Looking for suggestions - Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Destin, 30a

MischaOz

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 25, 2015
Hi folks! Not Disney-related but I trust my fellow DIS-ers! Considering a panhandle beach trip for late March and I am overwhelmed by all of the options! I would really love suggestions on this area.

The traveling party will be myself, my husband, and our 7yo daughter. We love nature so our ideal beach situation would be less crowded and more natural where we can hunt for sea life, sea shells, etc.

I’m not a fan of huge resorts so would prefer more intimate accommodations and an open to renting a condo also. Would love something close to the beach that also has a nice pool.

Any and all suggestions are most welcome! Thank you in advance!!
 

Praying Colonel

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
DW & I love to rent a condo & stay in Perdido Key, which is due east on SR 292 going from Gulf Shores/Orange Beach toward Pensacola. It's quieter, not as touristy & very pretty. In fact we'll be there the last week of October. PM me if you want some suggestions on places to stay/restaurants / etc.
 

luvsJack

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Seaside is nice. Its not so small you won't find a place to eat but its not like Gulf Shores and PCB which are a bit more rowdy and ready to party. And Grayton Beach is another nice smaller town.
 
  • OneOftheB's

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2015
    If you want a very natural environment look at Indian Pass/ Port St Joe. You will be a drive (15-20 minutes) from good restaurants but the end of Indian Pass is a park. If you want a beach trip you will want to make certain you get a gulf side house and not bay side. Ever time I've ever gone to PSJ, I have seen multiple pods of dolphins (they will swim nearly to you in the water) and in the summer there are horseshoe crabs and turtles nesting. It's very relaxing and not nearly as commercial as the other beaches you mentioned. Plus the locals are delighted to see vacationers returning after the hurricane last year.
     

    J'aime Paris

    Living happily ever after
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2008
    I'm biased toward Orange Beach, since we own condos there.

    But if you seek quieter surroundings, head east past Gulf Shores to Fort Morgan. There are less condo complexes, and stand alone homes for rent. You can also take the ferry over to Dauphin Island for a day. Nature/bird lovers paradise!

    Then you are still a short drive back to Orange Beach/Gulf Shores for the putt-putt, souvenir shops, arcade, Gulf State Park (lots of trails for hiking/biking. lake for fishing), great restaurants, a bit more action, etc. in case your 7 year old ends up bored of too much quiet, lol!
     

    Kathryn Merteuil

    Barden Bella
    Joined
    May 11, 2012
    Seaside is nice. Its not so small you won't find a place to eat but its not like Gulf Shores and PCB which are a bit more rowdy and ready to party. And Grayton Beach is another nice smaller town.
    Seaside is a great place. The Airstream trailer "food truck" things are really cool. I really like the whole atmosphere of Seaside, it is just a fun place to go, and a very cute town. I like the smaller towns like that. I don't really care much for Destin or Panama City Beach, maybe I am getting old but those two places are bit too crowded and obnoxious.
     

    MischaOz

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 25, 2015
    Wow, thank you so much everyone for your prompt replies! I can’t wait to get online and start researching these places!
     
  • marymouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 6, 2000
    You can't go wrong with nearly anywhere on the Panhandle, however, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Destin, PCB and 30A will be covered up most of those times for spring break.The South has a rolling Spring Break that doesn't always tie to Easter like it tends to up north. I'd check the times for surrounding states before booking.

    I was raised on those beaches and love them all. If I was headed that way during the spring break times I would head to Okaloosa Island or Fort Morgan. Cape San Blas and St Joe Beach are beautiful but still experiencing a lot of issues from Hurricane Michael. They are open for visitors and would love to have them but keep in mind that some places will still be closed and/or opening still on limited services.
     

    cvjw

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 22, 2005
    We vacation in watercolor every year. You rent houses and ride your bike everywhere. Google it. It is a fantastic place. Right on 30-A by seaside.

    I would not recommend destin or Panama City beach. They are all high rise condos now. There are so many people there and the traffic can be terrible.
     

    elle21

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2016
    30A area is gorgeous, quiet and has quaint/ charming beach towns. We loved our first trip there last year and can't wait to go back. We drove over to Destin for a dolphin cruise and fireworks. It's extremely built up and touristy and not my thing at all. I prefer a quiet and natural beach vacation.
     

    Kathryn Merteuil

    Barden Bella
    Joined
    May 11, 2012
    30A area is gorgeous, quiet and has quaint/ charming beach towns. We loved our first trip there last year and can't wait to go back. We drove over to Destin for a dolphin cruise and fireworks. It's extremely built up and touristy and not my thing at all. I prefer a quiet and natural beach vacation.
    We also did a dolphin cruise in Destin before, I don't remember the name of it, but I know we saw a lot of dolphins really well. One of my favorite beach spots is that Deer Lake State Park (I think that's the name). It is like kind of a creepy drive back into the middle of nowhere, and then a little walk through kind of a jungle looking path area followed a very long walk down a boardwalk thing. It is well worth it though. The beach is lovely there and not "built up".
     
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