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Gulf Getaway or “Fourteener” Fun: Top Spring Break Destinations for Alabamians

17 Mar 2015

By Amber Bara

Spring break in the south is a big deal. There are many phenomenal spring break spots from which to choose every year, and this year will be no different. Whether you are a pirate looking at 40, a family of four, or a cohort of college friends needing a four-bedroom condo as a launch pad to fun, there are many options that fit your needs.

The Gulf of Mexico:

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach:

If options are what you need and the sirens are calling your name, the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area may be right for you. Sweet Home Alabama, the official travel site of the state, boasts, “Whether you want peaceful seclusion, an adrenaline rush or bustling night life, you’re sure to find it on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Choose your own adventure – hike miles of trails, go on a dolphin sightseeing tour, and discover endless waterways via kayak or canoe.” And don’t forget about the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, a world famous golfing destination right in our own back yard.

While in Gulf Shores, make sure to see Gulf State Park, ranked second among top area destinations on TripAdvisor.com. And for a break from the beach, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo may be perfect. Trip Advisor ranks it fifth on its list of top attractions in the area. Prices for lodging in March start at just under $100, making a white sand family vacation affordable.

Destin and 30A:

If beach bathing in a beautiful fishing village is your dream way of letting off steam, then the Destin area has your name written in the sand. US News and World Report ranks Destin as the 7th best beach in the United States. With a ranking like that, how could one pass up an opportunity to relax on these sugar white Appalachian quartz sand beaches? According to HomeAway.com, 60 percent of Destin’s 24-mile shoreline is protected. It names Beasley Park, James Lee Park, Ed Walline Park, and Henderson Beach Park, as the best beaches to visit in the area. Lodging prices during March start at just below $100.


The Shores of Mississippi:

If you would like to avoid the spring break crowds and still honor your inner pirate, then the shores of Mississippi may be perfect for you. The shoreline of Mississippi is the home of Jimmy Buffet, and the laid back lifestyle he exemplifies emanates throughout the area. According to GulfCoast.org, Mississippi’s Gulf Coast houses picturesque beaches and 62 miles of scenic shoreline. A chain of barrier islands work to limit strong waves, making the area perfect for water-based activities and children. Families can take chartered excursions to Ship Island as well. Located approximately 12 miles offshore from Gulfport, Ship Island is an excellent place to swim, look for shells or just kick back and catch some rays.

With lodging prices being below $100 per night in March, this beach destination would be perfect for the laid-back pirate looking to drop anchor affordably.

Fun in the 14ers:

Breckenridge / Keystone / A-Basin:

With over 16 feet of snowfall in Breckenridge County during the 2014/15 season already, spring break should be a great time. Expect live music, competitions, festivities and family-friendly events through Breck’s closing day, April 19.

If you are an avid skier or boarder who wants to step away from the crowds and gain a more local feel, be sure to check out A-Basin where the base is nicknamed “the beach.” See!? You will not be missing out on a beach experience; your beach will simply be made of snow.

A trip to Colorado is pricier than a drive to the Gulf, however, a family can save money by purchasing lift tickets in advance and staying in Frisco or Silverthorne to gain discounts on lodging. There are also many shuttle services that allow you to sidestep renting a vehicle. Summit Express is great for airport travel and the Breck Free Ride solves one’s local transit needs.

With so much fun to be had in Colorado’s 14er-land, it is time to find a spot on “the beach” and soak up some high altitude sun. Jimmy Buffet coined the phrase: “It's these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes” but the mountains of Colorado could claim the same for changes in altitude!

So no matter where you decide to go this spring break, know that there is a perfect destination for your needs. Have fun!

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Azalea City Living is Mobile, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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