Magnificent hotels and condos are everywhere here in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach with the majority towering over the coastline. Each town hosts countless visitors like us and we did our best to see it all. When you’re driving up and down Alabama’s Coastal Connection you’ll notice a beautiful slice of wilderness that is Gulf State Park. We showed up for some family fishing from the pier in a natural setting.
Family Fishing Trip On the Beach
*We had the great pleasure to be hosted by the awesome folks at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. Some of our admission fees were compensated/complimentary. The views expressed are always of our own. Let’s gallivant, Bama!
Angler Academy at the Gulf State Park Nature Center was the morning kickoff we had here in Alabama. Ted was the instructor and it took about 2 seconds to see how much he loves having folks visit him. There’s plenty of fish out there and he is thrilled to help visitors reel’em in.
Ted had the patience of a saint and the passion of any ship captain I can think of. His tutelage of the area’s sea life, weather patterns, waters, famous catches, and tournaments were all exactly what I wanted to hear about. He also directed us to restaurants and other attractions here on the coast all the while baiting hooks, coaching us up, and putting a lot of smiles on our faces. He works with all ages, abilities, and anyone who’s ready to learn about the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast. He’s got an awesome snarl when it comes to getting birds away from the bait too!
Monkey Business in Gulf Shores
We’ve taken the kids to a lot of zoos in their lifetimes, each with its own distinctive memory. For some reason the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo brought out the happy tears a little more than all the others could do for our daughter, Leah.
It wasn’t the first time Leah has seen a monkey during our zoo trips in her lifetime. It was the first time that one seemed to interact with her. She fell for that little guy hard and has a new best friend waiting for her return in Gulf Shores at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. If you think a monkey stuffing his furry face behind a fence is cute then wait until you can walk around with a baby kangaroo. Which is also something you can do here! This is a proud local zoo, and they do an excellent job of making you feel educated and enlightened by the time you leave. I think Leah named the monkey Giuseppe Antonio, Esq or something like that.
Protecting History at Fort Morgan
I’m a history buff and have taken many detours to get just a glimpse of historical plaques, pictures of infamous buildings, and parked my fanny at a bar stool to hear an old timer talk about how a hometown Main Street looked decades ago on more than a few occasions. Since I was a child, I have immersed myself in Civil War history and the trip to Alabama’s Gulf Coast grew in anticipation for many reasons with Fort Morgan Historical Site being one of them.
An hour south of our Iowa City-HQ is the Civil War’s northern most battle in Croton, Iowa. That would be the beginning of the unofficial Civil War trail we’d be taking all the way to Gulf Shores. Through Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama were constant reminders of this important time in our nation’s history. Battlefield markers seem to spring up every couple hours the entire way along with memorials, cemeteries, and museums. It would be here at Fort Morgan, the site of the battle of Mobile Bay, where Dylan would bring this historical road trip all together for me. I happened to be there on the 155th anniversary of when the siege of this fort began.
Dylan is an educational storyteller with respectful knowledge to all sides that fought on these grounds. From the Native Americans in the early 1800s, the US soldiers protecting American interests during the war of 1812, Confederate armies in Alabama, and all the way up to WWII preparations looking out for German U-Boats wanting to attack strategic Mobile. Dylan dresses in Civil War period attire and has a voice that’s just above the crashing waves along the nearby beachfront that exudes a passion for the heritage and history that surrounds the area. He is nowhere near robotic in his storytelling even though he fills every moment with unbelievable facts and characterizations of the men and women of Fort Morgan’s long history. He almost senses the moments when you’re about to be stopped in your tracks with amazement as you zigzag through the grounds.
The locals make Gulf Shores & Orange Beach the special place it is for the constant stream of visitors like us. There’s plenty to do, get done, and detail in this beautiful community. There’s something about taking a few moments to learn about one’s passion, and the extra time to educate us makes a vacation even more memorable. We loved the white-sands and the hours spent in the sea. The patience Ted showed with my children and Dylan’s unwavering love for Alabama’s history is the representation of many more locals like them and you’ll see it in your own ways here. Add a monkey that will make you weep to the mix and you have vacation gold!
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