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Where to Stay in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, Alabama- Pools & Amenities

Updated on November 29, 2014

Typical Sugar-White, Soft Sand Dunes

Today, sand dunes can be crossed with dune walkovers.  This is to protect them and it is illegal to pull up the sand oats, which hold the dunes together.
Today, sand dunes can be crossed with dune walkovers. This is to protect them and it is illegal to pull up the sand oats, which hold the dunes together. | Source

Characteristics of the Alabama Gulf Beach

The Alabama Gulf Coast is a beautiful place to vacation, and many people drive down from America's interior to have fun at the beach. The beaches glow as if from within with soft, clear, emerald water and they have the soft, silica sand that looks like powdered sugar. The pure white sand is made of quartz rock that was finely crushed millions of years ago to rest beneath your feet; building sand castles is a delight. Despite the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill, the water is the clearest I've ever seen it in 40 plus years. In fact, we weren't as affected by the oil as the news made it sound. The oil washed up in patches, BP arrived and spent millions cleaning it up. The end effect is Alabama's beaches are better than ever. It's possible to see the dune beaches of old in their natural state at one of the many state parks. Sand dunes are held together with grasses such as sea oats and are protected by law. It is illegal to pick sea oats and dunes provide natural protection for the beaches against the ravages of hurricanes. Also, rare species of animals, like the tiny beach mouse or turtles, are protected. The great thing about either Gulf Shores or its Florida border-hugging sister, Orange Beach, is there is plenty of restaurants, shopping, and fun activities to appeal to everyone. Most families are going to enjoy an amazing pool, whether they are on the beach or on the bay. Consider the following four resort-style places to stay: Turquoise Place, Caribe Resort, The Wharf, or Phoenix on the Bay.

Typical Alabama Beach

Best Beach Condos

I've hand-selected four all-star condos in different areas. Ask yourself do you need to be right on the beach, or would you like to save some money by utilizing a back of the bay condo area? One thing all four have in common is an amazing pool area! Turquoise Place is the best place you can stay right on the beach with an amazing pool. Caribe Resort offers likely the best pool area within easy walking to the beach and a great location by the Perdido Pass bridge. The Wharf is not near the beach but is in the heart of lots of shopping, entertainment action as well as having a great pool resort area. Finally, Phoenix By The Bay offers Back of the Bay marina/boat action with a great pool area and should be the best price.

Turquoise Place Condominimums

Turquoise Place Condos

Turquoise Place with its shiny blue modern glass windows in Orange Beach, Alabama is the hot, new luxury favorite and is right on the beachfront. While most condos have the usual fitness center, sauna, steam room, balcony on the beach-these condos are all about spaciousness: bedrooms, kitchens, extras like a fitness center, sauna, and steam room for each tower. There is a 450 foot lazy river as well as huge outdoor and indoor pool. What I really like about it: hot tub on every balcony, an on-site Tiki Grill for drinks and food, and an onsite spa. Sample pricing: facial is $95 and a 50 minute massage is $110. HIghest pricing will be for 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath around $700 a night.

Caribe Resort

Caribe Resort

Caribe Resort is probably going to be your best bet, price-wise. Why? It is a huge resort with several towers on the back bay; however, the Perdido Overpass Bridge is right there so it is possible to walk under the bridge to the state park beach without crossing the very dangerous highway. It's possible to dock your boat at one of the many boat slips. Back bay has it's own excitement; many families forego the beach and take their boat to one of the treeless islands near the resort. The marina is where you can rent jet skis and book many different boat tours, as well as schedule a fancy dinner at Cobalt restaurant. There is also a beach trolley that runs all day if you didn't want to walk under the bridge. This resort has over 40,000 feet of pools which includes a lazy river, slides, pools for kids, and playgrounds. There are indoor and outdoor pools that are serviced by a deli restaurant. The rooms are large and spacious with roomy balconies that overlook either the distant beach or the closer back bay with all the marina traffic. The master bedrooms all have jacuzzi tubs. Also on the grounds are putting greens as well as bocce ball. A 3 bedroom , 3 bath is $420 a night.

The Wharf's Oasis pools

The Wharf Entertainment Resort

The Wharf is located in Orange Beach at the base of the toll bridge. While it's the furthest from the beach action, it was designed to offer a condo stay in a very large entertainment district. The amphitheater hosts many big music acts regularly and there is plenty of shopping and dining. At night, tourists from other condos come to have drinks and dinner so there is a real nightlife scene which includes a giant ferris wheel. Guests at the condo get to experience the Wharf's Oasis Pool area, which is a resort style multiple pool area with lazy river, rock boulder slides and waterfalls in a tropical scene replete with palm trees shading hammocks. A pool-side restaurant keeps visitors stuffed and hands full of frosty drinks. A 3 bedroom, 3 bath will run around $310 a night.

Phoenix on the Bay

Phoenix On The Bay I and II

Phoenix on the Bay is located on the Back of the Bay near Terry Cove. Like the other resorts, there is a magnificent pool area and lazy river. The pool area is not quite to the standard of the other condos I suggested but the children's pool is fenced from the other pools, which is a plus if you have little ones. The facility has putting greens for old and young. The II condo will be the newest one. This location will be good if you'd like to be close to Gulf Shores and/or The Wharf for shopping and food. Traffic has been a problem in Gulf Shores and parts of Orange Beach for a while; this will make your life easier. Like other bay front condos, there will be plenty of boat slips. $439 night for 3 bedroom, 3 bath, although I have noticed less expensive pricing on sites such as VRBO.

Bird's Eye View of the Gulf Shores-Orange Beach Area

Options are staying on the beach or staying on the back bay.
Options are staying on the beach or staying on the back bay.

My Picks

I have to say, the best deal seems to be Caribe Resort. My number two pick would be The Wharf. $700 a night for Turquoise Place just seems outrageous, especially when it's pools are nice, but not that stellar. If I really wanted a resort feel on the beachfront for less, I would pick one of the Phoenix beachfront condos. They may not have the lazy river type pools, but they would be on the beach and have pools similar to Turquoise Place. Alternately, check out Perdido Beach Resort- it was formerly an old Hilton. This would be a nice option if you prefer more of a hotel experience.

Robinson Island and Perdido Pass Bridge

Caribe Resort is to the LEFT of the bridge.
Caribe Resort is to the LEFT of the bridge.


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    • DemiMonde profile image

      Demi 14 months ago from Mobile, Alabama

      I agree! There is nothing worse than the long slog through blazing hot quartz sand!

    • cpaldridge profile image

      Christy Aldridge 15 months ago from MS

      Thanks for sharing your info. I have stayed at the Caribe before and it is very nice. I actually prefer the Phoenix condos myself though because they are beachfront, usually a more reasonable price, they have a nicer stretch of beach and are not such a long walk. I have never stayed at the Wharf.