Another day on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, another yellow beach conditions flag, and another cup of coffee on the balcony, let’s give it up for day 2 of Corona-cation!
(if you’re wondering why the heck I’m traveling during a viral pandemic, that’s ok! Read the explanation here.)
Today we plan on changing up our schedule.
Instead of heading right to the beach, we are going to spend the morning hunting for some marine wildlife from the Gulf State Fishing Pier. Afterwards, we plan on stopping for lunch at the wildest party place in Gulf Shores: the Hangout restaurant. And after that, we’ll just play it by ear!
Here’s a run down of my second day in Gulf Shores, Alabama:
Gulf State Fishing Pier
Oh I’m so excited to be here!
The Gulf State Park Fishing Pier is, in my experience, the best place to see marine life in Gulf Shores. Why? Because it reaches 1,500 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, and there’s no better way to look at the critters swimming around down there than from above! Over the years, I’ve seen sharks, sea turtles, manta and sting rays, and dozens of fish from this pier, and I was especially interested to see what we’d find in March, since we usually visit in June.
Once we got to the pier’s parking lot, we noticed the yellow and purple tandem flags waving proudly on the flagpole. There’s always a purple flag here, though, because of the bull and black-tip sharks lurking around for the aforementioned fishing bait (so don’t swim at the pier’s adjacent beach).
After paying our $3 entrance fee, we made our way down the pier’s boardwalk, taking care to avoid the locals who go fishing here daily, and scanned the water for sea creatures. Thankfully, the water was clear again today and we were able to see a school of speckled trout jumping dramatically out of the water as they swam under the boardwalk. We also spotted a round-looking sea creature from the ocean floor that could’ve been a stingray, a flounder, or a sea turtle. I guess we’ll never know! Once we got to the end of the pier, there were birds galore. Floating on the top of the water, we saw a ton of Brown Pelicans, a Common Loon, and a Cormorant!
While we didn’t see a whole lot of fish or other marine life, the variety of birds we got to see and (attempt to) identify made this a moderately good wildlife spotting day at the pier!
For more info on pricing and hours of operation, click here!
The Hangout Bar and Grill is definitely most famous for its huge music festival, appropriately called ‘Hangout Fest’, that it hosts every year. The restaurant’s walls are lined with kids toys like rubber ducks, and outside, you’ll find yard games, more photo-ops than you could possibly pose in front of, a wish wall where you can write down a wish and stick it in the wall, and of course, a bright, sandy stretch beach!
Outside of Hangout Fest, or one of the dozens of other parties the place hosts, the Hangout is usually a pretty quiet lunch spot, and serves amazing seafood. My sisters and I ordered our food, ran around taking fun pictures in the comically large and colorful beach chairs, and then I food-comatized myself on a blue crab po-boy. DEEEEEElicious!
Back to the Beach
After recovering from my very serious crab coma, I spent the rest of the day floating in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of its gulfy-nature, the waves never get very high, making the water perfect for gently rocking you to sleep, or a little boogie boarding if you’re feeling crazy.
Eventually, the sun started to set and the tide receded, creating an odd but fascinating seaside river that rushed quickly in… a direction. It was odd, so here’s a picture.
We followed the seaside river, too tired to crab hunt tonight but not too exhausted for a sunset walk. Besides the occasional crazy spring-breaker group, it was a peaceful and pastel-colored walk.
What a delightful way to round out the second day of my Corona-cation, and gosh do I love it here!
Tomorrow, we plan to go on a hike at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. I’ve never been there before, so I’m excited to check it out! You all know how much I love to talk about ecology and animals during my travels ;).
Anyways, I hope you liked today’s diary/travel journal dealio, and I also hope you come back to read about my adventures again.
See ya’ then if you do!