Visiting the Alabama Gulf Coast is like visiting another vacation destination. Everything can be really expensive but If you know what you are doing you can save a lot of money. Here’s how to save money when on vacation in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Alabama.
Buy Gas off the Island
– Gasoline is cheaper in Alabama than it is in Florida so if you have a choice, don’t buy gas in Florida. Gas is also cheaper off the island. If you are planning a trip to Foley or the Tanger’s Outlet buy your gas up there on route 59. Even crossing over the intercostal bridge on route 59 will save you money. You can get gas about 2 miles north of the intercostal bridge by Publix
Buy your Liquor in Florida
Liquor is a lot more expensive in Alabama than it is in Florida. The Florida state line is 13 miles from Gulf Shores and half that distance from Orange Beach, so depending where you are staying on the beach and how much liquor you a buying, it may be worth the drive. The Flora-Bama has a liquor store just on the other side of the state line. The last place you want to buy liquor is directly on the beach. If you a just looking for beer or wine I would go to one of the Win Dixie locations either Gulf Shores or Orange Beach
Don’t Rent Beach Chairs. Buy them at Walmart
Renting a chaise lounge on the beach can run $200 for a week. The best way is to go to Walmart and by a couple of beach chairs an umbrella. You can get an aluminum beach chair for $20 and an umbrella for the same or less. Remember to get aluminum. There are really cheap painted metal chairs for sale that may not even make it through the week. When your stay is done you can either leave the chairs where you are staying or take them home if you have room. Aluminum or not these chairs are not built to last a long time. Just consider this purchase as an item that last about a week.
Eat out for Lunch and at Home for dinner
Lunches are cheaper than dinners. This is an old Snowbird trick. Many places have lunch specials that you can take advantage of. Two places I can think of are King Neptune’s has a $5.95 lunch special, Sea N Suds has a great inexpensive hamburger and salad bar. This is all good food for a fair price but many places have lunch specials so check around.
Get A copy of the Mullet Wrapper
The Mullet Wrapper is a weekly local magazine that you can find everywhere in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Just look near an entrance door of just about anywhere and you will find a stack of them. This publication is jammed packed with special offers from restaurants and merchants.
Cook at Home
One of the biggest expenses you have on the beach is eating out. Typically when you rent a place it comes with a full kitchen. Certainly every AVROA member listing has one. It can be a lot of fun to eat on a the balcony or to pack a lunch or dinner and go to the free picnic areas that are located along the beach. There is a wonderful pavilion located right between Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. There are also picnic areas right at state park road #1 and the beach road and just west of the Hang Out. There is no shortage of picnic areas. Also, don’t forget that many rentals have grills available. I have barbecued many times using these grills.The two places I tend to shop for groceries are Winn Dixie and Walmart.
I shop at Winn Dixie for meat, vegetables and fruit. They always have buy one get one specials so you might want to go online or look at their specials flier at the front door. There can be a lot of good offers. Walmart is good for dry goods, coffee, frozen Items. It is the best place to buy ice cream.
Get Discount Coupons from Visitors Bureau
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach got together to form the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Visitors’ Bureau. This place has information on everything and a lot of discount coupon books. There are two locations. The one in Gulf Shores is located just north of the intercostal bridge on route 59 on the west side of the road. The Orange Beach visitors’ bureau is located right on the beach road as you enter Orange beach from the west. Enjoy you stay at the beach!