2020-03-11.Gulf Shores, Alabama
This is the second time we have camped at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We were only able to get a spot for three nights and the park was absolutely booked. Most people had been there for several months, starting in December and leaving some time in April. As a result, everyone seemed to know everyone else and there was a lot of friendly conversation among the campers. There are many activities here including Turtle walks, learning to use a sextant, and bog hikes. The park is criss-crossed with all kinds of hiking and biking trails and there is a nice dog park that includes a lake for swimming. You can only imagine Roadie chasing a pair of setters around the park and into the lake. Another dog ran like the wind but Roadie caught up to him and herded him and all of the other big dogs under a picnic table. He came back to the campsite exhausted!
The park has the longest pier on the Gulf coast at 1,540 feet long. Admission is free to campers and you can fish for a reduced rate. There is also a huge lodge, cabins, several nice restaurants (we ate lunch at Perch). We hiked the armadillo trail the first day here and guess what we saw? An armadillo foraging bugs from a dead log and from the swamp deitrus. Roadie heard the rustling and immediately alerted. This was the first armadillo we had ever seen in the wild as opposed to dead on the side of the road. It looks so prehistoric but was a little smaller than I expected.
Today, I got more than 21,000 steps in. First, I attended the fitness class and then the aerobic dance class. It was about a half mile walk to the activity center and back so that accounted for some of the steps. The classes were not at all challenging for me and believe me when I say that my zumba gold and silver sneakers classes at home were the Olympics by comparison but the fitness class was well attended by both men and women. And, generally, almost everyone seems to bike everywhere which again, is a great thing.
We took Roadie to the dog park again and I decided to walk him back to the campground. I had already walked more than 10,000 steps. By the time I made it back to the campsite, I had more than 20,000 in. A very very long walk but these trails are amazing. They are inconnected but remote with boardwalks over the swamp and water moccasins and alligators swimming through that environment. Bob saw a "cottonmouth" swimming in the morning. But we haven't seen an alligator yet. There is an amazing amount of bird life here as well and today, we had a pair of brown thrashers in the tree behind the camper with yellow-rumped warblers decorating the branches.
It is spring break time here but in the park, that was not apparent. However, in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, young people were lined up to get to the beach and bars. Bob wanted to yell: "show us your tits" but restrained himself. (Thankfully). I offered to show but....
The beaches are amazing; wide and long with sand that is flour soft and brilliant white.
Bottom line...if you get the chance, check out the Alabama coast and Gulf State Park in particular. Great place to camp for several days to several weeks with lots to do both in the park and in the towns. Loads of restaurants and great fish markets. A great spot overall. We'll be back.