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Feel at Home in Gulf Coast, Alabama   by Caitlin Moore

As soon as they hop out of bed, the kids come to you, begging to be taken to the beach. They groan when you mention practical concerns, but agree to grab a few cereal bars from the pantry and eat them while applying their sunscreen. You take a moment to pick up an armload of fresh towels and a paperback from the shelf. The time has come to lead your little ones out the back door and down the path, and within five minutes everyone's toes have been dipped into the sparkling blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

That was easy, you think to yourself. If only all vacations could be this hassle-free. Good thing you won the lottery, right? Or married that millionaire? Nope. All you did was investigate the vacation rental possibilities before you made your trip down to the Alabama coast. Anyone could do it, really, yet you can't help but feel pretty proud of yourself as you watch the family have so much effortless fun.

Later on everyone can get cleaned up in the outdoor shower. Yes, this isn't your house, but you still don't want sand everywhere. Then you can pile into the car for a quick trip down the road to Waterville USA or to Dauphin Island for some historical sightseeing. Riding the roller coasters and absorbing a little bit of culture have given your day some extra oomph, and have caused everyone to work up an appetite as well.

Plenty of restaurants will call out to you on the ride home, but if the mood strikes, pick up some fresh seafood from the grocery story and prepare a casual meal back at the house, to be eaten and enjoyed at your own pace. It might even be extra delicious once you realize that you saved a few dollars, too.

The kids can watch a DVD before bed, that is if they can keep their eyes open. And thanks to the sofa sleeper and the bunk beds in the spare room, sleeping arrangement quarrels will be kept to a minimum. The day will end peacefully, with everyone dreaming of the pleasures that tomorrow may bring.

Or, imagine a different scenario. No kids, just you and your partner. You've both been working hard and neglecting your health, not to mention each other. Now is the time to forget about everything else and just recharge your batteries. You'll probably sleep in on your first day there, as the sound of the surf is just as calming as you always thought it would be. Maybe your honey will have the coffee brewing as you arise, and you can both enjoy a few minutes of morning peace out on the patio before your day officially begins.

Since exercise hasn't been your top priority lately, perhaps it would be a good idea to take a not-too-strenuous hike on Pine Beach Trail, located in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Keep your eyes open for birds and wildlife, and breathe deeply as you reacquaint yourself with the pulse of nature and the beating of your own heart as it welcomes the fact that you've decided to challenge it a little.

Head back to your cozy cottage for a frolic in the surf, and don't forget to relish the feeling of the warm, sugary sand beneath your bare feet. There might be time to squeeze in a nap before evening, when you and your spouse will decide to freshen up and hit the town. Whether you choose to book a dinner cruise or snag front row seats at a musical performance, romance will be running high as you finally give priority to the one you love the most. With no bosses, cell phones, or responsibilities to get in the way, you'll find yourself wondering why it has taken you so long to get here.

No matter what amenities you seek or who you're traveling with, there's a place for you along the shoreline of Alabama's Gulf Coast. Beaches, historical sites, and frivolous activities will compete to fill your days during your stay here, but ultimately you'll end up doing just as you please. Taking that into consideration, spend a little time online and sort through the numerous Gulf Coast Vacation Rentals. There are lots to choose from, but it only takes one special property to make your upcoming trip all that you want it to be.

About the Author offers extensive vacation rental listings for this area and many others.

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