Fort Morgan, Alabama
My recent vacation to Fort Morgan, the westernmost beach on the Alabama coastline, was exactly what a family beach trip ought to be: We played in the waves, took long, sandy walks, drank pina coladas, spotted just one shark, and went through dozens of bottles of SPF.
We also visited the Fort Morgan Historic Site, a short drive down the beach from any house along Fort Morgan Beach, and probably 30 minutes tops from Gulf Shores.
The site is open to the public and offers guided tours beginning at 10 a.m. every day, though we opted to explore the grounds on our own, wandering in and out of arched tunnels, up and down the steepest of steps, and all around the perimeter of the fort.
The site dates back to the 1820s and was used in the Civil War, Spanish American War, and World Wars I and II.
Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for children, and there are discounts for military, seniors, and families.
I'd definitely recommend it if you're anywhere along the Alabama Gulf Coast for more than a few days, especially if you have a soft spot for that creepy, possibly haunted abandoned-building vibe.
If you're like me, you don't require a whole lot of distractions at the beach other than a good book and a midday nap here or there—but in case you're headed that way and want to know more about the greater Gulf Shores area, here are some links that might come in handy.
The Alabama Gulf Coast
Southern Living: Culinary Tour of Coastal Alabama
Arkansas Life: Hit the Beach
Garden & Gun: The Lost Gulf: An Up-Close Look at the Gulf Coast Oil Spill (2010)