Although there is still snow on the ground around here, it’s time to (thankfully) think about a family spring break trip! I’m ready to hit the road to warm up a bit and have a much needed vacation after shivering through these cold winter months. I need a reward for surviving hockey season!
The kids are ready for some sun and fun, as well. They have had a long winter of figure skating, hockey, robotics, and school. We need a destination where the whole family can relax and have fun.
My first choice when planning a family spring break trip? Gulf Shores, Alabama
Why Gulf Shores?
The Gulf Shores area is one of our favorite destinations. It is family friendly and has lots for all ages to do. It’s affordable with lots of lodging options, and there are fun, learning opportunities all over the place. (Important for a homeschool mom!) And….don’f forget those white sand beaches!!!!!
Our family has made several trips to the Gulf Shores area. We have some favorite spots to visit and activities to do while we are there, and we find new things on every trip. Our kids have learned so much on our vacations there and didn’t realize it! You can turn your vacation into an education and still have fun in Gulf Shores!
Related post: Homeschool Field Trip: Gulf Shores Orange Beach
While planning your family spring break trip to Gulf Shores, add some of these fun options to your itinerary.
Spend Some Time With Nature
- The Beach – Simply put, we could spend our entire trip on the white sugar sand beach. Take a couple beach chairs, a blanket, and a cooler for lunch and drinks and you could have an entire day (or 7) of fun. We love swimming, body boarding, and just laying on the beach. The kids love to explore the shoreline and the shallow water. We have discovered shells, fish, sand, sand dollars, plants and animals that live in the dunes, and even found a sea turtle nest. We always pack field guides so the kids can identify and learn more about their beach finds.
- Estuarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL). – The DISL is a marine science research facility owned by the state of Alabama. It serves its colleges, universities, and schools with research facilities, educator education, and field trip opportunities. There are hands on exhibits and opportunities to pet sharks and rays!
- Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo – We love zoos. We visit them all over the country, but the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has one very unique draw that you don’t find in other zoos. It is extremely hands-on. When you come in the door, you are offered a cup of food for purchase to feed the animals that will come up to you. You are, also, offered the opportunity to have “animal encounters” – this is a must!!!!
- Cetacean Cruises – We have taken a sunset dolphin/nature cruise in the past with Cetacean Cruises in Orange Beach. It was a great ride and we saw lots of dolphins. The captain was so informative. It was like taking a marine biology class…..only better.
- Spring Azaleas at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. Take the drive from Gulf Shores to the Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Theodore, AL. It’s worth it. In March, you’ll find more than 250,000 vibrant azaleas in an explosion of color throughout the 65 acres of Bellingrath Gardens.
- Fort Morgan – This is one of my favorite places in the Gulf Shores area is Fort Morgan. Fort Morgan is a historic masonry star fort at the mouth of Mobile Bay. You can take a guided tour of the forth throughout the year. In April, the fort hosts the Spring Garrison Living History Day at Historic Fort Morgan where interpreters will show drills and infantry re-enactments.
- USS Alabama Memorial Park – Visit this retired battleship that is now a museum in Mobile Bay.
- Ballyhoo – This is a waterfront festival in Gulf Shores at Waterway Village combining fine arts with coastal charm. The 2016 date is March 5.
- 42nd Annual Festival of Art – This yearly event in Orange Beach features artisans of many kinds, a kids art area. and hot glass blowing demonstrations. The 2016 event will be held March 12.
- Coastal Arts Center – The whole family can take a glass-blowing or clay class.
For The Science Lovers
- Gulf Coast Exlporeum Science Center – Check out the Spring 2016 exhibit, Da Vinci: Machines & Robotics, and the IMAX movie Mysteries of the Unseen World.
Just For Fun
- The Track – This go-kart facility is my son’s favorite. It is always a must stop for our trip!
- 2th Annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival – If you are traveling in May, make sure you check out the free hot air balloon festival. Not only will you enjoy the balloons, but there will be a frisbee dog show, carnival rides, arts and crafts vendors, and a crawfish boil.
Where To Stay
There are so many options to stay in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach/Fort Morgan area. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer hotels, condos, and beach houses right in the heart of the action, or off the beaten path.
If you want to get away from the crowds, head to the Fort Morgan area. We have rented a house in this area with other families and stayed at a condo at the Gulf Shores Plantation resort. Both were right on the beach and amazing places to stay.
For More Gulf Shores Information
My list of recommendations is just the tip of the ice berg. For more things to do and see in the Gulf Shores, Alabama area, visit Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism.
Have a great trip!
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