beach at sunset

Beach and Besties: My Girl’s Weekend on the Alabama Gulf Coast

March 21, 2024

The Alabama Gulf Coast is known for its gorgeous beaches, family-friendly atmosphere, and relaxing vibes. When two of my girlfriends and I decided we needed a relaxing beach getaway after a long winter, planning a girls’ weekend to Orange Beach was a no-brainer! We chose a weekend in late February to venture to the coast, just a short drive for two of us and an airplane ride for the other, and were welcomed with sunny skies and warm temperatures. We knew the Alabama Gulf Coast was a year-round vacation destination, and boy, these warm February temperatures proved it (did we remember to pack our sunscreen?

Day One

One of my favorite parts of any beach vacation is kicking it off with a (sometimes slightly unhinged) grocery trip. Particularly when I escape without my kids for a girls’ weekend, and you won’t find an applesauce pouch in sight – just my besties and I roaming the grocery store for our snacks and drinks of choice! Our first stop was the Publix close by our vacation rental for breakfast items, accouterments for a cheese board, and some wine. 

After our beach walk and soaking up the sun and warm February temperatures, it was time for lunch. As everyone does, we researched some of “The Best Restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach” before our trip and came across CoastAL Orange Beach, a waterfront restaurant and open-air bar. This adorable restaurant sits right on the beach – with stunning views from nearly every table! We ordered a round of drinks, the pimento cheese appetizer, fish tacos, and the ancient grains salad. Everything was delicious and just the fuel we needed for our next activity! CoastAL also has a lifestyle store with clothing and souvenirs—and what’s a girls’ weekend without some window shopping? 

We stayed in a gorgeous beach home in the Ocean Edge community in Orange Beach, and pictures do not do it justice— stunning interiors, a beautiful kitchen, and one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in. Bright Side, our vacation home-away-from-home, was nestled right on the beach, and we enjoyed Gulf views from the front porch while drinking our morning coffee. It doesn’t get more perfect than that! We took advantage of our home’s proximity to the beach and decided to venture down to the sand before starting our day. 

After lunch, we headed to The Wharf in Orange Beach for more shopping before our sunset dolphin cruise. We meandered through the variety of shops at The Wharf, including several boutiques, and realized this also would have been a great lunch stop with all the restaurant options. 

After shopping, we boarded our sunset dolphin cruise with Cetacean Cruises. As this was our first time on a dolphin cruise, we had low expectations of seeing many dolphins. Boy, we were wrong! About half an hour into the cruise, we lost count of how many dolphins we had seen as we made our way through the intercoastal waterways. The crew on Cetacean Cruises was so fun and lively, making this an excellent experience for everyone on board. Oh, and did I mention the full bar? The experience exceeded all expectations, and the sunset on our way back to the marina was just the icing on the cake!

After our dolphin cruise, we returned to our vacation home in Ocean Edge to relax and spent the rest of the evening enjoying our cheese board and some girl talk. A perfect way to end our first day!

Day Two

We resisted the temptation to head back to CoastAL and try their breakfast menu. Instead, we opted for something different and headed to The Ruby Slipper for breakfast. This restaurant is popular, so head over early to avoid a wait. It’s the perfect place if you’re in the mood for a mimosa or bloody mary, and I can’t get enough of their breakfast tacos and pancakes!

After breakfast, we decided to explore and hit a few local shops before checking out The Hangout for a light lunch and beautiful scenery. This restaurant is huge and sits right on the beach, and yes, it’s the sight of the popular Hangout Fest each May. We then returned to our vacation home in Ocean Edge and headed straight to the sand to spend the rest of the afternoon unplugged, enjoying the beach and some good company.

After beachin’ all afternoon, we decided to go out for dinner and drinks and decided on the Cactus Cantina. It’s your spot if you’re looking for a casual, laid-back restaurant with good drinks, food, and service! Lucky for us, this restaurant was just a short walk away from our vacation home, and we enjoyed a sunset stroll on the beach on our way home from a fun girls’ dinner. 

Day Three

Our last day had arrived, and we ventured out for coffee at The Southern Grind and then took advantage of another day of gorgeous weather to explore Gulf State Park. There are nearly 28 miles of trails at Gulf State Park, perfect for biking and hiking through the incredible landscape. The park even offers a bike share program, where you can use one of over 100 complimentary bikes free of charge for up to three hours to explore the trails! 

After our morning of exploring, we worked up an appetite and headed to Picnic Beach Bar and Grill for lunch before returning home. The menu offered delicious options like crab dip, a tuna poke bowl, and several sandwiches. There was something for everyone here, and it’s a family-friendly spot for those traveling with kids. 

After three full days exploring Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, we’re heading home with great memories, slight sunburns, and a ton of inside jokes. There’s nothing like spending a weekend with your besties, especially when it’s somewhere as beautiful as our Orange Beach vacation home. I can’t speak highly enough about the Kaiser Vacation Rentals team and the care and attention they and the homeowners put into their vacation homes. From the extra cozy bed linens to the well-stocked kitchen (ours had two coffee makers!) to the immaculate interiors, no detail is left unnoticed, and it’s a great reminder of why I’ll always choose a vacation rental over a hotel

I’m already counting down the days to our next girls’ weekend, and I can’t wait to stay in one of Kaiser Vacation Rentals beautiful vacation homes again. Be sure to check them out for your next getaway to the Alabama Gulf Coast!

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