Things to Do

Gulf Shores Vacation Guide to Fun

Beaches, Seafood, Festivals, Culture and Water-Filled Fun are Calling

Hey there, fellow beach lovers, seafood enthusiasts and festivalgoers! Welcome to your Gulf Shores vacation guide, which will point you in the right direction for all the fun things to do on the Gulf Coast. When you book a vacation in Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Perdido Key, prepare to experience the ultimate beach vacation.

We’ve got some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches, the freshest seafood and endless activities that will make your Gulf Shores vacation one that will last in the hearts and minds of your family forever. Here’s a Gulf Shores vacation guide to help you plan your itinerary.

Beautiful Beaches 

First up for our Gulf Shores vacation guide, let’s talk about those stunning beaches. The Gulf Shores Public Beach is the main beach in the area and offers a boardwalk, restaurants, and shopping options. Grab some seafood and drinks at the Hangout or rent beach chairs and umbrellas from the on-site beach service. This beach also has a playground for children, volleyball courts and restrooms with showers.

Gulf State Park Beach is another must-visit beach in Gulf Shores. This beach is a protected area, meaning it’s an excellent spot for nature lovers to explore. The beach has a variety of hiking trails, including the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, a popular choice for nature walks and bike rides. There are also picnic areas available, making this beach a perfect spot for a family outing. You can rent paddleboards or arrange for paddleboard lessons at the beach pavilion. 

Orange Beach is another popular beach destination and is adjacent to Gulf Shores. This beach boasts some of the clearest waters in the area, and the white sand stretches on for miles. There are several beach access points to explore. You can also rent equipment such as kayaks, paddleboards, and parasails from several different vendors. For an utterly unique experience, take a sunset sail with Sail Wild Hearts.

Perdido Key, Florida, is a beautiful destination with some of the most stunning beaches in the state. The white sands and crystal-clear waters make it a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing and all kinds of water activities. Visitors can rent paddleboards, kayaks and jet skis or take a boat tour to explore the coastline and nearby islands. Perdido Key is also a popular spot for fishing, with opportunities for both deep-sea and inland fishing. For those who prefer to relax, there are plenty of beachside restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a cold drink and some fresh seafood while taking in the breathtaking views. 


Are you a seafood lover? Then you’re in luck! Gulf Shores has you covered, and our Gulf Shores vacation guide can help you determine the best seafood restaurants in town.

Gulf Shores has a thriving seafood industry, and visitors can enjoy some of the freshest seafood in the country. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, including the famous King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant, with delicious platters and a variety of lunch specials. For the ultimate beach experience, head over to The Hangout, a beachfront bar and restaurant that serves up some of the best burgers and seafood in the area. The Shrimp Basket is another great spot to grab some fried seafood, and they even have a kids’ menu for the little ones. Check out our blog for a list of waterfront restaurants in the area.

If you’re looking to catch your seafood, you can go on a fishing trip with one of the many local charters available in the area. Zeke’s Landing Marina offers both inshore and offshore fishing trips, and you can even book a night fishing trip for something different.

Water Activities 

For water sports enthusiasts, the Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast regions have everything from fishing to kayaking. If you’re looking to rent equipment, check out Ike’s Beach Service or Perdido Beach Services. Ike’s offers everything from beach chairs to surfboards, while Perdido Beach Services provides a wide range of water sports equipment, including kayaks, paddleboards and jet skis. Continue reading our Gulf Shores vacation guide for more info.

If you’re interested in wildlife, book a dolphin-watching cruise with Cetacean Cruises, which departs from The Wharf. There are numerous dolphin-watching cruise companies that take you out to the Gulf of Mexico to watch dolphins in their natural habitat. For a romantic experience, book a sunset sail, where you can watch the sunset over the water while sipping cocktails. 

A vacation to Gulf Shores offers visitors the opportunity to soak in breathtaking views of the coastline from a unique perspective: parasailing. Parasailing is a fun and exciting activity that lets you soar high above the Gulf of Mexico while taking in the stunning scenery below.

One of the top companies providing parasailing experiences in Gulf Shores is Top Tier Watersports in nearby Orange Beach. Their experienced and friendly crew will take you on a thrilling ride where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Gulf Coast while feeling the adrenaline rush of flying high above the water.

Festivals and Events 

Gulf Shores is home to numerous exciting festivals. Here are some of our favorites: 

Gulf Coast Arts Alliance Art Market: Held in November, this event is perfect for art lovers. The Art Market features the works of over 40 local artists, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and more. You can shop for unique gifts for yourself or your loved ones and support local artists at the same time. 

Annual National Shrimp Festival: One of the most popular events in Gulf Shores is the National Shrimp Festival, which takes place every October. This four-day event celebrates the local seafood industry and features live music, arts and crafts, and shrimp dishes! You can watch the shrimp cook-off, sample different shrimp dishes, and enjoy live music from top musicians. 

Gulf Shores Snowbird Fest: If you’re a snowbird who spends the winter months in Gulf Shores, this festival is for you. It takes place every January and features live music, arts and crafts, and freebies for snowbirds. You can meet other snowbirds, participate in activities, and enjoy the warm Gulf Coast weather. 

The Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival: Held every May, this festival features hot air balloon rides, live music and food vendors. It is a celebration of the area’s rich history and offers a unique opportunity to see the beauty of Gulf Shores from above on tethered balloon rides, at night glow events and more activities.

Hangout Music Fest: The Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores is a premier music event that combines sun-soaked beach vibes with an impressive lineup of renowned artists. Held annually, this three-day festival attracts music lovers from around the country to experience unforgettable performances against the backdrop of the stunning Gulf Coast. With multiple stages, attendees can enjoy a diverse range of musical genres, including rock, pop, hip-hop, and electronic music.

Interstate Mullet Toss and Greatest Beach Party: The Annual Mullet Toss at the Flora-Bama is a beloved tradition on the Gulf Coast. Held each April at the iconic beachfront bar, this unique event brings together locals and visitors for a weekend of fun and excitement. Participants line up on the Florida-Alabama state line and compete to see who can throw a mullet the farthest across the state line. Spectators cheer on the tossers and enjoy live music, delicious food and cold drinks. The Mullet Toss has become a legendary event, celebrating the vibrant culture and sense of community defining the Gulf Coast.

Freedom Fest: Freedom Fest in Orange Beach, AL, is a celebration of patriotism and community. Held annually in October, this event brings together residents and visitors for a day of family-friendly activities and festivities. From live music performances and delicious food vendors to exciting games and fireworks displays, Freedom Fest offers something for everyone.

Orange Beach Festival of Art: The Festival of Art held annually in March in Orange Beach is a vibrant celebration of creativity and culture. This highly anticipated event showcases the works of talented artists from various mediums, including painting, sculpture, pottery and more. Strolling through the festival grounds, visitors can admire and purchase unique pieces of art, interact with the artists and experience live demonstrations. With live music, delicious food vendors, and a lively atmosphere, the Festival of Art in Orange Beach is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and a testament to the thriving arts scene in the area.

With so many festivals and events to choose from, there’s always something going on in Gulf Shores. Whether you’re a seafood lover, an art enthusiast, or a music fan, you’re sure to find an event that you’ll love. So, pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and come experience all that Gulf Shores, Alabama, has to offer! See our blog for more information about festivals.

History and Culture 

And finally, let’s talk about the history and culture of Gulf Shores beyond the beach. Did you know that we have a rich history dating back to the 1800s?

One of the best places to start learning about the history of the area is the Gulf Shores Museum. The museum is in a historic beach house and features exhibits on the area’s Native American history, the Civil War, and the local fishing industry. Visitors can explore the museum’s interactive exhibits, including a replica of a Native American canoe and a “touch tank” where they can handle local marine life. 

For those interested in military history, the Fort Morgan State Historic Site is a must-visit. This well-preserved fort was used during the Civil War and has played a significant role in the history of the Gulf Coast. Visitors can explore the fort’s tunnels, barracks, and artillery batteries while learning about its history through interactive exhibits and demonstrations of living history. 

Another interesting site to visit is the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum. This small museum highlights the history and culture of the Native American tribes that once inhabited the area, as well as the history of the local fishing industry. Visitors can see artifacts and exhibits on topics such as fishing methods, boat building, and net making. 

The Coastal Arts Center in Orange Beach is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. This center is dedicated to promoting the arts and preserving the culture of the Gulf Coast region. Visitors can take part in a variety of art classes, from glassblowing and pottery to painting and drawing. The center also features galleries displaying local and regional artists’ works and hosts art exhibitions and events annually.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, put on some sunscreen, and get ready for the ultimate Gulf Shores vacation! We hope our Gulf Shores vacation guide will help as you plan your itinerary!

Whether you seek a beach House or condo on Pleasure Island or a house further inland, Current Tides is here to assist you in finding the ideal property. Look no further, as we can guide you to the perfect getaway to sink your toes in the sand. Browse our selection of vacation rentals now and book your favorite spot. 

Things to Do at Gulf State Park

These Fun Activities are Must-Do’s for Your Gulf Coast Vacation

Nestled along the stunning shores of Gulf Shores, Alabama, Gulf State Park is a nature lover’s paradise, offering a wealth of outdoor adventures and recreational opportunities. Spanning over 6,500 acres, this expansive park boasts diverse ecosystems, captivating landscapes and a plethora of fun-filled activities for visitors of all ages. Read on to explore our favorite Gulf State Park activities, ensuring an unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike. Here are our favorite things to do at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, AL.

Hike Scenic Trails

Gulf State Park features an extensive network of scenic trails that wind through pristine landscapes, providing opportunities for both leisurely walks and challenging hikes. The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, spanning more than 28 miles, showcases the park’s diverse habitats, including coastal dunes, freshwater marshes and maritime forests. Explore the various trails, such as the Rosemary Dunes Trail or the Cotton Bayou Trail, and immerse yourself in the park’s natural beauty. Be sure to visit the Butterfly Garden and watch for local wildlife such as coyotes, foxes and even alligators.

Bike Along the Coast

For those who prefer two-wheeled adventures, Gulf State Park offers miles of paved biking trails that meander through picturesque coastal scenery. Rent a (free) bike or bring your own and embark on a leisurely ride along the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, taking in the breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding natural habitats. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, the park’s biking trails provide a refreshing and invigorating experience. Bike paths even line the major thoroughfares in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Biking is one of our favorite things to do at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, AL.

Explore the Fishing Pier

Gulf State Park is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Cast a line from the park’s fishing pier, which extends 1,540 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, and try your luck at reeling in a variety of saltwater fish species. The pier also offers a tackle and bait shop for your convenience. If you prefer a more secluded fishing experience, explore the park’s freshwater lakes and the Gulf State Park Pier Underwater Forest, a unique dive spot where marine life thrives amidst the remains of an old pier. Be sure to purchase a fishing license before heading out for the day.

Swim & Play at the Beach

With its pristine beaches and warm Gulf waters, Gulf State Park provides the perfect setting for swimming and beach activities. Relax on the soft sands, soak up the sun or take a refreshing dip in the turquoise Gulf waters. Build sandcastles with the little ones, play beach volleyball or simply unwind and listen to the soothing sound of the waves crashing on the shore. A beach pavilion at the park’s primary beach is perfect for a picnic or even just taking a break from the surf and sunshine.

Spot Wildlife and Experience Nature at Its Most Beautiful

Gulf State Park is teeming with diverse wildlife and offers unique opportunities for nature enthusiasts to observe and appreciate its inhabitants. Keep an eye out for the park’s resident alligators, ospreys, turtles and numerous bird species. Learn more about the local flora and fauna by participating in park ranger-led interpretive walks and guided nature programs, which will help you develop a greater appreciation for the delicate ecosystems within Gulf State Park. Spotting local wildlife is another one of our favorite things to do at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, AL.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful escape, an active outdoor experience or quality time with family and friends, Gulf State Park offers these and more activities. Explore the trails, feel the refreshing breeze as you bike along the coast and cast your line into the Gulf waters. Unwind on the sandy beaches, take a dip in the sparkling waves and marvel at the array of wildlife that calls the park home.

Book your Current Tides rental in Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Perdido Key and discover the joy of outdoor adventures and the tranquility of nature at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

5 Reasons for a Fall Vacation in Gulf Shores

Great Rates, Beautiful Weather and Serene Beaches Top The List

As summer fades, cooler autumn air sets in and vacation rental rates fall, there’s no better time to visit the enchanting Alabama Gulf Coast. With its stunning beaches, abundant outdoor activities and family-friendly attractions, fall offers a unique and captivating experience for travelers. Let’s explore the top five reasons to plan a fall vacation in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

1. Coastal Beauty in a Tranquil Setting

The Alabama Gulf Coast boasts unparalleled coastal beauty, and in the fall, it reaches its peak splendor. Sparkling white beaches frame the emerald-green water as the sun shines down from the rich, blue sky. Couple this with coastal greenery and breathtaking sunsets in pink and orange hues, and you’ll agree the fall landscape of the Alabama Gulf Coast is a sight to behold.

2. Ideal Weather for Outdoor Activities

Fall brings milder temperatures and lower humidity, creating the perfect climate for outdoor adventures on the Alabama Gulf Coast. From hiking the abundant nature trails and biking along scenic routes to kayaking in tranquil bays and fishing in the Gulf waters, the opportunities for outdoor activities are endless. The comfortable weather allows you to fully embrace the stunning natural surroundings and engage in adventurous experiences, making your visit to the Gulf Coast even more memorable.

3. Family-Friendly Attractions and Festivals

The Alabama Gulf Coast is renowned for its array of family-friendly attractions that cater to visitors of all ages. In the fall, these attractions come alive with a myriad of events and festivals. Explore the Gulf Coast Zoo, home to a diverse range of animals, or visit the Gulf State Park where you can bike, hike, or relax by the lake. Don’t miss the Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, a celebration of delicious seafood, live music, and vibrant arts and crafts in October. These attractions and festivals offer endless entertainment options for families, creating cherished moments and lifelong memories.

4. Gulf Seafood Delights

Fall is the perfect time to indulge in the mouthwatering Gulf seafood that the Alabama Gulf Coast is renowned for. As the crowds thin, local restaurants continue to serve up a bounty of fresh catches, including shrimp, oysters and fish. Savor the flavors of the Gulf with a seafood feast, where each bite is a celebration of the region’s culinary heritage. Whether you prefer fine dining or casual beachfront eateries, the Alabama Gulf Coast promises a delectable gastronomic experience for seafood enthusiasts. Keep in mind also that numerous fresh seafood markets offer great variety for you to prepare in your fully equipped Current Tides rental kitchen.

5. Serene Beach Getaway

One of the most compelling reasons to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast in the fall is the tranquility and solitude you’ll find on uncrowded beaches. With the summer vacation crowds dispersed, you can relish in the peacefulness and have vast stretches of beach almost to yourself. Whether you’re seeking a romantic escape or a rejuvenating solo retreat, the Alabama Gulf Coast provides the idyllic setting for a serene beach getaway. Bask in the warm sunshine, listen to the soothing sounds of the waves and let the gentle breeze whisk your worries away.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or quality time with family, the Alabama Gulf Coast in the fall delivers on all fronts. With its captivating coastal beauty, mild weather, and family-friendly attractions and festivals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

In addition, fall means falling rental rates. When you book a fall vacation with Current Tides, you will experience discounted rates that are less than those in the peak summer season.

Make the most of this magical time of year and create unforgettable memories on the Alabama Gulf Coast with a Current Tides rental in Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Perdido Key.

Spend Time Together, Not More Money

Free & Cheap Activities to Enjoy with Kids in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

When it comes to planning a family vacation to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, there are plenty of fun and affordable activities to enjoy with the kids. From free outdoor adventures to low-cost educational experiences, here are some ideas to help you plan a budget-friendly family vacation that your family will never forget!

The Classic: A Beach Day!

Of course, the main attractions in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the beautiful sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. And the best part? Enjoying a beach day is completely free! Pack a picnic lunch, bring some sunscreen and spend the day playing in the sand, building sandcastles and swimming in the warm Gulf waters. If you choose the main public beach in Gulf Shores, please note there is a nominal fee for parking.

Take a Nature Walk

The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area is home to a variety of beautiful natural areas that are perfect for a family nature walk. The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Gulf State Park and the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail all offer scenic walking paths that wind through forests, wetlands, and other natural habitats. Look out for local wildlife like shorebirds, turtles, foxes and alligators! Check out the beautiful butterfly garden you’ll encounter when hiking the trail system in Orange Beach.

Explore Local Parks

In addition to the natural areas mentioned above, there are also several local parks in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area that are great for family outings. Gulf Shores Kids Park, located in the heart of Gulf Shores, features a playground and a covered picnic area with grills. Orange Beach Waterfront Park is another great destination, with a playground, fishing pier and a scenic walking trail. You’ll also find the Coastal Arts Center at Orange Beach Waterfront Park. Cool off as you browse the gorgeous variety of local artwork.

Visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, also known as “The Little Zoo That Could,” is a popular family destination that won’t break the bank. This 25-acre zoo is home to more than 300 animals from around the world, including tigers, lemurs and kangaroos. Visitors can also enjoy interactive experiences, like feeding the animals and taking behind-the-scenes tours. Dine in the on-site restaurant as you listen to the sounds of the animals. Be sure to let the kids ride the merry-go-round!

Visit the Gulf Shores Museum

If you’re looking for an educational activity for the family, the Gulf Shores Museum is a must-see destination. This small museum features a variety of exhibits and artifacts that highlight the rich history of the region, from its Native American roots to the present day. The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of topics, including the area’s natural history, the Gulf Shores fishing industry and the role of the region in the Civil War.

Attend a Concert or Event

Throughout the year, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach host a variety of free and low-cost events and concerts that are perfect for families. The Gulf State Park hosts outdoor concerts and movies throughout the summer, while the Wharf at Orange Beach hosts events from farmer’s markets to festivals. Be sure to check the local event calendar to see what’s happening during your visit. The holiday season is an especially rewarding time to visit, with a popular light show at night and ice skating and Santa Claus visits during the day.

Take a Dolphin-Watching Tour

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are home to a large population of playful dolphins, and there are several companies that offer affordable dolphin watching tours. These guided boat tours take visitors out into the Gulf of Mexico to spot dolphins in their natural habitat. Kids will love watching these playful creatures jump and play in the water while learning about their behavior and biology from expert guides.

The next time you’re planning a family vacation, consider Gulf Shores and Orange Beach for a budget-friendly getaway that’s sure to create lasting memories for everyone. With so many free and low-cost activities to enjoy, you can have a fun-filled family vacation without breaking the bank.

Book your next Gulf Shores vacation with Current Tides and get ready for your best adventure yet!

Share the Sweetness Online

Show Off Your Favorite Beach Vacation Moments

A family vacation to the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is a memorable experience for many reasons. The area offers a wide range of activities and attractions that are perfect for families, including beautiful beaches, family-friendly parks and water sports.

Make Memories That Last Forever

Kids can play in the sand and swim in the Gulf of Mexico while parents relax and soak up the sun. Gulf Shores also offers opportunities for families to learn about the local environment, with attractions like the Gulf State Park and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Families can also enjoy delicious seafood at local restaurants and take part in events and festivals throughout the year. But perhaps the most memorable aspect of a family vacation to Gulf Shores is the opportunity to spend quality time together, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

From building sandcastles and taking long walks under a moonlit sky to watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico, the white, sandy shores of the Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach, Alabama, and Perdido Key, Florida are perfect for making memories with your loved ones.

Share Your Memories With Us!

If you’ve recently visited or are planning a beach vacation to Pleasure Island, Current Tides Vacation Rentals and Real Estate Sales invites you to share your beach memory photos by tagging us on Facebook and Instagram. By sharing your precious photos with us, you’ll not only help us showcase the beauty of our area, but you’ll also help inspire future vacationers to make their own memories on this beautiful stretch of the Gulf Coast.

To participate, simply tag Current Tides Vacation Rentals on your Facebook and Instagram photos and use the hashtag #CurrentTides. You can also send us your photos directly via email at [email protected], and we’ll be happy to share them on our social media channels.

In addition to helping us highlight our properties and inspire future guests, sharing your photos can also help you connect with other vacationers and make new friends. By tagging us and using our hashtag, you’ll become part of the Current Tides Vacation Rentals community and have the chance to connect with other beach lovers from around the world.

Whether you’re staying in one of a cozy cottage or a beachview condo, we want to see your photos and hear your stories! Send photos showing you with a good book, playing in the waves with your kids, or exploring the local attractions. Whatever your favorite pictures are, we want to be a part of your beach vacation memories.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your camera, hit the beach, and let’s make some memories together! We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Share your photos on Facebook or Instagram and tag us using #CurrentTides!

Skip to content