Are you bored of the hustle and bustle of big city life? Want to take a break but also don’t want to spend much?
A beach vacation will be the best option for you. And if we talk about a beach vacation, what’s a better place than Gulf Shores Alabama?
Not far away from the well-known destination “Orange beach“, Gulf Shores Alabama is a quintessential family beach vacation. You can find numerous tourist attractions like Gulf Shores State Park, Sea Museum, Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Bon Secour National Wildlife, and many fun attractions for outdoor recreation.
Now let us discuss what to do in Gulf Shores Alabama so that once you are out there you can enjoy it to the fullest!
What to do in Gulf Shores Alabama? A List of 17 Things!
Gulf Shores, a small beach town neighbouring Orange Beach, has lots of things to offer. If you are visiting Gulf Shores and stuck with the question ‘What to do in Gulf shores Alabama?’ Then you’ve come to the right place.
To ease your visit to Gulf Shores, Alabama, we’re listing down the best things to do in Gulf Shores so that you don’t have to be stuck with a question like what to do in Gulf Shores Alabama.
Gulf State Park
Gulf State Park, situated along the Gulf of Mexico, is first on our ‘what to do in Gulf Shores Alabama’ list. It is a major tourist attraction in Gulf Shores. The Gulf State park is spread across a vast land area that consists of white sand beaches, nature trails, and modern campsites.
You can find Lake Shelby here, in which you can try many water activities like paddleboarding, canoeing, and kayaking. There is also a dog park near lake Shelby where you can enjoy your time with pets.
There are also fun opportunities at the fishing pier and nature centre. No wonder why Gulf State Park is popular as a family getaway!
Address: 20115 State Park Rd, Gulf Shores AL.
To end the day near a beach town, what’s a better option than enjoying a cocktail on a sunset cruise? A sunset cruise is next on our ‘What to do in Gulf Shores Alabama’ Elevate your evening with a cruise ride in the evening and listen to the sound of waves.
You can find many sunset cruises in Gulf Shores, just buy a ticket and hop on to experience this beautiful ride. There are many affordable options for a sunset cruise in Gulf Shores, so you needn’t think about your bank balance to experience this exotic activity.
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Home to a wide variety of wildlife like leopards, tigers, wolves, bears, macaws, and many more, Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is next on our list for ‘what to do in Gulf Shores Alabama’.
Address: 20499 Oak Rd E, Gulf Shores Al.
Many visitors are often attracted to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach just because they can find playful dolphins here. And what can feel much more enjoyable than seeing these cuties swimming just close to you?
Hop on to the dolphin cruise and enjoy your time sitting, relaxing, and watching dolphins playing with the waves.
Next on our list for what to do in Gulf Shores Alabama is Adventure Island. With many fun attractions for kids as well as adults, Adventure Island ensures a memorable and enjoyable family time.
It has rides and an amusement park for all ages. You can find go-kart, bumper boats, mini-golf, an arcade, laser tag, and many other fun things. This place is famous for its mini-golf.
Address: 24559 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, Al 36561.
Gulf State Park Pier
The Gulf State Park Fishing Pier is a vast area that has ample space for fishing and sightseeing. If you don’t have a fishing license, then there are also options to buy an onsite fishing license here.
You can enjoy a good family time here by fishing and adoring the scenic spots while having quick bites.
Address: 20800 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores Al 36542.
With various challenging escape rooms, the Gulf Coast Escape Room is a fun place to explore in Gulf Shore during your trip.
Tight on budget? Worry not! Next on our ‘what to do in Gulf Shores Alabama’ is an American historical landmark, Fort Morgan.
This fort is not a typical sightseeing place, it has lots of cool things to do. You can spend your day here by exploring the beach as it has beach access, or have a picnic in the picnic areas. The Fort Morgan loop starts near the Fort Morgan Peninsula.
Address: 110 Highway 180 W., Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail
To satisfy your adventurous soul, Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a great option available in Gulf Shores. Spread across 15 miles in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, this trail is a package of adventure and exploration.
The major attractions of this beautiful trail include a Butterfly Garden, an alligator habitat, a dog park, and freshwater marshes. It also has facilities like restrooms, campsites, and bike trails.
Address: 24037 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, Al.
Gulf Shores Kayaking
Feel the connection with water by trying out Kayaking in Gulf Shores. It is a great recreational activity while you are there. Indulge in the wildlife kayak experience and do something adventurous to feel more alive during your trip.
You can try out Kayaking solo or with a partner.
11. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
If you love exploring wildlife then Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect cheap option for you. With activities like kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and hiking trails this place will keep you occupied for many hours.
You can also witness the nesting sea turtle population while you are in Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. To observe the natural habitat, you can see the Alabama beach mouse in a remote area of nearby shrubs on the shoreline in Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
Address: 12295 AL 180, Gulf Shores, Al.
12. Gulf Shores Museum
A free-of-cost thing to do here is to visit Gulf Shores Museum. You can find many local exhibits here which can give you a more clear outlook on this town.
You will witness exhibits about local hurricanes and fishing culture.
Address: 244 W 19th Ave, Gulf Shores, Al.
13. Orange Beach Islands
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are neighbouring beach towns. Orange Beach Islands consist of; Bird Island, Walker Island, Robinson Island, and Gilchrist Island. These are often referred to as the islands of Perdido Pass.
With soul-refreshing watersports, beautiful birds, and amazing marine flora Orange Beach Islands provide a full day of cool things to do.
You can get access to Orange Beach islands by watercraft only. You can easily rent a paddleboard or a jet ski to reach Orange Beach islands. But it is advised to rent these out early in the day so that you can have enough time to explore all these mesmerizing islands of Orange Beach.
There are plenty of staying options in Orange Beach Islands where you can enjoy a perfect beach vacation. Again, it is advised to book your stay as soon as possible to grab a great deal.
14. Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum
Next on our What to do in Gulf Shores Alabama list is another fun and affordable place Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum. It houses local artefacts, historical exhibits, and local stories.
It is surely a loving place for history lovers. Apart from exhibits and museums, Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum also provide various indoor activities and educational trips. There is a designated parking area, so parking is not a hurdle here.
Address: 25805 John M. Snook Ave., Orange Beach, Al.
15. Coastal Arts Center Orange Beach
If you are into cultural things, then Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach should surely be on your list of what to do in Gulf Shores Alabama. It is an enriching place for all groups of age.
There are many fun activities you can do here, such as The Hot Shop which lets you make your own glass piece. Sounds interesting right? You can also make your own pieces with clay too as they have a separate clay studio.
They even give classes where you can learn such art. They have special programs where kids play and learn the art as a hobby.
Address: 26389 Canal Rd, Orange Beach, Alabama.
Gulf Shores has a fulfilling fishing culture where you can experience deep-sea fishing and inshore fishing. For amateurs or first-timers, a shorter offshore and inshore fishing trip is preferred.
You can book fishing charters as this town has many affordable and reasonably priced options to choose from.
If you come to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, fishing is a must to do thing as these areas are culturally rich in fishing.
17. Alabama Coastal Birding Trail
Abundant with bird species, Gulf Shores attracts many bird lovers. Alabama Coastal Birding Trail is a vast trail spread across 200 miles of the loop. You can find more than 430 bird species on this birding trail!
Alabama’s birding trail consists of many trail loops but the major includes 8 geographical regions:
e)Black Belt Nature and Heritage
h)Alabama Coastal Birding Trail
Even if you aren’t a big bird-lover then also you should spend some hours here as you get to witness mesmerizing natural beauty.
18. Coastal Segway Adventures
Still, wondering what to do in Gulf Shores Alabama? Another great adventurous activity is riding a Segway.
Coastal Segway Adventures provides different tours on a segway at reasonable prices in the major attractions of Gulf Shores like Gulf State Park and many natural trails. They also rent kayaks.
Address: 21101 AL 135, Gulf Shores, Alabama 36542.
7 Top Places to Stay in Gulf Shores Alabama
If you are going to visit Gulf Shores and are a little sceptical about where to stay, then no need to worry anymore as we’ve got you covered! This beautiful destination near Orange beach does not have a typical expensive lodging option that necessarily puts a hole in your pocket.
Gulf Shores on the Alabama gulf coast provides a variety of stay options for a perfect vacation. The top-rated stays in Gulf Shores Alabama are as follows:
The Lodge(A Hilton Hotel) at Gulf State Park
Hilton hotels are well-known hotel chain and their top-notch facilities are available in this centrally located hotel- The Lodge. Set in the natural surroundings of Gulf State Park, this place has lots of options for perfect outdoor recreation.
This hotel is pet-friendly, so if you visiting with your dog you can consider this place. They also have outdoor seating options with a family-friendly restaurant and an outdoor pool with an infinity edge to adore the Alabama gulf coast.
Address: 21196 Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores AL 36542.
The Beach Club Resort & Spa
Located on the white sand shoreline of Gulf Shores beaches, The Beach Club Resort & Spa offers a magnificent experience to its guest. You can find so many things to do here that you don’t have to think about what to do in Gulf Shores Alabama. This place also offers relaxing spa services to loosen your body and has excellent dining options.
With beaches within walking distance and various pools(outdoor and indoor), you can spend a relaxing vacation in the beach club resort and spa.
Address: 925 Beach Club Trail, Gulf Shores AL 36542.
Hotel Indigo Orange Beach
If you want a stay in the midst of the natural beauty of coastal Alabama, Hotel Indigo in Orange beach is the place to explore the natural habitat of Gulf Shores. In Branyon backcountry trail, you can explore many beautiful hiking trails of this beautiful beach town.
The hotel offers many great facilities such as a 24-hour fitness centre, outdoor pools, a pet-friendly area, and beautiful suites.
Address: 22843 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561.
Hampton Inn Gulf Shores
In close proximity to all the major attractions of Gulf Shores, Hampton Inn is a great option to stay in. You can visit the nearby attractions like Gulf Shores Sea Museum, Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, and Gulf State Park.
You can find many famous restaurants lined up near this hotel, also this place is an outdoor pool and is pet-friendly.
Address: 1701 Gulf Shores Pkwy, AL 36542.
Phoenix All Suites West Hotel
The accommodation of a condominium with services of a hotel-this is what Phoenix All Suites West Hotel is known for! With magnificent ocean views and beaches within walking distance, this is yet another great option for a perfect vacation stay.
The nearby attractions of this hotel are Waterville USA Amusement Park, lazy river, and Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.
Address: 533 W Beach Blvd 6435, Gulf Shores AL 36542.
Sanibel Gulf Shores
With fully-equipped rooms(mini-bar, kitchenette, and air-conditioning) and an outdoor pool, Sanibel Gulf Shores make a great place to stay in Gulf Shores Alabama.
Nearby attractions: Fort Morgan Road Trail, Gulf Shores Public beaches, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, and Gulf State Park Pier.
Address: 1524 W Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, Alabama 36542-6150.
SpringHill Suites at The Wharf
The SpringHill Suites by Marriott is in Orange Beach located just a few km away from the coast. The nearby attractions you can find here are Gulf State Park, Cruisin Tikins Orange beach, and Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail.
Address: 4673 Wharf Pkwy, Orange Beach, AL 36561-9604.
5 Top Places to Eat in Gulf Shores Alabama
Are you a sucker for exotic seafood? If yes, then your trip to coastal Alabama is incomplete without trying out the mouth-watering local food of Gulf Shores.
With breezing ocean views, patio settings, and the soothing sound of tidal waves, the dining experience of Gulf Shores is one of its kind.
So, before diving straight into the ‘what to do in Gulf Shores Alabama’ check out the famous dining options of Gulf Shores Alabama which are a must-visit.
With ocean-facing sitting and a beach nearby, The Hangout is one the most famous restaurants in Gulf Shores. The place offers live music, kid-dedicated areas, delicious seafood, and signature cocktails.
In the evening, you can enjoy a good time here as the ambience is quite good. You can try their house favourites, french fries, and coleslaw.
Address: 101 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542.
Lulu’s Gulf Shores
Famous for live music and good food among the locals as well as the tourists, Lulu’s is a great place to dine whether you are with your family, partner, or friends.
Must-try: Corn Tortilla Chips, Key West Bowl, cheeseburger, and wild fresh snapper sandwich.
Address: 200 E 25th Ave, Gulf Shores AL, 36542.
A beachfront restaurant serving New American cuisine, Tacky Jack’s is next on our list. It offers delicious meals and refreshing drinks to enjoy your time by the beach.
To have a memorable dining experience in Gulf Shores, Tacky Jack’s is a must-visit.
Must-try: Fish Tacos, Farmer’s omelette, famous Bushwacker, and hearty appetizers.
Address: 27206 Safe Harbor Dr, Orange Beach, Alabama 36561.
To all with a sweet tooth, no need to worry as Gulf Shores not only has mouth-watering seafood but also something for you. You can find well-known Dippin Dots here.
To beat the heat of coastal Alabama head to Dippin Dots to try out their famous ice creams, sherbet, and frozen yoghurt.
They have a colourful vibe with a welcoming atmosphere.
Address: 632 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores AL 36542.
An affordable family restaurant near the Gulf Shores beaches, Sea-N-Suds restaurant is a great place to enjoy the authentic feeling of coastal Alabama. You can try their steamed shrimp and crab claws.
They have a beautiful terrace sitting option that offers a beautiful sunset view.
Address: 405 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores AL 36542.
Gulf Shores Alabama is a great option for a perfect beach getaway to relax and chill. With amazing white sand beaches, fishing charters, sunset cruises, museums, coastal segway adventure, paved trails, and natural habitat you get never-ending opportunities to spend a memorable time here.
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are adjacent to each other which makes it easy to explore both these areas together. You can enjoy the coastal breezes while sitting on the beautiful beaches of Gulf Shores.
We hope we have given you an idea about What to do in Gulf Shores Alabama for your next trip to coastal Alabama.
What is Gulf Shores Alabama known for?
Gulf Shores are known for their beautiful white sand beaches and exotic seafood along coastal Alabama.
Where are Gulf Shores located?
Gulf Shores is a small coastal town in Baldwin county, Alabama, and is approx 50 miles south of Mobile bay.
Which is the best month for visiting Gulf Shores Alabama?
The best month to visit Gulf Shores Alabama is March-May and September-November.