While everyone covets their time in the surf and sand at Eden, the crystal-white beach is just a tease to the outdoor, nature-based experiences available in the Perdido area.
So, leave the flip-flops in your condo, put on some sturdy outdoor shoes and head out. Much like the original Eden, Perdido was born to be wild.
If your family wants to see the shoreline from the wet side, contact Sail Wild Hearts to book a cruise out of Orange Beach to see dolphins, the sunset, and, in the right time of year, the Blue Angels practicing out of nearby Pensacola Naval Air Station.
Sail Wild Hearts also offers parasailing. Imagine flying high above the Gulf of Mexico and seeing your condo as a far away profile on the horizon.
Distance from Eden: 8.5 miles / 16 minutes
If you want to peruse the local coastlines and waterways at your own pace, you may rent some kayaks and paddleboards from a place like Outdoor Gulf Coast. They will deliver the equipment to your launch point, and even bring windsurfing lessons to your locale.
You can use the kayaks and paddle boards to explore the many hidden coves and corners of the local coastlines. Everybody knows there is supposed to be pirate booty hidden somewhere beneath Perdido’s sands.
A true wilderness, the Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park is 4,000 acres of pristine, undisturbed wetland that is home to four species of endangered – and carnivorous – pitcher plants, as well as other rare and threatened species. There is a 1-mile finished pathway, including boardwalks, that extends through the pitcher prairie to the edge of the bayou. There is also a “rugged” 6.5 mile trail through the preserve (your feet may get wet on that one).
Although the pitcher plants are carnivorous, nothing much bigger than a small grasshopper has any reason to worry.
Distance from Eden: 9.2 miles / 13 minutes
Equally wild and natural, nearby Big Lagoon State Park is a seasonal stopover for more than 23 species of avian visitors ripe for the watching. The park is an unspoiled example of coastal ecosystem that varies from saltwater tidal marshes to pine flatwoods.
Big Lagoon has a 2.5 mile loop of paved roadways that are great for jogging or biking, as well as five miles of hiking and nature trails and a three-story observation tower. With the help of a local group of amateur astronomers, the park also offers stargazing programs throughout the year.
Distance from Eden: 6.1 miles / 9 minutes
The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in coastal Alabama serves as a true “safe harbor” for numerous special creatures, including the endangered Alabama Beach Mouse, a tiny nocturnal sandy white rodent only found in coastal Alabama. Three types of sea turtles – loggerhead, Kemp's Ridley and green – have been known to nest on the shores of the refuge. Alligators, bobcats and countless migratory birds also may be seen there.
Bon Secour offers more than six miles of trails for wildlife viewing, birdwatching and photography. Guides take visitors on bird walks, dune hikes and even “night prowls.”
Distance from Eden: 21.6 miles / 39 minutes
Of course, if you really want a “wild” encounter, there is an opportunity of a different nature: Get your photo taken with a wild animal. Like, maybe one from Australia.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo offers daily encounters with baby kangaroos (and other animals). The non-profit zoo is also home to nearly 200 species of animals, including eight endangered species.
Distance from Eden: 16 miles / 31 minutes
There's so much to do on and around our 16-miles-long island paradise, there's no way you can experience it all in just one stay. To help you make the most of your Eden vacation, we've picked a few of our favorite experiences that we hope will become precious memories for you too. If you have a question, or don't see what you're looking for, please let us know. We want to make sure that each memory of your Eden vacation is truly magical.