In our travels over the past few years we’ve made a point of staying at state parks. We’ve found them to have more interesting features (trails, lakes, views) while being less expensive than private campgrounds. Most state parks are great but we think we’ve found the very best!
Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama impressed us from the first minute and we were sorry when the time came to move on.
Located on the Gulf of Mexico along the relatively small swatch of land that is the Alabama coastline, Gulf State Park encompasses two miles of white sand beach and over 28 miles of paved trails and boardwalks. Oh, and they have one of the best campgrounds we’ve seen, with nearly 500 full hook up sites.
During our 11 days at the park we checked out just about every trail (some multiple times) and met some of the local wildlife along the way. The park is home to deer, armadillos, snakes (including one that visited our campsite), alligators, bald eagles, gopher tortoises, and much more.
It was easy to just head out and cover 10-15 miles on the bike, something we haven’t found at other parks we’ve visited. With no traffic to deal with, biking was a blast! Along the way there are benches that offer encouragement, pay respects, or recognize those who have contributed to the park.
Steve got in some long runs in preparation for the Space Coast Marathon next week and I even got in some runs. Paths like this made it easy to just keep going!
On a few days we took our Bote kayaks out to the nearby protected bay and paddled the bayous and waterways. The weather was a perfect 68-75 degrees the entire time we were there.
Gulf State Park also has plenty of amenities, many of which we never got around to using. There’s a long fishing pier, a swimming pool, a nature center, restaurant, and lots more. This is the kind of place you could just keep coming back to.
We also used the time take care of business like getting an oil change, buying a hoist for the generator, and getting a pedicure. Our days here were full but leisure-filled with no rush to get anywhere or do anything in particular.
Several times we ventured east to the Florida/Alabama border and one of our favorite bars, the Florabama. We visited this legendary watering hole and music venue last year and loved it. Gulf State Park is just about seven miles away, so we had to stop in for some music a few times while in the area.
Mostly we just enjoyed being in a beautiful place, doing the things we love to do.
We’re now in Destin, FL to pay a visit to the headquarters of Bote. We love these kayaks so much we had to see where they came from and pick up a few accessories. The sunsets here are pretty spectacular too!
We’ll post another update once Steve’s next race is over. Cape Canaveral, here we come!