Hey, Brianna here! Well, we have been looking forward to a beach vacation for months now. Pregnancy and a new born have kept us close to home for the past few months but we finally got to go to Gulf Shores! This was Warner’s first trip to the beach (obviously), so we were very excited to watch him experience the ocean and sand for the first time. We did a lot of research and decided to buy a beach tent for him to lay in to protect him from the sun. It was AMAZING. At first we had trouble with it blowing over from the gusts of wind coming off the Gulf, but that was because we didn’t read the directions (of course). It has two flaps at the bottom that you can fill with sand, and this made it super sturdy. It also was convenient to fold back up and put in the car. I highly recommend this thing for babies. He took a lot of good beach naps in it.
The Hampton Inn we chose was not directly on the beach (about a 5 minute drive from the beach, so not bad at all!). This meant we were able to get great rates (military discount for the win!). Since it wasn’t on the beach we decided to go buy our own beach chairs. Normally our beach trips have been via airplane (Hawaii and Dominican), so we haven’t ever had the need to purchase our own chairs. But for this trip we got some great tri-folding chairs from Target the first morning in Gulf Shores. The only downside was having to carry everything (baby, chairs, snacks, etc.) from the parking lot down to the beach. One consistent thing about lower Alabama in the middle of August is that it is HOT!! We saw that everyone else around us had these neat wagons with giant wheels. It looked so much easier than making multiple trips to the car. We went to Alvin’s Surf Shop that night and bought one, and it did make life so much easier. It also worked well with the tent, because we could just put Warner in the tent, and everything else could sit in the wagon, sand-free!
Before we left we decided we wanted to get the stereotypical family beach pictures, but we saw that photographers who specialize in this were really expensive. It was a spur of the moment decision and since we already dropped the money on the tent, chairs, and wagon, we decided to do the pictures on a budget. This meant dressing up and going out to the beach and asking strangers to take our picture. It was pretty comical seeing us walk around, scoping out people to ask. The two people we ended up asking were very friendly and more than happy to help. The pictures turned out really good too, so thanks random beach people!
As far as restaurants go in Gulf Shores, there are quite a few good options. The first night we went to Flip Flop Deli Shop. We love sandwiches and they have the fourth highest Yelp reviews for restaurants in the entire state of Alabama, so we thought it would be worth it to check them out. We weren’t disappointed. The guy running it is a former Marine. Well there really isn’t such a thing as a former Marine (Once a Marine always a Marine!) and he and his family were super friendly. The food was great, and they served Blue Bell ice cream which is Ethan’s favorite!
Our favorite place for seafood was Bahama Bob’s. They were right on the ocean, and the coconut shrimp literally tasted like dessert. Can you really beat listening to the sound of the ocean and the feel of that coastal breeze while enjoying delicious coconut shrimp? Yea, I didn’t think so. It was so good! I also recommend their shrimp gumbo for an appetizer. It seemed like a lot of places had Louisiana themed menu options, which I guess is just because they are also located on the Gulf and enjoy shrimp. One of the more unique places we went to was the Yard Milkshake Bar. They had some of the most beautiful milkshakes I have ever seen (seriously, check out the picture below). Ethan got the cupcake milkshake which combined two of his favorite things: cupcakes and ice cream. It tasted amazing, but he had the worst stomach ache afterward from the extreme sugar rush. But will that stop him from going back next time? Probably not. Vacations give you flexibility for bad food decisions, right?
Hey, Ethan here! Overall Warner liked his first trip to the beach. At first he was terrified of the waves and wasn’t interested in putting his feet in the water, but by the end of the trip he loved splashing his little feet in the tide and listening to the sound of the waves crash against the sand. We think he is going to be a beach bum like his mommy and daddy. However, he did not like the drive back from the beach. The three hours in his car seat was a little bit too much for him. Fortunately we have this awesome VeggieTales CD that he loves. Bob and Larry sing a great rendition of “Down in My Heart” that always brings a smile to Warner’s face. VeggieTales for the win!
Having a baby is a great conversation starter, which I love. In the hotel elevator we met a couple and I was telling them all about how this is Warner’s first trip to the beach. They jokingly responded that he would remember this forever. I thought that was pretty funny, and used that line for the rest of the trip. I love stealing other people’s jokes. For another good dad joke, I also told every restaurant hostess that we had two and a half in our party. I was made for this dad life!
We linked a few of the things that made the trip with baby in tow much easier. Click the pictures below!
Until next time,
Ethan and Brianna