The Gulf Coast Retreat is one of the most unique lodges in the world
If you’re looking for glorious sunrises, carefree afternoons, and jaw-dropping sunsets, Eagle Cottages at Gulf State Park is the perfect getaway to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. Eagle Cottages is a hidden oasis off the bustling Gulf Coast where you can reconnect with yourself, family or friends. You’ll find this charming row of cottages nestled in Gulf State Park. With a passion for sustainability and eco-friendly structures, your adventure will go hand in hand with protecting and learning about the different ecosystems of the 6,000 acres around you.
Each morning of my hosted stay was graced by the welcoming rays of the sun peeking over the horizon to display its brilliance, and as the sun rose higher the reflection of the sky was painted on the still surface of Lake Shelby . With two screened porches to choose from, I would pull out my freshly brewed coffee to breathe in the beauty of the new day.
1,400 square feet to stretch out and relax
When I booked my husband’s 50th birthday getaway, I knew I wanted to make his experience something memorable and an opportunity for him to enjoy some of his passions in the outdoors. As a member of the unique lodges in the world, Eagle Cottages ensures that each guest booking has their personalized stay. Mark Larkin, the property manager, was instrumental in preparing for our arrival with special birthday treats and handpicked tours for each day of our stay.
Each cottage is a spacious three-bedroom overwater, with three full bathrooms and a fully-equipped kitchen designed with everything you need to make your beach getaway absolutely perfect. There is a fully ADA accessible cottage with a ramp and an ADA compliant bathroom.
Since this is not your typical lodging getaway, every day you have services at your cottage. Housekeeping comes to make your bed, tidy the bathrooms to restock towels, clean your chalet and get it ready for you when you return from your day’s adventures.
Pro tip: Before coming, connect with beach moms, who will take care of everything you need before your arrival. This is a full-service concierge group that makes your arrival at the chalets a breeze, with little to no work for you.
Nine ecosystems to explore
My husband and I love nature and Gulf State Park is an outdoor lover’s paradise. As part of our stay, we enjoyed personal guided tours with naturalists. Our appointed naturalist would pick us up each morning from our cabin and take us to amazing parts of the national park that are little hidden gems. We were able to do the Natural Heritage and Sustainability Pier Guided Walk while we were there, but the one that stood out in the included tours was the Guided Bike Tour. Each chalet comes with an adult sized bike for the stay, and for the tour the guide arrives to take you on the paved paths and elevated wooden boardwalks. With nine ecosystems to explore, this outing takes you through most of them. We were able to see some of the park’s inhabitants on our trip, including alligators, feathered birds, an armadillo, and a swift snake.
Pro tip: Most visits are included in a stay at Eagle Cottages; however, there is one tour that is exceptional but will cost a bit more. Go birding in the park with Robert Stoney in some of the most hidden spots to see migratory birds, ospreys and majestic eagles. This tour includes binoculars for each guest, field guides, and personalized snack and beverages for all attendees.
Dine in Gulf State Park
Nestled in tall oaks and fragrant pines, the wood restaurant awaits you each morning of your stay. There’s nothing like waking up and going to breakfast without having to cook. The menu here is perfect and the portions are huge, fueling you for a day of adventure.
One of the best things about Gulf State Park is that you can eat all of your meals on property. If you fancy a snack or need a caffeine fix, Roasted Oak is open for a quick stop throughout the day and evening. For a full meal experience, you can have lunch at Culinary craftsmanship or dine and drink at Perch, a rooftop restaurant with the best sunset views in the Gulf.
We went to perch for Matt’s 50th birthday dinner, where we ate a small plate of tapas and enjoyed the March sunset by the fire.
Pro tip: The morning ritual of breakfast at Woodside is included in the stay for all guests staying in your cottage.
Visit the pristine beaches of Gulf State Park
Many people come to Gulf Shores, Alabama to enjoy the pristine white sand beaches, bask in the sun, relax on the sand, and play in the surf. Staying in the cottages makes visiting the beach a snap with the included parking pass for all areas of the park. Every beach season is beautiful, but when the turtles come to nest, that’s when you can really appreciate the sustainability that Gulf State Park has put in place for wildlife. Dim red lights are all over the beach to keep sea turtles comfortable and aid in their ability to lay eggs.
Pro tip: Rent chairs and an umbrella at the lodge for the duration of your stay; this eliminates the work of transporting things to and from your cottage.
Discover the beauty of Gulf Shores, Alabama
My husband and I come to southern Alabama for the natural beauty, but we also come to spend time doing all the things we can find to do along the Gulf Coast. On this trip we took a sunset boat ride to see the pods of dolphins swimming with Cetacean Cruiseswhich was one of the highlights of the trip.
Just outside Gulf State Park is The platform, where we shopped, drank local coffee, then took a ride on the Ferris wheel to overlook the wharf and waterways. You can spend a whole afternoon there.
And the region’s food scene is out of this world! We can’t come here without stopping at At Lulu’s for live music and drinks, one of the iconic venues for an evening of fun. If you’re looking for seafood that will satisfy your Gulf shrimp craving, GT on the bay should be at the top of your list – because it still makes ours.
Pro tip: Although there is plenty to do on the Alabama coast in Gulf Shores and Orange Beachmake sure you don’t plan too much so you can fully enjoy your cabin in the national park.
The thing about Gulf State Park is that you really never have to leave to experience all the things you came here to do. While Gulf State Park offers plenty to do and explore, there’s nothing better than coming back to Eagle Cottages in the evening to watch the sunset from your private lanai or by the light of a log fire. camp. You get the best of both worlds proximity to the beach and all access to seclusion in nature at Eagle Cottages at Gulf Shores State Park.
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