If you’re tired from a year spent largely at home, spring is the season for you to hop in the car, roll down the windows, and experience a safe, fun adventure. From your safety on the road to covering the details of your vacation, travel resources like road-side assistance and experienced travel advisors can help you make the most of your journey. Possible destinations for relaxing or thrilling fun abound across the Gulf South, from next-door Mississippi to the beaches of Alabama and the Florida panhandle. From beach-side escapes to golf resorts, leisure-filled towns, historic sites, and exceptional restaurants, you can entice all of your senses with time spent in an exciting, new environment. Take advantage of luxury accommodations and sleep late before heading to brunch, or rise with the sun and get your kayak in the ocean or clubs onto the course. This spring, the world is your oyster.

Alabama Attractions

Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Named one of America’s top historic hotels, the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa in Point Clear, Alabama, has been welcoming guests since 1847. Expect plenty of family activities, two beautifully renovated RTJ golf courses, and luxury accommodations perfect for couples, friends, or the entire family. With multiple glistening pools, a renewed 20,000 square foot spa, sandy beaches with available cabanas, and spectacular sunsets, the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa offers countless incredible ways to spend relaxing days with loved ones. 

Visiting golfers, see why the USGA selected the Grand for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship in September. The B.Y.O.C. “Bring Your Own Clubs” Golf Package includes a deluxe room, two rounds of golf daily (one round for two people or two rounds for one person), and golf cart rental. For more details and Grand packages, visit grand1847.com.

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama

Communities across America continue to persevere through these unprecedented times, determined to find safe ways to spend time and make memories with loved ones. This spring, safely experience everything there is to see, hear, taste and feel along the Alabama Gulf Coast with your family. Whether you desire to spend your time playing on the spacious white-sand beaches or exploring the destination’s numerous and varied outdoor adventures, there’s truly no better place than Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to get the change of scenery your family’s been craving. 

Let the fresh ocean air do you some good—you’ll find plenty of it when dining along the Alabama coast. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are home to more than 100 locally owned restaurants, many of which are waterfront and offer open-air seating.

To learn more about what you can see and do on Alabama’s Coast, visit GulfShores.com or call 877-341-2400.

Mississippi Getaways

Greenwood, Mississippi

Get away from it all in Greenwood, Mississippi. It’s the perfect place to relax, recharge, and reconnect to the things that matter most. Greenwood is a place where you can still ask a local where to find the best steak in town, treat yourself to the finer comforts of life, find yourself in awe of the beauty of nature, and be moved by the uniquely Southern soul of the Mississippi Delta. 

Foodies love the original Viking Cooking School’s demonstrations and hands-on lessons from expert instructors and chefs, and unwinding is made easy with eats and drinks at a variety of local restaurants. Greenwood also attracts shoppers and treasure-hunters— the town’s unique and diverse merchants offer everything from antiques and boutique items to one-of-a-kind gifts, beautiful home decor, artisan-crafted items unique to Mississippi, and even the latest in fashion design. Meanwhile, history buffs enjoy self-guided tours of the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement and its Freedom Trail as well as the Mississippi Blues Trail and the Museum of the Mississippi Delta.

For more details and Greenwood destinations, go to VisitGreenwood.com. 

Big Bay Lake

Big Bay Lake is a one-of-a-kind planned community on one of Mississippi’s largest private recreational lakes. Located just outside of Hattiesburg, and only 90 minutes from New Orleans, Big Bay Lake blends seamlessly into its natural surroundings. Waterfront homesites are available for building custom homes and retreats starting at $70,000 and several resale homes are usually available for immediate purchase. Both the homes and homesites within this community provide unique opportunities to create the perfect home or weekend getaway. 

It’s time to relax, unplug, make memories and create new traditions at Big Bay Lake. Whether you are a boating or fishing enthusiast or just a family who loves to make a big splash, Big Bay Lake is simply about the lure of the water. Come enjoy sun-kissed, fun-filled days at Big Bay Lake, where the little things make life…“Big!” Call for a boat tour today at 877-4BIG-BAY or visit bigbaylake.com.

Columbus, Mississippi

With its delightful small-town charm and rich historical heritage, world-class recreation, and an abundance of delicious eateries, comfy hotels and B&Bs, Columbus, Mississippi, is “The City That Has It All.” 

Columbus is the birthplace of America’s best-known playwright: Tennessee Williams. Tour his childhood home as well as the Tennessee Williams Home and Welcome Center before visiting some of the town’s 650 historic properties in its three National Register Historic Districts.

A sportsman’s paradise, Columbus offers teeming waters and a variety of sports, from championship golf to heart-pounding motorsports. Columbus Lake offers outdoor enthusiasts 9,000 acres of fresh water for boating, fishing, and watersports.

Southern hospitality is synonymous with Columbus, which has lodging for all tastes and budgets. Both laidback and upscale restaurants serve up locals’ and visitors’ favorite home-style comfort foods. Home to more than 135 dining choices, Columbus’ up-and-coming food scene is worth biting into.

For Columbus destinations and events, go to visitcolumbusms.org.  

Florida Fun in the Sun

Newman-Dailey Resort Properties

With warmer temperatures arriving, it is easy to see—and feel—why Louisiana families are dreaming of fun-filled days at the beach. Just a four-hour drive from New Orleans, the soft, white sand beaches along Destin, South Walton, and 30-A are popular for family vacations as well as working remotely.

While travel concerns and restrictions linger, healthy families should not forego their treasured beach vacation. Vacation rental companies such as Newman-Dailey Resort Properties offer a safe, sanitized home away from home at the beach. In addition, miles of white sand beaches create an expansive outdoor setting for fun. And adventure seekers appreciate the breadth of safe, individual activities, including stand up paddleboarding, jet skiing, biking, boating, parasailing and fishing, that allow for social distancing and exploration.

For families with flexible travel dates, Newman-Dailey is again offering the Late Spring Fling* for 10 percent off stays between April 17 and May 15, 2021. (*Some restrictions apply). Use promo code: SPRING2021. Learn more at DestinVacation.com or call 1-800-225-7652.

34th Annual Sandestin Wine Festival

Uncork some fun in the sun at the 34th Annual Sandestin Wine Festival, April 15-18. Regarded as one of the top wine festivals in the country and known as the “Kentucky Derby of Wine Festivals,” the Sandestin Wine Festival provides a picture-perfect series of events, complete with white tents, flowing wine, gourmet food, and live music at The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

With one-of-a-kind seminars, wine dinners, and culinary experiences, the Sandestin Wine Festival is most known for its main event, the Grand Wine Tastings, which showcase more than 500+ domestic and international wines over a two-day span. Guests enjoy the opportunity to talk to vineyard owners and wine makers about their favorite appellations while also trying something new. Savor South Walton tents allow guests to pair delectable bite-sized appetizers from some of the Emerald Coast’s best chefs with their current glass selection. The popular Bubbly & Boozy tent returns to the Grand Sandestin Lawn with bubbles, specialty liquors, and desserts galore.

For a full schedule, tickets, accommodations, and more, visit SandestinWineFestival.com.

Premier Island Management Group

This spring, upgrade your remote working and learning environment with a getaway to Pensacola Beach, Florida, and the properties of Premier Island Management Group. Situated just a few hours outside of New Orleans along the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Island National Seashore, this collection of vacation rentals includes beach homes, condos, and the acclaimed skyhomes of the Portofino Island Resort.

Northwest Florida’s premier beach vacation experience, Portofino Island offers families the perfect location to work, learn and play. Step away from your laptop and enjoy a kayak or paddleboard adventure in the sound. At recess surf the emerald green waters, or take a parasail ride. Whether you chose to leave your work behind or bring it with you, there’s a Premier Island property that will be the perfect home away from home for you and your family.

More than just another getaway, this will be the one your family remembers for a lifetime. Discover yours at PremierIsland.com or call 866-935-7741.  

Louisiana Cuisine


Welcome the spring season with delicious food and wine shared together at Briquette, the celebrated New Orleans seafood destination from restaurateur Anna Tusa, Owner of New Orleans Creole Cookery. With Briquette, Tusa puts seafood and contemporary coastal cuisine at the center of the dining experience. As the name indicates, the restaurant features a large charcoal grill to highlight the fresh coastal flavors. The menu emphasizes a variety of fresh fish and seafood, including whole grilled fish. Other flavorful menu items include aged beef, pastas, pork, and more. Briquette is also known locally for its enthusiasm for high quality, often hard-to-find wines and spirits. The restaurant recently won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for its discerning, expansive wine list.

Coming this month to Briquette is Sunday Brunch and outdoor seating under its covered sidewalk—for info, call the restaurant or follow it on Facebook. Briquette is currently open Thursday-Sunday, 3 p.m. until close, and is located at 701 S. Peters Street in the Warehouse District. Book your table today by calling the restaurant at 504-302-7496 or via OpenTable. 

New Orleans Creole Cookery

Celebrate the arrival of spring this year with a return to New Orleans’ favorite traditions: weekend brunch and daily happy hour in the heart of the French Quarter. Join friends and family at New Orleans Creole Cookery, where you can enjoy the beautiful weather from its charming courtyard or settle into its traditional dining room.

On Saturdays and Sundays, the restaurant’s new weekend brunch features bottomless mimosas and rosé along with new brunch items. Highlights include excellent Bloody Mary selections, shrimp and grits, crispy chicken and waffles, and signature Gator Hash.           

New Orleans Creole Cookery is everything you love about New Orleans in a setting to fit every occasion. Famous for its authentic Creole fare and the time-honored classics such as Gumbo, Shrimp Creole, Crawfish Etouffee, and Snapper Pontchartrain, the restaurant is also perfect for a quick snack or a leisurely weekend feast.

Learn more at NewOrleansCreoleCookery.com. Call 504-524-9632 for reservations.

Travel Resources

AAA 24/7 Roadside Assistance

Now is the perfect time to dream about your future road trip escape—when the time is right and you’re ready to jump in the car, you can make sure your road trip stays on track with the peace of mind that accompanies AAA 24/7 Roadside Assistance. AAA covers you in any car, SUV, or pick-up truck even if you’re not the driver. AAA provides members with free towing, free tire change, free lock-out assistance, free minor mechanical first aid, free jump start, and free delivery of emergency fuel. 

For a limited time, readers of New Orleans Magazine can join AAA for only $53 and get two household members free (promo code 175689). Current AAA members can add two new household members free (promo code 175691). For more details, see AAA’s ad in this issue, call 844-330-2173, or visit AAA.com/ValueAd. Join AAA today.

Philip James Travel

As a discerning travel advisor, Philip James is known for helping curious, sophisticated travelers—those who seek authentic experiences—connect with what matters most to them. Planning a memorable travel experience requires time, research, and the expertise to cut through the clutter and confusion of today’s online travel ecosystem. 

Traveling in the midst of a pandemic necessitates the detailed eye of a knowledgeable, connected, and trusted advisor. Frequently changing government warnings and restrictions and inconsistent country by country travel protocols make the prospect of planning and taking a vacation more difficult and time consuming than ever. Philip James Travel lifts that burden for clients and guides them from the start—from dreaming about a vacation to designing the ideal itinerary and providing ongoing support. Throughout your journey, Philip keeps you abreast of any changes that might affect your experience.

“Create cherished memories and make the most of time with loved ones,” says Philip. “Unique cultures, historic perspectives, and mesmerizing landscapes await you,” he says. To learn more and begin curating your next vacation, visit philipjamestravel.com or call 504-258-9107.