Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have each become the mecca for both family-friendly beach vacations and fresh Gulf seafood. To shed light on some of the most unique dining experiences along the Alabama Gulf Coast and showcase the best of what they have to offer, below is an area dining guide.
While there are many fantastic places to get some classically southern fried seafood or tantalizing sweet tea, these establishments go above and beyond what is listed on their menus to offer a truly enchanting dining experience for visitors and locals alike to the beautiful Gulf Coast.
Grab a Cheeseburger in Paradise at Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s
It’s hard to offer any list of Alabama Gulf Coast restaurants without mentioning Lucy Buffett’s (yes, the little sister of singer Jimmy Buffett) famed Gulf Shores establishment. Made famous by her “Cheeseburger in Paradise” dish and her “Crazy Sista” cookbook, the headquarters at Homeport Marina on the Intracoastal Waterway simply gets better every single year.
While the restaurant has expanded its menu to offer an allergy-friendly series of dishes, it also ensured that fun is never in short supply. Offering boat slips for water lovers to easily pull in and fuel up on southern staples, Lulu’s also features a “Fountain of Youth” ropes course for the big kids (and kids at heart) as well as sandboxes, games and other fun activities for the young ones.
A full-service mercantile is the heart of the campus, offering everything from huggers (also known as drink koozies), ball caps, t-shirts and recipe books that allow you to share or showcase your southern pride even when dinner or lunch is finished.
LuLu’s also has another fantastic location in Destin, Florida. Much like the Gulf Shores location, the Destin restaurant offers a general store, fun games and live music the entire family is sure to enjoy.
Learn more about LuLu’s here.
Dine at one of Gulf Shore’s best-kept secrets: The Hangout
Decades ago, The Hangout was nothing more than a little burger stand, an arcade and a beach bar. It was a place for locals and tourists to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Gulf of Mexico. Nostalgia was fading and the excitement of the once popular daily retreat was waning.
When the establishment re-opened a few years before the now-famous, annual Hangout Music Festival was even conceived, its goal was to once again offer a restaurant and family-friendly establishment that allowed people to enjoy the beauty of the beach. Today, it stands as one of the best places to eat for Gulf Shores seafood.
Now offering a wide array of tasty seafood dishes and downright delicious cocktails, The Hangout in Gulf Shores is home to live music, magic shows, talent showcases, pirate and princess-themed breakfasts, and even an annual Music Festival bearing the same name. People love gathering around The Hangout’s tables for delicious eats such as fish tacos and creatively adorned cheeseburgers. Patrons all agree that the real highlight is the natural beauty that surrounds the establishment.
Learn more about The Hangout here.
The Gulf is one of the best places to eat in Orange Beach
When the owner of The Hangout decided to bring a unique dining experience to the Orange Beach area, he decided to do something no one else was doing: create a restaurant out of shipping containers. And that is exactly what he did at The Gulf. While this might seem like an odd choice, once you walk into the absolutely beautiful Orange Beach eatery, you will understand how genius the idea truly was.
This outdoor dining experience (it’s nearly entirely outdoors, aside from the restrooms, general store and kitchens) is located on one of the most interesting stretches of land along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Sitting at the Perdido Pass, looking over the jetties, patrons can enjoy everything from fish sandwiches, tacos, raw oysters and salads to wonderful mojitos and local beers. Dine in style from an enchanting spot on the sand.
High-top tables and a few picnic tables are available for those who would rather not dip their toes in the sugar-white, but the majority of people will gladly gather around the fire pits under the firefly lights that give The Gulf its luster.
Learn more about The Gulf and its ever-rotating menu here.
Is your mouth watering yet? Start planning your Alabama Gulf Coast getaway.