When you’re planning a visit to Gulf Shores, Alabama, it’s a good idea to take a few moments to plan out your itinerary. Whether you’re there on business or for pleasure, there is so much to see and do that you’ll want to schedule a few fun and exciting things in advance. If this is your first time visiting, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities you’ll find once you arrive. We’ve put together a guide to give you some pointers on the best places to go, whether you’re there for the week or you just have a few days to spend. Choose from our top ten things to do in Gulf Shores for the time of your life.
1. Go to Alligator Alley
Alligator Alley is one of the top attractions in the area and it’s a must-see, even if your time is limited. It’s a total experience that leads you on a walk through the baby alligator area. The alligators are kept in age groups together so you get to see them from the cute tiny baby stage through the large and more ferocious looking adults. Alligator Alley even provides food dispensers so if you have spare change in your pocket, you can feed them. The walk takes you into the swamp where visitors do a walk through on an elevated boardwalk for an amazing view of the swamp. At first, you might not think there are any alligators there because they know how to blend in so well, but within a few moments, you’ll be thrilled to see that they are actually all over the place. You’ll even be given the opportunity to hold a baby alligator if you like.
2. Visit The Wharf
The Wharf in Gulf shores guarantees a good time day or night. There are dolphin cruises available for several runs throughout the entire day. The boats take you out and circle the dolphin rich waters where you will see the dolphins playing in their natural habitat. If you’re a big fan of dolphins, this is an excursion that will thrill you. While on the Wharf, there’s always something going on so there will be tons of activities to choose from including shops and great places to eat. It’s a great place to spend the afternoon.
3. Go to Oak Hollow Farm
Oak Hollow Farm is another popular place for first-time visitors to Gulf Shores. They offer guided horseback riding treks and the animals are gentle and ideal for beginning riders of all ages. This is a great experience for couples, singles or for the entire family. The guides are there to lead you around and point out interesting things happening on the farm and you’re welcome to bring a picnic lunch along, go for a ride and even go on a hayride that departs from the stable. They supply carrots if you want to feed the horses after your ride.
4. Jet Ski at Orange Beach Marina
Orange Beach Marina is a great place to jet ski. Imaging having the fun of riding a jet ski on the water and riding out where the dolphins are playing. You get two kinds of entertainment in one trip. You may want to check on this activity in advance to ensure that you reserve your jet ski rentals to make sure that they’re not all taken when you arrive.
5. Try out Hummingbird Ziplines
If you have an adventurous side, something new and exhilarating to try is ziplining and Hummingbird Ziplines is an excellent outfit to go with. The courses offer seven towers with six zip lines that give you almost a mile worth of airborne travel. The ziplines go up to a maximum height of 90 feet from the ground and the courses takes you over water and land with some spectacular aerial views and the feeling of flying like a bird in the air. It’s an unforgettable experience, but we’ll warn you that the activity can become an addiction.
6. Visit Fairhope
When you’re already in Gulf Shores, it’s just a small trip north to arrive in Fairhope, Alabama. This is a unique town that everyone raves about because of their unique attractions. There’s a really cool park you can visit and there is a local museum and a castle that people really live in. If you’re there during the blueberry picking festival you’ll really be in for a treat. They offer live music and food trucks that supply a variety of the local fare that will tickle your taste buds.
7. Go Parasailing at the Orange Beach Marina
If you’re really into adventure, schedule a parasailing excursion offered at Orange Beach Marina. If you’ve never done this before, it’s okay because the guides are there to answer all your questions, instruct you on how to proceed and make sure that you’re strapped in safe for your journey into the air. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a bird, this is as close as you can get.
8. Eat at LuLu’s
One of the most commonly asked questions is where to eat in Gulf Shores. The answer is likely to be the same from any local that you ask. It’s got to be LuLu’s. The restaurant is family friendly with a laid-back atmosphere that welcomes kids with a large sand area to play, a ropes courses and an arcade. There’s a bar for the parents to keep back and take a break after the meal while the kids. play. The food is rated as excellent. The menu offers a large selection of appetizers, beverages for kids and adults and they also offer specialty beers on the menu.
9. Hike the Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trail
If you’re a hiker or backpacker, then you’ll be in heaven at the Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trail. The trail is located within the Gulf State Park and offers hikers paved multi-use trails that network for over fifteen miles through natural environments. You’ll see all kinds of wildlife on your journey. About midway through your hike, you’ll find a nature center with educational components including a butterfly garden and much more.
10. Visit The Hangout
Everyone who is visiting Gulf Shores, Alabama should pay a visit to the toy wall at the Hangout. This unique restaurant offers some great seafood and other menu items and it’s an amazing place where kids get to climb in and out of tunnels, play in the sand and stare in awe at the inside of the walls that are totally lined with toys. It’s like a toy museum for kids, but there’s so much more. They offer a variety of activities for adults and kids so it’s much more than a restaurant.