The Redneck Riviera: a Great Vacation Spot

France and Spain have the Costa Del Sol and Riviera. Rednecks have the Emerald Coast and the Redneck Riviera, stretching around to arguably the sexiest city in America, New Orleans. Starting from the Apalachicola area in Florida (that’s the bump between the Panhandle and the bend toward the south on the Gulf Coast) and wrapping around to the Louisiana shores, the Redneck Riviera boasts every imaginable playground for country boys and girls. Described by some as Mardi Gras with a beach, the Redneck Riviera is a great place to vacation, bikini-watch, surf, or just watch the sunset in a beach chair.

A small taste: deep-sea fishing, shallow river fishing (boat or fly or whatever you love), every imaginable watersport, gambling, military museums and the Blue Angels precision flying team, white sand beaches lined with fantastic bars and nightclubs, and tons of historical spots, good golf, and nearby attractions like Disneyworld. Some of the best places along the Redneck Riviera to stay include:

Destin, Florida, is the premier Florida destination for Spring Breakers, and it should be. A combination of incredible beaches and excellent bars and hangouts provide the best beach singles strip for hundreds of miles, and you’re guaranteed in the non-Spring Break season to find good deals on beachfront condos as well as lots of great restaurants with world-class food priced for your wallet. Just a few miles away, Sandestin provides a more upscale vacation experience, including a world-class golf course. Oh, and did I mention Destin is called the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village? Destin is renowned for its great deep-sea fishing, and you’ll find it easy to charter a boat to go out and catch that marlin.

Pensacola Beach is built on the barrier island off Pensacola, a military town. Because the community is designed to appeal to tourists and young military personnel (Navy and Air Force), you’ll find lots of singles hangouts, mostly filled with other tourists (the locals generally go over to nearby Navarre or to Gulf Breeze for bar crawling). The Blue Angels put on regular air shows here as well as impromptu practices, and the naval aviation museum is unbeatable if you love military aircraft. The Pensacola area is also great for blackwater canoeing, where tea-colored rivers flow gently out into the Gulf. Don’t trust maps here; ask a local. Hurricane Ivan a few years ago tore up parts of the island, and not all roads go where they claim.

Gulf Shores, Alabama is as far west as you can go and see those wide, protected beaches. Beyond here, the barrier islands that surround and protect Florida’s coast end are washed away by the wide Mississipi delta. This is a great golfing destination, but is also perfect for just relaxing and sitting in the sun with a margarita listening to some Jimmy Buffett.

Dauphin Island is just off Gulf Shores, and is filled with stilt-constructed homes designed to avoid storm surges that come every year during hurricane season. Like Pensacola, Dauphin Island has taken a beating from recent hurricanes, but it is still beautiful. It may be more family-oriented than a single redneck looking for company would like, but it’s a great place to go for a quiet weekend to explore a new relationship.

Need a little more? The Redneck Riviera is only a little distance from New Orleans on the Gulf Shores end, and not too far from Orlando on the Destin side, where Downtown Disney and other hangouts are increasingly attracting young singles to the region. And small ocean-going casinos set out regularly from Mobile for gambling cruises. You will find just about anything you’re interested in down in the Redneck Riviera.