Orange Beach & Pensacola

Last fall/winter we drove west from Georgia all the way to California, and we’re starting to head the same way again this year, so we decided to take a different path and hit a few spots we haven’t seen before. And since we had friends planning to celebrate New Year’s weekend in Orange Beach, Alabama, it made our list, and we are so glad it did!

  1. A few of our favorite things in the area:
    1. Big Lagoon State Park – We scored 5 nights at this sweet little state park and loved the boardwalk trails all around. The campground was pretty much great – our site was right behind the playground and there were children around on the weekend – our typical recipe for family fun. There were even a couple of cool geocache finds as well, and we made an attempt to get our Florida State Park Junior Ranger badge too. However, after 6 activities, a pledge, a passport, and 3 stamps, we still haven’t figured out how to get that badge – any experts out there??!!
    2. Orange Beach – Super white sand and friends to hang out with made this place pretty special – we loved Orange Beach!
    3. Perdido Beach Resort’s indoor/outdoor pool access – Have you ever heard of a hotel resort on the beach that allows visitors to enjoy their amenities at no charge? Well, we hadn’t either, but this one sure did, and we loved spending New Year’s Day at the indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, and beach volleyball courts. After all, how many times do you get to swim outside and hit the hot tub on New Year’s Day? (The $5 small pizzas were pretty good too.)
    4. Jesse’s Restaurant – Thanks to a pretty cool friend of mine, I was able to enjoy a Mama’s day out that ended at Jesse’s Restaurant, and it was one of the best meals I’ve had anywhere. Our only regret was not having a reservation, but even that one faded as soon as the food started coming. Fried green tomatoes, duck spring rolls, crab toast, calamari, shrimp and grits, the best salad I’ve ever had, fresh soup and molten lava cake! Such a treat, and definitely somewhere I plan to take my 3 guys immediately on our next visit!
    5. National Naval Aviation Museum – We love military museums and have visited quite a few now, but I have to admit that this is in our top 5 at least. So many beautifully restored aircraft and simulators, and so much to learn! We spent several hours here (no charge) and really could have spent all day. Next time we’ll have to pack some sandwiches and spring for the 4D movie!
    6. Downtown Pensacola – Driving through town, we saw the Al Fresco Dining spot – 4 older Airstreams made into food trucks, so we added it to our list and went back to eat there a few days later only to find them all closed for the New Year’s Holiday. Bummer! But we ended up at HopJack’s pizza place for a good family lunch and enjoyed wandering downtown a bit – such a cute little place.

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