Where: Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama.
When: November 5-8
How Long: Two and a half days on the ground, a day and a half of traveling due to connecting flight.
Weather: Gulf Shores is mostly sunny and warm year-round, with medium-to-high humidity during the day and mild temperatures at night. I visited during the off-season, when the most you’ll need is a sweater or a light jacket. Be prepared for every type of weather, though—my first full day there was hot, sunny and humid, while the next day was slightly cool and cloudy with scattered showers.
Type of Trip: I needed to pack for hiking, kayaking, boating, an outdoor food festival, casual business lunches and dinners, and nighttime activities, which included a craft beer festival and live music. I stayed in a beachfront condo through Laura’s Vacation Rentals which came with towels, dishware, a coffeemaker, kitchen, living room, and balcony. Aside from packing the essential clothing and shoes, I needed to bring toiletries, a hairdryer, and of course, a bag of coffee.
Packing Challenge: Given the length of the trip, bringing a carry-on made the most sense. My challenge was packing the right items that could be worn during various weather conditions, and fitting all of them in my suitcase. Having enough active wear, layering clothing, and comfortable shoes were important.
Mouse over the photos below for detailed explanations of the items I packed. Any time you see the Thinglink icon on a photo (bottom right), you can mouse over it to interact with the image.
What I Should Have Left Behind: Whether you’re going out to dinner or listening to live music at a bar, Gulf Shores has a pretty laid-back vibe. Most men were in shorts and t-shirts, and women wore jeans and casual tops. That being said, I wish I left behind the dress I intended to wear for business casual dinners.
What I Should Have Packed: Hairspray and face wipes to help with the humidity. Although I brought a very light rain jacket, I also wish I packed an umbrella because it down-poured occasionally. Since the rain really cooled things off, it also would’ve been worthwhile to pack a warmer zip-up to wear under it.
More from SmarterTravel:
- The Ultimate Packing List
- Best Foldable Rolling Suitcases for Easy Storage
- How to Fit More Stuff in Your Suitcase
Olivia Briggs enjoyed visiting the Alabama Gulf Coast. To learn more about her trip, follow her on Twitter @Olileibri.