Orange Beach, Beyond the Shore

 

The Alabama town has always been about more than sun and sand. Here are four great ideas for guaranteed fun.
Amy Bickers

Even after this year’s oil spill, Orange Beach remains one of the Alabama coast’s best spots for a summer weekend. Spurred by the arrival of The Wharf—the super-sized resort development with an amphitheater, shops and restaurants, and a golf course—the town has gone from a sleepy village to a bustling coastal destination. Without hitting the beach, here’s how you can still create a great vacation day.

Morning: Make Some Glass Crafts 
Take home a souvenir you make yourself. Head to The Hot Shop at the Orange Beach Arts Center for “Make Your Own Glass” classes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Glass artists Joe Hobbs and Sam Cornman will show you how to make a paperweight ($35) or an ornament ($20). Call to make reservations;  drop-ins are also welcome. orangebeachartcenter.com or 251/981-2787 

Lunch: A Dog-Day Meal
Drive about a half mile from The Hot Shop to Cosmo’s, named for a shelter dog rescued by the restaurant’s owners. Artwork inspired by man’s best friend fills the walls of this popular seafood spot at Fish Camp Landing. Try the risotto as a side dish ($3). It’s definitely worth barking about. cosmosrestaurantandbar.com

Afternoon: Take the Plunge
Orange Beach is filled with condo options. One of the best is Phoenix on the Bay because it has a pool that keeps things interesting for kids (of all ages). There’s a slide, a kiddie pool, and a long and winding lazy river that twists around the pool area. brett-robinson.com  

Evening: A Sunset Spot 
After a day of sunning and swimming, head to Flippers Seafood & Oyster Bar at Bear Point Marina. Ask for a table on the upstairs deck, and watch the sun go down while you eat. Try the Greek Grouper with tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese served atop rice pilaf. For dessert, dig in to Eddie Boy’s Homemade Ice Cream topped with grated Chilton County peaches.  flippersrestaurant.com