Gulf Shores, Alabama 2011

Almost a week after my college graduation, I was at home, fretting about interviews and finding a new job. I longed for a vacation, but knew I hadn’t saved enough for the big trips I’d been planning. I was pretty disappointed until my boyfriend came up with a plan for a last-minute trip. He called and told me to pack a bag because we were leaving for the beach that afternoon. We initially thought we could set up camp on a nearby beach or on one of Mississippi’s barrier islands, but last-minute plans for that proved differently. So we decided to visit a beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama for a day of fun in the sun.

The drive to Alabama was lovely, and the traffic was surprisingly smooth, considering it was the start of summer vacation for college and high school students. We traveled for almost four hours, when we decided to stop and find a place to stay nearby in Loxley. The following morning we were up early, checked out, and headed to the beach. We were very excited and had planned to rent a kayak from Perdido Key Parasail for a half-day. 

  

When we got the gorgeous beach, we strolled across the lush white sand to a booth to find out about a kayak rental. Unfortunately, none were available, and their new shipment had not arrived. We were slightly bummed, but we were at the beach, and there was still plenty of fun to be had! We spent a few hours in the water, enjoying the waves and watching the parasail groups.The weather forecast said there would be rain later, but it provided the perfect breeze while we were there–not to mention the sun was not overwhelming. After a few hours of childish fun, we took a long walk down the beach, keeping close to the water’s edge. When we reached the boardwalk, we decided to call it a day at the beach.

 

Back at the car, we were hungry and knew just the place to fix it–Lambert’s Throwed Rolls! (On a previous trip, we passed through Missouri, where we discovered two Lambert’s Café locations. We enjoyed the country dishes and catching the rolls so much that we resolved to visit the only other location in Alabama if we were in the area.) We drove a short distance to back to Foley, where we dined at Lambert’s and got more than our fill. Following a good meal, we found a theater just a few minutes away, and after being at the beach, it seemed appropriate that we watch the new Pirates of the Caribbean. The movie was great and concluded our stay in Alabama.

As we crossed into Mississippi and headed back to Louisiana, the weather became treacherous, with such heavy rain and poor visibility. After almost an hour of driving, the weather cleared, and we were relieved until we saw the “Welcome to Alabama” sign. What?! Somewhere along the way, maybe while stopping for gas, we’d turn the opposite direction and went back to the place we’d left a long time ago. It was frustrating at first, be I got a good laugh out of it. It felt like a clip from a comedy I’d seen. We did, however, get back on the right course. We had to endure the nasty weather once more, but once out, we made it home at a decent hour.

Overall, our spontaneous mini trip was great fun. The last-minute nature of it led to a bump or two, but the getaway was a calming yet exciting adventure, and I foresee many more visits to Alabama’s beaches.

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