The holiday fun continues after Christmas, when you vacation on the coast.
When you ring in the new decade, why not do it in a very special way. At the beach. Throughout the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast, you’ll find numerous New Year’s activities to enjoy, ranging from ice-skating at The Wharf to fun New Year’s Eve parties and fireworks.
During the entire month of December, The Wharf in Orange Beach comes alive with holiday cheer.
Bring everyone down to The Wharf to enjoy the real-ice ice-skating rink under the big white tent. Have a December birthday? Why not make it the most special holiday season birthday ever by having it at the ice-skating rink?
When you’re done with ice-skating, head over to Southern Grind for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Or visit Kilwin’s for a piece of homemade fudge or a scoop of ice cream (December days on the Gulf Coast can be pretty temperate, after all!).
There’s also several restaurants to enjoy at The Wharf, including locals’ favorites, Villaggio Grille, with white linen service; Ginny Lane, with dockside views and a variety of menu options; YoHo Rum and Tacos, The Blind Tiger and STKburger.
Enjoy live music after dark at the popular Sandshaker, where you can enjoy a little karaoke or a live band.
Also on New Year’s Eve at the Wharf is the Reelin’ in the New Year - New Year’s Eve Street Party, with bands on stages all night long and kid-friendly activities (including the annual Confetti Drop) earlier in the day. Kids’ activities include a mechanical bull, rock wall, bouncy house, surf simulator and face painting. Fireworks and the Marlin Drop will be held at midnight.
Continue heading east toward the iconic Flora-Bama to enjoy the Flora-Bama New Year’s Eve Bash, where the party starts at 6 p.m. A ticketed event, the bash features live music on all three stages, an all-you-can-eat dinner buffet, party favors, a midnight champagne toast, and a breakfast buffet from midnight to 2 a.m.
The next day, start the New Year off with a dip in the Gulf along with thousands of your closest, costumed friends.
The Flora-Bama Polar Bear Dip welcomes groups and families in costume, swimsuits and even wetsuits to take the plunge into the Gulf at noon. Those who fully submerge will receive a free draft beer and free lunch of ham, black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread.
Not to be outdone, the Flora-Bama Ole River Grill opens at 6 p.m., for a festive evening that culminates in the Mullet Drop. Enjoy party favors, a buffet dinner, live music and a champagne toast at midnight.
A kid-focused event, Noon Year’s Eve at LuLu’s will be held Dec. 31. Crafts, kid-safe fireworks (actually bubble wrap), and a sandcastle-building contest are part of the festivities. At noon, hundreds of beach balls will be dropped onto LuLu’s beach. There’s also face painting, balloon animals and more.
Enjoy an end-of-year beach vacation along the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast. Great winter rates combined with a big list of family-friendly activities make the area an ideal destination for families who want to take togetherness to the next level.
A three-bedroom condo on the beach is ideal for a mid-sized group. There are many condos with heated indoor pools and hot tubs that are perfect for cooler temperatures.
Or, if you’re like many families, the holiday season is a perfect time for a family reunion. For larger groups, you’ll find houses with plenty of bedrooms, large kitchens and amply sized living areas.