One of the best kept secrets is that Alabama has some of the best beaches around. While it's neighbor to the east, Florida, gets all the attention, Gulf Shores is on par with all those beautiful beaches.
Gulf Shores, and it's neighbor Orange Beach, has plenty of activities centered around the water - on beaches that span 32 miles of the pure white sand.
We have been to the Gulf Shores 5 times and are constantly finding new and exciting things to do and explore.
We love the southern hospitality, laid back atmosphere, friendly people, great restaurants, great weather, and of course those gorgeous beaches.
Things To Do In Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL
It's All About The Beach
The beach! Let's face it - that's why we're here at Gulf Shores.
Pack your coolers, lawn chairs, kites, suntan lotion, chips, and towels and make your way to the unspoiled beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. We always rent a beach chair and umbrella and park it on the beach.
This is the view from our balcony at the Lighthouse Resort. We ate many of our meals here and you can't beat the view!
When the surf's up, it's fun to boogie board and body surf the waves and just hang out in the warm water. It's great for swimming when the surf is calm.
We usually stay in Gulf Shores but the beaches of Orange Beach are also excellent and close to a lot of restaurants and shopping.
Check out this video from a Jimmy Buffett concert on the Gulf Shores beach:
Visit The Wharf
The Wharf is a shopping, dining, and entertainment venue located in Orange Beach. It's the central hub for the area where you can eat at the many fine seafood restaurants, bars, and enjoy the many entertainment options. You can ride the huge ferris wheel and take a ride on the Hummingbird zipline.
A few years ago we saw a Jimmy Buffett concert at The Wharf. In fact we've seen 15 Jimmy Buffett concerts around the country but had never seen him in Alabama. The Amphitheater at The Wharf holds just under 10,000 and hosts many big time concerts.
What's the Weather Like In Gulf Shores?
In Gulf Shores, the summers are long, hot, and oppressive; the winters are cool and windy; and it is wet and partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 44°F to 89°F and is rarely below 30°F or above 94°F.
Based on the tourism score, the best times of year to visit Gulf Shores for warm-weather activities are from early April to late May and from late September to late October.
Take a Trip To Fairhope
Fairhope is about a 50 minute drive from Gulf Shores and it is well worth the trip. For all you shoppers out there, downtown Fairhope is home to many boutique clothing shops and art galleries so you can bring something home that is uniquely Fairhope.
In 2016, Fairhope was named the best small town in the South by Southern Living magazine.
When you get hungry, there are a few spots that we have had excellent meals at. Panini Pete's is located in the French Quarter of downtown Fairhope as was recently named the Best Sandwich Shop in Alabama. The owner Pete Blohme makes awesome panini's and make sure you try the Beignets which are the best outside of new Orleans.
Pete's other restaurant is called Sunset Pointe and is located at the Fly Creek Marina. Grab a seat on the patio, order a drink, and watch the beautiful sunset. The menu features fresh seafood dishes that are well worth the visit.
Stop In At The B & B Pecan Company
On our way to Fairhope you pass right by the B & B Pecan Company. Founded in 1956, this family run business features some of the best pecan gifts, pralines, turtles and other tasty treats. You can sample some of the many varieties of pecans and I soon discovered that I really didn't know much about the world of pecans. A real southern treat.
Great Places To Eat In Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
One of our favorite places to eat in Orange Beach is Cosmos. The menu features great seafood, crab cake sandwich, muffaletta, and my favorite - duck & andouille sausage gumbo.
The funky, eclectic vibe mixed with a fun atmosphere, outdoor dining, and great food never disappoints when we visit. Definitely a relaxed place place for two or you can take the whole family.
The Hangout is one of the most popular restaurants in Gulf Shores. Located on Beach Blvd., Gulf Shores, The Hangout is the perfect spot to spend a few hours having dinner, enjoy a few cold ones, and enjoy the beautiful waterfront view.
The Hangout is all about fun for the entire family. It's also home to the Hangout Music Festival in May that draws up to 50,000 people during the 3 day event. Bands that have performed at Hangout Fest include Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, OutKast, The Killers, Dave Matthews Band, Twenty One Pilots, Kings of Leon, Queens of the Stone Age, Florence and the Machine, The Black Keys, Widespread Panic, Paramore, and Ellie Goulding.
One of our favorite places to dine in Orange Beach is The Gulf. All their food is excellent and the burgers and fish tacos are to die for. Located right on the water, it's a fun, relaxed place to have a great meal and watch the boats come into Perdido Key.
The Gulf is made up of shipping containers that includes recycled, reclaimed and salvaged building materials. Definitely a unique look against the palm trees and water.
I can't wait for our next visit and just hang out with my feet in the sand and enjoy some of the best food around.
Acme Oyster House
Since 1910, the Acme Oyster House has been cooking up some of the freshest seafood in the south. The New Orleans based chain features shrimp, seafood gumbo, po-boys, crawfish, soft shell crab, and of course oysters. You can order the oysters raw, shooters, and charbroiled. We choose the charbroiled which is sometimes called oysters Rockefeller.
The oysters, shrimp po-boy, and fried shrimp were excellent. Make sure you order one of their many cold brews on tab to wash it all down.
I can't wait to come back and order the New Orleans medley which has a sampling of gumbo, jambalaya, red beans & rice and grilled smoked sausage.
This festive waterfront dining spot is local landmark in Gulf Shores. Owned by Jimmy Buffett's sister LuLu (Lucy Buffett), LuLu's features a fun, tropical vibe that has plenty to do for the entire family.
There is an outdoor sand area that has lots of toys for the kids to play in. It's very kid friendly where the kids can have fun while the parents are enjoying a Corona or two.
There is also an area in the back called the Bama Breeze where we got a drink while we waited for our table.
The Crazy Sista stage features live, nighty music bands from local bands. You can check out Jimmy Buffett playing on this stage below..
Where To Stay In Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL
There are many great places to stay in the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area. It all depends on what you're looking for. Do you want a quiet, cozy beach house or a condo with a few pools?
We usually stay at The Lighthouse right on Gulf Shores beach. The condos sleep from 2-8 people, have full kitchens, and large balconies. We can walk to the Hangout and other shops and restaurants.
There are MANY places to stay depending on what you're looking for. Here are a few places to start reviewing options for your stay in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach.
Meyer Vacation Rental has been in business over 50 years. We have booked through them a few times.
Gulf Shores Vacation Rental is another great source.
Booking.com has over 1,500 properties in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Planning a Trip to Gulf Shores
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