The weather is getting cooler and the crowds are thinning out on the Gulf Coast, at least for a little while. While you are choosing your pumpkins for carving and costumes for Halloween there is more fun to be had that can be spooky and creative.
Fall Festivals. When October and November roll in, so does fall festivals including Shrimp Fest, Oyster Cook-Off and this year World Food Championships. While these are just the big name events, there are lots of small local food tastings that gives your inner foodie a chance to find your new favorite local restaurant. Shrimp Fest is a giant festival of fun filled with art, clothes, gifts, music and more, even a kid’s area to tire them out before going home with all your goodies. Of course you come for the shrimp and you can taste all your favorites as well as some new creations. Oyster Cook-Off is another favorite on the Gulf Coast with a craft beer tasting and live music on opening night for you to try all the local brews before you dive into the oysters the next day. Enjoy selections from award winning chefs and Food Network stars and learn a thing or two about oysters. Shuck your heart out in the shucking competition or just sip on a Bloody Mary. World Food Championship is brand new to the Alabama Gulf Coast and is taking over the Wharf for a week in November. Watch fierce competitors battle to be the next World Food Champion and taste all their creations in the process. Learn tips and tricks for your own kitchen and take home some tasty treats.
Pumpkin Carving. It’s a traditions that families do not miss, instead of going to the grocery store this year and picking out the picked over pumpkins, take the whole family to Wales West for the Pumpkin Patch Express and Scary Night Train. Ride an authentic steam train to the Haunted Barn Maze to the kiddie friendly pumpkin patch and pick that perfect pumpkin. While you are carving your new creations, keep the seeds and the guts to make a pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin seeds for a healthy fall treat. Before you light that candle, put a wash of bleach on the inside so that your jack o lantern will last all the way to Halloween.
Fall Treats. What’s better than Fall festivals and pumpkin carving? Those sweet treats that make Fall the best time of year. Candy apples, caramel apples and hot apple cider, these are a few of the sweet treats that you can make at home and have fun for all those Fall parties. Candy apples are fun and perfect for this time of year, but why not make them spooky for Halloween? While you are making your signature candy apples, add a little black food coloring for poison apples even Snow White would know were poison but delicious. Or make a bloody chocolate candy apple. Simply dip the base in white chocolate and drip your red candy coating on top for a bloody delicious treat. If you love candy apples, but don’t want the little ones to have that much sugar, simply take a melon baller to your apples and turn them into mini candy apples, perfect for a small snack and portion control. With all these apple, hot apple cider is the best drink for Fall. If you can’t find that perfect mullen spice to make your apple cider just like home, try using chai tea as your spices and add that to your hot apple cider for a treat that will warm your heart.
Fall is the perfect time of year to relax and spend time with your family, there are so many crafts and activities that will keep you busy until the holidays and will keep you #creatinghappymemories that will last a lifetime and maybe start a tradition for the next generation.
It’s hot outside and most days you end up at the beach, playing in the sand, building sand castles and goofing off in the water. For those adventurous types, a day at the beach is much more than you think and a little sand and water is not enough for a relaxing good time. These people need adventure in the water in the form of water sports.
Paddle boarding and Kayaking. Those people you see out in the ocean standing on a board just going about their business and getting a good workout. Looks easy right? Wrong. Good luck standing on that board the first couple of tries. It makes it so much fun to get out, put your brave face on and stand. You will fall, a lot, if this is your first time, but you will get the hang of it eventually and it is the best thing. If your balance is not great, kayaks are a great way to explore and not have as much difficulty and no standing required. Both of these relaxing adventures are a great workout and you will feel so accomplished when you tell your friends.
Parasailing. If you’ve ever been to a public beach, chances are you have seen those parachutes carrying people behind a boat. You think “Oh, that looks fun,” and decide to try it. Yes, try it and try it with friends. It is so much more fun to do a double or triple parasail and experience it with friends. You will get a bird’s eye view of everything and it is very peaceful when you are in the air. The best part is if there are multiple groups going at the same time. You not only get to parasail, but you get a speed boat ride too and that’s always fun.
Jet Skiing. Jet Skiing on the Gulf is harder than you think, but more fun than you could imagine. If you have ever been jet skiing on a lake or in the river you have an idea, but the Gulf is a different story. Just getting out past the waves is the best part. Make waves and jump waves, be free and see the beach from a different point of view and rev up your adrenaline in the process.
There are so many options and ways to have an adventure on the beach and on the Gulf. Whether you want a relaxing workout, an adrenaline rush or something in between, water sports is the way to go and no matter what the only thing that matters is #creatinghappymemories.
It’s August and you know what that means, back to school is around the corner. Before you head back to school and back to PTA meetings, band practice and after school activities, spend the last weeks or days with your kids to prepare them for the upcoming school year.
Go out and play. In the summer time we are all too happy to have the kids outside playing with their friends and getting their clothes dirty on the playground, that’s what kids do. Spend some extra time outside with your kids before you both are “chained” to a desk with paperwork and homework. Remember, just because school is about to start doesn’t mean summer is over yet. Squish the sand in between your toes and let the sound of the waves rolling in relax both you and your kids. Enjoy your time together before the days get shorter and time flies by.
Back to school preparation. Make a reward shopping list for the kids to prepare them for the responsibilities the school year brings. Set up a special “back to school” chore list; organizing their school supplies, getting up on time, cleaning their room, choosing their outfit for the next day and all the things they need to get in the habit of doing for the school year. Each item they complete on a daily basis represents a number or a point system, if they get enough points they can get a special surprise. Maybe a day at their favorite place, like The Track or The Wharf, a toy they’ve been wanting or extra TV time one weekend after homework. This prepares them and you for the school year.
Grocery Shopping. This may be an odd thing because you cook year round, but the school year is a little different. There is nothing wrong with school lunches, but at least you know what your child is eating every day when you send them to school with a homemade meal. Make sure your child is eating healthy, besides no one wants sandwiches for lunch every day. Instead, try preparing some meals the night before or having some crock pot meals prepared for the next day’s lunch. Make things a little different and you won’t forget the day of and send your kid to school with lunch money instead of a sack lunch. For those crafty parents, Pinterest is great for meal ideas and after school snacks that are healthy, easy and won’t break the bank.
With school right around the corner it’s easy to forget things on your checklist, remember, it’s only back to school and if you forget something you can always get it the next day. The first couple of days they are getting back in their groove and so are you and don’t forget, just because school has started you are still #creatinghappymemories so enjoy every minute with your kids.
In the summer, you always have rainy days and we need them to cool off from the Alabama heat. On those rainy days, typically you are cooped up inside. While you are inside and not on the beach or poolside there is always something to do.
Tanger Outlets. Shopping while on vacation is inevitable, but the best days to go are those when you are not missing the sun and the days are cooling off. Take a walk around the outdoor covered Tanger Outlets and find brands like Kate Spade, Michael Khors, Vera Bradley and more.
The Track. While it is known for its outdoor activities like go karts, water bumper cars, mini golf and sky coaster, there is also an inside arcade with hours of fun. Play and win tickets to pick out a prize. Don’t have enough tickets? Save them for the next time you come, they don’t expire. Save enough and you could trade in your tickets for a designer purse, autographed football or other prizes worth more than tickets.
The Wharf. There is so much to do at The Wharf raining or not, but there is a lot to do on rainy days. Stroll around and shop, make a cherished stuffed animal at Build-A-Bear or grab a bite to eat and watch the boats pull into the marina. Even catch a movie at Carmike and listen to the rain while watching a summer blockbuster. If you want to run; play laser tag or bazooka ball at the Arena and school the kids in the art of battle, or show them up on arcade games that you grew up on.
Whether it’s sunny days or rainy days, there’s always something to do on the Alabama Gulf Coast while you are #creatinghappymemories.
5 Reasons to Visit the Gulf Coast in July.
July is one of the best and busiest times of the year to head down to the Gulf Coast and spend your summer days. But, why Orange Beach and Gulf Shores?
Concerts – There are a ton of concerts throughout the summer at The Wharf, with big names like Florida Georgia Line, Jimmy Buffet, Dierks Bentley and so much more. Music from all genres and great opening acts too.
Independence Day – What better way to spend your Fourth of July than getting sandy playing with sparklers, eating barbeque on the beach and watching fireworks light up the sky along the Gulf Coast? Some great places offering fireworks shows include The Gulf State Park, The Beach Club down Fort Morgan Road in Gulf Shores; The Wharf on Canal Road, and in the heart of Orange Beach, Turquoise Place.
Blue Marlin Grand Championship – This is the biggest event in Fishing for the year, line up and watch fisherman weigh their monster catches and see the biggest fish on display. This fishing tournament separates the men from the boys. From beginners to professionals, all are welcome to participate. The Wharf in Orange Beach hosts the tournament from July 12 to July 17.
Sunny Days and Tropical Drinks – The Alabama Gulf Coast is known for its beautiful sunny days and a nice breeze. What better way to cool off those hot sunny days than with a colorful tropical drink. Enjoy a blue Shark Attack or Surf’s Up at The Hangout or a Loopty Lu at LuLu’s, or go for something more traditional like a Piña Colada or Strawberry Daiquiri.
Sun Kissed Tan – You can’t go to the beach without coming back without a “been to the beach” tan. Whether it’s a golden brown glow or sun kissed tan, there’s no denying the relaxation and color that comes with relaxing on the beach.
No matter where you go in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, there will always be good seafood, good tropical drinks and sandy beaches. So, join us on the Gulf Coast this July and #createhappymemories with your family and friends.