This trip was hosted by Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. That means I will receive a small commission for any purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.
At a young age, I learned that the beach was my happy place. I love sitting on the beach, watching the crashing waves, and listening to the pure joy that fills the air. However, I’m rather picky about my beaches, too. I prefer the powdery sand beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast, particularly Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. So, it didn’t take long for me to decide that Gulf Shores and Orange Beach would be the perfect destination for my Girls Getaway. And after reading this, you’ll want to grab your best girlfriends and plan a trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast, too!
Why You Should Choose Gulf Shores and Orange Beach for Your Next Girls Getaway
Women are notorious for trying to balance all the things in life. In fact, we almost wear it as a badge of honor. Our busy lifestyles often lead us to overwhelm, stress, and burnout. Oftentimes, a quick getaway can be just what we need to get us recharged, relaxed, and ready to get back into the swing of things. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach has everything you need for the self-care, relaxation, and fun that your body and mind crave.
Speaking of fun, nothing beats some time away with your best girlfriends. Friends have a way of helping you put your mind in pause mode for a minute. There have been countless studies that indicate that spending time with your friends is beneficial for your health. There have also been studies that suggest that spending time at the beach is beneficial for your health. So obviously, combining the two (girlfriends + beach) is the perfect combination, right?
Traveling to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Most of the travelers to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area come by car. From Central Alabama, you can expect about a 5-hour drive. When you’re traveling with girlfriends, it goes by pretty quickly since you’ll probably be performing car concerts, discussing your favorite television shows, and catching up on all the latest happenings in everyone’s life.
If you don’t live within driving distance, there are airports that aren’t too far away. You can check out the Getting Here section of the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism website for more information about other travel options.
For our Girls Getaway, we traveled by car. We stopped for a quick lunch on the way and still made it to Gulf Shores in just under 5 hours.
Arriving in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Our first stop in Gulf Shores was the Gulf Shores Welcome Center. Though I’ve visited the area over a dozen times, this was my first time stopping at the welcome center. When we arrived, we were promptly and warmly welcomed to Gulf Shores by the attendant, Michelle. Michelle provided us with helpful information regarding shopping, dining, and attractions in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area.
We also had access to tons of coupons and other literature to help us take full advantage of our time on the Alabama Gulf Coast. I’m so glad that we decided to stop at the Gulf Shores Welcome Center.
Where to Stay in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area boasts over 18,000 units, most of which are vacation rentals. For this trip, we stayed at Phoenix Gulf Shores, Unit 2104. Phoenix Gulf Shores is a beautiful property that sits right on the gulf and offers all of the comforts and luxuries you expect from a vacation rental.
We were in awe from the moment that we entered our 21st-floor unit. Our unit had a total of 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, which was more than enough space for us to be comfortable throughout our stay.
The kitchen was so spacious and was stocked with all the tools we needed to prepare meals and snacks, although we didn’t do much cooking. (Give us a break, we were on vacation.) The unit had every dish, appliance, and utensil we needed. I mean, I can’t think of anything that was left out from the kitchen (2 coffee pots, blender, knives, cutlery, pots, pans, mugs, you name it!) Another thing I loved was the wet bar that included a separate ice maker. I called my husband twice to plead my case as to why I needed to have the exact ice maker installed at home. Wish me luck!
The open kitchen poured into the spacious dining and living room combination that had incredible views! This corner unit gave way to spectacular views of the lagoon and the gulf, all while standing in the same spot! I could have stood in the same place for hours!
And while we’re talking about views, let me go ahead and mention the fantastic views from the master suite and two of the bedrooms. The master suite had a king bed and a very spacious ensuite. The remaining three bedrooms had two queen size beds in each.
There was also a laundry closet in the hallway and a large balcony that could be accessed from the master bedroom or the living room. The balcony was equipped with a high-top patio set and lounge chairs that were perfect for relaxing while taking in the sights and sounds of the beach.
Here is a quick tour of our unit:
Other places in the area that I recommend:
- Phoenix East Orange Beach
- Phoenix IV Orange Beach
- Crystal Tower Gulf Shores
- Hampton Inn & Suites Orange Beach
- Turquoise Place Orange Beach
- Lighthouse Condiminiums Gulf Shores
- The Wharf Condo Rentals
Dining in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
One of the things that I was looking forward to most on this Girls Getaway was the dining! And let me tell you, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach did not disappoint! We had some delicious meals and even better service during our time in the area.
Here are some of our favorite meals:
Playa is located in Orange Beach at Sportsman Marina. The menu features great local seafood, delicious grilled steaks, and tacos with homemade tortillas. Everyone in our party was able to find something that they loved! And I have to mention the delicious tropical drinks and the attentive servers! We thoroughly enjoyed the casual atmosphere and beautiful waterfront view. This restaurant is definitely on my “must return” list!
For our first morning, I slipped out early and picked up breakfast for everyone while they slept in. I picked up some donuts, croissants, and kolaches from Lickin’ Good Donuts. Everything was so fresh and tasted delicious! You should definitely check out Lickin’ Good if you love donuts and other pastries!
Villaggio is located at The Wharf in Orange Beach. The menu is packed with delicious Italian and American dishes and several specialty drinks. The restaurant has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. It’s a great place for friends or family to enjoy a tasty meal together.
I had the lasagna, which was terrific. Two of my friends ordered the chicken parmesan, and one ordered the goat cheese and walnut salad with grilled shrimp. There were no complaints at the table!
I may have just found my new favorite breakfast when I walked into Soul Bowlz Gulf Shores! Soul Bowlz offers healthy bowls of goodness in so many different varieties! Each bowl starts with a blend of superfruits topped with your favorite toppings. In addition to bowls, Soul Bowlz also has smoothies and other healthy choices.
I had the ocean bowl, and the tropical flavors screamed “BEACH”! The pineapples added a tropical touch that reminded me of summer. The Ocean bowl contains Soul Bowlz’s Blue Majik blend, granola, blueberry, pineapple, and white chocolate chips.
Most people grab their bowls to-go, but my girlfriends and I chose to sit inside to enjoy our bowls. The place definitely had “soul,” and we enjoyed sitting and chatting in this fun spot!
We had Soul Bowlz for breakfast, but it could be a great lunch option as well.
This Orange Beach outdoor eating establishment was super cool. I loved the flare of this place. I found out that it was made from old shipping containers! The Gulf serves seafood and American fare and they also have a full bar that offers a variety of specialty drinks.
There are several delicious options on the menu, but my favorite was the guacamole served with purple tortilla chips. I love chunky guac and this lived up to my expectations! I also had the grouper sandwich, and it was a winner, too! So yummy!
In addition to great food, The Gulf offers gulf front seating. The casual yet chic atmosphere was so much fun and perfect for lunch with friends.
Did you even go to Gulf Shores if you didn’t go to Lulu’s? I honestly can’t remember a trip to Gulf Shores that didn’t include a meal at Lulu’s! Lulu’s is absolutely one of my favorite places to dine when I’m in the area.
Lulu’s is owned by Lucy Buffet and is known for food, family, and fun! We’ve visited the Gulf Shores location several times and have made some great memories there as well as enjoyed some delicious meals.
I love restaurants with waterfront dining and sand, and Lulu’s has both. The restaurant serves excellent seafood (the gumbo is my fave), burgers, salads, and more. Everyone (even picky eaters) is sure to find something they’ll like on the menu.
The live music, activities, and the cool shop, make Lulu’s a vacation in itself!
Brick & Spoon
Located in Orange Beach, Brick & Spoon is a popular brunch spot. I knew from my first glimpse at the menu it would win me over, too! When I saw fried green tomatoes and bananas foster french toast in the lineup, I was sold!
I ordered both, and I was not disappointed. Both dishes were delightful. Our table also ordered the ham and 3 cheese omelet and it was delicious as well.
What to Do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Beach Picnic by Lux Pop Up Co with charcuterie provided by The Pantry and other goodies from Orange Beach Concierge
This was by far our favorite event of the week! We loved our catered dinner on the beach. The setup was gorgeous. Lux Pop Up Co made us feel extra special with the beautiful decor. And, of course, the delicious charcuterie, chicken salad (so yummy!), Miami Cocktails, and other snacks made our picnic memorable!
Custom bath product making at High Cotton Bath Company
High Cotton Bath Company, located at The Wharf in Orange Beach, specializes in high-quality bath and body products. They are also known for teaching guests how to create their own scents and customize products in their specially created scent!
My girlfriends and I were scheduled for a Signature Experience Party, which was a perfect activity for us since it was a rainy day at the beach. On their website, I noticed that they also do parties for bridal showers and birthdays, which I’m sure are so much fun!
For our Signature Experience Party, we started with a fun mystery scent game. We then learned how to mix and match essential and fragrance oils to create our individualized scent. Then, a High Cotton Bath Co. staff member let us choose the bath product that we wanted to create with our scent. While we waited for our products to be made, we browsed the shop. There are so many great bath and body products at High Cotton Bath Co., including sleepwear and linens, that kept us occupied while our items were being prepared. It was so cool to watch the products being made, too!
Photoshoot at Cool Shots Selfie Museum
While at The Wharf, we also visited Cool Shots Selfie Museum. This was my first time in a place like this, and, let me tell you, it was so much fun!
Cool Shots Selfies museum boasts over 50 different “cool, immersive, engaging, and attention-grabbing backdrops” for Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and other social sharing applications. At over 4,900 square feet in size, Cool Shots Selfie Museum is one of the largest selfie museums in the southeast!
When we arrived, the attendant took us on a tour of the facility before turning us loose with ring lights and our cell phones. After the tour and instructions, we were off to have some fun and make some memories!
If you get a chance to visit the Orange Beach area, head to The Wharf and pop into Cool Shots Selfie Museum for some fun!
Coastal Segway Adventures tour through Gulf State Park
If you had told me that I’d be riding a Segway through Gulf State Park and encountering alligators and other wildlife along the way, I would have looked at you like you had two heads! I’m so serious.
However, I’m so glad that I went out on a limb and did something out of the ordinary. I surprised my friends with this mystery activity and it was an experience that I will never forget!
Coastal Segway Adventures is located inside Gulf State Park. Don’t worry if you have never been on a Segway. If you’ve never been on a Segway, the staff will train you and ensure you’re completely comfortable before leading you through the park trails.
Dave was our instructor and guide, and he was such a great teacher and was so much fun! In about 30 minutes, he had four terrified 40-something women feeling confident enough to ride trails that included bridges, bumps, and wildlife.
Overall Opinion of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach for a Girls Getaway
If you’re looking for a place to connect with friends to relax and recharge, I recommend Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Not only were we able to enjoy the beach, but we were also minutes away from great dining options and lots of fun activities. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach had everything we needed to make our Girls Getaway a fun and memorable time!
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