I’ll be honest: Florida people are snobs about beaches. I grew up in Orlando, and somehow, a bit of arrogance came attached with that. Floridians believe, with deep conviction, that their beaches are the best. Mostly, they’re not wrong, but moving to the Deep South taught me something: Alabama has great beaches too. Now, with the Gold Coast just 3 hours south of us, we enjoy the white sandy beaches of Orange Beach. Today I’m sharing all of my favorite recommendations for OBA, so let’s dive in!
Why Orange Beach?
Orange Beach, located on the Gulf Coast just west of Pensacola, is a diamond in the rough. It amazes me that I can hop in a car and drive a few hours south of my rural, middle-of-nowhere hometown and be on white sands. Turns out, I’m not he only one amazed! I’ve met people from as far away as Texas and Chicago who traveled to Orange Beach for a getaway. With fewer people than many of its neighboring beaches, it truly is a hidden gem.
Where to Stay in Orange Beach
The only thing better than owning a beach house is having friends who own a beach house. That’s our story. We’ve been fortunate enough to stay with close friends on most of our trips to OBA; it’s no wonder I look forward to those weekends so much. Even so, we’ve had the opportunity to scope out a number of condominium/rental options in Orange Beach, and I thought I’d share a few favorites.
For People Who Love a Great Pool
The Caribe Resort is where you want to be. With nearly 300 rental options, 6 pools, a lazy river, and a number of other amenities, it’s a destination in and of itself. Try out their on-site restaurant, Cobalt. It’s where Brett and I ate after we got engaged.
For People Who Need Amenities
10/10 would recommend Turquoise. Two buildings on the beach boast a number of indoor and outdoor pools, beach access, on-site dining options, and more. We love Turquoise for a winter beach trip too- less crowded and heated indoor swimming.
For People Who Can’t Sit Still
Check out rentals at The Wharf! These new condos are walking distance form live music, dining, shopping, movie theaters, and more!
What to Do in Orange Beach
Don’t miss out on the obvious. The beaches are truly white sand and stunning. Numerous local companies offer guided deep sea and inshore fishing tours as well. (Brett can’t get enough of snapper fishing in the summer.) The wildlife is stunning, too! You might be lucky enough to see dolphins from the shore, or you could opt for a boat tour instead. Beyond that, here are a few faves.
This is definitely THE place for shopping and entertainment. Live music, fishing competitions, boats shows, and more happen here. Plus, there’s a number of coffee, dessert, and dining options too. My kids love The Wharf for its Ferris wheel and arcade. You’re sure to find fun here.
Part theme park, part water park, OWA is a destination. Garner some Disney World-level energy and bring any antsy kiddos here.
Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail
This one goes out to all my sporty friends who need to exercise on vacation (not me). These seven trails span 15 miles and make nature and wildlife more accessible than ever.
Where to Eat in Orange Beach
Don’t you know this is my favorite part of our vacation time? One of my favorite parts of Orange Beach is its casual yet delicious approach to fresh regional foods. Here are a few of my favorites:
Brick and Spoon
Buzzcat Coffee and Sweets
GTs on the Bay
Flora-Bama Yacht Club
Don’t miss the cotton candy sunsets and green waters of Orange Beach. Message me any of your favorites, and I’ll be sure to check them out next time!