My family of 9 visited Gulf Shores this past week (July 19-26) and stayed in a beachfront home on Ft. Morgan (4 bedroom/2 bath). The beachfront location was excellent—we had the beach to ourselves many days or our nearest neighbors were still far enough away that we only saw them but never heard them. This is such a bonus to staying on Ft. Morgan We left all of our beach gear out on the beach the entire week, which made going back and forth much easier.
We ate out a few times and picked up fresh seafood several times too. Our first night, we ate at the Shrimp Basket in Foley. Thank you to all of you who have posted about the Shrimp Basket chain and thanks for letting me know about the one in Foley. We got in right away (at the time, there were 6 of us), the food was great, service was fairly quick, and prices were good as well. I would definitely eat there again. On another night, we ate at the Original Oyster House in Gulf Shores. This was a great meal too—food was delicious and service was good as well. I really would like to eat here again too! This place is very popular and you do have to wait to be seated. We went around 5 p.m. on a Wednesday night, thinking we were getting there early. Unfortunately, we weren’t. First we had to wait 30 minutes and then go ask for our pager. Then it was another 30 minutes to be seated. We heard later on that the wait got up to 2 hours. I don’t think any restaurant is worth this! At least while you wait here, there are some shops to visit and a nice little lake area that has fish and even a small playground.
Our seafood market was located next to the Chevron Station on Highway 180 (Ft. Morgan road)—next door to the Sunplace Else II restaurant. We picked up shrimp, crab legs, & gumbo three different nights and it was fabulous every time. They will steam the shrimp and crab legs for you, so we did this each time as well. It only takes 6 to 10 minutes. We fixed our own side dishes back at the house and had truly wonderful meals.
We had ice cream a few times too. My husband and I went to the TCBY twice and it was great both times. This place was busy each time we went by but still managed to get to us fairly quickly. We attempted to go to Scoops one day but the line was almost coming out of the door, so we passed. My mom, sister, grandmother, and I all went to Cold Stone Creamery one day and that was also yummy! They were not busy at all when stopped by around 1:00 p.m.
The beach was great, although we had a few bumps in the road. Hurricane Dolly was traveling to South Texas mid-week and left some very rough water behind in our area. There were some huge waves for about 2 days, so we had to be really careful about going in the water. We saw jellyfish almost every day, although there seemed to be more of them after the water calmed down. I think almost everyone in our group was stung at some point, some worse than others but nothing too horrible. The water was really warm at the beginning of the week but was a bit colder towards the end. It still felt great, though!
Our only bad experience the whole week was with the ferry. We have decided we are giving up on the ferry—it’s just not worth the hassle to us anymore. The wait is crazy to get on it and each ferry can only carry 18 cars at a time. We managed to arrive on Dauphin Island on a Saturday afternoon, in the middle of a fishing rodeo. Traffic was horrible—backed up onto the bridge itself. Once we finally got through downtown and made our way to the ferry, we then got in line to find out that the wait was 3 hours! We were stuck in the line a bit but finally got cars to back up so we could get out (lots of cars wanted out, not just us). People were really mad about this—myself included. There is really no good information for drivers before you get to the “staging area” to know how long you’ll be waiting. It’s too bad they can’t use some of those flashing warning signs like you see going towards the Mobile Bay tunnel when traffic is congested there. Anyway, it’s a huge time killer b/c you then have to drive all the way back to Mobile and then still have to go through the tunnel, across the bay, and then drive on down to Gulf Shores. Our trip was extended by several hours b/c of this. We were exhausted by the time we finally got to our beach house on that Sat. night. Some of my family attempted to use the ferry to leave Ft. Morgan the following Saturday morning—they wanted to catch the 8:30 ferry. No luck—traffic was backed up onto Highway 180, so they turned around and drove the other way.
On our way out of town, we stopped in Loxley at the Burris Farm Market to pick up some of their homemade bread to bring home. My gosh, this stuff is amazing! Because of our ferry problem on the way to Gulf Shores, we had also stopped there right before they closed our first Sat. in town. They have wonderful produce, along with many other food items as well. The bread is excellent and I already wish I would have gotten more! I also plan to give that blackberry cobbler a try next year. Overall, we had a great trip. Thanks again to all the people who post here and give such useful and helpful information!