5 Fun Gulf Coast Day Trip Options

Make the Beach Your Base of Operations & Plan a Little Extra Adventure

A visit to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, area guarantees you’ll enjoy miles of pristine beaches, warm waters and a wealth of fun attractions.

While many tourists come to this region to simply relax on the sand and soak up the sun, there are plenty of other exciting things to see and do beyond the shore. Within just 25 to 50 miles of this area, a variety of destinations are waiting for you to explore, ranging from nature preserves and wildlife sanctuaries to historic landmarks and charming historic towns.

Here are five of our favorite places to explore within easy driving distance of the area.

  1. One wonderful day trip option for visitors to Gulf Shores is the port city of Mobile, Alabama, located just 48 miles northwest of the beach. Mobile is a historic city with a vibrant downtown area composed of plenty of charming architecture and cultural attractions. Among the top places to visit in Mobile is the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, which is home to a variety of military exhibits and a museum highlighting the history of naval warfare. Another must-see destination in Mobile, especially if your vacation includes children, is the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, a fun and interactive museum that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math education.
  2. Another nearby day trip destination is Perdido Key, Florida, just a few miles east of Gulf Shores. Perdido Key is a hidden gem that boasts some of the most beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast. The area is known for its peaceful atmosphere and clear blue waters, making it the perfect spot to relax and unwind for a day. Visitors can also enjoy dining in the local restaurants and browsing souvenir shops in the area.
  3. Pensacola, Florida, is another popular day trip destination, just 32 miles east of Gulf Shores. This vibrant city has a rich history and beautiful beaches, making it a wonderful place to explore for visitors of all ages. Pensacola’s downtown area is a charming and quaint district that is home to a variety of historic buildings and landmarks, including the Saenger Theatre, a restored 1920s-era theater that hosts a range of cultural events and performances throughout the year. Visitors can also stroll along Palafox Street, which is lined with unique shops, restaurants, and galleries. The area is also home to many art galleries and museums, including the Pensacola Museum of Art, which features a range of contemporary and historical art exhibits. Whether you’re looking to shop, dine, or simply take in the sights and sounds of this vibrant district, Pensacola’s downtown area has something for everyone. Visitors can also stroll along the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk, which offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.
  4. For those who love outdoor adventures, a trip to Weeks Bay Reserve, situated 30 miles northeast of Gulf Shores, is a must-see destination. This 6,000-acre reserve is a natural wonderland, boasting wetlands, forests and waterways. Visitors can explore the hiking trails, go kayaking, or take a guided tour to learn about the diverse plant and animal life in the area.
  5. Finally, the charming town of Fairhope, Alabama, 30 miles northwest of Gulf Shores, is another excellent day trip destination. This small town is known for its beautiful gardens, unique shops and delicious restaurants. Visitors can take a stroll through the town’s historic district, or head to the Fairhope Municipal Pier to enjoy stunning views of Mobile Bay.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature or simply relaxing on the beach, there’s something for everyone to enjoy beyond the shore in Gulf Shores, Alabama. So, the next time you’re planning a vacation to this beautiful region, be sure to set aside some time to explore these hidden gems and adventures.

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