want to reserve a two-bedroom condo at the Gulf-front Driftwood Towers (sleeps 6-8 people) for a month’s worth of weekends sometime between November and February. At 4 visits for 3 nights each, priced at $143 per night, you would pay $1,716 PLUS an additional $672 total for 3 extra cleanings and linen fees, 3 times the parking passes, damage deposit waivers, taxes, etc. Or, you could reserve that same condo from Nov. 1-30 for $1,248 plus $344 for a single cleaning and linens fee, damage deposit waiver, and tax. Using the price of $143 per night, you would pay for the cost of the entire month’s rental after just 9 nights at the beach. That means you would receive the next 21 days for free. Or, divide the full month’s rental by 30 days, and you’re paying less than $42 per night plus taxes and fees. Stunningly simple yet surprising thrifty, right?
Share Your Love For Adventure
Share your home base with friends and family, who might be able to sneak away for a few days during your rental timeframe.
Nature trails are abundant throughout the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast. Bike or walk the trails to see some of the coast’s colorful critters and diverse landscapes. The Loop Trail contains more than a dozen trails to explore and winds through Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Orange Beach’s Backcountry Trail offers multiple route options and showcases a butterfly garden, freshwater marshes and swamps.
As birds fly south for the winter, the coast becomes inundated as they prepare for flights over the Gulf of Mexico. As they rest and refuel, they make a temporary home in several spots around the region, making it easy for travelers to catch a glimpse of these fantastic creatures during fall vacations. Be sure to visit Gulf State Park to spot the pileated woodpecker, green heron or yellow rail. The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail is an essential stop for bird watching enthusiasts.
Scuba diving vacations are growing more popular along the Gulf Coast, especially thanks to the largest artificial reef program in the United States that is located here. With 17,000 reefs making up the program, divers can explore the environments created by tankers, barges, bridge rubble and other material. You won’t want to miss the wreck of the Lulu, the USS Oriskany, Poseidon’s Playground and more.
Fish, Cruise Or Tour
The mild local climate makes fishing or cruising on the water an ideal year-round activity. Enjoy offshore or deep-sea fishing aboard a charter boat. Or, tour scenic inland waters aboard a dolphin cruise while watching dolphins frolic in the water.
Hit The Links
When the weather cools a bit, it’s a great time to hit the links. Nine championship golf courses surround our coastal communities and were designed by the likes of golf greats Arnold Palmer, Jerry Pate and Earl Stone. The Lost Key Golf Club has been designated an Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary. You can even participate in tournaments to benefit local and national charities.
Coastal shopping opportunities abound at everything from outlet malls to unique boutiques and multi-use complexes featuring a combination of entertainment, dining and shopping. The Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is an ideal spot for Black Friday shopping — smaller crowds, great bargains and the beach!
Are you a history buff? There’s no shortage of historical areas to explore, including Civil War forts, historic homes, museums, and the nearby cities of Pensacola and Mobile, which feature fascinating histories of their own. Want to take home a piece of local history? Shop the many antique stores in the area, where you’re bound to find a treasure or three!
It’s easy to have a great time while visiting the beach. But you can also get to know the local community and your Gulf Coast neighbors by getting involved in volunteer efforts to benefit local organizations. Volunteer vacations can run the gamut from helping turtle hatchlings reach the water to participating in Habitat for Humanity house builds to getting the “Trash out of the Splash” during the annual Coastal Cleanup.
Stroll Through Fairhope
A visit to the coast in the “Adventure Season” should include a visit to the charming, beautiful arts community of Fairhope, a city located less than an hour’s drive from the beach that exudes Southern hospitality. Attend a gallery opening. Shop the downtown boutiques. Check out the antique galleries. Purchase a piece of art during the First Friday Artwalk.
Explore 5 Rivers Delta
Take a short car ride west and venture into more than 250,000 acres of scenic waterways, woods and wetlands that comprise 5 Rivers —x Alabama’s Delta Resource center. The center is located where the Mobile, Spanish, Tensaw, Apalachee and Blakely rivers flow into Mobile Bay. Activities here include touring exhibits, taking a delta safari, canoeing or kayaking, strolling on trails, and more.
See The City Of 5 Flags
An easy and fun day trip, especially from your Perdido Key vacation property, is a visit to Pensacola. This city is full of character and historic charm. Visit the walkable and quaint downtown area. Stop into an art or a children’s museum. Take in a Blue Wahoos baseball game. Watch the Blue Angels practice or enjoy an IMAX movie at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
Check Out Nearby Mobile
Get acquainted with Mobile during the “Adventure Season.” Depart from the beach, and you’ll be in Mobile in a little over an hour’s drive. Or, head to Fort Morgan and enjoy a ride to the city aboard the Mobile Bay Ferry. Check out the Dauphin Island Sea Lab on the way to explore the city that is the birthplace of Mardi Gras and home to the USS Alabama battleship. Museums abound and seek to entertain children and adults of all ages.
Try Your Luck
If you want to try your hand at the one-armed bandit or a throw of the dice, perhaps a visit to nearby Wind Creek Casino, located about an hour and a half north of the beaches, is in order. Games of chance not your thing? Concerts, cooking classes, fine dining and spa treatments are other fun activities to consider. The Pensacola Greyhound Track and Poker Room is another nearby option, as are casinos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Don’t want to drive? Casino shuttles depart from the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area, making having fun even easier.
Head Over To The Big Easy
A little more than a three hours’ drive from the beach, New Orleans is a fun day trip. Enjoy the sun rising over the Gulf, and indulge in your morning coffee on your private balcony before setting out to the Big Easy. Plan a visit to the fascinating and award-winning National WWII Museum. Stop in for beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde. Hop on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar to admire the gorgeous homes and sprawling oaks. Drive over for a New Orleans Saints game, or stop in at Harrah’s to see if Lady Luck is smiling on you!