One of our favorite family vacations is visiting the beach. We try to take the kids every few years so they get to experience putting their toes in the sand and playing in the ocean. We’ve visited Gulf Shores several times before, and this trip was our best experience yet. It was really a very special trip for a number of reasons. I’m excited to share our Gulf Shores Family Vacation including the new activities and eateries we experienced, and the places we love to visit time and time again.
This post is sponsored by Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, however, all opinions are my own.
This trip was very special for our family. We hadn’t been on a full vacation in several years and this was our baby girl’s first trip to the beach. The 10-hour ride went surprisingly well as we kept the kids occupied with movies, games, snacks, and a little homework too. The kids were getting along great, they were behaving at dinner, it was just one of those magical weeks. You know what I mean? Everything went so well!
We did all the things on this Gulf Shores family vacation. Baby girl put her feet in the Gulf for the first time, and loved it! Her favorite activity was filling buckets and dumping them, and then doing it all over again. She napped laying on me and I have to say I was in Heaven! We built sand castles, the kids had fun tossing a football on the beach, we relaxed in our chairs and enjoyed watching the kids play. We stayed up late and grabbed our buckets and flashlights and caught white crabs (and released them). Everyone was happy, and so we were happy.
The kids had so much fun burying each other in the sand. We walked down the beach looking for seashells and came home with quite the collection. I got to watch each of my kids have fun with their siblings in different ways, and I watched as their relationship continued to grow and blossom. It really made me so happy for us to take a break from the craziness of our move, and the hustle and bustle of our weekly schedules just to be together and experience new things.
We would spend most of the late morning and afternoon down at the beach, and then cool off in the pool. We stayed in the beautiful Colonnades Condominium and everything was so nice from the pool, to the fitness area, to the meeting and lounge rooms we saw. Then we would either go back down to the enjoy the golden hour at the beach, or we would get ready for dinner out. I’m so glad I have these precious pics of the kids enjoying the beach!
Brian and I got to actually rest well at night because the Colonnades Condominium included four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a large kitchen, dining area, and living area. We had our own room and the beds and pillows were SO comfortable. It was like we were sleeping at home! We were in the penthouse which provided an amazing view of the gulf, and I was blown away by the gorgeous living room and master bedroom that provided these stunning views. Our family had space to spread out and everyone had their own bed, and the big boys loved having bunk beds. The other nice part of our stay was that we had four bathrooms which made showers and getting ready so much easier. We were spoiled in this four bedroom condo! It was luxury at it’s finest for sure!
We really enjoy staying in a condo because it allows us to do a little grocery shopping so we can cook some of our meals during the trip. We’ll cook breakfast a few times, we’ll make easy sandwiches for lunch, and we may order pizza one night too. The Colonnades Condominium provided the perfect living space for us to thoroughly enjoy our trip. My favorite way to start the day was to enjoy coffee every morning on the balcony, and my favorite way to end the day was to enjoy watching the sun go down. I mean, just look at this view!
We decided to let our three big kids try parasailing for the first time. My husband and I parasailed on our honeymoon so we knew they’d love it. We used Blue Sky Parasailing and Watersports and we were pleased with their customer service and felt very safe the entire time. After putting on our life jackets, we got on a banana boat pulled by a jet ski that took us to the ski boat. Once on the boat, they gave simple instructions and strapped the kids in their harness. My oldest was a little reserved but otherwise, they weren’t scared at all, and as you can see they were all smiles as they were lifted into the air. As their mom, I was surprised at how my heart skipped a beat while I watched them lift off the boat. I realized my prized possessions were floating away from me in a very big sky!
I priced several of the other parasailing companies and found Blue Sky to be the most cost-effective. Also, they didn’t charge me to come on the boat to watch, and other companies do charge. We purchased the photo package and I highly recommend doing so. Unless you have a water-proof cover for your phone and/or camera, it’s a risk to take them on the boat. Their photo package gave me more than 100 quality photos of their experience from start to finish.
When we visit Gulf Shores, we always eat at two restaurants. The Steamer & Baked Oyster Bar is one of our favorites in town and we always come back. We love their huge platters of sea fish and their shrimp, crab legs, and oysters always seem so fresh. During peak season there is always a wait, but we like to eat a little later at night when at the beach, so we were delighted to get a table as soon as we walked up. They have large picnic tables outside and additional tables and a bar area inside. We opt to sit outside so the kids can be a little louder. Here’s a couple of pics I snapped with my phone of our yummy meal!
Another restaurant we love to visit is Lulu’s, a restaurant owned by Lucy Buffett. It’s your typical seafood restaurant, but the ambiance is what keeps us coming back. There is a large sand area for the kids, a volleyball net, a ropes course, an arcade, and a large gift shop. They have a festive outdoor bar and often have live music. It’s more of a destination where the kids can play and we can have a relaxing dinner.
We always like trying new restaurants too and The Original Oyster House did not disappoint. The kid’s loved their meal that is served with a toy alligator. We had their popcorn shrimp for an appetizer and they showed us how to make our own cocktail sauce. We enjoyed the shrimp platter and Brian had the snapper. Don’t miss out on their key lime pie because it was delicious!
We also enjoyed the gourmet donuts at the Sassy Bass Donuts. We tried so many different flavors, and we all found something we liked. When vacationing, one must have donuts! Don’t you think?
Another activity that was new to us was the Alligator Alley, which is an alligator farm. It wasn’t a long drive from the condo and since I have several in my family who love all things animals, we thought it would be fun to try it out. It was certainly an experience. I’m not a fan of alligators at all, but the kids really loved it. It was a very educational experience for them, and they got to see alligators of all sizes in action. A highlight for them was getting to see the oldest and largest alligators eat, and they got to hold a little guy as well. It was a hot day, but it was worth letting them experience something new!
When we go to the beach, we like to take advantage of the beach and pool as much as possible. But it’s always fun to take time to experience a few new things and enjoy eating out as well. I hope you enjoyed the details of our Gulf Shores family vacation and this will help you in planning your next trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama. We were certainly sad to say goodbye!
If you are planning a beach trip soon, take a close look at sugar white sand beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast, and Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals has properties spanning the 32-mile beach including 500 vacation homes and condos from the point of Fort Morgan, to the Florida border in Orange Beach. They also offer properties all over, whether you’re looking for a mountain retreat, or planning a snow skiing vacation. Be sure to check out their website for all the properties they have available! Don’t forget to pin this so you’ll have it for later!