Top of the Hops Beer Festival Stretching along the northern Gulf Coast, The Wharf Marina serves as the picturesque venue for the Top of the Hops Beer Festival, a celebration of the craft-beer industry. Abita Brewing Company, a Louisiana outfit known for its large variety of seasonal and flagship brews, joins local sponsors, including Maggie's Bottle & Tail and Alabama Gulf Seafood, in hailing the beloved concoctions made of barley, wheat, and hop leaves known for their ability to inspire Elizabethan conversational skills. The festival introduces patrons to tastes of more than 150 craft brews and offers a variety of beer-related seminars.
Down Under Dive Shop's PADI-certified professionals introduce curious landfarers to the art of breathing underwater in a safe setting. In an initiatory session, students take to shallow water as they develop familiarity with equipment, learn about scuba safety, and pick up basic skills for subaquatic maneuvering. Though the class won't churn out scuba divers certified to dive alone, the hours count toward eventual scuba or open-water certification, as well as putting to rest a persistent fear of bathtubs and really big puddles. Down Under Dive Shop supplies all of the necessary armament for a successful maritime sally, including a mask, snorkel, fins, buoyancy compensating jacket, and air tank.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
Technology has brought us a long way since the stone age, but the human race has turned an epochal corner with the flyboard—a sort of aquatic jet-pack that straps to the feet like a wakeboard. Dreams of flying take a step towards reality with the waterproof gadget, which propels riders through the air and sea at a thrilling speed. While the sight of flyboard-rider is breathtakingly surreal, the act of actually captaining the device is quite straight-forward. The savvy staff of Orange Beach Flyboard demystifies the spectacle with quick lessons on flyboarding before releasing their daredevil clients attached to a 55-foot hose. Orange Beach Flyboard boasts that most riders catch on in five to ten minutes, after which the fresh flyboarder can tilt their feet to move through water and sky like the baby of Ironman and a tetherball.
Alabama Girl Fishing takes its name from its 24-foot vessel, the Alabama Girl, which Coast Guard–licensed captain Rick Murdock uses to lead guided fishing trips. Murdock has maintained a perfect safety record for the past 35 years, and he skillfully ferries fishermen to spots ranging from the mouth of Mobile Bay to the Bon Secour, Magnolia, and aptly named Fish Rivers. Passengers cast for species such as speckled trout, redfish, and flounder, baiting their lines with a supply of live shrimp and croakers or artificial bait, which prove even more enticing to fish than the promise of a new home furnished with a plastic castle. After trips, which run year-round, the staff cleans the catch and packages the fresh filets in ziplock bags for easy transportation.
Behind the white sand beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast's north shore, among sparkling spring-fed lakes of a lush nature preserve, and a short trek from the rolling greens of Soldiers Creek Golf Course sprawls Lake Osprey RV Resort. The luxury resort is designed to accommodate high-end RVs in its 188 landscaped sites with full hookups. Other amenities and attractions include a free laundry and bathhouse, a fancy private clubhouse, swimming pools and hot tubs, and an 11-acre lake for fishing and kayaking. Lake Osprey RV Resort is restricted to class A motorhomes 15 years or newer, class C motorhomes, and fifth wheels 10 years or newer and 29 feet or longer.