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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”