Things To Do And See When You Go To Gulf Shores, Alabama

While many people think the famed Emerald coast of Florida stops at the state line of Alabama, the same sugary sands and vibrant green coastal waters extend into Alabama’s coast, including 32 miles of the Gulf coast known as Gulf shores and Orange Beach, Alabama.

Gulf shore

If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive beautiful vacation with gorgeous beaches and lots to do, and are looking to save time by not heading as far south as Florida, Gulf shores is a fantastic option. Gulf shores is the older more established area located where state highways 182 and 59 intersect. Orange beach is newer and slower-paced and extends from Gulf coast state park to Perdido key, Florida. Here are some of the best things to see and do during your time in the Gulf shores area. 

Gulf shores public beach offers clean soft sand. The beach is wide here, helping it to not feel too crowded. Gulf state park offers two miles of beaches. You can go hiking and biking here too on their many trails and if by chance, you want to leave the beach for calmer waters, you can swim and paddle in the 900-acre freshwater Lake Shelby. There is so much to do in this state park, exploring all of the beautiful things in this coastal area. It’s also a good place to stay. They have a campground of nearly 500 sites, cabins, cottages, and rooms in their lodge which is a Hilton hotel. Getting out on the water is always fun. There are lots of rentals available, allowing you to go parasailing or jet skiing. You could also head out on banana boats, go kayaking or rent paddle boards. 

Alabama manages the US’s largest offshore artificial reef system. It’s roughly one thousand square miles. It attracts lots of fish and therefore fishermen. The reef is made from boats, planes, car bodies, barges, and bridge rubble. A fishing charter for a half day or even a full day is a great way to spend your time. The name means safe harbor and that’s what Bon Secours national wildlife refuge is for over 360 various birds. It’s truly a birders paradise. It is a quiet sanctuary for native flora and fauna and it’s one of the last undisturbed coastal barrier habitats in the area. You can enjoy it all while hiking or even kayaking and you might just see the endangered sea turtles and the endangered Alabama beach mouse too. 

Offshore Artificial Reef

For a little history, Fort Morgan delivers this historical site built in the 1800s was part of four wars, a significant role in the battle of Mobile bay, the Spanish-American war, and both world war I and world war II. There’s a lot of history here. You could also drive an hour to mobile and tour the USS Alabama, a 680-foot ship that fought in world war II. The battleship memorial park also has a world war II Submarine, Tanks, Aircraft, and other memorials that honor those who fought and served.

Waterville, USA. is a 20-acre water park. You can relax and float down the lazy river, take on the waves in the wave pool or fly down one of the many water slides. This park also offers mini-golf and go-karts to enjoy.

Oak Hollow farm is a family-owned farm with over 50 horses. They have a beautiful barn. You can take a picnic, go for a hayride, and even take a horse out on a trail. It’s an awesome activity if you feel like you need a break from beach life. 

If you’ve got kids that need to burn some energy, head over to the factory. They have tons of trampolines, rope swings, ninja courses, climbing walls, and extreme dodgeball. It makes for a great rainy day activity or a fun evening, after a day out in the sun. 

The Factory

The wharf is an entertainment district that has shopping, dining, and entertainment. The Ferris wheel is the tallest in the southeast and offers spectacular views. There’s also a laser light show, water excursions, concerts, and festivals. You can stroll down the main street, check out the marina, or dine in any of the restaurants. There are a lot of unique and fun places to eat there, with over 200 restaurants in the Gulf shores area. Take the Gulf for instance. Their restaurant is made entirely out of recycled shipping containers. They’ve got gorgeous outdoor spaces and views and fabulous food. Favorites include cauliflower bites tossed in chimichurri sauce and mahi-mahi tacos. Tacky jacks is covered with colorful duct tape and it’s a fun way to kick off your day with shrimp and grits or their award-winning farmer’s omelet. They’re open all day and they have live music too. The southern grind is a charming place to grab a great cup of coffee and browse their unique books and coastal gifts. You’ll find the locals at hogwild beach and barbecue, enjoying the tender meats and vast array of sauces. The seafood of course is right off the boat and always a good choice at places like the famous Fora Bama old river grill, Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s or the many oyster bars. Gulf shores also have a yard milkshake bar which offers the largest most creative milkshake creations you’ve ever seen or tasted. If you’ve never experienced one, this should definitely be added to your list. Gulf shores is a family-friendly, often times less expensive alternative for a fantastic beach vacation. You will be singing Sweet Home Alabama until you can return once again.

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