When you’re planning a beach vacation, deciding how to get there and what accommodations to book is half the battle. Here are my recommendations for where to stay in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, and how to get there.
Where to Stay in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
If I’ve learned one thing in my travels, it’s that accommodations really do make a difference. Sure, you can try to cut corners and stay in an inexpensive place. But there’s nothing like waking up after an amazing night’s sleep in your cozy bed, making a cup of coffee or tea just the way you like it, grabbing some fruit or making a quick breakfast, then sitting on your balcony and watching the waves crash. Or coming back to your condo after the sun and surf have taken all your energy, and throwing some dinner on the grill while relaxing with a glass of wine. You don’t always want to get the family showered and dressed to drive out somewhere for dinner!
Down-time and space to relax is a critical part of any vacation, and these properties offer that in abundance.
Our stay at Turquoise Place was nothing short of luxurious. From the moment we drove up to those gorgeous blue-green glass towers and checked in, we felt relaxed and pampered.
My daughter and I stayed at Turquoise Place with my sister and her family. There were six of us in a 3-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath condo and never once did we feel crowded – the condos are huge! My brother-in-law, who is the cook of our family, loved the high-quality appliances in the chef-ready kitchen, as well as the grill on our balcony.
The new Spectrum Club Lounge is another great perk to staying at Turquoise Place. With your SpectrumBand wristband (that allows keyless entry to your room and charging privileges around the resort), you have access to the Lounge for free continental breakfast, ping-pong, pool table, special toddler activities, and video game consoles. In the afternoons, they have a full cash bar available, as well as evening receptions to mingle with other guests.
Turquoise Place is right on the beach and you should definitely take advantage of their beach chair service. You can rent a set of two chairs, a small table, and an umbrella for one day or for your whole stay. It’s fantastic having a dedicated spot with an umbrella to keep you shaded – and the employees will come by and adjust the umbrella any way you want throughout the day. Just walk out to the beach and find an employee who will set you up.
They also have several pools, indoors and out, plus hot tubs and a lazy river. The lazy river was one of my favorite spots on the property because it’s tucked away from the main pools and it never got too crowded. And Turquoise Place just announced their new Lazy River Drink Service! Float along the river with a frozen drink in my hand – without having to go to the bar to get it? Sign me up!
When it was time for lunch, we went to the main pool area between the two towers and ordered from the “Change of Pace” restaurant. They offer casual, poolside dining. We were also delighted to find a Rita’s Water Ice stand by the pool! Folks from the northeast will know Rita’s well, but apparently it’s new to the South. When the owners found out I lived in New Jersey, they told me they were originally from Pennsylvania and moved down to Orange Beach to open the first Rita’s!
Additional amenities include:
- Beach towels provided for every guest
- Washer/dryer in condos
- Tennis courts
- Fitness, sauna and steam rooms
- Yoga classes (I enjoyed a morning yoga class overlooking the beach!)
- Kids activities
- Life-size chess/checker board and other outdoor games
- Live music pool-side
- Tiki bar, boutique and gift shop
- DVD rentals
And, of course, Turquoise Place is ideally located on Perdido Beach Boulevard with restaurants and activities all around!
Caribe Resort offers vacation rental condos in Orange Beach, Alabama. Located on over 30 pristine acres of a peninsula, Caribe Resort boasts a fantastic location and tons of amenities.
The first thing you need to know is that every condo has either a Gulf or Bay view. You’re surrounded by the beautiful waterways of Alabama’s beaches. On one side, you can access the Caribe Marina for a boat or jet ski rental. On the other side, while Caribe isn’t precisely beach-front, it’s just a short walk down a boardwalk to one of my favorite beach spots in all of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores – the Alabama Point East beach area. They also offer a beach trolley service!
The two and three-bedroom condos at Caribe are spacious and beautiful. We loved our huge kitchen and luxurious bathroom.
Caribe also features gorgeous pools indoors and out. The outdoor pools have really fun water slides that were a bit hit with the kids! There’s also a lazy river which is a lovely spot to soak up the sun while floating without a care in the world.
You’ll also enjoy tennis and basketball courts, fitness, saunas and steam rooms, a game room, private beach cart service, and an on-site, 5-star restaurant, Cobalt.
The Island House Hotel by Hilton
When you don’t need a full condo or kitchen – think fall weekend getaway! – the Hilton is an excellent choice. Less expensive than the vacation condos offered at other resorts, the Hilton offers spacious, beach-themed rooms, private, gulf-view balconies, a pool, an outdoor tiki bar, and a restaurant.
Its excellent location on Perdido Beach Boulevard puts you right in the middle of all the action. The beach is just outside your door and you’re surrounded by amazing food, bars, live music, mini-golf, shopping, and more.
The Beach Club
I haven’t had the chance to stay at The Beach Club yet, but I did tour the property during one of my visits to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The Beach Club is unique because it not only offers condos, but also individual “bungalows” with small, private pools. These little houses offer more privacy and a real golf resort feel – since everyone gets around the property on golf carts!
In addition to their pools, beach, and water sport rentals, The Beach Club has its own restaurants, kids activities, and more. And their spa looks amazing.
The Beach Club is a bit more out of the way than the other properties, but just 10-15 minutes from most of the action in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. This would be an especially good property if you’re looking for a more “inclusive getaway” feel to your vacation, since you never need to leave the property if you don’t want to!
Getting to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama
The closest airport is Pensacola, Fla. where you can rent a car or take a car service. The drive from Pensacola to Orange Beach is an easy 40 minutes.
My home airport is Newark and there aren’t typically direct flights to Pensacola at a reasonable price. So I’ve gotten creative and combined visits to other major cities with my beach getaways. I’ve flown into Atlanta and drove the 5 hours to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. I’ve also planned a couple days in New Orleans, which is only about 3.5 hours from Alabama’s beaches.
And if you live in Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama, the most beautiful and closest beaches you can drive to are in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Other beaches on the Gulf coast just don’t compare.
Disclosure: I’m partnering with Gulf Shores and Orange Beach this fall to encourage everyone to #KeepOnSummering! All opinions and experiences are my own.