Midwest Winters have a way of dragging on, and on and on. When Spring Break rolls around, we all need a chance to get away and spend time somewhere warmer that will prime us for the great Wisconsin Summer we have to look forward to but just can’t seem to reach.
For the Seifert family this year, we loaded up the family truckster (actually my Honda Passport) and headed south on what I’ll call the “Gulf Coast Road Trip,” with stops in both Gulf Shores, Alabama and Gulfport, Mississippi.
Destination #1: Gulf Shores, Alabama
Swarms of Wisconsin families head south to Alabama every Spring Break. You wouldn’t believe the number of Badger shirts we saw at our gas station stops along the way, and, when we finally settled into our condo at the Beach Club Resort, all the folks we overheard at the pool talking about Johnny Davis and the UW Basketball squad, the Brewers and, of course, the Packers.
Our condo neighbors were also Wisconsinites, making us feel both welcomed and a part of something bigger as we enjoyed temperatures in the 70’s while away from the Frozen Tundra back home. The March Madness excitement we shared on Sunday the 20th made way for a noticeable let-down on the 21st following the 3-seeded Badgers’ second round loss in the NCAA Tournament to #11 Iowa State. Time spent at the pool and beach made that loss sting a little less.
If you haven’t visited Gulf Shores, it is loaded up with things to do, whether you’re traveling on a buddies golf trip (see my article from 2015 here) or on a family vacation with young ones. I’ve had a terrific time doing both.
This year, in addition to hitting the links at Kiva Dunes and Craft Farms, we checked out the zoo, some great restaurants and a go-kart track that our four-year-old son was especially excited about.
Destination #2: Coastal Mississippi
Following four days in Gulf Shores, we continued the “Gulf Coast Road Trip” by heading 2 hours west to Mississippi, where we discovered a more laidback vacation lifestyle and plenty to see and experience with our 3- and 4-year-old kids.
Don’t know much about Coastal Mississippi? Neither did we, and maybe that’s why they call it the Secret Coast. A picturesque stretch of the Gulf of Mexico dominated by stunning white sand beaches, colossal casinos, charming coastal towns and delectable dining, the region did not disappoint.
Highlighted by an outstanding day of golf at Shell Landing, day trips to the Mississippi Aquarium and Lynn Meadows Discovery Center (children’s museum), the Mississippi coastline was a trip we will never forget.
Whether in Gulf Shores or Coastal Mississippi, vacation-goers can expect incredible food in this part of our great country. Shrimp, fish, scallops, oysters and lobster all come from the same shores you’re dining along, and the pricing for such ridiculously fresh and well-prepared cuisine – especially in Mississippi – provides Midwesterners a wonderful sense of value.
In addition to the foodie experience, the deep south offers something more that, if you’re reading this, I know you’re interested in: Awesome golf.
With my wife and children along for the ride, I was able to sneak away for three rounds during our adventure, and as you can tell from my photos they were quite spectacular.
When planning your next Spring Break getaway, make sure to consider the Gulf Coast. Whether to Gulf Shores or the Secret Coast of Mississippi (or a combination of the two), you’ll find warm weather, beautiful beaches, great golf and world-class dining.
For more on each as a destination, and ideas for planning your next visit, check out the Gulf Shores and Coastal Mississippi tourism and visitors bureau websites, below:
Articles related to Gulf Shores:
Articles related to Coastal Mississippi: