A romantic getaway is one of the best ways to de-stress and reconnect. And the beaches of Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach, Ala., and Perdido Key, Fla., are among the most romantic spots in the world for a retreat with your significant other.
Here are several ways to enjoy a little one-on-one time during a romantic getaway to the Gulf Coast.
Create Art TogetherRemember the pottery wheel scene from the movie, “Ghost?” With the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” playing in the background, this scene was one of the most romantic and memorable movie scenes of all time.
While you may not be able to re-create this particular scene, you and your special someone can get a pottery lesson at the Coastal Arts Center in Orange Beach.
The Clay Studio there features the work of ceramic artist May Blue-Cantrell who offers private lessons. To make reservations, call (251) 981-ARTS.
Lounge Around At The GulfCalled a “casual yet chic seaside hideaway where the sun, sand and lush beachside setting complement the tasty food,” The Gulf restaurant, located at Perdido Pass in Orange Beach, creates a unique destination for a meal or relaxation.
Order a cold drink along with a sandwich, oysters on the half shell or other culinary creations as you sit in a comfortable lounge chair overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
Dine & Dance On A Dinner CruiseHop aboard the Perdido Queen for a dinner cruise along the coast of Orange Beach and Perdido Key.
Dinner is served as a two-entrée, self-serve buffet with sides and salad. Live music, dancing and a cash bar are also available.
For more information, (251) 981-4127.
Dance The Night Away @ Nolan’sIf you’ve been to the Gulf Coast in the last 30 years, you know that Nolan’s Restaurant and Lounge is a local tradition for those who enjoy combining a little dancing with their dinner.
Patrons are invited to relax or dance the night away to tunes ranging from the oldies to current pop hits performed by the restaurant’s very own Midnight Confessions.
Nolan’s is also known for its signature entrees, including fresh local seafood, hand-cut aged beef, authentic Greek-style dishes and more served in a casually elegant setting overlooking the bayou. Meals may be complemented with a selection from the restaurant’s extensive wine list or a beverage from the full-service bar.
Indulge The Kid In YouBring out the kid in you with an evening of miniature golf at Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf.
The Gulf Shores landmark is just north of the Intracoastal Canal Waterway bridge and is a favorite spot for kids of all ages looking for a bit of wholesome fun.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Blackbeard course, which is a bit more challenging than the LaFitte course.
Play 18 holes as the sea mist rolls in, and then go out for ice cream at Matt’s Homemade Alabama Ice Cream, where you can enjoy a scoop or two, a float, a sundae, a banana split, a coffee-infused drink or something more elaborate.
Paddle In The MoonlightA sunset or moonlight paddle is a romantic way to explore the area’s backwaters or the Gulf of Mexico. With the help of a guide and rented equipment, Gulf Coast Paddle Board offers both moonlight and sunset paddles around the islands of Orange Beach. “All the couple has to do is book a tour with us and show up,” said the company’s Zach Rounsaville.
To learn how to navigate the waters via canoe or kayak, another option is to take a class the Wind and Water Learning Center in Orange Beach. Operated by the City of Orange Beach, the learning center’s classes accommodate people of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds. The Wind and Water Learning Center is an active member of US Sailing and an affiliate of the American Canoe Association.
The Wind and Water Center also offers Sail Camp sessions during the summer for children, which is open to visiting kids.
Perdido Key, Fla., also offers numerous places to enjoy the water from a canoe, kayak or paddleboard.
Fly High In A Hot Air BalloonHot air ballooning over the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area is certainly a peaceful activity. In fact, it’s often been the site of wedding proposals.
Passengers gently lift off into an adventure to view the area’s most scenic vistas from a whole new vantage point. You will float over the countryside with virtually no sense of motion, and the only noise you’ll hear is the occasional hiss of the burner.
Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Company, located just north of the beach, provides scenic balloon excursions or tethered hot air balloon rides.
Or, book a beach stay during the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival, typically held in May.
Commune With NatureThere are many opportunities to explore nature during a visit to the Gulf Coast, including a visit to the seven trails that make up the 15-mile Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail complex through Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and the Gulf State Park.
Along the trails, explore the butterfly garden, freshwater marshes and coastal hardwood swamps. Maybe even catch a glimpse of a bobcat on the twin bridges or a white-tailed deer on Gulf Oak Ridge. You might even see an alligator warming itself in the sun.
In Florida, Perdido Key State Park offers a nature trail that runs along the bay side of the park, offering views of an estuary where dolphins are frequent visitors.
Or, between Pensacola and Perdido Key, Big Lagoon State Park features crisscrossing nature trails that allow you to explore the lakes and the observation tower.
Indulge In Relaxation & PamperingA great way to enjoy some special time together is to visit a local spa for a little pampering.
Eden Spa & Salon, located in Palm Pointe center in Orange Beach, welcomes couples to enjoy an hour-long massage. Other services in addition to a full menu of massages include facials, body treatments, aromatherapy, salon and more.
Evolve Fitness & Spa, located at The Wharf, is another option for services such as fitness training, sunless tanning and relaxing massages. Massages run the gamut from Swedish to therapeutic deep tissue.
The Spa at The Beach Club, located at the Beach Club Resort, features in-spa or in-room couple massages, soothing whirlpool, steam rooms and a full-service salon. During a couples massage, enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or champagne in a candlelit private room.
Serenity at the Beach Salon & Spa at San Roc Cay shopping center in Orange Beach offers a full menu of couples services, including massages, facials, body treatments and combinations of services. “Couples massage is a great way to introduce massage to a partner who has never had a massage before in a way that makes them feel more comfortable the first time,” said Serenity owners.
A full-service Aveda hair salon and day spa, Fusion Spa Salon features services like waxing, massage, and hair and nail care. Located at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Fusion offers a wide range of services, including hair, makeup, waxing and nails; facials; massage; and body treatments.
Dinner With A ViewThere are numerous restaurants to enjoy a romantic dinner for two, especially for those who enjoy a glass of wine.
Located at Caribe the Resort in Orange Beach is Cobalt The Restaurant, which is accessible by car or by boat. Nestled under the Perdido Bay Bridge, the restaurant features a spectacular view of the bay from every table. Oysters, pasta, sandwiches and creative fresh fish entrees are always on the menu.
With a view of Wolf Bay, Cayman Grill features a large outdoor deck and an 8,000-gallon stingray tank inside. Wood roasted pizzas are a specialty, but so is the seafood, which ranges from jumbo Gulf shrimp, oysters, yellowfin tuna and more. Steaks and pastas are also popular here.
Featuring fresh Gulf seafood, steaks and sushi, Shipp’s Harbor Grill in Orange Beach offers an extensive menu of fish, steaks and more. The view from this restaurant is outstanding, with windows looking out over a beautiful marina. Three of seven dining areas offer waterside dining, allowing you to relax and watch the harbor lights come alive during the evening.
Breakfast For TwoThere are numerous restaurants for enjoying a romantic breakfast or brunch.
A local favorite is Another Broken Egg Café in Orange Beach, where breakfast creations range from Eggs Benedict and Gourmet Omelets to Biscuit Beignets, Cinnamon Roll French Toast and more.
In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the morning is the perfect time to dine outdoors at Tacky Jack’s to enjoy the hearty Farmer’s Omelet, featuring potatoes, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, sausage, ham, and American and cheddar cheese inside and out. Other tasty options include the Shrimp Omelet, Pork Chop and Egg Platter, Shrimp and Cheese Grits and the Wheelhouse Pancake.
An iconic locals’ favorite for breakfast is Hazel’s Nook in Gulf Shores. Famous for its breakfast buffet and omelet station, Hazel’s has some of the best biscuits and gravy in L.A., Lower Alabama, that is. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the laid-back casual atmosphere, coupled with down-home Southern cooking.
Always a fun place for brunch (and read the clever puns on the marquee sign in front) is the Brick & Spoon in Orange Beach. Menu staples include Shrimp and Grits, Beignets and Cornmeal-dusted Louisiana Oysters. Also popular for breakfast or brunch is the Bloody Mary, where you can select from nearly two dozen vegetable garnishes and even proteins like shrimp, baked bacon strips, seafood deviled eggs and even something called a beef straw. It’s an adventure!
Ride The Ferris WheelA landmark on the Gulf Coast is the Ferris Wheel at The Wharf. One of the tallest Ferris Wheels on the Gulf Coast, take a ride with your sweetheart for a treetop view of the Gulf and the surrounding area.
Before or after your Ferris Wheel ride, stop by the Southern Grind Coffee House for a cup of brewed coffee, an espresso, a cup of tea or a frozen drink. Dine indoors or outside on the patio for breakfast or lunch. Or, choose from a selection of fresh Italian Gelato for a cool sweet treat.
Watch The SunriseOne of the features that truly sets apart a beach vacation to the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is the prevalence of vacation rentals with private balconies.
From your balcony, enjoy the peace and solitude of watching the waves crash onto the shore, see dolphins frolic in the Gulf, and watch the sun rise or set with your special someone.
The sunsets are one of the most spectacular natural features of this region, and when you stay in Fort Morgan beach houses, you have a front row seat to this beautiful phenomenon. Fort Morgan rentals are also conveniently located near Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, which offers a serene setting in which to watch the sunset.
Linger On A Lazy Sunday MorningComing to the beach on Friday for a romantic weekend getaway but need to get back to your responsibilities on Monday?
Check in Friday afternoon, play all day Saturday and then sleep in late, enjoy brunch at a nearby restaurant and get back on the road Sunday afternoon at your preferred pace. This is easy to do with a three-day stay checking in on Friday and out on Monday.
A perfect way to save up to 25% at select condos and houses is by filling two- or three-day gaps between existing reservations.
Revel in the solitude of Fort Morgan in a one-bedroom condo.
Be in the middle of all the entertainment action in a one-bedroom condo in Gulf Shores.
Orange Beach and Perdido Key also offer many one-bedroom options to choose from.