So you've decided to check out the Alabama Gulf Coast on your next vacation since it's an ideal vacation spot for Hendricks County families. Great! You've made an excellent choice!
While you're there, you have to eat, right? And the kids aren't going to entertain themselves (at least mine won't). So where's a good spot for families to get a delicious bite to eat and for the kids to have fun while you're in the Gulf Shores, Alabama, area?
I'm so glad you asked.
Among my list of family-friendly can't-miss places to visit while you're at the Alabama Gulf Coast is LuLu's at Homeport Marina in Gulf Shores.
Located at 200 E. 25th Avenue in Gulf Shores, LuLu's is right off the eastern side of the main north-south drag through Gulf Shores, known as Gulf Shores Parkway (Alabama 59). You'll see it on your right as you cross the bridge over Portage Creek, traveling from the south.
Parking at LuLu's is plentiful, which is a good thing since it's such a popular place.
LuLu's opens daily at 11 a.m., and it's almost immediately packed. Fortunately, the good folks at the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism office caught wind of our plans to visit LuLu's via social media and warned us to get there early or to expect a long wait.
We got there right at 11 a.m. and were immediately seated next to the water. Less than 30 minutes later, there was a fairly lengthy line waiting to be seated. So plan accordingly: either get there right as they open or get there before you're ready to gnaw your own arm off due to hunger.
LuLu's offers a wide variety of food for all tastes (click here to see their menus), ranging from salads to sandwiches to burgers to local seafood and beyond.
We tried the Crab Melt and the new LuLu's specialty called the "Pa-menna" Cheeseburger, and both were fantastic.
What we really appreciated was the fact that LuLu's has an allergy menu. Our youngest daughter is allergic to dairy, so it can be tricky to find her something on a menu that doesn't contain any dairy in any of the parts of the dish.
We saw on LuLu's website that they offer an allergy menu, so we asked for one. What we got was a manager who came to our table to confirm the nature of our daughter's allergy with us, to explain the way they will create her dish in an entirely separate cooking area away from any food with dairy in it, and to tell us how the entire order will be flagged with a giant red tag so that no dairy is accidentally added!
We sat there with our mouths hanging open in shock. We have never experienced this level of concern for our daughter's food allergy in any restaurant anywhere. Hats off to LuLu's!
So if you have a child or adult in your family with food allergies, LuLu's will bend over backwards to accommodate you.
Our server was very friendly and attentive without being annoying or overbearing, and we couldn't beat our seats: covered outdoor seating right next to the water, where we could watch boats putter along and birds fly by and where we could feel the breeze on our faces.
On the advice of Travel with Sara, we alerted LuLu's in advance through social media that we'd be dining there for our oldest daughter's 10th birthday, and they were quick to reply that they couldn't wait to shower her with #GumboLove. (LuLu's is one of many places in the Gulf Shores area that is very responsive to social media.) And sure enough, they showed her the love with a big birthday brownie and two scoops of ice cream!
After lunch, we stepped outside to the giant sandy area of LuLu's where kids can play and dig and climb and play cornhole and have fun. Our daughters also decided to tackle the huge Mountain of Youth ropes course.
For $10 a piece, they were each harnessed into a multi-story obstacle course. People of all ages can enjoy the Mountain of Youth, as long as they're over 48 inches tall and under 300 lbs.
(For those under 48 inches, check out the smaller version called Munchkin Mountain.)
Since I'm uncomfortable when my head is more than six feet above the ground, I stayed below and watched my oldest daughter navigate the course like a champ. She reports that it was a little scary, but a lot of fun.
LuLu's also has a video arcade and, beginning Memorial Day weekend, a Water Walkers activity where kids under 150 lbs. can get inside a huge inflatable bubble and walk on water without getting wet!
LuLu's has live music every day, and the entire ambience of the establishment is very relaxed, comfortable and Jimmy Buffett-like. That's probably not a coincidence. The owner of LuLu's -- and LuLu herself -- is actually Lucy Buffett, Jimmy's sister (or Crazy Sista, as you'll learn there).
So while you're visiting the Alabama Gulf Coast, make a point of taking the family to LuLu's at Homeport for a great meal, a wonderful atmosphere, delightful staff, and a fun time for everyone!
LuLu's at Homeport
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