8 Great Reasons to Stay at The Lodge at Gulf State Park

The Lodge at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama is an extraordinary property. It is one of our favorite US Gulf Coast hotels and is arguably the most impressive place to stay along the entire US Gulf Coast. The Lodge at Gulf State Park has a fantastic relaxed luxury vibe and is so much more than just a hotel.

The Lodge at Gulf State Park opened Nov 1, 2018 and still has that new hotel smell. The original Lodge was built in 1974 and destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The new hotel is absolutely phenomenal and you must visit it to witness its magnificence.

Here are some of our top reasons to stay at The Lodge at Gulf State Park.

Fantastic US Gulf Coast Beach Location

Gulf Shores beach The Lodge at Gulf State Park
Gulf Shores beach at The Lodge at Gulf State Park

The Lodge commands an enviable Gulf Shores beach location. Just turn left after walking down the steps from the pool and you will soon have two miles of nearly empty beach in front of you.

Walk in the other direction toward the fishing pier to find people lounging in beach chairs and walking on and around the pier.

The Gulf State Park pier is largest pier on the US Gulf Coast (by square footage) and the second longest—just a few feet shorter than Navarre Pier. Gulf State Park pier was rebuilt after Hurricane Ivan. It is currently only partially open after being damaged by Hurricane Sally.

Beach Vacation for Couples, Families, Groups, or Self

Whether you are visiting Gulf Shores as a family, by yourself for a conference, as part of a group, or with your family, you will find comfortable accommodations that will create lasting memories.

Most of The Lodge at Gulf State Park rooms have a balcony with convenient viewing of sunrise, sunset, or both! Suites—with separate living room space—are available.

The Lodge is probably the best Gulf Shores hotel for families. Some Lodge at Gulf State Park rooms have bunk beds and there are even rooms with two sets of bunk beds.

Check here for The Lodge at Gulf State Park rates and room types.

double bunk beds at The Lodge at Gulf State Park
double bunk beds Lodge at Gulf State Park. Photo from LodgeatGulfStatePark.com

Phenomenal Lodge at Gulf State Park Amenities

Take time to explore the remarkable public spaces at The Lodge and select your favorite spots.

Enjoy quality hammocks in the pool area. The pool area has really comfortable lounge chairs. But those hammocks are a special treat.

pool hammock at The Lodge at Gulf State Park
pool hammock at The Lodge at Gulf State Park

The lobby building has windows with anti-bird strike glass and no lines to inhibit views. Very comfy chairs outside the lobby overlook the dune restoration project, the pier, and the soothing beach and Gulf of Mexico water.

The Lodge at Gulf State Park lobby water view
The Lodge at Gulf State Park lobby water view

Inside the lobby, take note of the magnificent structure and interior. A lot of the building material used was from already fallen timber instead of cutting new trees. But local materials were used as much as possible. The big timber came from Greenville Alabama. The chairs, tables, and artwork are all from Alabama artisans.

Every floor of the hotel has more than one open public deck space overlooking the beach. These spaces have comfortable Adirondack chairs, shown in the first photo in this article.

Refreshing Gulf State Park Nature

Gulf State Park trail boardwalk
walk or bike on a Gulf State Park nature trail

Walk or cycle on the bridge from The Lodge over the highway and then enjoy 28 miles of trails and nine distinct ecosystems in Gulf State Park.

McCool Travel tip: Bicycle rentals are free (for up to three hours) for guests at The Lodge.

See more Things to Do in Gulf Shores.

Lodge at Gulf State Park is a Hilton Property

Hilton HHonors members will love that The Lodge at Gulf State Park is a Hilton property. The Lodge is owned by the state of Alabama (Alabama State Parks), run by Valor Hospitality, and managed by Hilton. It is an interesting dynamic.

Valor Hospitality corporate philosophy is sustainability and many Valor initiatives for The Lodge at Gulf State Park exceeds Hilton’s highest standards. The Lodge must apply to Hilton for exemptions. One example is the use of Beekind products instead of Hilton’s bottles.

The Lodge at Gulf State Park Restaurants

Four separate dining options are available at The Lodge at Gulf State Park. All restaurants are open to public with free valet parking for visitors. The Lodge at Gulf State Park culinary operation is under the direction of Executive Chef James Ballster.

Perch offers dinner only on Wednesday through Sunday. Experience elevated locally-sourced ingredients while witnessing another magnificent US Gulf Coast sunset. The local Gulf fish entree is always a wise choice at Perch.

Foodcraft is open for every meal every day and is more of a fun and family supportive setting. Still enjoy premium local ingredients and also a breakfast buffet. Our choice here is the shrimp BLT, grouper, or shrimp and grits.

Foodcraft patio deck at The Lodge Gulf State Park
Foodcraft patio deck at The Lodge Gulf State Park

Roasted Oak doubles as a coffee shop to start the day and a cocktail bar afterward. Enjoy a cocktail, draft beer, wine or champagne as the sun sets. Grab and go food is also available at Roasted Oak.

Dragonfly is the poolside snack bar offering salads hand held, flat breads, snacks, and beverages. Let Dragonfly servers bring you a cocktail, beer, or virgin drinks to your pool seat.

All restaurants use biodegradable containers, cups, and straws. Depending on the supply chain, such items may be even more sustainable. For instance, on my first visit, in 2019, they used straws made from hay but in 2022 they could not obtain them in large quantities.

See The Lodge at Gulf State Park restaurant menus here: Perch, Foodcraft, Roasted Oak, Dragonfly

Lodge at Gulf State Park Sustainable Initiatives

sustainable efforts at The Lodge at Gulf State Park
sustainable efforts at The Lodge at Gulf State Park

We touched above on several sustainable aspects of The Lodge at Gulf State Park but there are so many more!

The new lodge is 200-225 feet further back from where the old lodge sat and is on a smaller footprint yet houses more visitors. The old lodge was on 30 acres, now 21 acres. Those nine acres are now restored sand dunes to support the overall Gulf environment.

In spite of the smaller footprint, the capacity doubled to 350 rooms. The Lodge was rebuilt and Gulf State Park was redesigned with BP settlement funds. The Lodge might be first hospitality building in the world to receive SITES platinum certification.

Other wonderful sustainable initiatives here:

  • Green chemicals used for cleaning
  • No smoking on grounds
  • Natural landscaping eco plan. Sand dunes are the focus, not grass. Invasive and non-native species (like palm trees) have been removed. McCool Travel tip: pay attention when you walk on the beach and notice the recycled Christmas tree that are used to support sand dune retention.
  • Dune mice were relocated during construction and brought back after construction
  • Condensation from air conditioners are captured, filtered, and added to the pool water
  • Water chains extend from gutters to aid in water conservation
  • A/C system in rooms shuts down within two minutes of the door to balcony being opened
  • Turtle-friendly lights are used on exterior walkways and around the pool (see also The Turtle Hospital)
  • The parking lot is designed to capture chemicals before they reach the groundwater

Look for the informative and entertaining signs around the property.

See also 8 Easy and Helpful Ways to LOVE the Gulf Coast

You Love Unique Places to Stay

Also in Gulf State Park is a large campground, Outpost Campsites (unique primitive campsites), and Eagle Cottages. The Eagle Cottages are three bedroom cottages designed to resemble old school fish camps and are included in National Geographic Unique Lodging program.

Check here for The Lodge at Gulf State Park rates.

For more information about The Lodge at Gulf State Park visit their website. And the Gulf State Park website.

See also our articles about Things to Do in Gulf Shores Alabama and favorite Orange Beach restaurants.

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