Best beaches to avoid crowds along Florida's Gulf Coast
Springtime arrives and thoughts of emerald waters and sugar white beaches come to mind.
Heading east from New Orleans, heaven exists in our neighboring Gulf states, and the beachside destinations run the gamut from quaint bed-and-breakfasts and inns, to full-service resorts with all the amenities.
Here are 10 to choose from, from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Panama City.
Marriott Grand Hotel Point Clear, Ala.
The Grand Hotel owns a colorful history.
First opened as a resort in 1847, the hotel was used as a makeshift hospital during the Civil War and allowed military to secretly train on the grounds during World War II.
People visit for its championship golf courses, the AAA four-diamond restaurant, an elegant spa with one of the finest quiet rooms — at least for women — and best casinos gulf coast beaches activities.
There are also plenty of ongoing events held throughout the year, such as the Opus One Wine Dinner March 22, and the annual Easter celebration.
Charming Fairhope, with its restaurants and shopping, is only minutes away.
Website: The Beach Club Gulf Shores, Ala.
There are several reasons to choose The Beach Club at Gulf Shores.
First, the massive property is located on Highway 180, halfway from the heart of Gulf Shores to secluded Fort Morgan at the end of the peninsula, far enough away from the maddening crowds to offer a more peaceful beach experience.
There are 86 acres left to nature, lined with walking trails and vast private beaches.
Second, the property offers variety, from the multi-story condominium towers overlooking the Gulf to quaint lakeside cottages.
Last, go for the variety.
One of the reasons The Beach Club attracts snowbirds in winter the Bermuda shorts wearing kind in addition to the warm season visitors, is its long menu of amenities.
In addition, weekly activities range from pickleball and aqua Zumba to happy hour and movie nights.
Website: Wyndham Bay Point Resort Panama City, Fla.
The Gulf side of Panama City stretches as one long strip of hotels, condos, restaurants and beach attractions.
Andrews Bay on a peninsula just north of the Gulf beaches is Wyndham Bay Point Resort, and that location makes all the difference for those wanting a more natural beach experience.
Shore click to see more flit among the sea grasses and golfers enjoy championship golf within a 1,100-acre wildlife preserve.
On the water is a boardwalk that stretches out to a private strip of beach, bayside café and access to best casinos gulf coast beaches Bay Point Lady, which heads out to scenic Shell Island daily during the season at no charge to best casinos gulf coast beaches />Andrews State Park with its fabulous beaches, hiking trails and access to Shell Island is but a short drive away, as is the heart of Panama City.
Charming Fairhope is a short drive away as well as the Battleship Memorial Park, where rests the Battleship USS Alabama, the submarine USS Drum and the Aircraft Pavilion.
And when not thinking of Gulf beaches, there are plenty of things to do in Mobile central.
Places to visit in Mobile include the Mobile Museum of Art that offers great art both inside and out, several historic homes that are open to the public and the obelisk grave of Michael Frafft, a member of the ancient Carnival Cowbellion Society, which is decorated by modern Mardi Gras revelers every year in historic Magnolia Cemetery.
Website: Beau Rivage Casino and Resort Biloxi, Miss.
Beau Rivage on the Mississippi Gulf Coast offers 32 stories and 85,000 square feet of casino.
There are plenty of dining and lounge options including two gourmet restaurants, a spa and salon, a retail promenade and the Tom Fazio-designed golf course, Fallen Oak.
Gehry but inside lies the unique ceramics of George E.
A quick drive from New Orleans to Biloxi, Beau Rivage makes it easy to enjoy Gulf beaches.
Website: Henderson Park Inn Destin, Fla.
In the midst of the concrete condos and shopping marts of Destin lies the New England-styled Henderson Park Inn bed-and-breakfast.
The inn is located next to Henderson Beach State Park, which means that at least one side of the property enjoys more dunes and wildlife than human wild life.
Everything is included, including wine and chocolates on arrival and a gourmet breakfast in the morning to beach chairs, bicycles and other beach essentials.
It was also voted No.
Website: Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast Magnolia Springs, Ala.
Turpentine brought timber folks to sleepy Magnolia Springs, Ala.
That is a good thing for tourists best casinos gulf coast beaches for a true southern small town experience.
In fact, mail is still delivered by boat year-round.
Ancient live oaks provide a welcome canopy over city streets, offering a cooling effect even in the sweltering months of summer.
Store built in 1922 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Website: Rosemary Beach Rosemary Beach, Fla.
Highway 30-A stretches east of Destin, featuring planned communities, house rentals, a variety of wonderful dining options and, of course, beautiful beaches.
Snaking through the subdivision are meandering trails leading to the town center, bike rentals, pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, a full-service spa, a racquet club, a butterfly garden and shopping.
It is a beach experience where just about everything you need is within walking distance.
The beaches, with their environmentally significant dunes, have been lovingly taken into consideration when building this property.
Nine walkovers two for wheelchair access take visitors down to the beach over the dunes.
This award-winning full-service resort received the Forbes 4-Star travel rating for 2014, the second year in a row.
Chalk it up to the vacation houses and newly redecorated inn rooms, the numerous amenities from six luxurious pools to shopping, championship golf and tennis and the endless activities to keep the family happy.
Visitors may rent films from the DVD library or enjoy a movie night.
The resort neighbors Grayton Beach State Park with its nearly 2,000 acres of dunes, lakes, beaches and a unique salt marsh ecosystem.
There are more than four miles of hiking and biking trails in the park, plus fishermen and paddlers may access the inland lake by a park boat visit web page />Sandestin offers a variety of accommodations to suit any taste or budget.
There are four distinct areas of the property — Beachside, Bayside, Lakeside and The Village and Grand Complex — along with four championship golf courses, 15 tennis courts of both HydroGrid clay best casinos gulf coast beaches hard surfaces, a 98-slip marina, a fitness center and spa and a village of boutiques, restaurants and nightlife venues at the Village of Baytowne Wharf.
In other words, park your car and never touch the gas pedal until you leave.
Seasonal transportation around the property is included, so you can stay at the Village of Baytowne Wharf see more and catch a ride to the beach.
Or view the Gulf from your seaside accommodations and grab fish tacos and margaritas at the Lazy Gecko Deck Bar or zip line at Baytowne Adventure Zone.
This spring the resort hosts the Sandestin Wine Festival April 10-13 at The Village of Baytowne Wharf, featuring wine tastings of more than 800 domestic and international wines.
Website: BREAKING AWAY Zoo Encounters Visitors get up close and personal at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, including petting a baby white tiger.
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo at Gulf Shores offers everything you could want in a zoo: more than 500 animals in various habitats, daily animals shows in the summer and a petting zoo.
For instance, young Bengal tigers are released in an enclosed environment, allowing visitors to pet, scratch and feed the cubs.
Participating tigers arrive when available through the Marcan Tiger Preserve.
For more information, visit.
Panhandle Parks The home of William Henry Wesley with its collection of Louis XVI furniture — best casinos gulf coast beaches second largest in the United States — is open for tours at Eden Gardens State Best casinos gulf coast beaches />The Florida Panhandle is home to numerous state parks, from natural springs to historic properties — not to mention plenty of beaches.
Eden Gardens State Park, below, near Grayton Beach allows visitors a chance to tour the 5,500-square-foot home of William Henry Wesley with its collection of Louis XVI furniture: the second largest in the country.
Around the home are 163 landscaped acres that include a rose garden, picnic areas and Tucker Bayou.
Between Grayton Beach and Panama City is the rustic Camp Helen State Park, the site of a former textile mill camp for employee family members.
The park includes historic buildings best locals reno a long boardwalk to the beach with protected dune areas and marsh.
For more information on Florida state parks, visit.
Free Mississippi You can watch potters at work at Shearwater Pottery in Ocean Springs, many of them descendants of Peter Anderson and his brothers, Walter and James.
In Ocean Springs, you can visit Shearwater Pottery, where ceramics begun by the late Peter Anderson and his brothers, Walter and James, are still being handcrafted, and if you arrive before 4:30 p.
Shearwater creates distinctive art pottery, decorative tiles, figurines and other pottery pieces.
Admission is free, but the quaint gift shop that sells maritime-related gifts and local arts and books helps support the museum.
The same can be said for the Shearwater Pottery Showroom, the only retail outlet for the pottery.
Cooking Up Fun The Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Fairhope, Ala.
The next morning chefs from the hotel restaurants will teach culinary classes appropriate for both novice and advanced cooks.
The beverage classes begin on Friday nights at 5:30 p.
The culinary classes begin at 10 a.
For information and to register, call 251 928-9201.
Participants must be 21 or older in classes incorporating alcohol.
Exploring Biloxi, Gulfport & Long Beach, Mississippi
Areas of the Gulf Coast rank among the top casino markets in the country.. at Best Western, Candlewood Suites or Point Estero Beach Resort.
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