“Laissez bons temps rouler”, or, if you don’t speak French, let the good times roll! On Alabama’s Gulf Coast, most people are always down for a good party, and Mardi Gras is the ultimate party of parties! While many people might think of New Orleans when they think of Mardi Gras, real Alabamians know that Alabama is the home (Mobile, specifically) of this festive, colorful celebration. In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL, there are plenty of good times to be had. So, here are a few tips you should know when planning your Mardi Gras trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL.
The Parade and the Traffic
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach both have their own parades on Fat Tuesday, March 1st, and the good news is you can make it to both if you want. The Gulf Shores parade starts at 10 AM, with regular traffic resuming around 11 AM. The Orange Beach parade starts at 2 PM, with roads closing down around 1 PM. With Gulf Shores and Orange Beach being only about 15 minutes apart from one another, the window between streets closing and parades starting gives you two hours to get to your spot, or you can always take advantage of ride-sharing like Uber (which might make things easier, as the roads in Orange Beach can stay closed up to 4 PM on parade days).
Both parades are must-see, as the revelers will be tossing everything from doubloons and beads to the Alabama favorite, the Moon Pie! If the earlier parades aren’t fitting your schedule, then you can enjoy the Mystics of Pleasure parade in Orange Beach on Feb. 26th at 5:30 PM or
The LuLu’s Mardi Gras Anniversary & Boat Parade in Gulf Shores on March 1st at 4 PM.
His Royal Highness, King Cake
While you are letting the good times roll, make sure to experience a wonderful treat known as the King Cake! This seasonal, sugary, delectable pastry is served between Jan. 6th (Three Kings Day) and Fat Tuesday. The classic Kings Cake is a cinnamon pastry, but other flavors like praline and cream cheese have become quite popular as well. The thing these cakes have in common is the wonderful, yet almost clownish color scheme of green and purple. However, people don’t just eat this cake in order to enjoy its decadent flavors; legend has it that, if you find a plastic baby in your King Cake, you’ll have good luck all year. Rouse’s in Gulf Shore is particularly well known for its King Cake, so swing by and have a slice or 3!
When most people think of Mardi Gras, they think of debauchery and drunkenness, but that is not all the celebration has to offer, and in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, there are plenty of kid-friendly, family-friendly options to be enjoyed. For starters, the Fat Tuesday parades are great for all ages. Not only that, but in Orange Beach, you can head down to The Wharf for Moon pies On Main! Not only will you experience that above-mentioned Southern sweet treat, but also petting zoos and even a pet parade!
Let’s not kid ourselves, though. Mardi Gras was started as a final celebration of rich foods and good drinks before the days of fasting came. You have nothing to worry about there: Gulf Shores has you covered. The LuLu’s Mardi Gras Anniversary & Boat Parade is not just a fun parade: it’s a celebration of the anniversary of LuLu’s Restaurant! LuLu’s has some amazing seafood, a full bar serving up some excellent Margaritas and craft beer, and live music almost every night. Once the parades are over and the night has come, get your decadence on and enjoy the moonlight breeze from the ocean! These are just a few suggestions of how Gulf Shore and Orange Beach, AL can make your Mardi Gras a great time!