My family rarely takes the traditional beach vacation. We love to be active and that’s why we love all the adventurous things to do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama.
Wait. Alabama has beaches? YES! Gorgeous, white, sugary-sand beaches with bright turquoise waters. But they have a lot more, too. Here are five unique and exciting things to do on the Gulf Coast of Alabama.
Tour a Working Oyster Farm
Two guys, four boats, and lots of oysters. Shellbanks Selects Oyster Farm is located in Fort Morgan on Bon Secour Bay, just a few minutes outside of Orange Beach. I had the pleasure of taking a tour with them and it was a blast! We hopped on their boat and cruised a short distance off shore to see where Jarrett and Lew grow their oysters.
Now I don’t know about you, but I really didn’t know much about oysters. I didn’t even realize they had to “grow” from baby oysters! But Jarrett & Lew explained their process, and pulled up some oysters to demonstrate how to know when they are “ready.” They even taught me how to shuck an oyster and let me slurp it up – fresh out of the bay!
Later that afternoon, I headed over to The Royal Oyster in Orange Beach, where they serve up a tantalizing variety of roasted and raw prepared oysters – and they come straight from Shellbanks! Truly a farm-to-table experience.
You can take a tour with Jarrett & Lew under their new charter company called Whiteboots Charter. They offer 2, 4, and 6-hour tours with a choice of shrimping, fishing, and oyster charters. After you learn all about their oyster farm, you’ll ride to the processing plant where you can purchase them fresh off the boat!
Contact: Shellbanks Selects Oyster Farm, 251-979-1862
Get On Your High Horse
Bryanna from Crazy Family Adventure says horseback riding at the gorgeous Oak Hollow Farm was a fun way to get off of the beach and out of the sand:
The farm is home to a collection of older and very docile horses that make it perfect for riding with kids. You begin at the gorgeous farm where they host weddings and activities, then take a hay ride to where the horses are kept. Everyone gets on their horse and heads out on a leisurely stroll around the beautiful property before coming back to feed your horse a carrot. Everyone from my 4 year old (who rode with Dad) to my 10 year old enjoyed it!
Oak Hollow Farm also offers skeet shooting, pheasant hunting, and other outdoor experiences! Read more about Bryanna’s horseback riding experience.
Contact: Oak Hollow Farm, 251-928-4840
You’re in Control on a CAT Boat
Kim from Stuffed Suitcase explains why she loved the CAT boat experience:
Visiting the Gulf Shores means beach time for many, but I recently took to the water on a boat I had never heard of before. CAT boats are not well known, but are a great alternative or additional activity to jet skis.
The best description of a CAT boat is to tell you to imagine two surf boards hooked together with two loungers fastened on board. There’s a powerful engine hooked to the back that can certainly give you speed, but why I loved CAT boating in the Gulf Shores Caribe Marina is because in addition to speed, you can also coast along quietly. I was able to get close to shore and do some bird watching while floating around the bay and waterways.
CAT boats are not too difficult to drive – they rely on a handle system for turning, much like an airboat. It’s a fun water adventure that’s a highlight for things to do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Read more from Kim about Alabama’s Gulf Coast!
Contact: Orange Beach Cat Boat Tours, 251-979-7137
Ziplining for Stunning Scenery
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.
Tamara from We3Travel had a great time ziplining:
My day started off with a quick intro to ziplining. This is an important part of getting comfortable on the course because it is very important to learn to brake, how to watch for hand signals, and how to self-assist using hand-over-hand on the cable if you stop before you reach the platform.
We then climbed to our first platform to start the course. The stairs might get tiring if you are out of shape, but they are solid and protected by the walls of the tower. You feel totally safe on the stairs and the platforms. There was a gentleman on our tour who was afraid of heights but he made it through okay at the encouragement of his kids. Read all about Tamara’s ziplining adventure.
Contact: Hummingbird Ziplines, 251-948-9494
Fisherman for a Day
Mandy from the family travel blog Acupful had an amazing fishing experience in Orange Beach:
Let me preempt by saying I am not a fisherman. But when I think back to my visit to the Coast of Alabama I immediately smile because of my exhilarating experience deep sea fishing. I spent half a day in the Gulf chasing these massive fish, learning the technique to catch 30+ pound sea life, and then gearing up to reel them in.
I never imagined that I would catch one of these large fish – the excitement and adrenaline rush I had was one of my most memorable beach experiences. The fish that we were able to keep turned into our lunch within a few hours of being caught! Once we got back to the marina, the charter cleaned the fish and prepared it for us to hand right over to the catch and cook restaurant we dined at after our fishing trip. That is no doubt the freshest fish I have ever eaten! Follow Mandy’s travel adventures at Acupful.com.
Contact: Ocean Ox Charters, 850-816-8242
As you can see, there are lots of adventurous things to do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach when you want to take a day off from the beautiful beaches. And don’t even get me started on the food. Plan your visit now.