Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Alabama is the perfect place to get your beach vacation in the “shoulder season” – spring and fall! Start summer early, or extend your summer by planning a beach vacation that is less crowded and less expensive than the traditional summer getaway.
So Many Ways to #KeepOnSummering
If you want to keep on summering, here are 24 activities you can try on your vacation to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
1. Fly High with Parasailing: Orange Beach Parasail will take you high into the air for unparalleled views of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Enjoy a nice boat ride out into the Gulf of Mexico, then strap in and float high above the water. Flying high under the parasail, the views are amazing and it’s so quiet!
2. Tour on a Cat Boat: Sit close to the water and enjoy a calm, quiet, stable ride around the intracoastal waterway. It’s a bit like kayaking, but with a lot less effort.
3. Go Kayaking: Speaking of kayaking, this is the way to go if you are looking for some exercise with your adventure. Coastal Kayak Excursions will get you out on the water, where you can kayak to one of the many small islands in the bay. Hop out to swim, eat lunch, sun-bathe on the white sand, or check out the wildlife.
4. Zip through the sky: Hummingbird Ziplines at the Wharf offers a high-adventure experience consisting of nine towers and seven ziplines over the length of one mile. The zipline course takes you as high as 90 feet of the ground, providing a great vantage point for spectacular views of the stunning coastal scenery.
5. Enjoy a Festival: Fall is festival season in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Here’s a list of events that will be a feast for the eyes, ears, and taste buds!
- The Wharf Uncorked Wine & Culinary Festival
- Annual Jubilee Festival of Art
- Annual John L. Borom Alabama Coastal BirdFest
- Annual National Shrimp Festival
- Oyster Cook Off and Craft Beer Weekend at The Hangout
- Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival
- World Food Championships
6. Take a Dolphin Cruise: Whether you are looking for a family-friendly dolphin-sighting cruise or a relaxing dinner cruise, you’ll find lots of options in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
7.Go Deep-Sea Fishing: Ocean Ox Charters will help you experience the excitement of deep-sea fishing. If you catch that big one? There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush. They can even clean your catch and hand it over to a catch and cook restaurant so you can eat it that day!
8. Watch the Blue Angels Practice: In order to stay proficient in their demanding routine, the Blue Angels traditionally fly practice performances over the base in nearby Pensacola, Florida on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during airshow season (March through November). Upcoming dates include Sept 11, 12, 18 & 25, plus more dates in October 2018. See the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach event schedule for more information.
9. Horseback Riding: At Oak Hollow Farm, your family can enjoy guided horseback riding tours through wooded trails and rolling pastures along the ponds and creek banks of the Oak Hollow countryside. They also offer skeet shooting, pheasant hunting, and fishing.
10. Put your Toes in the Sand: Of course, you can’t visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach without taking time to enjoy the miles of pristine white quartz sand washed by the turquoise Gulf waters. There are plenty of public beaches as well as beach-front accommodations, but my favorite spot is Alabama Point East beach area. It’s a wonderful spot to relax and watch the boats going in and out of the bay.
11. Rent a Pontoon Boat: If you have a little boating experience, the Flora-Bama Marina rents pontoon boats that are tons of fun for the family, or whoever you are enjoying your beach getaway with! Load up with food and drinks and set out to cruise the intracoastal waterways and small islands nearby. Some boats have a slide off the back for extra family fun!
12. Rent Jet-Skis: For more water fun, you can rent jetskis, paddleboards or kayaks at the Flora-Bama Marina, too.
13. Dive in: For divers and snorkeling enthusiasts, the waters off coastal Alabama are home to dozens of artificial reefs created by intentionally scuttled ships, tugs, barges and tanks. Not certified? No problem! Local scuba shops offer instruction and can get you certified in no time.
14. Go Biking: Biking is a great way to explore Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trail, designated as a National Recreational Trail, includes more than 25 miles of pathways through Gulf State Park and beyond.
15. Get Up Close with Nature: With a network of hiking trails, the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge provides a look into the natural habitat of regional plants and animals. Explore the seasonal homes of migrating songbirds. Catch a glimpse of endangered species like sea turtles and the Alabama sea mouse. Guided walks are available to showcase the park’s natural beauty.
16. Get Wild at the Zoo: The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is affectionately called “The Little Zoo That Could.” My family adores this zoo for it’s unique animal encounter experiences. My daughter loves animals and had the opportunity to learn about – and get up close and personal with – a lemur and a baby tiger!
17. Step Back in Time: Fort Morgan is the perfect place to dig in to the past of Alabama’s Gulf coast. Completed in 1834, the Fort protected the port of Mobile and its shipping channels, although it was not garrisoned until 1861 when southern troops seized it during the civil war. You can get a tour guide, or take a self-guided tour and follow that with some hiking and picnicking. For more history, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is a short drive in Mobile, Ala.
18. Visit a Working Oyster Farm: Shellbanks Selects Oyster Farm and Whiteboots Charter offers 2, 4, and 6-hour tours with a choice of shrimping, fishing, and oyster charters. Learn how oysters are farmed, how to shuck an oyster, and so much more.
19. Create a Milkshake Masterpiece at The Yard: Build your own amazing milkshake creation and have fun watching everyone else’s at The Yard Milkshake Bar.
20. Create a Work of Art: The Hot Shop is Alabama’s premier hot glass blowing facility. Stop by to watch their artists at work or make an appointment to create your own glass masterpiece.
21. Walk the Line at LuLu’s: LuLu’s is not just a restaurant, it’s an experience. Bring the family and enjoy the arcade, gift shop, volleyball courts, live music, sand play area, ropes course/climbing tower, and of course – the food!
22. Treat Yourself to a Spa Experience: The Spa & Salon at The Beach Club is phenomenal. This full-service, European style spa has a relaxation room with a whirlpool you can use before or after your treatment. And the Coast Restaurant upstairs will bring you cocktails or a light spa meal.
23. Visit Bamahenge: If you like quirky roadside attractions, don’t miss Bamahenge. Created from fiberglass, the Stonehenge replica is a great pit-stop for fun photo ops.
24. Eat at ALL the places: Yes, eating is an essential part of the vacation. Here’s my list of the best places to eat in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Believe it or not, there are even more things to do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. You can golf, hike, shop, ride a Ferris wheel, go to a waterpark, drive go-karts and bumper boats… the list seems endless. The bottom line is that Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is the perfect place to keep on summering!
I’m partnering with Gulf Shores and Orange Beach this fall to encourage everyone #KeepOnSummering! All opinions and experiences are my own.