I went twice to Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge during our recent beach trip to Gulf Shores. I went first time with husband & 2 active young boys then again just the hubby & I. We did the Pine Beach Trail hike both times. This place is super cool if you want to see what natural, untouched beach property looked like before buildings, condos & such. We stopped beforehand down the road at the main headquarters to get a map. The ranger was very friendly & helpful. She gave my sons a couple of Sea Turtle coloring books. Bring water and/or sports drinks/coconut water because there is no water available. Bring a snack or two (just in case) because u exert some serious energy hiking that last 1/2 mile or so through the sand. There is a port-a-potty type facility along the trail, but it was gross as you might expect. You pass a swampy area at first. Did not see gators but was on alert the whole time. : ) You pass through dense woods which was a cool break from the sun. Saw some animal poop & tracks which the boys thought was cool (and funny of course.) Forgot the animal brochure in the car, so could not identify the tracks or the poop. : )'The observation tower was at the halfway point. There was one bird watcher up there who pointed out a Great Blue Heron to us. Just past the tower, you encounter the lagoon. My gosh, it is beautiful. We saw a small black-ish snake in this area all coiled up & cute as he could be, so be on the lookout. Just past the lagoon, it gets sandy with dunes as tall as houses. Unbelievable. We took off our shoes at this point. You venture through several dunes until you reach the beach. We were only ones there both times. Wear your swimsuit if it is warm, because you will never appreciate the water more than you do now. ; ) If u want to hangout, one person could carry a light beach umbrella & towel or blanket.
You can see condos way down the beach on either side, but they are far enough away to get a true feeling of solitude. You head back the way you came in and I think the view of the lagoon on the way back is even more beautiful. Even if you can only physically make it to the lagoon, it is worth it.
Wear bugspray & bring it along with you. Bullfrog makes a sunscreen/bug repellent that was perfect for this trip. There were no mosquitos, but some serious biting flies periodically along the trail. No pets allowed on trail.
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