gulf shores vacation guide

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!

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