You could call Emily English a bit of a wanderer. Born and raised in Alabama, Emily has lived in seven states, including Texas, but her wanderlust led her back to Alabama, where she now resides in the stunning seaside town of Orange Beach.
This month Emily gives us the inside scoop on Orange Beach - for those who are planning the perfect end-of-summer vacation.
“Of all the places I’ve lived, I like this place the best,” Emily says. “Its natural beauty with sugar-white sands and jewel-toned water; its southern hospitality; its commitment to avoid over-commercialization; its public safety, community services and cleanliness; availability of fresh seafood; proximity to major airports and New Orleans; its appeal to artists renegades and gypsy spirits; and the opportunity to live on island time with constant beach hair and flip flops all appealed to me,” Emily says.
While the pristine beaches are perhaps the most popular Orange Beach attraction, Emily says the coastal town offers myriad other activities.
She suggests hiking or biking the Hugh Branyon Back Country Trail. The trail includes miles of walking and biking routes that meander through Gulf State Park and offer opportunities to observe coastal nature.
For boating enthusiasts, Emily recommends taking an excursion with Anonyme Cruises, a boating group that specializes in small to mid-size parties, or enjoying one of the various dolphin boat cruises in the area. “These options tend to be more affordable, more family friendly and less of a time commitment than deep-sea fishing, where charter boats go so far out, you miss seeing how people live on the water.”
For those who like to do a bit of shopping, Emily suggests Tallulah’s Treasures on the beach road and the Prosperous Pelican on Canal Road. “Both offer unique jewelry, coastal art and gifts made by local artists,” she says. “These ‘pearls’ are not found in your typical chain store souvenir shop.”
For dining out- nothing beats gulf-coast seafood. Emily suggests dining out during lunchtime, when restaurants tend to be less crowded. “Why not avoid intense sun rays around high noon and beat the crowds at the same time?”
For dinnertime, Emily recommends picking up dinner or packing a picnic and heading to Waterfront Park on Canal Road. “With a great playground, plenty of space for kids to run around, clean restrooms, picnic pavilions with electricity and a pier for fishing or dolphin watching, this has become my favorite spot,” she says.
Those seeking a romantic dinner out should visit Voyagers at Perdido Beach Resort. Emily says it offers the most scenic, euphoric dining experience.
“This is the only fine dining restaurant overlooking the Gulf. Voyagers has white tablecloths, an extensive wine list, an award-winning chef, a creative pastry chef and valet service,” she says. But don’t forget to make a reservation!
There is one thing evident about Orange Beach – there is something wonderful in store for all who visit.
“The beach strums all of our senses- can you smell salt air and suntan lotion from memory? Do you hear seagulls’ squawks and crashing waves? Do you smile remembering fluffy towels and the touch of a loved one slathering sunblock on your back, or do you cringe thinking of a jellyfish sting or the tenderness of a sunburn?
“Every single time I drive over the Perdido Pass Bridge, I take a deep breath, gaze at the Gulf and say aloud, ‘Thank you, God, that I get to live here.’ The natural beauty here still captivates me.”
For more information on Orange Beach, visit gulfshores.com.