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Gulf Shores/Orange Beach

Explore an ocean playground that never fails to dazzle

Glittering white sand beaches and jewel-toned turquoise waters make the southern coast of Alabama a dreamy retreat. Along the Gulf of Mexico, visitors can find over 30 miles of shoreline, providing perfect places to relax or play.

The colorful beach towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach welcome visitors with a bounty of shops, restaurants and attractions. Take your pick of the many RV parks found along the Gulf Coast and Mobile Bay. Lush green landscapes and water views abound.

Experience the Gulf

The best way to experience this region is on the water. Whether you prefer sinking your toes in the sand while relaxing on a beach or flying high above the waves on a parasail, you’ll find an activity that suits your style.

Bask in the sun and listen to the sound of the waves lapping the shore at the tranquil beaches in Gulf State Park. The two miles of pristine shoreline are a favorite place for seeking seashells and playing in the emerald waters.

Located on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge offers another quiet place to experience a protected, natural landscape. The 7,000 acres provide sanctuary for both flora and fauna. Bring your hiking shoes and a camera, and hit the trails. You may spot birds, sea turtles, alligators and more in this safe harbor. Kayak tours can take you where your feet can’t, allowing you to learn about the ecology of the coastal habitats.

For an exhilarating way to experience the landscape, book an airboat tour, which will take you zipping along shallow waters as the wind whips through your hair. You may get up close and personal with alligators. Dolphin cruises offer a more serene adventure as you watch for sea creatures frisking about in the sun-kissed waters. Scuba diving and snorkeling offer visitors the chance to plunge into the waters to discover a whole new world of aquatic animals.

Stay Active with Outdoor Recreation, Alabama-style

Stay active on the Alabama shore by taking advantage of the many opportunities for outdoor recreation. With mild weather year-round, visitors can enjoy golfing, fishing and more throughout the year. Golf enthusiasts will find a variety of courses in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach areas.

For a raw beach experience, the dunes and crashing waves at Gulf State Park beach are popular with local families that set up shop for the day within reach of an outdoor pavilion, complete with snack bar, restrooms, showers, tables and picnic benches.

The Gulf State Park Pier is a popular spot to toss in a line for saltwater fishing, while Lake Shelby is a freshwater favorite. For a deep-sea adventure, charter a boat or join a fishing cruise. The captains share their knowledge and take you to the area’s best spots.

The Alabama coast is also home to many trails for hiking and biking. The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail connects the town of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, providing a 15-mile route through marshes, swamplands and towering trees. Bird lovers won’t want to miss the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail, which includes over 200 miles of paths connecting many avian habitats. Yappy pelicans and stoic herons can be spotted here, along with dozens of other species.

At Orange Beach, the nation’s largest artificial reef program (over 1,200 square miles) lures deep-sea fishermen who cast their lines for red snapper, grouper, amberjack, trigger fish, porgy, vermilion snapper and cobia. A variety of fishing charters are available at Orange Beach.

Step Back in Time at Historic Sites

Many a battle has been fought for control of the entrance to Mobile Bay, leading to the establishment of Fort Morgan by the fledgling American military in the early 1800s. Located at the mouth of Mobile Bay, this state historic site allows visitors to tour the remaining structures and learn about the fort’s history with a visit to the museum. The past comes alive with battle reenactments offered periodically throughout the year.

While in the region, history buffs will also want to visit USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park near Mobile. Step aboard the USS Alabama, a WWII battleship that saw action in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. Tour the USS Drum, a submarine from the same era, and walk through the Aircraft Pavilion to see well-preserved war birds on display. A museum offers information about military history.

Escape to Dauphin Island

To truly get away from it all, head out to Dauphin Island. Sitting east of Gulf Shores, this barrier island has been a favorite for inhabitants and visitors dating back as far as the 1500s. It’s also a favorite for our feathered friends, as migrating birds often make a layover here. Take your binoculars to the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, a 137-acre wildlife refuge, and see how many species you can spot. To learn more about wildlife, check out the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium.

Dauphin Island has been named the Sunset Capital of Alabama. There’s no better way to cap off your Gulf Coast adventures than by watching a fiery sunset fill the sky.

Located on the eastern tip of Dauphin Island is Fort Gaines, which sits directly across the mouth of Mobile Bay from Fort Morgan. Built in 1821, Fort Gaines saw action in the 1864 Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay, in which a Union fleet commanded by Rear Admiral David G. Farragut attacked a smaller Confederate fleet led by Admiral Franklin Buchanan. Facing a confederate attack, Farragut is reported to have uttered the famous quote, “Damn the Torpedoes, full speed ahead!” The Union fleet won the day.

For More Information

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism



Alabama Tourism Department