You mean Alabama has a beach?
Some folks call it the Redneck Riviera, but anyone who's been there will tell you about the sugar white sand, turquoise surf, great restaurants, resort-style golf courses and fabulous accommodations.
Charlotte and I fell in love with this coastal hideaway twelve years ago and we've been going there ever since.
Try the fried green tomatoes. You'll thank me later.
If you're looking for laid back - then head to Gulf Shores, Alabama. It's HQ for this vacation destination.
Fly into either the Mobile, AL or Pensacola, FL and rent a car. It's an easy 90-minute drive from either airport.
Where to Stay
Like condominiums? There are thousands to choose from with spectacular ocean views and easy beach access. How about a house? You'll be surprised at the affordability of a beach home in one of the resorts.
Relax. You're at the beach. You can be as active as you like, or just curl up under a big beach umbrella with the latest trashy novel. Trust me, down here nobody cares. The entire town is very family-friendly. If you're bringing the kids or grandkids, there are plenty of mini golf courses, water parks and even a zoo. Of course there's deep sea fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding and other beach activities.
Casual to very casual - shorts, sandals, golf shirts and T-shirts are all acceptable day or night.
Best Time to Go
The crowds slack off a little after July 4 and are really light in August. September and October are great months to visit because the summer crowd has gone and the Gulf water is warm.
The Boomer Brief Recommends
Lulu is actually Lulu Buffet (yes, that Buffet). Like her brother, Lulu knows how to have a good time and the seafood is always great. Try the fried green tomatoes with Lulu's famous WOW Sauce. You'll thank me later.
If your taste runs a little more Cajun, then head over to Acme Oyster House. It's just across the Intracoastal waterway from Lulu's and the New Orleans'-styled seafood is freaky-fresh and delicious.
A local legend, The Original Oyster house has anything seafood-related that you could possibly want and it's all good. Those in the know prefer their famous shrimp and cheese grits. My one word review: Amazing.
Come hungry. This is real southern food, where everything is fried or served with gravy. Yes, they really do throw hot-out-of-the-oven yeast rolls the size of softballs to eager diners.
It's a local legend and one of the best dives hangouts on the Alabama coast.
You've seen this one featured on the "C'mon down!" ads. It's a great place right on the water with live music most nights and great burgers, fries, shrimp and catfish.
Ok, if you really want to bring something home other than an "I'm with Stupid" T-shirt, check out the Tanger Outlet Mall. If you don't find something you like in the 125 brand name outlet stores, you just aren't in a shopping mood.
If you want a great day trip, head up to Mobile and visit the USS Alabama. It's a retired battleship that's open for daily tours. If you want to add in a little history lesson to your visit, you can always check out Fort Morgan. It's a restored Civil War-era fort that the kids will find pretty cool.
OK, there is no official Gulf Shores playlist. But, here's the tune we crank up on our way to the beach: