Mardi Gras in Alabama

You’ll find that in the Gulf Shores of Alabama we cherish a good old-fashioned, down-home reason to have a good time. That’s why Mardi Gras is anticipated all year long here in Mobile Alabama. It’s the perfect blend of traditional Southern hospitality and fun visiting friends.

Mardi Gras Festival around Gulf Shores

If you happen to be in Mobile Alabama between February 15 and March 5, you’ll quickly discover that this lively Gulf Coast city is where Mardi Gras began when it was a colony of French soldiers in 1703. After having survived a nasty fight with yellow fever, they decided to celebrate. However, party favors weren’t accessible in the New World, so the men decided to paint their faces red and act crazy for a few hours. It must have been good because they made it an annual event. We usually associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans and the French Quarter, but the oldest carnival celebration as we know it— parades, masked balls, kings and queens, and mystic societies— happened in Mobile Alabama. Like Louisiana, the Gulf Coast of Alabama was heavily influenced by French culture thanks to early explorers. All along the coast, you’ll see streets and towns named after French people, who were sent to America to guard French territory against intrusion from the British and Spanish. In 1840, Carnival was transformed into a parade event by the Cowbellion de Rakin Society —the first of many mystic organizations who traveled to New Orleans in 1857 to help set up a Mardi Gras celebrations.

Joe Cain Day in Mobile Alabama 

Joe Cain Day is the Sunday before Fat Tuesday in Mobile Alabama. After the Civil War, Mobile local Joe Cain, dressed as a Native American and led a parade through town, which was still occupied by Union forces. He revived Mobile’s Mardi Gras celebration and moved it from New Year’s Eve to Fat Tuesday, so it’s only right he gets his own day in the festivities. Beaded necklaces are the symbol of Mardi Gras, everyone wears them, and tries to get more from the parade floats who toss them out as they wind their way through the streets. Other than the beads, float passengers also throw candy, toys, souvenir cups, stuffed animals, and of course moon pies.

Gulf Shores and Mobile Alabama Celebrations

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach also celebrate Mardi Gras. Mobile Alabama can’t have all the fun! You can catch one of our yearly parades right on the beach. Locals, snowbird visitors, and children line the streets of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach trying to catch the many moon pies, unique and colorful beads, souvenir cups, candy, and more. If you’ve never experienced Mardi Gras, you should do it at least once in your life. Come ready to rumble for this traditional festival! Book the best lodging in Gulf Shores, Anchor Vacation Rentals to ring in Carnival in Mobile Alabama.

Love Birds Fly South

Anchor Vacation offers rentals on the beach; it doesn’t get much more romantic than beachfront rentals in Orange Beach. Our Alabama beaches offer sunset walks through white sandy beaches that stretch on for miles. The Gulf breeze and lapping waves of the Gulf of Mexico kiss the shore setting a relaxing soundtrack for an ideal romantic getaway. For couples looking for things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama, we’re here to help you make this romantic getaway an unforgettable trip for you love birds.

Sunset Romance and Flowers

A bouquet may seem cheesy, but it’s a simple romantic gesture that is sure to put a smile on your sweetheart’s face. Whether its roses or a mix of seasonal flowers, order your special arrangement online and have it delivered as soon as you arrive. You could also check out gift baskets and flowers from All Island Flowers, for a great selection of fruit and snack baskets ready for delivery. Orange Beach Alabama features breathtaking sunsets over the beach, but we recommend experiencing one from 500 feet above the ground. Contact the folks at Orange Beach Helicopters and book an evening flight, fly over the beaches near the Caribe Resort as you watch the sun fade into the horizon revealing a starry sky. This ride offers a unique way to end a romantic day or begin an enchanted evening.

Dolphin Cruise near our Alabama beaches
It’s time to take the plunge; figuratively as you won’t be swimming with dolphins, you can get up close and watch a few curious dolphins swimming alongside the boat. This double-decker cruiser offers indoor and outdoor seating, enjoy a one to two-hour cruise. You’ll love watching some of our curious and playful wildlife. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are spectacular all year round, and we understand that you may want to use this beach getaway as a celebration of your love story. We also know planning a romantic getaway can be challenging, so we’re here to help make this the romantic getaway of you and your lover’s dreams. Come relax on the shore of our Alabama beaches.

End the Year with a Feast

When you choose to stay at one of our Anchor Vacations rentals, you’ll discover that Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer more than just relaxing beaches. You’ll find that there are plenty of things to do in Gulf Shores and surrounding areas. However, we strongly recommend tasting some of the best places to eat in Gulf Shores or discover the varied cuisine of restaurants in Orange Beach.

Restaurants Near your Rental

Fresh from local waters bring some of the best seafood, from fried to grilled all dishes are cooked to perfection and served fresh daily at some of the most popular restaurants in Orange Beach. If you would prefer a thick, juicy steak and potatoes, or a traditional burger and fries cooked just how you like it, you’ll find it here at some of the greatest places to eat in Gulf Shores. You can dine in elegance with cuisine prepared by a highly awarded chef, or casually eat in on the deck at a waterfront grill. The exclusive southern-style cooking you will enjoy at these Gulf Shores Alabama restaurants is so divine, it is sure to bring you back for more! Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama also have a wide range of fun nightlife entertainment, from live music with dance floors to classy hotel lounges & laid-back beach bars, whatever you’re in the mood for, it’s on the Gulf Coast.

Places to Eat in Gulf Shores

Restaurants range from family-friendly casual overlooking the beach to white-tablecloth eateries with extensive wine lists and elegant menus that change with the seasons. For example, you can venture into a local favorite Tacky Jacks for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and you’ll get to enjoy great food and meet with locals and fishers. You could also stop by Mikee’s Seafood for some of their excellent seafood gumbo, or at The Original Oyster House for some famous Fried Green Tomatoes. Meet Jimmy Buffet’s sister at Lulu’s at Homeport Marina for a large grilled chicken salad, as you celebrate, food, family, and fun on your vacation. As you enjoy all the spectacular places to eat in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, make sure to book one of our Anchor Vacations beautiful condos for your culinary vacation along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Happy New Year!!

Ring in 2019 in paradise on the beautiful Alabama coast! From fabulous fireworks displays to polar bear dips, we have something for everyone!

The Wharf

Take your kiddos to the Inaugural Kids Confetti Drop at The Wharf to celebrate New Year’s a little early! At noon the confetti will drop over Main Street and there will be animals, fun activities and more to entertain everyone.

Don’t miss the spectacular fireworks display along with a street party and music by live bands rockin’ until the Marlin drop at midnight at The Wharf’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Bash!

Lulu’s Restaurant

Noon New Years Eve Celebration

Bring the family and join Lucy Buffett for the big countdown to NOON! The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is bringing their amazing animals and they’ll be lots of games for the kids while you adults can sit back and relax.

Flora Bama

Flora-Bama New Year’s Day Polar Bear Dip

Come take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico and ring in the New Year at the Annual Polar Bear Dip at high noon!

Gulf Coast Christmas

Christmas on the Coast

How about spending a white Christmas on the Gulf Coast this year? Trade in your snow boots and shovels for flip-flops and a shelling bucket this holiday season and make some new memories! Santa loves the beach. Where else would he go to get away from the cold weather of the North Pole? So come make some sand angels at the beach! There are tons of things to do here in paradise during Christmas such as parades, light shows, shopping, concerts and more!

Be sure to check out our special offers and last minute deals for this season’s best prices. We hope to see you and your family for this time of togetherness! Contact us if you have any questions about staying with us!

The Lighted Christmas Parade

This annual tradition in Gulf Shores boasts floats, bands, and characters to get in the holiday spirit! It all starts Friday, December 7th at 6:30 p.m. at the Gulf Shores Public Beach and ends with a party at Sims Park. There will be pictures with Santa, crafts, food and an awesome snowball drop.

The 33rd annual Christmas Boat Parade

This magnificent parade will be held on Saturday, December 8th at 5 p.m. The parade will begin at Lulu’s and ends at Flora-Bama. Over 45 boats of all kinds show their stuff as their lights dance along the water. It’s not one to miss.

Christmas at the Wharf

Enjoy shopping, dining and plenty of activities for the kids in Orange Beach! See all of the events here:

  • Ice Skating – Take a spin at the rink ($10 including skates)
  • Photos With Santa – See the jolly man himself and take a picture that lasts forever in Santa’s Village
  • Christmas Tree Lighting
  • Kids Craft Day
  • Happy Howlidays Kid and Pet Parade

Breakfast With Santa

Get in a last minute visit with Santa at the Meyer Civic Center Saturday, December 15th at 8 am and have an awesome breakfast before taking pictures with Santa himself!

Bellingrath Gardens

In its 23rd year, The Magic Christmas in Lights is a beautiful spectacle of over 3 million lights, numerous displays and loads of hot chocolate. You can also tour the Bellingrath home every half hour.

You can view full event details at!



The holidays are almost here again, and the rush that comes with it! Thankfully you can escape to the beautiful beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast! Come spend Thanksgiving with us and relax for a change! At a warm 70 degrees with sunny skies, they’ll be no chance of snow but A LOT of sand! We have several homes that will comfortably fit your entire family! Can you hear the waves yet? Make new traditions and bring your own for a new experience like no other!

There are so many perks to spending your holidays here on the coast. For starters, no cleaning and stressing before family arrives. We take care of everything for you! No need to bring stuff out of the attic to decorate. But the most important thing is the FOOD! If you would like to keep those turkey traditions and cook your own meal, there are plenty of supermarkets and local markets to get the freshest ingredients for your feast. If dining out is your thing, there are several restaurants on the island and around the area that offer delicious meals. Here are a few:

The Gift Horse  209 W Laurel Ave, Foley, AL  251-943-3663

Bahama Bob’s  601 W. Beach Blvd. Gulf Shores, AL  251-948-2100

Flora-Bama  17401 Perdido Beach Dr., Pensacola, FL  850-492-0611

Jesse’s Restaurant  14770 Oak St., Magnolia Springs, AL  251-965-3827

Bubba’s Seafood  24621 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach, AL 251-974-1500

So after the “stuffing”, what could be better than Black Friday shopping? With Tanger Outlets just a few miles north in Foley, you’ll be able to get everyone on your list something special and in one place, and even trot some of that turkey off!

We hope to see you and your family for this time of togetherness! Contact us here at Anchor Vacations!



Ahhh winter, a beautiful mess. Snow, ice, rain and of course, shovels. Well, how about sun, sand, palm trees and endless fun! Here on the Alabama Gulf Coast, you are part of our community and we want to share paradise with you. There are so many things to do and so many friendships to make you’ll make the Alabama Gulf Coast your favorite winter getaway!

Let’s start with events. There are over 2,000 square miles in Baldwin County alone, which means there is ALWAYS something to do! Have a look at our events calendar. From craft and art shows to music concerts, nature trails, fishing, sporting events, awesome golf courses, and endless history to explore, you’ll fall in love with Gulf Shores and Orange Beach! Oh, and don’t forget the food! There are hundreds of restaurants with the best seafood on the coast. Just a short trip north takes you to the U.S.S. Alabama or you can go west to Fort Morgan where the soldiers walked. After that, hop on the Mobile Bay Ferry to Dauphin Island and stop by the Sea Lab before touring the beautiful gardens at Bellingrath.

Volunteering in paradise is also one of the greatest things you can do to feel even closer to our community and make lifelong friendships along the way. There are also many clubs organized by our snowbird friends for weekly potlucks and bridge clubs. Most clubs are organized by states so you will be able to reconnect all year long!

So, what are you waiting for? Come stay and play with us in paradise! At Anchor Vacations we have great specials…….

Gulf Shores Shrimp Festival

The 47th Annual National Shrimp Festival

October 11th- 14th – Gulf Shores, AL

If you love seafood, you absolutely cannot miss the National Shrimp Festival. For its 47th year, it will be even better than the last with more than 50,000 pounds of shrimp served per day right at your fingertips. Local award-winning chefs will be offering samples of their recipes and over 50 vendors will be giving you a taste of the best food on the Gulf. There will be music in the air and 200 booths of art and craft vendors with beautiful handmade items. Join

There is no shortage of activities this year with Outdoor World offering boating, fishing, and hunting activities along the beach. There will also be a Singing for Scholarships competition where seven local high schools and their singers will compete for scholarships. There is the Annual Sand Sculpture Contest on Saturday and face-painting and other kid activities at the Activity Village. Don’t miss the fun!

Book your vacation rental by contacting one of our friendly, professional reservationists at 800-334-5107! Be sure to check out our Shrimp Fest Special Offer to get the best prices on accommodations.

Happy Labor Day

Labor Day Weekend At The Gulf Coast