Things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama include visiting Alabama Beaches, exploring Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, and dining at amazing Alabama coast restaurants. Savor luscious, soft, white, sugar sand US Gulf Coast Beaches, explore historic and natural attractions, and experience one of USA’s most unique adventure activities.
Between visits to Louisiana (Lake Charles and Houma) and Florida (Naples and South Florida), Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism hosted us for three wonderful days so that we can discover and explore things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama and share findings with our network. We visited many attractions, ate memorable meals, and even encountered wild predators in the glorious Alabama beaches region.
Congratulations to chef Bill Briand of Fisher’s Upstairs at Orange Beach Marina for being nominated as a James Beard award semi-finalist for Best Chef: South. See all 2020 James Beard semi-finalist nominees here.
Where is Gulf Shores Alabama?
Cool Things To Do in Gulf Shores Alabama
1. Visit Alabama Beaches
Most of the activity in the Gulf Shores area centers around their beaches so I will start there. The soft white sugar sand draws visitors—human and animals—all year round.
Look at how wide the Gulf Shores Alabama beaches are. So much room to play, or just sit and bake.
2. Soar Above the Alabama Beaches
Be a human drone and fly 1,000 feet above Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Gary at BeachFlight Aviation owns and operates this gyroplane, providing scenic tours and flight instruction. I myself flew this super fun craft for about 20 minutes but who was counting. Click below and watch the cool video of me flying above Gulf Shores.
3. Explore Gulf State Park
25 miles of hiking and biking trails highlight the many cool things to do at Gulf State Park. We rented bicycles from Beach Bike Rentals to easily traverse the magnificent park. Yes, we saw several alligators.
Do not worry, that water is not bloody or even dirty. Many waterways in southern Alabama and throughout the southern United States have that iced tea tint.
McCool Travel tip: keep your rental bicycle between you and the gators you photograph.
For more gator fun, please read about Greenwood Gator Farm in Houma Louisiana.
4. #LiquidRoadTrip Kayak Tour With WildNative
While our WildNative Tours guide set up our kayaks, dolphins jumped in the water right in front of us.
It is always a nice day when I am on the water. It was really fun to explore nooks and crannies in the Gulf Shores Alabama area.
For more cool kayaking places, please read Fun Places to Kayak in US.
5. Hike Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
While driving to Fort Morgan, make sure you allow time to hike the Jeff Friend Trail in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. The 1 mile loop trail is a lovely oasis highlighted by Little Lagoon, a popular place to bird watch.
6. Explore Fort Morgan
After your Alabama National Park property hike in Bon Secour, drive to the end of the peninsula and visit Fort Morgan. The classic fort, built before 1833, protected Mobile Bay during several wars and is now a state historic site. Take time to visit the museum, walk the fort walls, and check out the vistas. During our short visit, a super tanker left Mobile Bay, which provided a grad show for everyone within sight.
7. Have Fun at Flora-bama
Flora-bama Lounge and Oyster Bar is a classic roadhouse style bar known for live music and good times. It has been selected Best Bar in US and Best Beach Bar several times by different entities.
So, yes, you simply must visit Florabama to see what the fuss is about whether for its biggest event, the Mullet Toss, or surprise, McCool Travel tip: Flora-bama hosts church services every Sunday at 9am and 11am, and it is not unusual to attend service with a frosty adult beverage (a Flora-bama Bushwhacker is the popular choice).
8. The Hangout in Gulf Shores
Right at the intersection of highway 59 and Beach Blvd is the place many people go to hangout in Gulf Shores, especially during Spring Break when it is open until 2:30am. In fact, the place is called The Hangout and is a restaurant, live music venue, and overall fun spot. Here are The Hangout menus and upcoming events at The Hangout.
9. The Wharf in Orange Beach
The Wharf Orange Beach is a massive entertainment, retail, residential, and marina space. See all the biggest shows along the Alabama coast at The Wharf, in its 10,000 seat amphitheater. Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney performed in April 2019. See all events at The Wharf and a listing of The Wharf restaurants.
10. Where to Eat in Gulf Shores Alabama
Local Gulf Shores cuisine experiences we tried included eating Royal reds (local shrimp) at The Steamer, sampling craft beer at Big Beach Brewing, dining on fresh grilled seafood and rum drinks at LuLu’s (Jimmy Buffett’s sister), local BBQ (amazing) at Hog Wild, and happy hour at Bill’s by the Beach (now closed).
On our way out of Gulf Shores, heading toward Pensacola, Ruby Slipper in Orange Beach for brunch was an amazing treat.
We attended a NUISANCE dinner at Voyagers, at Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, under the direction of Chef Brody Olive. NUISANCE raises awareness of flora and fauna which are a nuisance, underutilized or invasive, but sustainable and available through noble, culinary endeavors. In other words, our meal included ingredients that are not friendly to the local environment, like oyster drills and venison. That was a unique Alabama beaches dining experience.
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Getting ready for the Contemporary Coastal Cuisine and Grassroots Wine event (NUISANCE dinner) at @perdidobeachresort in #orangebeach #orangebeachalabama @visitalbeaches #travellife #travelholic #travelhappy #travelworld #traveltheworld #traveltheworld #seetheworld #alabamabeaches #gulfshores #albeachblogger
The Gulf—made from storage containers—intrigued us and we will try it next visit. On my current trip, I ate at the Original Oyster House, Salt at San Roc Cay, Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina, Perch at The Lodge, and The Yard Milkshake Bar. Strong recommendations were given for Fin & Fork in Orange Beach, Matt’s Ice Cream, and Sunliner Diner.
For more Gulf Shores Alabama restaurants, please see:
- Cool, Happy, and Fun Gulf Coast Restaurants Along the #USGulfCoast
- Fun US Gulf Coast Bars, Breweries, and Beverage Spots
11. Where to Stay in Gulf Shores Alabama
Lodging along Alabama beaches varies from campsites to luxury hotels in Gulf Shores AL. Harris Properties and Southern Vacation Rentals hosted us in convenient 2 bedroom condos in beachfront buildings. One US Gulf Coast play to stay for my next Alabama Beaches trip will be The Lodge at Gulf Shores. I toured the property soon after it opened and it is magnificent.
Another Gulf Shores lodging option is vacation rentals, including condos, apartments, and houses.
Let us know some of your favorite things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama?
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