I’ve been a living anthem for Rihanna’s song “Work,” because these last couple months have been nothing but WORK,WORK,WORK,WORK,WORK. A big work project was coming to its end and I started coaching volleyball. A few other personal setbacks happened during that time, so it’s to no surprise that I ended up being pretty sick for most of November. I was diagnosed with actual influenza and then a really bad upper respiratory infection. Plus, I absolutely loathe the holidays. I was needing an escape in the worst way.
I have a goal to get to all 50 states, so when I saw a cheap flight to Mobile, Alabama,I started exploring things to do. I came across Orange Beach. With hella cheap car rental, and an amazing hotel with a beach view for next to nothing, I was SO IN. It looked like the perfect place to catch up on some reading, writing, and just let my brain relax. While my last couple getaways were great and fun, they weren’t the relaxing getaways I needed.
Takeaways of Orange Beach
Orange Beach to Alabama is like what the Jersey Shore is to those in Jersey, and what the “cabin up north” is to my Minnesota brethren. In the summer, this place is BUSY.There are so many things to enjoy, from fishing excursions, to parasailing, to surfing, to jet skis, to helicopter rides, there really is a lot to do.
In mid-December, it’s a ghost town. There weren’t a lot of people around, which was great. It made driving the coastal highway to Pensacola, FL a breeze, and I loved not having to wait for anything. My mornings started with a walk, then the (amazing) complimentary breakfast, followed by sitting on the beach reading.
Ohhhh, the oysters. And the shrimp.
I also enjoyed some great food while I was here. Oysters and shrimp are a big deal here, to no surprise. My favorites:
- Fiddlefish: Of course they do oysters here (like everyone else), but they offer it five different ways. I usually go with raw, but instead opted for Oysters Rockefeller. Plump, juicy, not chewy, it was a perfect meal.
- Doc’s Seafood Shack: They boast the best fried shrimp in the civilized world. I’ve eaten a lot of shrimp in the day, and I have to say, they kept their word. Not too bready, not at all greasy, and cooked to perfection. Add some fries, coleslaw, and a super cold beer, I was in heaven here. Oh, and the oysters were on point.
- The Gulf: This was BY FAR the best food in the area. The place is made out of shipping containers and the menu changes daily, as it’s all sourced with what’s available locally. One menu focuses on tacos, the other on burger-type fare – but elevated to a great level. There’s a terrific gift shop that will make you laugh – and will be impossible to walk away from without buying something.
This place is highly recommended. Maybe come in late-October to escape the crowds and hurricane season. You’ll be glad you came.