Geographically, the state of Alabama runs the gamut from the Appalachian Mountains in its northeast corner to the white-sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico in the south.
Is it the water or the sand that makes Alabama Gulf Coast beaches so spectacular? Everyone seems to have their own opinion. But with miles of sparkling turquoise Gulf waters and stunningly white sand, you don’t have to choose.
Squeezed between Mississippi and Florida’s extensive panhandle, Alabama only manages to dip its big toe into the Gulf of Mexico, but along its 57 miles of shoreline are ample opportunities for leisurely pursuits. Whether looking for a snowbird roost or a summer vacation escape, RVers will find what they’re looking for—and more—along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
The southernmost part of the state borders Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Here, the scenery—sandy beaches and moss-draped trees—offers a dramatic change of pace from the rest of the state, as do the Alabama Gulf Coast’s primary attractions of sunbathing, swimming, and deep-sea fishing.
It’s a rare person who does not find the sea and sand tempting, especially during the cold winter months. While Alabama’s shoreline may not be the first place that pops to mind when planning a winter getaway, don’t overlook it.
Our RV travels have taken us through the area on numerous occasions as we drove I-10 from Florida to Texas. This past winter we decided to check out the Alabama Gulf Coast for ourselves and it did not disappoint.
Mix two parts sugar-white sand with one part crystal blue water. Add a generous helping of Southern hospitality, and you have the key ingredients of the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast.
Situated at the southernmost part of Alabama, the coast features 32 miles of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.
The Alabama Gulf Coast lies in the southern subtropical area of North America, where mild temperatures greet visitors year-round. Gulf breezes temper the typically hot summer weather, and spring and fall days are usually warm with cool evenings. Sand castles do not freeze with an average winter temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s.
Fresh seafood is the standard along the Gulf Coast. Seafood markets offer shrimp, oysters, crab, and snapper. There are numerous seafood restaurants with an endless assortment of dishes.
Landlubbers may not realize that shrimp come in brown, white, pink, and deepwater Royal Reds, and that each variety is caught in a particular season of the year.
Royal Reds with their robust, deep red color and soft, delicate texture represent the pinnacle of the gulf shrimp experience. The cold-water Royal Red shrimp prefer a specific temperature zone that is usually found 1,000 feet or more below the gulf waters that can be 40 to 60 miles out from shore making their harvesting more difficult than other species.
Each October the town of Orange Beach celebrates the small but mighty shrimp in a festival that has been presented for over 40 years. If you can think of a possible way to prepare shrimp, you will find it at this festival. Shrimp dipped in chocolate and shrimp ice cream may not top your list, yet the ingenuity of these chefs is admirable. Dates for the 42nd Annual National Shrimp Festival are October 10-13, 2013.
If you don’t get there in time for the shrimp festival, never fear. Time-tested recipes and traditional preparation can be enjoyed in a variety of restaurants including King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant in Gulf Shores and Gulf Bay Seafood Grill in Orange Beach.
Any repeat visitor will testify to the appeal of the little seacoast claimed by Alabama. If you’re hunting for a winter retreat, consider this your invitation.
Please Note: This is Part 1 of a 3-Part series
Part 3: Deep South Surprises
Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp Creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That, that’s about it.
—Bubba, in Forrest Gump, 1994