I first heard about Sail Wild Hearts when my friend Karen over on Family Travels on a Budget raved about their full-day sail into the Gulf of Mexico to see the Blue Angels flight squadron. On my second trip back to Gulf Shores Orange Beach, Alabama for a girlfriend getaway, I knew this is something to add to our list of things to do in Orange Beach.
But since it was early April, I didn’t really want to get into the water for paddle boarding, kayaking or snorkeling, so a sunset catamaran in Orange Beach seemed like the perfect fit.
When I’ve done sunset catamaran cruises in the past in places like Key West, they tended to be big party boats but this one is decidedly family-friendly. While they gladly offer water and soft drinks on board, no alcohol is served.
You are allowed to bring on your own soft-sided cooler with alcoholic beverages but, at least when we went, we didn’t see anyone over-indulging, it just wasn’t that sort of vibe. The crew at Sail Wild Hearts also laid out a nice spread of chips, dips, crackers, cheese and veggies inside the cabin but the real place to be is outside.
Sunset Catamaran in Orange Beach, Alabama
Note: We were guests of Sail Wild Hearts for purposes of this review, all opinions are my own.
As we headed out to sea under the Perdido Bridge, fun music playing softly in the background, we stretched out on the netting at the front of the catamaran to lock in our spot for the best views. For the next 1.5 – 2 hours, we sailed up and down the coast, heading first towards Gulf Shores on the hunt for dolphins. We spotted quite a few but they all proved faster than my camera finger and their images remained elusive, except in my memories.
As we turned to head towards the Florida state line, the sun was beginning to sink on the horizon and we hugged our sweaters around us a little closer as the temperature started its own descent. Faster than we expected, we were entering into Florida waters just across from the famous Florabama bar, which we would inspect more closely later that night.
We turned back around just in time to see the sunset in full nature’s glory splayed across the horizon. The crew had us back at the dock just as the sun said its final goodbye to the day.
All throughout the trip, the staff was amazing. They walked around nearly begging to bring you a water or drink. When kids got antsy, they either gave them a turn at the Captain’s wheel or rolled out the hula hoops for some friendly competition. The crew were also pros at spotting dolphins in the distance and heading in that direction for a closer look.
While this was a super-relaxing experience with a girlfriend, it would also be very fun with a family as long as your kids aren’t super active and can handle sitting or just walking around the boat a bit for two hours while enjoying the beautiful views.
Know before you go:
- Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early to check in
- You will need to walk down a long boardwalk/dock to get out to the boat slip
- Bring a sweatshirt because even if it starts off hot, the temperature will dip with the sun
- Bring sunglasses and maybe a hat (although if it is windy that could blow off unless you have a strap)
- Water and soft drinks, as well as snacks, are provided on board but you are welcome to bring wine or beer in a soft cooler
- Don’t forget your camera as the sunsets are spectacular
- You may also want binoculars or a zoom lens to get a good look at some dolphins if they are feeling shy
- There are small bathrooms on board
- Bring some cash to tip the crew because they are amazing!
- Dinner at Cobalt or The Gulf would make a great way to end the day