Looks Like We Made It!

Betty and Dan with ocean in the background.
Gulf Shores State Park
Alabama

Can you hear Barry Manilow? That was the song title that was just waiting in my head for me to belt out singing when we arrived at Gulf Shores State Park in Alabama. For you see, this is our third try to get here. Last April, we had reservations. The campground was open, but everything else, even the beach, was closed. Why go? So, we changed our reservation to September. Being from the Midwest, we don’t usually think about hurricanes. All we did that trip was drive around Mississippi in a nice, big circle while running away from Hurricane Sally. But, now we are finally here, and baby, oh baby, it was worth the wait!

We’ve taken a few days to get acclimated to the park and its many amenities. The sites are all full hook up, and we have site #192 which is on the main drag right near the Nature Center, pool, laundry, and camp store. The sites are spacious here, so even though the campground has 496 sites, it does not feel packed in. The road is busy at times, but I guess that’s the trade off to be close to everything, including the free tram stop.

Site 192

The park is huge, and the campground sits inland away from the Gulf. On the Gulf, as part of the park, sits three area destinations. First, there is the Beach Pavilion and Interpretive Center. Second is The Lodge and restaurant. And third is the Pier with a snack bar, too. The pictures below are in the order as if one is approaching from the campground – i.e. the Beach Pavilion is to the left, etc.

The Beach Pavilion and The Lodge are about two miles apart. The Lodge though is much closer to the Pier, maybe one-forth of a mile.

Beach Pavilion
and Interpretive Center
The Lodge
and restaurant
The Pier
It stops here due to the damage from Hurricane Sally.

Our first full day, we walked to the Lodge. By the time we got to The Lodge, we had 10,000 steps already. So, after checking out The Lodge and the restaurant area, we took the tram back to the Nature Center, right near our campsite. This worked out great!

Our second day, we took the tram to the Beach Pavilion and the Interpretive Center.

View from inside the outdoor Interpretive Center with beach and ocean in the background.
The Interpretive Center

The Interpretive Center was very educational, explaining how the state park and its systems were very much designed with the environment in the forefront. As someone who has a rain barrel, the system to collect rainwater for the complex impressed me.

Rain collection system. Three chains hanging from roof leading into a bucket.
There are a number of collection points.
Notice the one in the background.
Rain bucket chain.
Notice the large blue container for rain water storage.
Betty sitting on a bronze turtle with "Gulf State Park Pier" sign in the background.
Hi Bill!
“This One’s for You.”
(Another song by Barry!)

Next we wanted to explore The Pier. However, the tram does not go to the Pier, so we took the tram from the Beach Pavilion to The Lodge and then walked to The Pier. Even with taking the tram, we still got lots of steps in that day.

The Pier with a number of people fishing.
Man's arm holding a fish caught.
Since we don’t fish,
we had to buy hot dogs for lunch.

So, that’s our first couple of days here. Everything has gone pretty well.

Well, there was that tiny bump when we got stranded at The Lodge and had to Uber back. They forgot to mention the tram was getting a new windshield put in that afternoon.

And then there was that moment when Dan had to run after the tram in the parking lot. When the tram came by, we weren’t quite at the stop. We were just up the walk a bit and were talking to some other campers we had just met. They were from St. Charles, just like us! However, it was the tram’s last stop for the day, so we said a quick goodbye and took off. Good thing Dan has long legs!

There’s so much more to this park- and the area, like the…, oh hold on there a minute doggy. This is quite a special place; it’s going to take a number of posts to describe our time here in Gulf Shores. I’m thinking, it’s kind of like how Barry sings, “Could It Be Magic?”

Betty updating the RV state sticker map.
Finally!
The Alabama sticker!

39 comments

  1. Gulf Shores sounds like a great spot! Looking forward to hearing and seeing more about it through your posts. I had a visual of your hubs running after the tram, lol. Betty, where did you get that map for the back of your RV? We have a large metal one at home that’s almost filled up with Canada and USA magnets, but those travels weren’t in our motorhome. Would love to get one for Miss TCB

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It is a great spot, especially for walking and biking. So many trails! We bought that travel map at Jack Sisemore’s Traveland RV Museum which is in Amarillo, Texas. I wrote a post early in my blog about our trip there. However, I would bet that very same map is available on Amazon. We’ve used it for all our travels, and our rule is we must have slept overnight in the state before the sticker goes on. But everybody does it their own way, of course. So, where does the name “Miss TCB” come from? Enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the map info, and you’re right, there are several different ones on Amazon, so I’ll be ordering soon. Miss TCB … Well, hubs and I always liked Elvis Presley, and even more so after a couple of visits to Graceland. Elvis’s motto and logo was TCB (taking care of business)in a Flash. We’re definitely taking care of business when we travel in our motor home … and in addition to that, our daughter and her two children have the first initials of T, C, and B and my first name is Terry and hubs’ nickname is “Benny”, so all around, it seemed to be a great fit. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is the perfect name for your motor home! Works all the way around. Can’t wait until you are traveling again, and I can read your posts. Have a great Saturday!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My parents owned a little house on the Gulf and retired there. I loved visiting. It is a beautiful spot! When they passed away, they also sold a small shotgun shack. I have often thought I wished they had kept the shotgun shack. Enjoy. There are some wonderful seafood restaurants and that is the home of the throwed roll: Lamberts

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oregon is far from us, but I do hope to travel there someday and see all the beauty there! I have so many places I’m excited to visit. But what I enjoy most is just being where I am and making the most of it. I am grateful we have our travel trailer and get to travel – whether it’s near or far! Enjoy the weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful campground for two weeks. Absolutely love the turtle, thanks so much. We’ve never gone to the campground, we usually stay in the Escapees Park in Summerdale about thirty minutes away. But I can definitely see a trip in our future. While you’re getting your steps in, can you get a few for me. Continue to enjoy and make the most of the time there. Looking forward to future posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I saw that turtle and thought of you! We try to get steps in every day whether at home or camping somewhere. There are also so many great bike trails here. Like you, we feel very lucky to be here and traveling – and plan to make the most of it. And of course, there are more posts coming. I hope you enjoy your day, too!

      Like

  4. That is a big campground. Looks like a great spot. We’ll keep it in mind for the next time we pass through. I wonder if bicycles are an option for getting around instead of depending on a shuttle?

    The dock is an example of damage we’ve seen to parks all along the gulf coast from numerous hurricanes. It’s too bad it takes so long for government to budget funds for repairs.

    I look forward to to next post. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, bicycles are very much an option for getting around. We took the tram to the beach pavilion as we brought our Scrabble game and played a couple games there. We could have also driven, but since we are right by the tram pick up, so we chose that. Safe travels!

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