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.
Just a few days after school let out for the summer in Hendricks County, Indiana, our family packed up our minivan and drove 825 miles southeast to a little sliver of North Carolina land just off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean called the Outer Banks.
These are our stories.
We started our first full day in the Outer Banks by spending the morning at the beach.
The water was pretty chilly, but after acclimating to it slowly, it wasn't bad.
It was a nice gentle slope out into the water, and there was a big sand bar several feet out into the water, so my elementary school daughters could go quite a ways out into the ocean and still only be knee-deep in water.
The house we rented had some boogie boards available for us to use, so my kids took those out and rode some small waves, shrieking with joy every time the water carried them a few feet.
Further out in the water, bigger kids and adults could catch substantially bigger waves to ride on their boogie boards, but since this was my girls' first time in the ocean, we kept them close to the shore and under intense adult supervision to prevent any mishaps with rip currents.
By the afternoon, the ocean was getting fairly choppy, so we moved our water activities to the pool at our rental house.
After a swim, we got out and about in the towns of Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills to do some souvenir shopping. We discovered that it's not difficult at all to find OBX merchandise.
After hitting a few souvenir shops, we stopped in at Dirty Dick's Crab House in Nags Head to get one of their funny t-shirts for a friend of mine, and then we stopped in at Try My Nuts in Kill Devil Hills to secure another funny t-shirt.
The lady at Try My Nuts, though, offered us samples of some of their fantastic products while we were there, and we wound up taking home a couple bags of White Trash (a mix of pretzels, crisp cereals and pecans covered in a creamy white chocolate confection) and a bag of milk chocolate covered trio of nuts. Yummy! In addition to their specialty of nuts, they also have candies, spices, rubs, hot sauces and more. Definitely worth a peek inside.
We ended our day with dinner at Mulligan's Raw Bar & Grille in Nags Head. We were seated on their second-story outdoor patio that provided a nice view of the ocean. My wife and I ordered different variations of local shrimp -- my wife got the coconut shrimp dinner, and I got the shrimp dinner -- and those shrimp were huge and delicious! Many nationwide restaurant chains offer tiny, chewy, tasteless shrimp, but with Mulligan's getting their shrimp fresh from North Carolina, their offering is a shrimp lover's dream.
Mulligan's was our big meal splurge on our trip. Our shrimp dinners were $24 a piece, and by the time we added a couple of kids' meals, four soft drinks, tax and gratuity, our final expenditure was pushing $100 for four of us.
It was a fantastic dinner with a great view of the water, though, and worth the splurge.
Up next: Day Four.
See also: Days 1 and 2.
Over the weekend, I started the Downtown Danville Chocolate Walk and discovered it to be a fun, free (and delicious!) activity for families. It's also a good source of gift ideas for Valentine's Day.
Click here to read about my experience, and then come on out to Danville with your kids to start your own chocolate walk!
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