I grew up on the sandy beaches of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. From Virginia Beach with its historic Cavalier hotel and commercial boardwalk to the weathered homes of Nags Head on the thin strip of land that is the Outer Banks to the wild and marshy Kiawah Island, boasting alligators, bobcats, and nine golf courses. Switching to Texas beaches has been…something.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d take any beach at all over no beach, but the seaweed-filled, car-populated, brown-ish beaches of Galveston and Surfside pale in comparison to those I grew up with. Did I mention there are rattlesnakes living in the dunes? Truth.
This is why for the past four years, my family has gone to Gulf Shores, Alabama. East of the Mississippi, the Gulf Coast clears up and turns from a muddy gray-brown to a gorgeous blue-green. The sand is the kind of white you think you’ll only find in the Caribbean. And in October, they are almost completely empty. We love the fact that it’s still warm enough to swim and frolic on the beach in the sun, yet not so hot that you’re miserable and sweating on your beach towel. There are great restaurants within walking distance and throwed rolls just a car ride away at Lambert’s. Fair Hope, Alabama is on our way and a delightful small town stop that reminds me of Bluebell in Hart of Dixie, if you’ve ever seen it. There are parks nearby, a wonderful small zoo, quick day trips to Florida or Dauphin Island over a ferry, and such tourist attractions as go-carts, putt-putt, or bumper boats. There are also fabulous thrift stores up 59. (The best money I spent on the trip? $4 total for two superhero masks and the movie Bolt.) You might even get to see jets from the Pensacola air force base screaming overhead doing barrel rolls.
I asked the boys what their favorite part of the trip was. They both said glow sticks (post to come on that soon) and digging in the sand. My favorite? Petting baby kangaroos at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. For only $5 a person, you could hang out in the kangaroo pen for as long as you wanted. Best $15 I’ve spent. Maybe ever. I would NOT, however, pay $10 a person to be in an enclosure with lemurs. Sawyer wanted to do that instead, but they are too much like monkeys. And they got into a fight while we were there, and it was the most terrifying sound ever. If I had more money, I would have paid for us to play with baby tigers for half an hour. That was a little pricier at $50 for adults and $25 for kids. But: BABY TIGERS. Maybe next year.
Are you ready for this? The best picture ever.
It took a little while for the kangaroos to win Lincoln over. The boys in general were super tired at the zoo and my back was KILLING me, but baby kangaroos? Totally worth it all. I wonder how much they’d charge for me to move INTO the kangaroo pen?