Gulf State Park
Does your family enjoy hiking, biking, fishing and nature? Spend a day at Gulf State Park and you’ll hear your children ooh and aah when they spot an alligator basking in the sun in a freshwater marsh, glimpsing a bobcat on the Twin Bridges Trail, or spying a white-tailed deer on Gulf Oak Ridge among the park’s 6,000 acres of pristine coastline and wildlife refuge. While there, check out the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail that includes more than 27 miles of paved, winding scenic paths.
Is your dream to catch “the big one?” Then the Alabama Gulf Coast is the place because the state park is a fisherman’s dream-come-true. It has more than 900 acres of scenic freshwater lakes on one side, and the beautiful Gulf of Mexico on the opposite side. You don’t even have to pack your lucky fishing pole because rod and reel rentals are available at the pier. The winter and early spring bring perfect fishing weather. When the water temperature drops, you will find plenty of amberjack, mullet, flounder, grouper and Spanish mackerel. Once you’ve caught the humongous fish, relax and have it cooked at more than two dozen restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
You’ll love visiting the nature center where you’ll see live animal displays including owls, rabbits, snakes and more which are native to the region. While there, check out the nature center’s guided nature walks, beach walks, pier walks as well as other educational programs.
Nature Lover’s Escape
The Alabama Gulf Coast is a nature lover’s paradise, whether you enjoy paddling your way through serene waters on a kayak or paddleboard or watching dolphins play in the waves.
If your family enjoys camping in paradise, then discover one of the many campgrounds in the area. Park your RV or setup your tent, and start enjoying the sugar-white sand beaches almost immediately. Most campgrounds offer full-hookup campsites with paved pads that are large enough for RVs with pullouts, and some have air-conditioned bathhouses, camp stores, laundry facilities, swimming pools, tennis/pickle ball courts, horseshoes and volleyball courts to make your stay more enjoyable.
Learn more about the habitats of coastal Alabama at The Estuarium on Dauphin Island, the fourth largest estuary system in the United States. It is an exciting, educational aquarium that focuses on the Mobile Tensaw River Delta, Mobile Bay, the Barrier Islands and the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Your family will enjoy the educational and informative exhibit hall, the “oh-so-cool” sting ray touch pool and the scenic, living marsh boardwalk. The Estuarium has 31 aquariums totaling over 30,000 gallons with more than 100 species of plants and animals on display.
Lip Smacking, Finger Licking Good Food
The variety of tastes, styles and flavors of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach’s award-winning restaurants is sure to please palettes. All you will hear is a lot of lip smacking, finger licking and “Mmm, mmm, this is good.” Most of the restaurants are kid-friendly, and some offer playgrounds and other activities.