Splash in to summer on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama’s premier beach destinations, boast 32 miles of sugar-white sand beaches, pristine turquoise waters and a wonderful family-friendly environment. These destinations continue to see generations returning year after year; and with so much to see and do, it’s no wonder. From history-based adventures and fishing excursions to trampoline parks and dolphin cruises, there is something for everyone to enjoy on Alabama’s beaches this summer.
Summer is an exciting time for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. During this season, the destination boasts some of the largest events along the Gulf Coast. Kicking things off is Hangout Music Festival (May 19-21). Celebrating its seventh year on the beach, the festival continues to attract record-setting crowds. This year’s headliners are Mumford & Sons, Twenty-One Pilots, Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper. Also in the world of summer music is the C-Spire Summer Concert Series at The Wharf in Orange Beach. The series will feature Sturgill Simpson (May 6), Alabama (May 27), Brantley Gilbert (June 3) and Journey (July 6). The Wharf in Orange Beach also hosts the 2017 Blue Marlin Grand Championship (July 12-16), the big finale for the deep sea tournament season. Dubbed the “Greatest Show in Sports Fishing,” this event attracts thousands of spectators to the weigh-in and awards ceremony.
Along with the beautiful beaches and fun events, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have a ton of family-friendly activities and attractions. For those animal lovers in the group, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is the perfect spot. Offering close-up views of over 500 exotic animals, the “Little Zoo That Could” has become one of the most popular attractions in the destination. The zoo even offers lemur, sloth, kangaroo and reptile encounters that make for unforgettable experiences and funny photo ops. The destination is also booming with history. From the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum and the Gulf Shores Museum to Fort Morgan Historic Site, the history buffs in the group won’t be able to get enough.
Then, for those seeking a little more adventure, Waterville USA is a great place to catch a thrill. This water/amusement park has everything from roller coasters and arcade rooms to huge water slides and wave pools. The Factory in Gulf Shores is another place for adventure. Fairly new to the destination, the Factory houses more than 12,000 square feet of connected trampolines, foam pits, an obstacle course and much more.
Another main attraction on Alabama’s beaches is the fresh Gulf seafood served at nearly every dining location. Most locations also serve locally-produced veggies, fruits, cheeses and meats. Guests have many restaurant options to choose from including anything from fine dining to “mom and pop” diners. From waterfront dining and open-air floor plans to gift shops and children’s play areas, there is a perfect dining option for guests of all ages and groups of all sizes. And, during the summer, many locations host live entertainment almost every night. For those who enjoy fishing, some area restaurants offer a program called hook ‘n’ cook which allows guests to bring in their catch to be cooked by a local chef and made into a dish they will be bragging about for years to come.
The accommodation options in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the icing on the cake for a wonderful summer vacation with the family. There are more than 17,000 units available for rent in the destination and some beach houses that can fit 30-40 people. The area has a variety of options including nationally-known chain hotels, resort style condominiums, colorful beach houses and RV and camping locations. Many of these accommodations offer amenities such as indoor and outdoor pools, fitness facilities, spas and play areas for children.