Last weekend, we took a quick trip down to the beach to visit Chris’ Aunt and Uncle, who happen to live in one of the most beautiful locations in our state.


I relaxed and didn’t take too many photos – just a couple of the kids acting adorably endearing,




doing vacationy things like drinking preservative-filled half-and-half while waiting for breakfast,

Drinking Half and Half

and offering the services of Aunt-Boot-Camp.


But Chris and I snuck out after the kids went to bed one night (sneaking out isn’t just for teenagers anymore,) and found ourselves walking around in the Southern Beach Mecca.


If you have to walk in through a Shark’s Mouth, it’s gonna be good. Right? Right.

We didn’t buy a single thing, but we enjoyed browsing. And by doing so, we identified the Top Ten Must-Have Purchases if you ever come to an Alabama Beach.

10. The Details-Added Bikini T.

The Bikini T might be a ubiquitous find at any beach, but this particular one has added interest. First, take notice of the peeping-out inner-boob tan-lines. You can’t get that attention to detail just anywhere.

Then there’s the tattoo, making sure everyone knows that you got this special purchase from Alabama.

Bikini TR

But the best detail is the real, live, 3-dimensional belly-button-hoop – made out of the finest of materials:


But if you’re more of a sporty girl than a blinged-out-navel girl, they have a shirt for you, too:


Remember: never skimp on quality when it comes to faux-skimpy clothing.

9. Airbrushed Sand Dollars.

Because nothing shows respect to a formerly living creature like spraying it to match your favorite sports team.


…Except perhaps spraying it with a rebel flag and Browning symbol. Because you know that Sand Dollar was a Confederate deer hunter.


8. Apple Bottom Mermaids.

Just because you don’t have a butt doesn’t mean that you can’t have a butt.


7. The Knife Counter.


No beach trip can truly be considered fulfilled without buying a machete, samurai sword, and, perhaps, the last battle-ax on the wall.

But for those who like to be more subtle with their sharp objects, there are always personalized pocket knives.

…but don’t expect to find a Jordan or Donovan on these racks.


And don’t ever forget a gift for Grandma.


Because every Grandma needs an object with which she can pick her teeth and toenails.

6. Magnetic sculptures that capture the beautiful essence and actions of life.

Like, for instance, eating:


5. Crystal Stingrays.

Crystal Figurines are a staple of all gift shops. But you can’t find a crystal this ugly in just any state.


4. Collectible Coins. Branded with the gift shop’s name.


“For only $3, you, too, can remember this gift shop visit forever!”

3. Wardrobe leftovers from Flashdance, screenprinted with graphics left over from Nintendo’s California Games.


2. Bobs.

All of them. Ever made.


And the number one must-buy if you ever make it to an Alabama Beach is…

1. Marinated Baby Sharks.


Because nothing says “Sweet Dreams!!” like the glowing, iridescent eye of a dead shark staring unblinkingly at you.

All night long.


16 thoughts on “The Essential Alabama Beach Shopping List.

      1. Now you’ve got me thinking that I may need to pick up a shark fetus for the family dirty Santa exchange. Especially since they come from across the country to spend a week with us in GS every other summer!

  1. I love it. So similar to the “gift shop” located at Cavendish, PEI (Prince Edward Island.) I am sure that all beach tourists shops order from the same catalogue.. I cannot see a better way to thank a neighbour for watching your house why you are away then with a baby shark in a jar.

  2. I remember having our picture made in the shark’s mouth when we were kids. They had lots of high quality crap then too. I think your crystal jellyfish is actually a horseshoe crab though… In real life they’re much less blob-like though.

  3. We live in Daphne, just one hour northwest of GS. My heart resides there, in Gulf Shores, with the tacky crystal and painted sand dollars and the snow white beaches. LOL Great article!

  4. The crystal stingrays or horseshoe crab-things made me gag, while at the same time making me wish I had the money to waste to buy one as a gag gift for a friend of mine who recently started collecting crystal pieces.

  5. I love Gulf Shores! My brother and I always had our picture taken on the shark’s fin when we younger. Now, I get my picture taken with my daughter there every year. I loved this post!

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