Living on the Alabama Gulf CoastIyna Bort Caruso
Flip flop casualness is the order of the day along the communities of Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
Thirty-two miles of beaches stretch along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, some 50 miles south of Mobile. These beaches are serious business. A recently enacted “Leave Only Footprints” campaign is intent on keeping pristine and safe for both beach-goers and endangered species like nesting sea turtles.
The region has been tallying up the accolades of late. Gulf Shores was #2 in a Country Living Magazine reader poll of 20 Most Charming Beach Towns in America. The magazine declared “the secret’s out” on a place that “used to be a bit of a hidden treasure.”
Those who venture off the white sands enjoy famously fresh Gulf seafood, shopping, back country trail hikes and golf. Top-rated courses, designed by the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jerry Pate and Earl Stone, offer golfers a challenge with stunning views of coastlines, wetland preserves and rolling hills.
Families in the know have been coming here for generations. It was the completion of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in 1937 that made the beach area accessible and sparked the growth of the tourism industry.
Buyers of Alabama’s beachfront homes are typically drawn from the Southeast and Midwest. Young families and retirees are particularly smitten with the relaxed environment, multitude of activities and good weather.
Gulf Coast cottages, better known as Creole cottages, are the most indigenous of home styles, noted for their large, plentiful windows, front porches and high ceilings. Some newer homes pay homage to the historical style. The luxury property market includes its share of custom-built estates in private gated communities and high rise condominiums, some offering floor-through residences and wraparound balconies for 360-degree views.