Photo Courtesy Alabama Gulf Coast CVB
Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau
23685 Perdido Beach Blvd.
Orange Beach, AL 36561
What’s New: A new conference center at the Wharf opened in March 2009, with more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space. The Wharf complex includes luxury waterfront condominiums, an 18-hole championship golf course, more than 15 restaurants, boutiques and live music every weekend. Turquoise Place, a two-tower condominium with 400 luxury living spaces, opened last summer. The longest fishing pier on the Gulf of Mexico opened last summer, stretching nearly a third of a mile over the water. An award-winning bakery with a ’50s retro theme, Sweetie Pie’s, is now open in the Pelican Place Shopping Center in Gulf Shores.
Rooms: There are more than 16,000 units for lodging along the Alabama Gulf Coast, most of them condominiums, and more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space. The Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach is the main convention hotel, with 40,000 square feet of meeting space, followed by the Caribe Resort, also in Orange Beach, and the Beach Club, in Gulf Shores, with 14,000 square feet of meeting space each.
Getting there: If you are flying, Pensacola, Fla., and Mobile, Ala., are the best choices for airports, each about an hour’s drive from the Alabama Gulf Coast. Both cities are served by major airlines, among them Continental, Delta, American and US Airways. Regional attendees usually drive, as the coast is close to many major cities: fewer than eight hours from Nashville, Tenn., and Huntsville, Ala.; fewer than five hours from Atlanta; and fewer than three hours from New Orleans.