Thursday, May 25, 2017

Our Beach Vacation!

We are back from the beach, and we had the most glorious time. Truly. I thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures along with info on where we stayed and where we ate in case anyone else is planning a trip to Orange Beach in the near future!

We love Orange Beach, Alabama, for many reasons, and one big reason is proximity! It takes less than 5 hours to drive there, and with two kids that's something to consider. It's a family-friendly community with tons of great places to stay and some fabulous restaurants.

We've been visiting here for about six years now (pre-kids and growing up I always went to Destin, Florida), and each time we've stayed at a Phoenix condominium (there are 19 to choose among!). Our favorite is Phoenix West II, and that's where we stayed this year. We love how clean it is; the amenities are just what we need; and we also love the fact that there's a splash pad, and the pool has a big slide and a lazy river.

We always book directly through Brett/Robinson Vacations (the company responsible for the condos), but I know a lot of people have good success with as well. I've noticed I can find better rates on the Brett/Robinson site, however.


Before I bore you with more lodging info, I'll share our pictures. There are lots! And then I'll share where we ate at the end.

Shortly after we arrived the girls were eager to feel the sand and the water. So we made a quick trip to the beach before coming back up to the room to unpack and get settled in.

Lily got this Trolls bathing suit for her birthday and has been dying to wear it since.


The Paw Patrol trucker hat kills me.

Hadley has food in every picture because snacks make her happy.

We had our favorite meal here. And check out this view! If you're in Orange Beach, you must check out Shipp's Harbour Grill!

This one ate her weight in fried shrimp.

Dinner ended with a surprise chocolate chip cookie with chocolate icing. Winner.

Doing a little dance. Another beach day. Yay! Followed by, "Can we move here?"

With my littlest nugget. How cute is her pineapple suit?

We love a splash pad...and it's surrounded by beach chairs, so Rob and I were able to sit back and relax while the girls played!

The sweetest sisters. So thankful they have one another!

Selfie with the hubs. Wish we could've gotten a family photo too!

This picture cracks me up. Hadley doing yoga at the splash pad!

Our final night, after dinner at Tacky Jacks.

The sunrise on our last morning. Just incredible. I enjoyed watching the sun come up each morning while drinking a cup of coffee. That's one of my favorite things about the beach!

Where we ate

Our beach routine is usually the same each day. Wake up; go to the beach for most of the morning, then cool off in the pool before heading up for lunch. We keep lunch easy and casual and pick up food from the local grocery store to snack on...that way we have more time at the beach. And then after a full afternoon of swimming and building sandcastles, we generally get cleaned up and head to dinner.
We went to Doc's Seafood Shack on night one. We were looking for something very casual, but we wanted some good seafood. Doc's did not disappoint. Don't go for the atmosphere or the views. You won't find either. But you'll get some really good food! Rob had the fried seafood platter (duh), and I had stuffed crab...and lots and lots of French fries.

After a long second day on the beach, we picked up sushi to go and ate on our balcony. That's kind of become a tradition for us, and each time we pick up from Big Fish Restaurant. Best sushi I've ever had. I'm sure the dinner menu is just as good.

A girlfriend recommended Shipp's Harbour Grill, and it's become a new favorite. The atmosphere was perfection, and the food was stellar. I had the Gulf Coast Snapper, and Rob had the Grouper Ponchatrain.
We discovered Cosmos years ago and make a point to return there each year. The atmosphere is fun and quirky, and we ate outside while a band was playing. There's also a fun gift shop attached, which makes waiting for a table a little easier. Rob got the fresh catch of the day for dinner, and I got the grilled shrimp. It honestly wasn't my favorite thing I've ordered there, but we'll still be back. If you go, you must try the firecracker shrimp appetizer and/or the BBQ crab claws!

Our final night we stopped by Tacky Jacks. It's probably more of a touristy spot, but it's casual and laid back and a great place to visit with kids. Our waitress was fabulous (she was from Romania!), and a fun band was playing in the outdoor dining area. I had the Half and Half platter (grilled fish and blackened shrimp), and Rob had the Steamed Royal Reds. It was really tasty. The Firecracker Shrimp appetizer is amazing as well.


So, now we're home...our skin is a little darker (or, mine is more freckled, and Hadley's is just as fair); our bellies are full (we probably all gained a few pounds); and our hearts and minds have some special memories to hold onto (cheesy but true). It was a fabulous trip. Yay for summer!

Let me know if you've ever been to Orange Beach and where you like to stay and/or eat. We're always looking for new places to check out. Are most of you taking a family vacation this summer? Let me hear!


Update: I wanted to source the girls' bathing suits for y'all too! If they're not listed below, they're sold out. We always find our suits at GAP, Old Navy, Target (buy one get one free right now!), Osh Kosh, Carters, and Gymboree.

Lily's pineapple two-piece
Hadley's pineapple two-piece
Lily's blue one-piece with tassels
Lily's purple sparkle one-piece (not pictured)
Lily's Trolls one-piece
Hadley's cactus one-piece 
Hadley's Peppa Pig one-piece
Hadley's flamingo one-piece