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Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

Concord, NC
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34 posts
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Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

Hello!

We are a family of 2 adults and 2 teens looking to take Spring Break vacation driving along Gulf Coast starting in AL or MS and ending in New Orleans.... We've never been to this area before and are looking for an authentic taste of the area. What towns should we visit? What towns should we skip?? We have only a week and will be coming from the Charlotte area.

Thanks for any guidance you can offer!!!!

Birmingham, AL
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1. Re: Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

What exactly do you mean by "authentic"? Do you want to see what life is like for locals? see historical places? great beaches? cities? peace & quiet? some of each?

If that is the case, geographically you could drive to Gulf Shores, stay a couple days, and work you way west.

Beach wise, GS will be the prettiest in that stretch. Visit Fairhope for beautiful views, good food, antiquing, etc. You can drive to Fort Morgan when you are ready to leave, take the ferry to Dauphin Island (western shore of Mobile bay) and that is a more quiet, outdoorsy beach, good for shell collecting, wildlife watching and fishing. Go north to Mobile, where you can, if you like catch I-10 and make up some time.

Personally, I have teenagers, and would skip Biloxi. It is basically big for casinos and golf. beaches not as pretty. That is just my opinion; there are Biloxi experts that will have other thoughts.

If you end up spending any time in Mobile, about 20 minutes north, easy via I-65, there is a place to take an airboat tour through the Mobile Tensaw Delta. It is inexpensive, and the guide is outstanding. Been there for several generations. It is also very, very scenic, and different from other activities.

There is also Bellingrath gardens, Ocean Springs, MS, so many other places to see. With just a week, maybe you can break up your lodging into two locations, and figure it out from there.

How much time do you want in New Orleans? Have you checked lodging there? So much going on there this year with all the basketball, make sure your dates don't conflict, or you may have a hard time finding a decent room.

Have a good trip,

Miller

Concord, NC
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34 posts
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2. Re: Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

Thank you so much for your quick reply, Miller!!

Yes... sorry I wasn't more clear...by 'authentic' I do mean life for the locals. Local economy, life, history, sights and sounds. Not too much into casinos or night life. We do love the water and love to fish, too. I will look into some of your suggestions.

Haven't yet looked into lodging in NOLA... we want to experience true NO with the food, culture, music, etc. Any suggestions as to an area in NO to look into staying?

Thanks much!! I know next-to-nothing about this area and had no idea WHERE to begin searching! As expected, the tripadvisor resource-filled community is the way to go!

Mississippi
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3. Re: Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

I would stay in Gulf Shores, AL where there's pure white sand and clear blue water. Stay at San Carlos near the T at I 59 and Beach Boulevard. Stop in Mobile and visit the Battleship Alabama Museum. Have lunch next door at John Word's. Stop in historic Ocean Springs, MS and visit Washington Street's shops and restaurants. Drive down Highway 90 along the MS Gulf Coast and visit the beach there. Head to NOLA and stay a few days in the FQ where you can walk to all attractions. Enjoy your visit.

San Carlos Condo's @ 365 East Beach Boulevard, Gulf Shores, AL 251 - 967 - 9838.

http://www.san-carlos-alabama.com/

Mississippi
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4. Re: Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

Stay in the FQ and walk to all the great places to visit. Stay at Chateau Bourbon, Le Marais, Monteleone, Provincial, St. Marie, Place D Armes, Iberville Suites , Dauphine Orleans, Prince Conti or Hotel Mazarin.

Chateau Bourbon Hotel @ 800 Iberville Street New Orleans, LA 504 - 586 - 0800.

http://www.chateaubourbonneworleans.com/

Hotel Le Marais @ 717 Conti Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 525 - 2300.

http://www.hotellemarais.com/

Hotel Monteleone @ 214 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 523 - 3341.

http://hotelmonteleone.com/

Hotel Provincial @ 1024 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 581 - 4995.

http://www.hotelprovincial.com/

Hotel St. Marie @ 827 Toulouse Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 561-8951.

http://www.hotelstmarie.com/

Place D'Armes Hotel @ 625 Saint Ann Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 524 - 4531.

http://www.placedarmes.com/

Iberville Suites Hotel @ 910 Iberville St., New Orleans, LA 866 - 229 - 4351.

http://www.ibervillesuites.com/

Dauphine Orleans @ 415 Dauphine Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 586 - 1800.

http://www.dauphineorleans.com/

Prince Conti Hotel @ 830 Conti St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 529 - 4172.

http://www.princecontihotel.com/

Hotel Mazarin @ 730 Rue Bienville New Orleans, LA 504 - 581 – 7300.

http://www.hotelmazarin.com/

Mississippi
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5. Re: Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

March is a busy month. Start looking for rooms today. The NCAA Men's Final Four BB Tournament starts March 29th for 3/4 days. Everything is booked most likely.

What are your travel dates.

Concord, NC
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6. Re: Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

We have break April 7-15 so that should better!

Concord, NC
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34 posts
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7. Re: Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

Thanks for all the info!!!! Lots to check out...

Thank you so much for all these 'leads'.

Concord, NC
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34 posts
24 reviews
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8. Re: Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

Ok.... so we've just returned from our trip!! The following is a list of the places where we stayed, visited and ate. I will give a quick rating (1-5) and will give detailed reviews in the appropriate places in the Gulf Shores, AL, New Orleans, LA and Birmingham, AL pages.

THANK YOU ALL so very much for all the recommendations and such.... as always, Tripadvisor and its contributors made this vacation easy!!

GULF SHORES, AL

San Carlos Condos (Rating = 5)

Sea 'n Suds Restaurant (Rating = 1)

Elli Bistro (Rating = 3)

Fort Morgan (Rating = 4)

Ferry to Dauphin Island (Rating = 4)

Common Loon (on Dauphin Island) (Rating = 3.5)

Gulf Shores Steamer (Orange Beach) (Rating = 3.5)

PENSACOLA, FL

Blue Angels Practice Session (Rating = 5)

MOBILE, AL

Brick Pit BBQ Restaurant (Rating = 3.5)

NEW ORLEANS, LA

Roosevelt Hotel (Rating = 5)

Arnaud Jazz Bistro (Rating = 3.5)

St. Charles Street Car (Rating = 5)

Sucre (Rating = 4)

Domenica (Rating = 4.5)

Sazerac Restaurant (breakfast) (Rating = 3.5)

French Quarter Festival (Rating = 4)

Johnny's Po-Boys (Rating = 3)

Commander's Palace (Rating = 5)

Louisiana Swamp Tours (Rating = 4.5)

Perino's Boiling Pot (Harvey, LA) (Rating = 3.5)

BIRMINGHAM, AL

Hampton Inn - Tutwiler (Rating = 3.5)

Highlands Bar and Grill (Rating = 5)

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Rating = 5)

ATLANTA, GA

Flip Burger Boutique (Rating = 4)

THANK YOU ALL for you help!! We all had a great time with incredible weather and really enjoyed seeing a part of the country in which we'd never traveled.

Mississippi
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9. Re: Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

Thanks for the kind reply. I am happy you enjoyed your visit to AL, MS and LA. My son was at Camp Lejeune, NC for 4 years. I have high regards to your grand state. Good luck and return soon.

Jackson,MS
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10. Re: Which MS coastal town for authentic 'Gulf Coast' experience?

They didn't stop in Miss. it sounds like. I thought this was a Biloxi, Miss., board? It seems to me people get on here lately and tell people to go elsewhere all the time.......people miss out on so much that is great about our Miss. Coast. Oh well......more peace and quiet for our enjoyable visits to our Miss. Coast.