Looking for a great way to cool off this summer?  Try a quick Gulf-side getaway. From Texas to Florida, the Gulf Coast offers beautiful destinations and a huge variety of options. Whether you’re looking for a hopping nightspot, a fun-filled family destination or an unspoiled stretch of beach to call your own, you can find it along the Gulf Coast. That’s where seaside highways take you through historic towns and small communities. You’ll find everything along the way, from luxury resorts to quaint cottages. Outdoor adventure ranges from top-flight golf courses to charter fishing cruises. Nature preserves and park systems provide beautiful touring and recreation, and nearby towns offer everything from mini-golf and candlelight history tours to theme parties and holiday festivals. So whether you’re ready to pack the car for a weekend trip or just daydreaming about a relaxing seaside vacation, there are some great destinations to consider.  
alabama
    Sitting amid 32 miles of beautiful beaches that are stretched across a 30,000-acre island on the northernmost Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area is an ideal location for your next family vacation or weekend getaway. Sea oats blow on top of sand dunes while Gulf waters go on as far as the eye can see, and just inland, live oaks and pine forests grow along protected freshwater lakes, rivers, bayous and coves.
     Aside from the beauty and fun of the Alabama beaches, the area offers scores of options for fun and entertainment with new businesses, shops and restaurants opening every month. Families will love adventures, such as dolphin and nature cruises, mini-golf and water and amusement parks. Couples on a romantic weekend will swoon over beachfront scenery, cozy restaurants and Ferris wheel rides at The Wharf, where they soar over the landscape. Outdoors enthusiasts have near-endless options for golf, hiking, kayaking, fishing and watersports. Day spas, fitness and wellness centers offer more serious rest and relaxation. For the shoppers, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer everything from rows of charming boutiques to the Tanger Outlet Center in nearby Foley.
     This summer, Gulf Shores offers something for everyone with a lineup of concerts, theater and sporting events, festivals and beachfront activities. Candlelight tours of Fort Morgan Historical Site will thrill the whole family, and the annual Fourth at the Wharf festival is a terrific way to celebrate of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Country music sensation Montgomery Gentry will
perform, followed by the “grandest fireworks extravaganza on the coastal Panhandle.” Main Street at The Wharf will be filled with activities, and more than 15 restaurants will join in, with fun events and delectable specials.
    For more information on great deals and fun events, visit www.gulfshores.com.
    Nestled on the quiet brim of Gulf Shores, The Beach Club features accommodations and amenities linked within a village of sidewalks, boardwalks, terraces and lawns. At this tranquil Gulf-front resort, guests don’t have to worry about driving anywhere after arrival. Just relax, spend a day lying on the coast’s sugar-white sand beaches, play a game of tennis or treat yourself to a massage in the resort’s spa. Everything a guest could need or want is on-site, including pools, restaurants and a village grocery store. Situated on the Fort Morgan Peninsula, 12 miles from the hustle and bustle of the heart of Gulf Shores, The Beach Club offers rare seclusion and privacy. Guests can choose from a variety of luxury accommodations in cottages or condominiums that feature a number of floor plans and up to five bedrooms. The Beach Club is perfect for families or for a romantic getaway. Its extensive private beach and amenities allow visitors to enjoy every vacation experience without having to leave the grounds.
    For more information and to find out about great summer deals, visit www.beachclubal.com or call (866) 348-9112.
    Brett/Robinson boasts 16 condominium towers in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Vacationers can select from a variety of floor plans and price ranges, as well as units that overlook the Gulf of Mexico, Perdido Pass and the Bay at Terry Cove. Brett/Robinson defines vacations on the Alabama coast –– all you need is your swimsuit, flip-flops and coverup for anything you want to do while you’re visiting. Each resort and condo tower is loaded with a host of amenities including fully furnished three- and four-bedroom condominiums, indoor and outdoor pools and kiddie pools, a lazy river with a water slide, hot tubs and saunas, exercise rooms, gazebos, barbecue grills, fully furnished kitchens, TVs and VCRs.
     If golf is your game, let a Brett/Robinson golf specialist plan your rounds, playing on the traditional Scottish greens or cutting-edge courses you’ve read about in Golf Digest. After playing through strategic sand and water hazards, explore the South’s most beautiful sand and water from your beachfront condominium. Your highly personalized Brett/Robinson Golf Vacation will include greens fees, cart fees and condo keys for the golfing experience of a lifetime
    The newest property in the Brett/Robinson family is Phoenix West. The 27-floor tower offers guests extraordinary views of the Gulf of Mexico and Perdido Pass that can be seen from beachfront balconies. Shops and restaurants are within easy walking distance. For more information or to make reservations, visit the Web site at www.brettrobinson.com, or call (800) 211-7892.
    Looking for an affordable luxury vacation in a beautiful Gulf beach location? Look no further than Spectrum Vacations. Spectrum offers affordable luxury vacation destinations for family and weekend getaways, including the Turquoise Place and Caribe Resort, both in Orange Beach, Ala. From the luxury towers or the private beach, visitors are sure to enjoy both the amenities and the breathtaking sunsets.
    Turquoise Place rises to a majestic 370 feet, with 400 luxurious condominiums housed within two towers, each encased in shimmering “turquoise” glass. The 13.75 acres of property provide a solitary, relaxing atmosphere in the beauty of the extending sugar-white sand. Each unit, ranging from approximately 2,300 to 5,900 square feet, has a magnificent view of the turquoise-blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Turquoise Place is truly taking expectations to the next level by providing Jacuzzi- brand hot tubs and outdoor kitchens on each balcony, a high-definition digital television mounted above a gas fireplace and Wolf and Sub-Zero stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. Great summer promotional deals include $290 per night for three- bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath luxury units at Turquoise Place.
    Meanwhile Caribe offers one of the most amenity-packed condominium rentals that Gulf Shores or Orange Beach has to offer. With three 14-story towers loaded with fun, the resort boasts five pools, 1.5 miles of shoreline, private beach cart service, a lazy river pool, tennis courts, restaurants and much more. Caribe Resort is a great location for meetings and reunions but most of all for families.
    For more information, visit www.spectrumvacations.com.
florida
    Treat yourself to a splurge, and book your next vacation at Henderson Park Inn. Nestled in the heart of Destin, this adult-only bed-and-breakfast and its property are breathtaking. The cozy, private inn faces nearly a mile of Destin’s famous sugar- white sand and emerald-green water.
    Henderson Park Inn was devastated by Hurricane Ivan, but new owners renovated and reopened what they believe is a better-than-ever inn that includes a new Presidential Suite available for visitors this vacation season. As always, guests are provided with a full breakfast buffet, but this year there’s more to tempt their taste buds with the addition of the BeachWalk Café. Chef Tim Creehan moved his popular restaurant to the inn several months ago. Now guests and the public have an opportunity to sample gourmet lunches and dinner all prepared right on the property. The inn is not what you’d expect to find on Florida’s Emerald Coast, according to innkeeper Ryan Olin, but he says that’s what makes staying at the inn so desirable. “There are plenty of high-rise condominiums, but only one Henderson Park Inn,” Olin says. Rooms feature large verandas or balconies, flat-screen TVs and ultra-plush bedding. Guests enjoy complimentary beach chairs and towels, wine and fruit upon arrival and sunset toasts on the back deck.
    Call (866) 398-4432 for rates and reservations, or visit the Web site at www.hendersonparkinn.com.
texas
    Escape to The San Luis Resort, where luxury, style and relaxation make for a delightful seaside getaway.  The 30-acre San Luis Resort, Spa and Conference Center, one of the Gulf Coast’s premiere beachfront properties, offers 250 luxurious guest rooms with magnificent views of the Gulf of Mexico. Located on Galveston Island, the AAA Four Diamond-rated resort hotel offers the finest in award-winning dining, overnight accommodations and first-class personalized and professional service.
    For a relaxing, indulgent dining experience, the award-winning Steakhouse features an innovative, Gulf Coast-inspired menu. Top-notch service is paired with an updated sleek, cosmopolitan ambiance under the direction of Jon Paul, Steakhouse general manager from the finest Houston-area dining destinations. Its companion, The Bar, also has a hot new look featuring upscale décor, seating and a bevy of flat screens.
    The San Luis’ poolside H2O ultra lounge continues to set the standard for an upscale evening with a sleek and stylish concept inspired by the clubs that have made Los Angeles and South Beach some of the hottest tourist destinations in the country. Guests mix and mingle aside the roaring outdoor fire pit, accented by stunning views of the Gulf. There’s access to the finest selection of signature vintages by the glass and an extensive tropical martini menu. H2O’s Pear Saketini and selection of Japanese beers and sake couple nicely with lavish choices from the open-air sushi kitchen.
    Top-shelf pampering at Spa San Luis offers the region’s most luxurious spa treatments from an array of massages, body gommages and hydrotherapies to a complete fitness center, boutique and full-service salon.
    The San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center is located at 5222 Seawall Blvd. Reservations at The San Luis can be made by calling (800) 445-0090 or (409) 744-1500, or by visiting www.sanluisresort.com.

 

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