Gulf Shores, Alabama
Editor James T. Black recalls family vacations at the park: “Stretching from the Gulf of Mexico inland to Lake Shelby and Middle Lake, the park’s snow-white beaches and cool, green pine forests were the perfect remedy for a weary family escaping the workaday, late-for-school world. We’d spend mornings watching fishermen drop lines and pull up crab baskets from the park’s pier that rose above the turquoise waves, and evenings listening to crickets from the porch of a lakeside cabin."
After battles with hurricanes, a $100 million renovation of the entire state park system recently refurbished 20 of its lakeside cabins and added 11 cottages. After all these years, it’s still a great family destination (and a great bargain, with two-bedroom cabins starting at $125 a night). alapark.com/gulfstate or 251/948-7275