Sweet Home Alabama: Weekend In Orange Beach, AL

In just a four-hour drive, the Louisiana swamps make way for Alabama’s white beaches. That’s why I spent my last weekend in Baton Rouge driving to the Alabama coast. The neighboring towns of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores promise a weekend full of cocktails on the beach, delicious seafood and brunch by the bay.

As you get closer to Florida, the ocean becomes more clear with every mile. But after having binge-watched Hart of Dixie, I was determined to experience Sweet Home Alabama for a weekend.

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On our way to Orange Beach, we stopped for lunch in the picture-perfect town of Fairhope. Located right on Mobile Bay, Sunset Pointe brings you straight into holiday mood.

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Sunset Pointe serves up creative cocktails and delicious seafood dishes on their waterfront patio. It was tempting to take one of these boats out for a spin on the bay, but the beach was waiting for us.

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We rented an apartment last-minute through AirBnb, at Cotton Bayou Condominiums. Expecting the Alabama version of a swamp, it was a pleasant surprise to find ourselves right across the street from the beach. The entire coastline from Gulf Shores to Orange Beach is a stretch of public white-sand beaches.

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In the middle of that stretch awaits The Gulf, acting as a gate to the Gulf of Mexico’s good side. When lounging on a white beach with palm trees and blue water in sight, the plain Texas coast seems like an ocean apart. The Gulf is a relaxed beach bar and restaurant, made out of containers placed on the beach. The seafood is incredible and so are the cocktails. I’m positive that we spent most of our weekend eating and drinking at The Gulf.

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When The Gulf closes up, Flora-Bama takes over. This beach bar on the border of Florida and Alabama is close to legendary in Orange Beach. It claims the title of “Home of the Bushwacker”, a chocolate/coffee version of the piña colada. After a couple of Bushwackers, it’s even easier to get lost in one of the many rooms. Each one has a different music genre, with regular live bands on the stage. The crowd is equally diverse, ranging from college kids to bikers. In short, a bar with tons of character that’s a must-visit on the Alabama coast.

On Sunday morning, our stomachs were craving food to counter the Bushwackers. We went for waterfront brunch at Tacky Jacks, an Alabama staple that resembles a colorful pirate shack. A Bloody Mary mix and five-egg omelet was everything we could wish for and more.

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Many drinks on the beach later (The Gulf, of course), we headed back to Louisiana. But not before we had soaked up the Alabama atmosphere one more time. We stopped for dinner along the Mobile Causeway at Bluegill. It looked like half of Mobile had come down to this restaurant on the bay to drink and dance Sunday night away. For a minute I thought Wade Kinsella was going to appear on the stage. The dozen of mosquito bites I took home made sure I could relive this great stop for many more weeks.

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