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Fun on the Beach
By April Boone

Remember the last time you buried your toes in sugar-white sand, or dipped your hands into Gulf waters to cool your face and neck? Have you taken the opportunity lately to sling on sandals, to sip sauvignon on the deck of an open-air restaurant and watch silently as a heron fishes nearby for his dinner? Picture the routine of your days slowly slipping away as you step into a vacation filled with spontaneity, as you don cleats to pace off your ball on lush golf greens, or lace on sturdy shoes with good traction as you board a boat for deep-sea fishing.

Treat yourself to a splendid sun-filled, gulf-gazing getaway in Gulf Shores / Orange Beach, on Alabama's Gulf Coast. Relax on beaches that suit your style, whether you need handicap access, concessions, bathrooms with showers, and up-close parking, or natural, secluded space to doze between the dunes. Or choose a location close to volleyball and beach bars, with picnicking in mind. What's your mood? There are miles and miles of white sand contrasting with vivid turquoise waters awaiting your leisure.

And when those sparkling waves beckon, getting in the water is a breeze. Of course, you've got the traditional, putting-toes-in-water means covered -- but what if you'd rather feel the wind in your hair, leave a trail of spray in your wake, discover what's underwater, or fly above the waves? You can rent equipment to take in some scuba diving, reserve a pontoon, a kayak, a hobie cat, a waverunner. Or, better yet, hire on a captain and leave the steering to someone else while you enjoy the feel of wind and water, keeping a keen eye out for dolphins playing in the nearby waves. And if you just aren't getting enough air, you can try parasailing! There are opportunities for being in the water, under the water, on the water, or above the water in Gulf Shores / Orange Beach.

When the sun goes down, dust off the sand and salt and take a seat in one of the area's restaurants to enjoy succulent Gulf shrimp, freshly shucked oysters on the half shell, wood-smoked portabella mushrooms. Whatever cuisine or atmosphere you fancy, from barefoot bar to hole-in-the-wall to freshly starched linen and fine dining, there's a dish and a dining style suited just for you, and you can find it online at

Nightlife on the beach can take the form of a romantic walk along the shore with a sweetie, dancing with the locals at an area beach bar, listening to live bands and sipping fruity cocktails, or relaxing on a moonlight cruise.

Gulf Shores / Orange Beach is the perfect spot for family fun, too, with recreational activities that include a waterpark, zoo, miniature golf, and the Southeast's tallest Ferris wheel, to name a few. You can go horse-back riding, hike the nature trails to spot local wildlife, zoom around a go-kart track, or simply build towering sandcastles near the ever-beckoning shore.

The opportunities for beach fun are available by checking out Where will your feet take you? Fun is so close, as close as a trip to Alabama's unforgettable Gulf Coast. The beach is calling. Are you listening?

April Boone is the owner of Global Marketing Solutions and an avid traveler.

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