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Sunday
Mar052017

February Beach Trip to Gulf Shores

February at Alabama's Gulf Shores can be iffy. The weather can be cold, windy, and rainy; or it can be warm, sunny, and wonderful. Or some combination. My family's recent beach trip to Gulf Shores was perfect! During the day, the temps were warm enough to be on the beach in shirt sleeves and shorts. I even saw people in the ocean. No doubt these were "snow birds" escaping the frigid air of places like Michigan and Minnesota, where temps in the 70's are considered high summer and as good as it gets for dipping in the water. Nope, not for me. The water was still cold, despite the balmy air. I did enjoy our condo's hot tub and heated indoor pool, however.

The beach is photogenic year-round. Here are a selection of images from among the many I took:

A view from our condo of the State Pier at Gulf State Park:

What people do at the beach in February:

Besides the usual beach activities, we enjoyed a 3-hour kayak tour of the nearby Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge with WildNative Tours.

We also spent time exploring inside Gulf State Park, which was very close to our condo. The park has an amazing series of trails. These photos were taken inside the park:

Lake Shelby is the largest of three freshwater lakes inside Gulf State Park, just across the road from the salt waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The ecosystem here is amazing.

The next two photos may look a little dangerous, but be assured I used my telephoto!

I visited the State Pier, which stretches out into the Gulf, a couple of times to see if anyone was catching fish. Once I heard a guy say, "I told you chicken would work!" When I turned, I saw him hauling a decent sized fish up. That was the only fish I saw anyone catch.

I wasn't the only one watching the fishermen. Pelicans were hanging around the fish cleaning station, clearly waiting on handouts.

Our condo had wonderful views. Sunrise and sunset over the Gulf is always something special. This view from our bedroom wakened me one morning. I took a photo right through the window. It was worth waking up for!

Now I am home, and it is time to turn my attention to my garden!

Best wishes to you all!  Deb 

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Reader Comments (15)

Great pics!

Especially that close-up of the pelican :)

March 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Your photos are picture postcard perfect, Deb! I loved the pelican close-ups but the alligator shots were something else - they do have frightening grins. I'm glad you had a great get-away!

March 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Lucky you, winter breaks can be more enjoyable than longer summer holidays. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

March 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Avoiding the crowds at a Winter vacation at the beach, love it! I am at vacation atm, and nope, won't go into the water, way too cold for me ;-)

March 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGone Tropical

Even with a long lens, that alligator was too close for comfort ! Lovely shots of the pelican. Looks like you had a great time.

March 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

Was that gator winkin' at you?

March 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Yep, that gator was definitely winkin' at me! Deb

March 7, 2017 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

What a beautiful spot - and captured wonderfully in your photos! I do love to see pelicans - they bring back memories of my travels to the U.S. coast. I hope that you have returned home rested and brimming with ideas for your garden.

March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Shoesmith

I hope you were not in the water in a kayak when you spotted that alligator? Your photographs are like little paintings.

March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

I loved this post, Deb. What a wonderful tour of Alabama Gulf shore. I would love a kayak ride in that Wildlife Refuge. So many birds and even alligators. Great experience to have.

March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Hi, Deb, it was very nice to see photos of the Alabama Gulf Shores an area of America where I have never been. The photo from the Gulf State Park are really beautiful and you even got one of an Alligator, wow! I would have loved to do the kayak tour through the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. It is such a great and eco-friendly way to get up close with nature and its inhabitants.
One thing that made me sad though were the photos of the highrises directly build on the coast. For me, this type of architecture completely destroys the beauty of the coastline. How much nicer and appropriate for the area are the smaller buildings on the photo below!
Sound like you had a wonderful trip! Hope it has you refreshed and rejuvenated and you are full of energy to tackle your spring garden!
Warm regards,
Christina

March 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

How beautiful! That looks like a lovely place to escape to in winter, though I am very glad you used a telephoto lens for that gator!

March 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

Hi everyone! Thank you all for your thoughtful comments!
Christina, I agree wholeheartedly about the high-rises on the coast. I well remember when this area was almost all charming cottages and smaller scale hotels. Unfortunately, a series of hurricanes blew most of them away, and the property owners took advantage of the opportunity to build something sturdier and more lucrative. At least all these large high-rises must respect the dunes and their supporting ecosystems. And fortunately there are still charming cottages being built in parts of Gulf Shores, and farther east along the panhandle of Florida there are a number of coastal communities being built which honor the traditional small coastal town as well as the coastal ecosystem, such as Seaside, Florida, which is one of my favorite vacation spots. You can find photos of Seaside by following the link on my front page sidebar.

Best wishes! Deb

March 12, 2017 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

While I'm hunkered down indoors as a blizzard rages outside, I'm really enjoying this beautiful, warm, sunny images. Your description of February sounds like our April: The weather can be cold, windy, and rainy (or even snowy), or it can be warm, sunny and wonderful.

March 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJean

There's little I love more than a beach, especially in winter! Those fun photos soothed my soul as I look out on another gray, cool day.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

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