Last year while we were visiting family in Baton Rouge, we decided to take a few days and head to a "real" beach on the Gulf Coast. We had such a good time that we have decided to make it an annual tradition.
This year we tried to get other family members to come along with us. My dad was hoping to come but it didn't work out. But Stuart's brother and his daughter came. It was fun for the cousins to get to spend time together.
We got rooms at the Hampton Inn and Suites right on the beach. This is where we stayed last year. The rooms are nice plus they have a great breakfast included with the room price. And, did I mention that it is right on the beach?! We bring umbrellas, ice chest, snorkeling gear, sand castle gear, etc so it is nice to be right there on the beach and not have to lug that stuff around more than necessary.
We arrived late in the day but we hadn't even gotten our stuff unpacked when the kids were begging to go down to the beach. Look how beautiful the view from our room was.
The next morning we got up early to play on the beach. The waters were no longer still. Instead they were actually quite rough.
We played in the surf some but we spent most of our time just hanging out in the sand.
Nicholas played around with dripping wet sand on to itself.
Eventually it started to look like a sand stalagmite!
Stuart buried Nicholas in the sand. Look at that big smile on Nicholas' face! He loved it!
I love that I can always find THE BEST flip flops at the beach. I bought a pair of Cobian flip flops when we were here last summer and they were my favorite shoe all year long until they eventually broke. So, of course, I had to come back to get a replacement pair.
Even the waves hitting the shore were strong. If you weren't paying attention, they could knock you over.
One great thing about the strong waves is that they brought in a lot of shells. Most of them were not very big but we collected quite a few neat ones to bring home.
Plus Rachel had fun "riding" the waves on her boogie board.
We played and played until we were just wiped out.
We headed back to the rooms for showers and to go searching for food. I was ready to just sit on the balcony and read a book while listening to the waves and watching the seagulls but the kids were longing to go down to the beach again.
So we headed back down and spent the rest of the afternoon in the sand and surf.
Nicholas enjoys playing in the sand. He buried Rachel in the sand and shaped the sand to make her look like a mermaid.
Then he wanted to bury Mommy. I wasn't excited about being buried in sand but then I reminded myself to savor the days. He had so much fun and it was neat seeing him at work.
He used the tip of the shovel to make a neat pattern that could be used for scales or feathers.
In my case they became feathers as I transformed into an eagle!
There had been some rain earlier but it was short-lived and moved through quickly. But the waves were still quite strong. I kept getting knocked over when I went out in it. But they were beautiful to watch and the sound of them crashing was so relaxing to listen to.
This is our second summer to come to Orange Beach and we just love it. We love the location of this hotel, we love the quality of the beach, and we love that it isn't too far of a drive. However, the only problem we have with this beach is.....
….there are a lot of jellyfish in the water! And they aren't far out where it is deep and most people don't go. No, they are right at the shore where everyone is playing.
And look how long their tentacles are! I think we might have to hunt down another beach to visit next summer, even if it means driving a little further.
Sometimes we saw dead jellyfish that has washed up on the beach.
We have each gotten little stings over the two trips we have made here. Your skins burns some but fortunately we haven't had it bad enough to keep us out of the water.
This summer we found a new fun thing to do here. Helicopter rides over the beach with Orange Beach Helicopter Tours! Even though they gave rides all day and each ride was rather short, we still had to make reservations. There was a constant stream of people coming in for rides.
The helicopter is only big enough for three riders. Stuart and I took a helicopter tour in Hawaii so it wasn't as big of a deal for us but both kids were super excited to ride in a helicopter for the first time.
I got a video of the take-off but somehow the video stops just as they leave the ground.
I love the video of them coming back in for the landing. They come in so quickly yet gracefully.
We only stayed for two nights so it was a short trip but it was a lot of fun. The brothers got to hang out and relax.
And the cousins got to spend time playing at the beach together.
Hopefully we can make another trip like this again next summer!