The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area of Alabama boasts something for every foodie, adventure lover, outdoor enthusiast, or beach lover you know. Basically there are endless fun things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama as I found out recently when I visited this beautiful area of the southern state.
Gulf Shores is very family friendly and would be perfect for solo travel, girlfriend’s getaways, family or extended multi-generational travel opportunities. Desirable camp sites are also plentiful in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. There’s so much activity and Gulf Shores Alabama outdoor fun can’t be beat.
Where on Earth is Gulf Shores?
Gulf Shores, Alabama is located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico so that means they get some enviable weather year round. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, or a golfer, you can make use of the weather to enjoy your particular sport or hobby, even in January when the chill sets in elsewhere.
And have you seen the beaches? The Gulf Shores area has some of the prettiest beaches and sunsets around. They deserve to boast about their pristine squeaky sand and spectacular skies and they are much less busy than so many other coastal beach areas, so that makes it a naturally peaceful and fun travel destination.
Many snowbirds migrate to this area for the winter months and it’s easy to see why. Gulf Shores has 32 miles of pristine waterfront. The sand is like icing sugar and the beachfront area is serene. This stunning beach is the greatest asset of all the Gulf Shores Alabama attractions I could find. It’s number one on the list of things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama.
What a fun morning! #albeachbreaktbex #alabamabeachblogger Spent my morning doing the Coastal Segway Adventures guided tour. First time ever on a Segway! 25 miles of trails through Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry trail! We spied alligators, snakes, lizards and a bald eagle too. #instanature #nature #fun #travelling #travelblogger #usa🇺🇸 #southernness
Gulf Shores, Alabama Attractions Things to See or Do:
This was one activity I had never tried before and I was excited to give it a try. We used Coastal Segway Adventures and had a lot of fun zipping through Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry and Gulf State Park.
Hike or walk through Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail.
There are 25 miles of trails through the natural area that is a nature preserve. You can ride or walk, or hike and spy all kinds of wild life. This is one of the most amazing assets in the area really. Looking for something to do in Gulf Shores? Head to the trail and get those steps in.
Snowbirds aren’t the only birds in Gulf Shores. Bird-watching is one of those Gulf Shores Alabama attractions you might never know about until you visit the area. In fact this area is home to over 300 different species of migratory birds. The day we were doing the Segway Tour we spotted an Eagle in her nest. And there are pelicans everywhere, along with dozens of other birds. It’s a birders paradise.
Beach Bike Rentals
Go for a beach bike ride on the Backcountry trail, or through the area. You can pick your bell and you basket apparently. So cute! The bikes are fabulous. The traffic is mild at certain times of the year. But when snowbirds arrive the traffic increases a lot over winter months. Be careful.
Florabama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar
It’s a roadhouse so not family friendly, but totally worth it if you are a young person or an adult without the kids for the night. It’s been dubbed America’s Last Great Roadhouse, the Florabama was destroyed during Hurricane Ivan and it was closed for a bit, but patrons were so upset over the lost iconic roadhouse bar that they helped to reopen it. Iconic musicians have played here at this Gulf Front Bar. They also have multiple bar areas and the drink to try is a Bushwacker (trust me) Big sign out front and the bar straddles the Florida and Alabama state line/border. Amazingly they also do two church services here on Sundays. It’s one of a kind!
This is a great chance to get out on the water in a small watercraft and just sightsee or let it go fast as possible all the way to Florida and back. Obey the rules of course and idle when you are supposed to.
Several of the bloggers in our group were up early and off on a fishing charter for the day with Ocean Ox Charters. With several restaurants that offer catch and cook capabilities you can catch something that is in season and take it right over to the nearby restaurant where they cook it up for you to enjoy. This is quite a big experience for anyone.
Where there is water, there is also stand up paddle boarding of course. This can be a fun way to get some exercise and spot wildlife. We didn’t see anything other than boats the day we went out, but we did get some great exercise. We used Gulf Coast Paddle Company. Find out more about Gulf Coast Paddle Company on Facebook or Twitter.
Take a Walk on the Beach.
The sand is squeaky and clean and the beach stretches for 32 miles. Much of the coastal area is protected so all you see for miles is beach and shoreline. A few condominiums and beach homes, set back from the beach are also visible, but it’s really quite astonishing how undeveloped the beach is. Gulf Shores is a great spot for a stroll.
There are two restaurants that are part of Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina. Enjoy an incredible meal upstairs. This is fine dining. The menu features fresh local food and seafood. We sampled many different dishes. The Oysters were fresh, and the shrimp toast was a bit of a tasty mystery. How did the chef get the shrimp in this appetizer? There were numerous specials making it hard to choose as they all sounded out of this world. Cocktails are quirky and memorable, served in charming cups. The scallops were the biggest I have ever eaten anywhere and the dessert menu was outrageous. Downstairs at Fisher’s there is a restaurant that is more mainstream.
Yoga on the Beach
Such a good idea after travel and a bit of indulgence. Glow Yoga is the ticket. When I am at a resort or a beach and they offer yoga, well that’s a no brainer. There’s nothing sweeter than practicing yoga on the beach when on vacation. It’s peaceful and really challenging to do the same moves with sand and wind and beach sounds all around you. When I picture my happy place, this is it – yoga on the beach in a place like Orange Beach.
Stay at Brett Robinson Vacation rentals.
We stayed in Phoenix II – there are multiple Phoenix rental condominiums and prices vary. The condominium we stayed in was massive and clean and really a beautiful location as well. Central to many amenities with a gorgeous view. Ride the lazy river. There is a lazy river at many of his beachfront properties. Very fun and unique. I LOVE lazy rivers. Hop on an inner tube and just chill out in the water. There was also a waterslide and an indoor pool where we stayed. VERY good choice. Brett Robinson has the largest selection of beachfront condominiums, hotels and beach houses on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
Dinner or Lunch at The Gulf.
Which is also very pet friendly by the way and located on the beach.The Gulf is a quirky, fashionable, waterfront restaurant built out of shipping containers. It is bright and spacious and the menu is fresh and of course there is seafood.
Take a sunset cruise with Sail Wild Hearts.
This was a really lovely way to spend an evening. Sail Wild Hearts has an open ocean catamaran and it’s big enough for 49 people. The service at Sail Wild Hearts is wonderful and attentive and the crew are very responsible with regards to the area and the marine animals. You will spy dolphins in their natural habitat while having a lovely evening cruise. They occasionally also have a cruise when The Blue Angels pass over head. They also do private cruises and adventure cruises that last longer and involve a stop with activities like snorkelling.
Pop into The Southern Grind while at The Wharf
The Southern Grind has the best name of any coffee shop and breakfast spot in all of Alabama. Scrumptious breakfast and great coffee selection with gelato. Cute gifts too. If I could have figured out how to get some of the art home on the plane I would have bought the beach themed cozy cushions and artwork too.
Fort Morgan Historic Site
Fort Morgan is an Alabama Historic Site built between 1819 and 1833. It played a significant role in the battle of Mobile Bay in 1864. It was also used during the Spanish America War, World War I and World War II. History buffs and those interested in the military will be curious about Fort Morgan and its role in history. For history buffs, this is one of the most important things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama.
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo – AKA – the little zoo that could.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is very family friendly and affordable too. Children under 2 are free. During Hurricane Ivan the zookeeper took all the animals to her home to keep them safe. That story was featured on Animal Planet. That’s the kind of zoo this is. There are numerous animal experiences that you can add on to the entry fee. So for instance we added the Kangaroo experience to our entry and were able to hold a joey in a special carrier they had for the baby Kangaroos. The lemur experience is pretty cool too. FYI the lemurs love hats and camera bags. Home to over 500 exotic animals.
The Hangout Music Festival
This is a three day music festival held in May usually on the public beaches. It is apparently epic! Travelling in May? You might want to make this an event to see when there.
There are many places to Tee off in Alabama, including some beautiful Robert Trent Jones designed spots. If golf is your thing, you can find your swing easily here.
Waterville is an amusement park featuring water slide and kid’s rides as well as a roller coaster.
EAT at any of the amazing restaurants throughout the Gulf Shores area.
Kitty’s Kafe makes a great omelette and there are so many great variations. There’s a lovely patio area here too. The Anchor Bar and Grill has a stunning location and view and some great meals too. Ricotta Cake is a must try treat. Want to know where to have brunch in Gulf Shores? Brick and Spoon is the breakfast spot that you have to try. It was my favourite of all the breakfast spots and with good reason. Very creative meals that you will remember. See my post on Gulf Shores Breakfast Restaurants.
The Clay Studio at The Coastal Arts Centre of Orange Beach
Make your own clay creations and decorate them too. A great addition to the list of Gulf Shores Alabama attractions.
Memorable Gulf Shores Alabama Things to Do
The food and restaurant scene in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area is spectacular. Fish and seafood doesn’t get fresher than this. Area beaches are amazing and the trails are seemingly endless. We could have stayed so much longer. Gulf Shores is more than you expect and Gulf Shores Alabama attractions will keep you hopping.
Want to Stay Where I Did?
You can book the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winning Phoenix West II here.
Book a Sail Wild Hearts Cruise too. Also a Certificate of Excellence winner.
Orange Beach accommodations in mind? Here you go.
Coastal Segway Tours – MUST DO!!!
Rent a bike? Beach Bike Rentals can be booked in advance.
I was a guest of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism recently and as such received perks such as accommodations, travel, food and activities while there. This post contains affiliate links as a service to my readers. My opinion is all my own and it is also truthful.