With 32 miles of sugar-white sand and pristine turquoise waters, the beaches along the Alabama Gulf Coast set the scene for vacation memories that last a lifetime. The cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are located on what locals refer to as Pleasure Island. On this island, life seems to slow down, and worries melt away.
Alabama’s family-friendly beaches have seen generations return year after year. From exciting activities and events to delectable culinary options, it’s no wonder families continue to travel back to this area for their yearly vacations.
During the spring, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are booming with a multitude of unique festivals and events. On April 16 the Waterway Village Zydeco and Crawfish Festival is returning to Gulf Shores for its second year. Here guests enjoy a day of spicy, lip-smacking crawfish along with the best Zydeco bands from around the South, local and regional art vendors and many activities for children.
The Hangout Music Festival on May 20-22 is celebrating its sixth year in Gulf Shores. The three-day music festival features many genres of music including rock, indie, hip hop and electronic dance music. Legends such as Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty, The Killers and many others have hit the stage at the Hangout Music Festival. The Bama Coast Cruise on April 28-30 will be held at The Wharf Resort and Marina in Orange Beach. Come and see the fine-looking cars on display, enjoy a day of shopping and eat at one of The Wharf’s several delicious restaurants.
Bama Coast Cruise is a marvelous show, set against the backdrop of the Inter-Coastal Waterway and the Canal Bridge. The highlight of Bama Coast Cruise is Saturday’s annual Parade Cruise. Stretching out over 14 miles, the parade cruise runs from The Wharf, down the scenic beach highway and back. This allows beach goers to enjoy the parade, and our participants are able to enjoy the sugar white beaches of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. As the parade approaches, many cars along the parade route will pull off the road to wait and watch the parade ride by.
Aside from the area’s beautiful beaches and variety of festivities, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have so much more to offer their visitors. From zip lines and water parks to golf courses and fishing charters, there are entertainment choices and activities for everyone. For the adventure seekers, there are multiple scuba diving and snorkeling spots, parasailing and fly boarding opportunities and miles of hiking trails. Nature lovers can experience trails that take them through the vast ecosystems and wildlife in the area. Several of the stops along the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail are in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. And for those looking to relax, the area offers spa locations, yoga classes and shopping options at outlet malls, local boutiques and souvenir shops.
Fishing is also a popular activity on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Orange Beach houses one of the largest charter fleets in the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors can choose from deep-sea fishing in the Gulf to inshore adventures on the back bay. These trips are great ways for families to experience the ever-growing fishing industry in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
The king of culinary on the Alabama Gulf Coast is fresh Gulf seafood. The majority of restaurants located on and near the beaches serve local seafood and local produce. Many offer one-of-a-kind dining experiences making them destinations on their own. From waterfront dining and open-air floor plans to live entertainment and children’s play areas, there is something for everyone to enjoy when dining on the Alabama Gulf Coast. For those who fish, some restaurants offer a program called “hook ‘n’ cook” where guests can bring in their catch to be cooked by a local chef.
A lot of restaurants and chefs in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have begun to garner national attention for their culinary masterpieces and unique dishes. Many of their culinary delights have been featured in the Alabama Department of Tourism’s list of “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.” And this year, The Wharf in Orange Beach was chosen as the site for the World Food Championships held Nov. 8-15, which features approximately 400 chefs from across the world.
Beach front condos, national hotel chains, colorful beach houses and full service resorts: Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer a wide selection of accommodations to fit families of all sizes. Many accommodations have indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centers, spas, tennis courts, activities for children, seasonal events and much more for guests to enjoy.