Things to Do at Gulf State Park

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.

Our Favorite Waterfront Restaurants

Explore Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Restaurants with Breathtaking Waterfront Views

Experience a culinary journey like no other as you immerse yourself in the coastal beauty of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan and Perdido Key. These enchanting destinations offer an array of remarkable water-view and waterfront restaurants that combine delicious flavors with breathtaking vistas. Whether you seek upscale dining with stunning Gulf views or casual eateries where you can savor fresh seafood by the water, the Gulf Coast has it all.

As you plan your next getaway, here is a guide to the top dining establishments that perfectly blend culinary delights and tranquil allure, ensuring an unforgettable experience that tantalizes your taste buds and captivates your senses.

Coast Restaurant at Beach Club Resort & Spa

Situated at the Beach Club Resort & Spa, the Coast Restaurant in Fort Morgan is a waterfront restaurant that beckons with captivating views of the Gulf of Mexico. Indulge in a delightful dining experience where fresh, locally sourced ingredients take center stage. From delectable oysters on the half shell to succulent Gulf fish and signature pasta or steak dishes, Coast expertly showcases Gulf Coast flavors with a modern twist.

Voyagers at Perdido Beach Resort

Located at Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Voyagers offers an elegant dining experience with panoramic Gulf views. Voyagers’ fusion of Southern and international flavors, expertly prepared by their talented culinary team, is designed to enchant even the most discerning palate. Savor dishes like Gulf seafood bouillabaisse or tender lamb chops while relishing the breathtaking sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf

For a unique beachfront dining experience, head to The Gulf in Orange Beach. Set in converted shipping containers right on the beach, this family-friendly spot serves up fresh seafood, tacos and sandwiches made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Relish the relaxed atmosphere, enjoy live music and soak in stunning waterfront views that enhance your dining experience.

Original Oyster House

A local favorite for over 30 years, the Original Oyster House has become a Gulf Shores institution. With locations in Gulf Shores and Spanish Fort, this welcoming restaurant showcases a wide selection of seafood delights ranging from Gulf oysters to shrimp, crab and fish prepared in mouthwatering styles. Original Oyster House’s laid-back atmosphere is perfect for families.

Wolf Bay Restaurant

Nestled in the heart of Orange Beach, Wolf Bay Restaurant invites guests to savor a delightful dining experience on a scenic bayou. This family-friendly establishment showcases a range of delectable seafood dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients. From succulent crab claws and buttery shrimp scampi to flavorful oysters and mouthwatering fish fillets, each bite at Wolf Bay encapsulates the flavors of the Gulf.

Fisher’s Upstairs at Orange Beach Marina

Situated at Orange Beach Marina, Fisher’s Upstairs offers an upscale waterfront dining experience that celebrates Gulf Coast flavors. Their menu focuses on seasonal ingredients that shine in dishes like blackened redfish and grilled Gulf shrimp. Dine on their outdoor deck and relish the stunning views of boats gliding along the water, creating a picturesque backdrop for your meal.

Tacky Jack’s

With waterfront restaurants in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan and on Battleship Parkway, Tacky Jack’s is a must-visit for its laid-back atmosphere and picturesque waterfront views. Enjoy classic seafood dishes like shrimp po’boys or fish tacos at Tacky Jack’s while admiring the tranquil beauty of the surrounding marinas and waterways. Known for its tasty Bloody Mary’s and creamy bushwhackers, this Gulf Coast institution is the perfect spot to relax and unwind with friends and family, all while taking in the mesmerizing views of the waterfront.


Tucked into the picturesque Caribe Resort, Cobalt offers a culinary experience that is as stunning as the waterfront views it provides. With its sleek and modern design, Cobalt exudes a sophisticated yet relaxed ambiance. Indulge in a delectable menu showcasing the freshest seafood, from Gulf Coast favorites to innovative creations. Whether you’re sipping a handcrafted cocktail on the outdoor patio or savoring a mouthwatering dish in the stylish dining room, Cobalt promises an unforgettable dining experience that perfectly complements its breathtaking surroundings.

When you book your vacation rental with Current Tides, you’ll have the perfect home-away-from-home to complement your dining adventures. Enjoy the convenience and comfort of your fully equipped rental, where you can prepare a feast or relax after a delightful meal at one of these exceptional waterfront restaurants. Begin your Gulf Coast getaway and reserve your vacation rental near these wonderful waterfront restaurants with Current Tides today.

Gulf Shores Festivals

Elevate Your Family’s Fun With A Festival-Focused Beach Vacation

While the Gulf Coast is known for pristine beaches and breathtaking views, it’s also a great place to visit for its vibrant annual festivals showcasing the region’s unique culture, cuisine and community spirit. Whether you’re seeking music, food, the arts or family-friendly fun, these Gulf Shores festivals offer an incredible experience that will enhance your Gulf Coast vacation. Join in the celebration and create unforgettable memories as you vacation at a Current Tides vacation rental while exploring the lively festivals in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan and Perdido Key.

Interstate Mullet Toss at the Flora-Bama – April, Perdido Key, FL

Get ready for a truly unique and lively event at the Interstate Mullet Toss, held at the iconic Flora-Bama Lounge in Perdido Key. This quirky festival revolves around the mullet fish, where participants compete to see who can throw a mullet (not a live one!) the farthest across the state line into Alabama. Join the crowd as they cheer on the tossers of all ages and enjoy live music, delicious food and drinks from Flora-Bama’s famous beachside bar. The Interstate Mullet Toss is always held the last full weekend in April and also includes a variety of kid-friendly events. Proceeds benefit local youth charities.

The Hangout Music Festival – May, Gulf Shores, AL

Kick off your summer with the energetic vibes of The Hangout Music Festival, held annually at the public beach area in Gulf Shores. This multi-day Gulf Shores festival is a music extravaganza that features an impressive lineup of renowned artists across various genres performing on multiple stages. Dance barefoot on the sandy beaches, soak up the sun and immerse yourself in the rhythm of the festival that attracts thousands of music lovers each year. The festival is held in May, offering the perfect start to your vacation season.

Annual National Shrimp Festival – October, Gulf Shores, AL

Savor the flavors of the Gulf Coast at the Annual National Shrimp Festival, a beloved event held in Gulf Shores for more than 50 years. Celebrating the region’s renowned seafood, this iconic Gulf Shores festival showcases a variety of shrimp dishes prepared by talented local chefs and other vendors who show off their culinary skills at this festival each year. Indulge in a plate piled high with fried shrimp, munch on a Cajun pistol, or enjoy other festival delights as you browse the wares of hundreds of arts and crafts vendors, enjoy live music, and participate in fun activities for all ages. The festival takes place over the second full weekend in October, providing an ideal autumn getaway.

Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival – November, Various Gulf Coast Locations

Celebrate the art of songwriting at the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival, an annual event that brings together talented musicians and songwriters from around the world. Spanning multiple venues across Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Perdido Key, this festival offers a unique opportunity to experience captivating performances and hear the stories behind the songs. This festival invites you to immerse yourself in the magic of live music as songwriters perform their original compositions and share the inspiration behind their lyrics. From intimate acoustic sets to lively performances, the festival showcases a diverse range of musical genres and styles, making it a must-visit event for music enthusiasts.

Coastal Christmas Celebrations – Various Gulf Coast Locations

Experience the magic of the holiday season along the Gulf Coast with enchanting Christmas events and festivities. Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Perdido Key come alive with twinkling lights, cheerful parades, and joyful celebrations that capture the spirit of Christmas. Stay to celebrate the New Year for fireworks, street parties and the Polar Bear Dip at the Flora-Bama.

When planning your Gulf Coast vacation, don’t miss out on the excitement of the annual festivals in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Perdido Key. These vibrant celebrations offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and community spirit of the region and add an extra layer of entertainment to your Gulf Coast getaway itinerary.

Plan your visit and book your vacation rental with confidence, knowing that Current Tides offers comfortable accommodations in close proximity to these fantastic festivals. Start packing and get ready to experience the Gulf Coast in all its festive glory!

5 Top Amusement Parks in Gulf Shores

Plan an Amusement Park Adventure for Your Gulf Shores Trip

Welcome to the Alabama Gulf Coast for your vacation! When your beach getaway takes you to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan or Perdido Key/Pensacola, of course, the beach is the main attraction. But when your sense of adventure inspires you to explore beyond the beach, excitement awaits at these recreation centers and top amusement parks in Gulf Shores and the surrounding area. Dive into thrilling rides, experience exhilarating water attractions, and enjoy family-friendly activities that will create unforgettable memories for you and your loved ones.

Let’s explore five of our favorite amusement park attractions: The Track Family Recreation Center, Adventure Island and Waterville USA in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and The Park at OWA and Tropic Falls at OWA, located a few miles north of Gulf Shores in Foley, Alabama.

  1. Waterville, USA – Gulf Shores, AL

Cool off and make a splash at Waterville, USA, the ultimate water park and amusement park in Gulf Shores. Brave the heart-pounding slides of the Screamin’ Demon and challenge the twists and turns of the Triple Dog Dare. Take a relaxing float along the Crystal Waters Lazy River or make a splash in the wave pool. The little ones will love WaWa World and Shrimp Boat Village, where they can splash and play in shallow water. For those seeking thrills on land, enjoy go-kart racing, mini-golf and exciting amusement rides. Rent a cabana that comes with food and beverage service. Be sure to take advantage of the Waterville Escape House, bowling lanes and TopGolf Swing Suite for even more fun. Waterville, USA, guarantees a day of laughter, excitement and water-filled adventures for the whole family.

  1. The Track Family Recreation Center – Gulf Shores, AL

Get ready for high-speed action and family-friendly competition at The Track Family Recreation Center in Gulf Shores. Race against each other on thrilling go-kart tracks, challenge your skills on the exhilarating Skycoaster or test your aim at mini-golf. Kids can enjoy the Kiddie Karts, mini Ferris wheel and other age-appropriate rides. The Track also features bumper boats, an arcade filled with exciting games, and even opportunities for virtual reality experiences. The Track’s signature elevated go-kart track, the Wild Woody, sends drivers up three and a half stories to circle back down with an exciting drop at the bottom. With a variety of attractions to choose from, The Track promises hours of fun for everyone.

  1. Adventure Island – Orange Beach, AL

Embark on a tropical island adventure at Adventure Island in Orange Beach. Plummet down the five-story volcano-themed water slide, relax in the refreshing waves of the lazy river or challenge your friends to a round of mini-golf on the tropical-themed course. Kids can enjoy interactive play areas and water-based activities. Adventure Island also offers bumper boats, go-karts, an arcade filled with games and exciting laser tag battles. Experience a day of non-stop entertainment and create lasting memories at this family-friendly amusement park.

  1. The Park at OWA – Foley, AL

Experience a world of excitement and entertainment at The Park at OWA, a premier amusement park in the state of Alabama offering a range of thrilling rides and attractions for all ages. Feel the adrenaline rush on exhilarating roller coasters like Rollin’ Thunder and test your courage on the spinning swings of Freedom Flyer. Little ones can enjoy the whimsical Flying Aces ride and the interactive fun of the Parkside Carousel. There’s even a lively midway featuring fun carnival games and food options. If your group includes some who would rather browse the entertainment options outside the park, there are shops, restaurants, and a theater that hosts a variety of productions and annual events. 

  1. Tropic Falls at OWA Foley, AL

Take your summer adventures to the next level at Tropic Falls, the exhilarating indoor waterpark at OWA. Dive into an oasis of excitement as you zip down thrilling water slides like the Tropic Plunge and splash in the refreshing waves of the Waverunner. Little ones will have a blast at Tuki’s Island Play Area, complete with water cannons, slides and a giant tipping bucket. Soak up the tropical atmosphere, catch a wave in the Flowrider surfing experience, and create endless memories at Tropic Falls. If there’s a birthday party that falls over your vacation, have it at Tropic Falls. You can even rent a cabana for maximum comfort during your day at Tropic Falls.

When planning your Gulf Shores, AL vacation activities, don’t miss the chance to include visits to these incredible amusement parks in Gulf Shores and the surrounding area. Stay in a family-friendly, comfortable vacation rental from Current Tides, which provides convenient lodging for families looking for unforgettable adventures on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Pack your bags, book your Gulf Coast vacation rental with Current Tides, and prepare for an action-packed family getaway they’ll remember for a lifetime.

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