Budget Friendly Gulf Shores Family Vacation

May 15, 2012

Post image for Budget Friendly Gulf Shores Family Vacation

I am busy, busy, busy planning my summer travels! First it’s off to South Africa. Wow, it’s hard to believe I’m actually doing this! When Alyssa and I return from South Africa it will be time to take a deep breath, switch gears and pack-up the family for a road trip to the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. My husband’s family has a big family reunion planned and we are taking Alyssa and our three oldest grandsons along for some sand, surf and fun.

Our first trip to the beaches of Alabama was with Jeannine’s family to the ultra quiet Fort Morgan. If you’re looking for great prices and seclusion Fort Morgan is just the spot for you.

Jeannine’s family has been vacationing along the Alabama and Florida Coast for over 20 years. She has great locations and tips for Planning an Affordable Family Beach Vacation.

Gulf State Park website photo

I do believe I have found a real gem to share with you. We are meeting our extended family for a week of fun at Gulf State Park.

Gulf State Park offers 20 modern cabins within walking distance of the golf course and two-and-a-half miles from snow-white beaches. Four of these cabins, referred to as (woods) cabins, are surrounded by the beautiful longleaf pine and palmetto forest of coastal Alabama. The remaining (lakeside) cabins are located on the shores of the 900-acre Lake Shelby.” (Gulf State Park website)

Gulf State Park website photo

Okay, I was a bit worried when I heard we were going to stay in cabins on a lake in Alabama. You never know quite what to expect when you hear cabins. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this cute 3 bedroom cottage on the Gulf State Park website!

Gulf State Park website photo

Does this look like a cottage at a State Park to you? It has a gorgeous full kitchen, dinning room, living room and 3 comfy bedrooms. I got a great rate for our seven night stay. Much cheaper than booking hotel rooms for a family of six!

We’ll save a ton of money cooking our own meals. After traveling with Jeannine, we know all of the best places to buy farm fresh veggies, the best tomatoes in the world and shrimp right off the boat.

  • Burris Farm Market
    • If you’re traveling from the west on I-10, you’ve got to stop at Burris Farm Market for fresh, local produce.
    • After driving 10 hours, this is the first stop we’ll make. We’ll buy pounds of their big red tomatoes and have them EVERY day for lunch while we’re at the beach. My mouth is watering!
    • It’s located about 5 minutes off I-10.
  • Nix Brothers’ Seafood 
    • They have the freshest and best gulf shrimp. Totally delicious! We’ll hit this market every morning for shrimp right off the fishing boat.
    • Look out Bubba Gumb! It’s going to be a shrimp fest week!
  • Sea-n-Suds  
    • One night (or two) we will treat ourselves to inexpensive dining right on the beach. We can actually afford to feed all three grandsons at this budget friendly seafood joint.
    • The best gumbo on the planet! Print a coupon for a FREE cup of gumbo.

Photo from Gulf State Park Beach website

 Things on our to do list:

  • Santa Rosa – Opal Beach, Florida
    • Jeannine has been raving that this is one of the most beautiful beaches she has ever seen. It sounds like it will be worth a short drive.
    • A great place to observe sea creatures like turtles, dolphins, crabs and fish.
    • No highrises, no buildings, just miles of white sand and clear blue water.
    • Part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Historic Pensacola with its eclectic shops and restaurants.
  • Blue Angels - It’s just a short drive to Pensacola to watch the Blue Angels Flight Demonstrations. Don’t miss this!

Next week Jeannine will highlight another Budget Friendly Family Vacation on Okaloosa Island, Florida.

This is going to be one exciting summer!

Life with Joyce

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mary A. May 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Thank you so much for doing this post! We just moved to Oklahoma (from North Carolina…yes, I miss the ocean already) and have been trying to find a family friendly beach destination that isn’t as crowded as some of the beaches in Texas. Awesome list!

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