Diary from Orange Beach, AL

Orange beach Alabama has large waves after a storm, the perfect photo op for dolphins

Trip Specs:

Purpose: Leisure

Time Frame: 4 days

Dates: March 2, 2019- March 5, 2019

Trip overview:

For a little context, part of my family rents a condo down in the Orange Beach/Gulf Shores area in Alabama every year for about two-three months to escape the cold weather from the north (they’re from PA). Every year I have been invited down, and this is the first year I was able to go! I was so excited about it! Originally, the trip was supposed to be a week long however, a few weeks before, I came down with a terrible flu that left me out of work for a week. I thought, financially, I was going to have to cancel my trip since I couldn’t afford to miss another whole week of work. Until, literally the WEEK OF, I decided my overworked college brain and my cabin fever just couldn’t take it anymore and I needed to go. So with very little preparation my roommate and I made a sightly impromptu trip down to The Gulf!

Day one: Saturday March 2, 2019

View from the caribe resort's condo in orange beach Alabama
Caribe resort on the gulf, with marina to harbor resident's boats
Caribe resort in gulf shores Alabama was the perfect luxury vacation
Marina on the gulf best way to relax at the beach
view from condo's overlooking the gulf
  • Since we had limited time we got up early and explored the resort first thing in the morning. We were staying at the Caribe resort and it was actually incredible, below are some pictures we took around the resort.
  • We both worked on Saturday so we didn’t hit the road until around 4:00pm. I have to say this was one of the WORST drives I have ever made in my life. Keep in mind that I have family 13 hours away that I would visit annually my entire life, I have also made the drive to Canada, several 15 hour trips to Florida etc. SO I am no stranger to long drives and they honestly don’t bother me very much. However, this one was different than any drive I’ve ever taken. There were several factors that played into how horrible it was, a few being that we had worked that day, been up since 5 am so we were super tired, and we also got lost a couple times so that extended the trip a bit. BUT I plan on making an entire blog post about that trip so stay tuned for that!
  • After a long trip south we arrived at the resort around 2:30 am. We quickly unpacked and CRASHED in bed.

Day two: Sunday March 3, 2019

  • After exploring for a while I was (of course) craving a coffee so we found this little place called and let me tell you it was adorable! Definitely the kind of place I would be in all the time if I were staying down there for any significant amount of time. Plus the coffee was BOMB.
  • Once we got back to the condo we all went out for lunch with my family and their friends that also were staying in the resort. We went down to The Warf (more on that later) and at a place called . It was a very nice, more upscale seafood restaurant. I had a “sunrise” (Vodka and orange juice) along with a huge meal of steak and eggs with a side of roasted potatoes. It was amazing and the glaze on the steak was to die for.
  • After lunch we went for a walk on the beach by the condo, the wind was brutal since there was a storm blowing in and the temperature was dropping, but I just had to get my feet in the ocean! We took some pictures and explored the walkways along the dunes that are part of a national park’s conservation effort. Unfortunately as we started back towards the condo it started to storm so we decided to go for a swim at the resort’s indoor pool. (We found out later that the storm brought several tornadoes north of us and almost 2 dozen people were killed due to them. My heart and prayers go out to the families affected by this storm.)
ice cream sundae at a 50s style diner was the perfect way to relax in gulf shores, AL
  • After a swim and nap for me we went out that evening for dessert at this place called the Diner, a cute 50s diner themed restaurant.  We all got the biggest Ice Cream Sundae’s I have ever seen, it had brownies in it and all the chocolate fudge you could ask for in a sundae.

Day three: Monday March 4, 2019

  • Our last day in the gulf started with a homemade breakfast of omelets and english muffins courtesy of my grandfather.
  • We then took a drive out to the peninsula where there was more national park areas and even an old pre civil war military fort! Unfortunately the fort was closed that day but we did get to drive by and it was so cool to see such a large part of history preserved right in front of me!
  • We ventured out to the shore long enough to snap a few pics and decide the high winds at 39 degrees wasn’t for us and instead decided to go shopping!
  • Souvenir shopping is one of my favorite things, I love it even though a lot of people think it’s tacky. We went to a few shops and looked around, I found some stickers and new socks, my weaknesses tbh. While shopping we actually went back to The Warf where we had had lunch the previous day and went in all the shops along the boardwalk! They were so cute and I obviously had to stop in at my new favorite coffee place and get another chai latte. We also ate at this amazing BBQ place called Blue Water BBQ Company that had some great potato salad.
  • After shopping we went back to the condo to change and get ready for the parade!! We dressed warmly since the parade wouldn’t start until dusk and the temperature was dropping. We headed back to The Warf and found a spot to stand. The parade was called the Mardi Gras Moonpie Parade, where not only did they throw the traditional Mardi Gras beads but also tons of moon pies. It was both amazing and delicious!
The warf's moonpie parade in honor of mardi gras was electric
  • After shopping we went back to the condo to change and get ready for the parade!! We dressed warmly since the parade wouldn’t start until dusk and the temperature was dropping. We headed back to The Warf and found a spot to stand. The parade was called the Mardi Gras Moonpie Parade, where not only did they throw the traditional Mardi Gras beads but also tons of moon pies. It was both amazing and delicious!
  • After the parade J and I went out to eat at this Mexican restaurant called Cactus Cantina and to be completely honest I was underwhelmed. Not bad but not the best, if you’re in the Orange Beach area looking for Mexican Tacky Jacks was what was recommended to us (they were closed and not on our way however so thats why we chose this place)
  • We topped the night off with another dip in the hot tub and some relaxation in the sauna before packing up and getting ready for our 5 am check out the next morning.

Day four: Tuesday March 5, 2019

  • We started back to Knoxville around 6:00 am Tuesday morning with plans to stop in Atlanta for a few hours. We were going to go to a couple of spots, including the Aquarium but unfortunately due to some unexpected traffic from construction we arrived in ATL too late to go BUT I did still get to check something off my bucket list!
  • Going to Truett’s Luau is something I have always wanted to do since the beginning of my journey here at CFA. Truett opened a few specialty stores later in his life towards the end of his Chick-fil-A “career.” Truett’s Luau is one of them. It is essentially a Chick-fil-A restaurant with a Hawaiian theme. They have lots of tropical themed foods such as a pineapple shake, rice, sweet potato waffle fries (MY FAVORITE) and more. There are two sides to the restaurant, a full service Chick-fil-A complete with a Drive Thru and also a dining room side which is more like a “normal” sit down restaurant where you sit down and a server will come and take your order etc. It was so fun to visit and see one of our founder’s ‘projects.’ Truett’s Luau opened in 2013 just a year before his death, so he did get to see it to completion and I’m sure would be proud of what they have made it be in the years since.

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