4th of July in Gulf Shores: How to Celebrate (2024)

4th of July in Gulf Shores: How to Celebrate (2024)

Sun-soaked days, sparkling water, and patriotic fireworks – Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Harris Vacations promise an unforgettable 4th of July celebration! Whether you’re a family looking for the ultimate beach vacation or a couple seeking a romantic beachfront condo, this vibrant coastal town offers something for everyone.

Dive into our guide and discover the best ways to celebrate Independence Day in Gulf Shores. From sizzling festivities with live music and dancing at The Wharf to the awe-inspiring fireworks displays over the Gulf, we’ll unveil all the exciting events and activities that await you.

So pack your beach essentials, don your red, white, and blue, and get ready to create lasting memories on the Alabama coast this 4th of July!

July 4th In Gulf Shores 2024 Events Schedule

Photo Credit: Yuganov Konstantin

The July 4th celebrations in Gulf Shores, AL, begin on July 4th and extend throughout the town. From Perdido Key to East Gulf Shores Beach to The Wharf at Orange Beach, there will be activities, vendors, and live music from July 4th to July 6th, 2024.

Thursday, July 4th, 2024

  • 7:00 AM to noon: The Gulf State Park Pier, 20800 E Beach Blvd, will close to the public for firework setup.
  • 7:00 AM: The Annual Shark Run at The Wharf
  • 5:00 PM: Independence Day Street Party at The Wharf.
  • 8:30 PM: The Fire Marshal will close the pier and on-site restaurant.
  • 9:00 PM: The fireworks shows begin around town.

Friday, July 5th

  • 6:00 AM:  The Gulf State Park Pier reopens to the public.

Saturday, July 6th

Where To Watch Fireworks in Gulf Shores

Flora-Bama

  • Address: 17401 Perdido Key Dr, Pensacola, FL

After a day of festivities, stick around for the fireworks display at 9:00 PM

The Wharf In Orange Beach

  • Address: 23101 Canal Rd, Orange Beach, AL

The Wharf’s SPECTRA light show will run for 11 minutes and will begin at 8:30, 9:00, and 9:30.

Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier

  • Address: 20800 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL

You can watch the city’s fireworks display from the beaches of Gulf State Park and the eastern area of the Gulf Shores Public Beach ideal locations to watch the city’s stunning fireworks display.

How To Enjoy Gulf Shores & Orange Beach July 4th Festivities

Photo Credit: Tint Media

In July, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach transform into a haven for summer fun, offering a perfect blend of sizzling weather, vibrant celebrations, and endless beach adventures.

Bask in glorious sunshine and play in the Gulf of Mexico with inviting waters with temps around 84°F. While the beach takes center stage, there’s even more to enjoy. Go on a thrilling jet ski adventure, explore the underwater world through snorkeling, or embark on a fishing expedition.

As for Fourth of July festivities, immerse yourself in the electrifying atmosphere of 4th of July celebrations. The Wharf offers a full evening of live music, kids’ activities, and delicious food options, culminating with their signature SPECTRA light show. Flora-Bama throws a legendary party with live music, barbecue, and a festive atmosphere right on the beach.

Check Out the City Of Gulf Shores Independence Day Celebrations

The City of Gulf Shores’ Independence Day Celebration offers a classic way to celebrate the 4th of July. It’s a great option for families and anyone who wants to enjoy a beautiful fireworks display over the Gulf Coast waters.

Expect a show full of colorful bursts and booming finales. The show starts at 9:00 PM and is launched from the Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier. The pier will be closed to the public for most of the day to prepare for the fireworks.

A few things to note:

  • Discharging your own fireworks within the park or the corporate limits of the City of Gulf Shores is prohibited.
  • Remember that finding parking near the beach on the 4th of July can be challenging. Consider arriving early or using public transportation if available. Bring beach chairs, blankets, or a picnic basket to enjoy the festivities.

Head to Flora-Bama

Photo Credit: Leeroy Todd

Flora-Bama’s Fourth of July celebration is legendary on the Alabama Gulf Coast. You can expect a full day of fun! The party kicks off early and lasts all day so you can soak up the beach vibes and celebrate America’s birthday.

Flora-Bama is known for its live music scene, and its Fourth of July party is no exception. There will be a lineup of bands playing throughout the day and into the night. And what’s a summer celebration without delicious food? Flora-Bama will likely have a barbecue on-site, offering classic American fare like burgers, hot dogs, and ribs to fuel your fun.

Flora-Bama also hosts a “Freedom Run.” This patriotic run will feature two courses: The 4-Mile Run/Walk Course or the 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk!

The highlight of the night is undoubtedly the fireworks display. Find a spot on the beach and enjoy the fireworks lighting up the sky.

Join the Street Party at the The Wharf In Orange Beach

The Wharf in Orange Beach throws its annual Independence Day Street Party and Shark Run. Expect the Shark Run to begin in the morning. The Independence Day Street Party usually kicks off at 5:00 PM, offering plenty of time for families to enjoy the festivities before dark. The Wharf hosts face painting, bounce houses, and other fun games to keep the kiddos entertained. There will be live music throughout the evening, and restaurants at The Wharf will be open. Food trucks will also be on-site.

The highlight of the evening is the spectacular fireworks display. that typically happens around dusk. With its location on the water, The Wharf offers a great vantage point to enjoy the fireworks display.

After the fireworks conclude, The Wharf presents its signature SPECTRA light show. This dazzling display uses colorful lights synchronized to music, creating a magical conclusion to the evening.

Parking at The Wharf can fill up quickly on holidays. Arrive early or consider using public transportation if available.

What to Know Before You Go

Weather In Gulf Shores In July

The 4th of July in Gulf Shores is one of the best times to visit coastal Alabama as it falls right in the heart of summer, with long sunny days perfect for beachside celebrations, so get ready for some sizzling fun! Expect average highs around 89°F and lows around 76°F.

What To Pack

Photo Credit: Africa Studio

With sunshine almost guaranteed and the Gulf waters at their warmest, July is a prime time to hit the beach in Gulf Shores.

What should you pack for your summer vacation? Pack your swimsuit and sunscreen, and get ready for a splash! Opt for loose-fitting, comfortable clothing from breathable cotton or linen fabrics. Be sure to protect yourself from the strong summer sun by packing broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Comfortable shoes will be essential for walking around town and checking out all that the Fourth of July holiday has to offer.

While rain showers are rare, you might experience a pop-up. Pack a light rain jacket for unexpected showers, so they don’t dampen your 4th of July fun.

Plan Your Gulf Shores 4th of July Getaway

As the fireworks fade and the celebrations come to an end, you’ll take away memories of the warmth of the Alabama sun on your skin, the salty tang of the ocean air, and the joy of celebrating America’s birthday in a truly special place.

So, don’t miss out—book your Gulf Shores vacation today and get ready to experience the magic of a 4th of July on the Alabama coast!

15 Best Things to Do in Orange Beach, AL

A place for strolling and taking in the gorgeous sights of the beach and the ocean alongside a number of fun-filled things to see and do, Orange Beach deserves to be on every vacationer’s Gulf Shores itinerary.

If you’re looking for a beach getaway to Alabama’s coastline, Orange Beach is the place to be.

Read on below to learn more about things to do in Orange Beach, AL so you can plan your dream getaway.

1. Spend a Day Exploring The Wharf

The Wharf in Orange Beach

No trip to Orange Beach is complete without stopping at The Wharf. Here, you’ll find a variety of attractions housed in one single locale. The Wharf Ferris Wheels is one of the largest of its kind in the Southeast U.S., and the Gulf of Mexico views from the top are spectacular. The enormous outdoor concert venue known as The Wharf Amphitheater is the best place in the city to see live music, and a bevy of stores and restaurants will satisfy your appetite for both shopping and high-quality cuisine.

2. Have Fun at Orange Beach Waterfront Park

Orange Beach Waterfront Park is the perfect place for sightseeing and walking around in the scenic loveliness of Orange Beach. Nestled against Wolf Bay, this park has picnic areas with grills, paved walking paths, a fishing pier, and a lit park for children.

3. Have Some Family Fun at Adventure Island

This Gulf Coast institution has been open for almost 30 years and is packed full of fun for the whole family. Zip around on the go-karts, go to battle at laser tag, or test your skills on the mini golf course. Bumper boats and a teacup ride are ideal mini thrills for little visitors, and the huge range of arcade games will keep older kids entertained for hours.

4. Learn to Sail

Photo Credit: shutterstock.com/Giovanni Rinaldi

If watersports are your thing, head to the Wind and Water Learning Center to improve your sailing skills. You’ll learn to recover if you capsize, how to rig, and how to notice weather and wind directions. If you already know what you’re doing, boat rentals are available here, too.

5. Learn About Orange Beach’s History

Orange Beach History Museum is located in a century-old schoolhouse and is the best place in Orange Beach to learn about the region’s Native American and fishing history. With stories from local families and collectibles that have been donated over the years, you’ll get an in-depth look at what life was like for Alabama’s past residents.

6. Stroll Along the Perdido Boardwalk

Hop over the state border to Florida to discover the 247-acre Perdido State Park. The beachfront boardwalk makes this area of natural beauty accessible to all visitors while protecting the delicate ecosystems underneath. Once you’ve finished strolling, enjoy a relaxing hangout on the beach to soak up some sun or enjoy an al fresco lunch in the covered picnic area.

7. Learn a Skill at Coastal Arts Center

If you and your family appreciate handmade artisan crafts and artwork, you might want to check out the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach. Here you can choose to create your own masterpiece or pick out a pre-made beauty from the gallery, gift shop, clay studio, or hot glass shop. This makes a great rainy-day activity.

8. Take Your Furry Friend to Orange Beach Dog Park

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Volodymyr Burdiak

For those of you traveling with four-legged companions, Orange Beach Dog Park is a wonderful place to let them run free with dogs of their own size (as there are separate sections for small and large dogs) under the shade of towering trees. Water and benches are also provided.

9. Cruise the Alabama Coastal Connection Scenic Byway

You can check out the magnificent natural setting of Orange Beach on the Alabama Coastal Connection Scenic Byway. This incredible drive leads to white-sand beaches, quaint downtown areas, historic sites, wildlife preserves, and mouthwatering seafood restaurants along the way.

10. Explore Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

With 26 trails to explore among nine ecosystems, this is an unbeatable spot for lovers of outdoor activities. Historically, these trails were used by the area’s Indigenous peoples and then by explorers and settlers. These days, visitors here can enjoy biking, hiking, jogging, and rock climbing here.

11. Have a Beach Day

Photo Credit: shutterstock.com/Sherry252

Alabama beaches are famous for their long stretches of white sand and calm waters, and many of the best beaches in the USA are in or near Orange Beach.

Gulf Shores is one of our favorite public beaches — this wide expanse of unspoiled sand is an ideal spot for family days out. Cotton Bayou is great if you’d like to try your hand at kayaking and paddleboarding, and there are some great equipment rental options to choose from.

12. Meet Cute Critters at Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

This charming family-friendly attraction has been voted the number-one zoo in Alabama and is home to more than 199 species including eight endangered species. Enjoy close encounters with cute creatures including sloths, kangaroos, and lemurs, then head to the picnic area to refuel.

13. Take a Day Trip to Mobile

Just an hour northeast of Orange Beach is the vibrant city of Mobile. There’s so much to do here, making it the perfect day trip for those who want to see a little more of Alabama.

Discover WWII history at the USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park, explore the city’s famous gastronomic scene, or take a delta wildlife kayak tour. There are plenty of free things to do in the city, too, including exploring Mobile Bay and the Mobile Carnival Museum.

14. Feast on Seafood

Photo Credit: shutterstock.com/vsl

No beach vacation is complete without a seafood feast, and Tacky Jack’s is a great option. This casual coastal eatery is open all day and serves scrumptious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to its army of loyal patrons. Seafood is as fresh as it comes — don’t miss the ‘Tacky Shrimp’ prepared with a house-made special spice mixture. For those who don’t eat seafood, there’s a great variety of meat and vegetarian dishes, too.

15. Take to the Water

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing voyage or an adrenaline rush, there are plenty of ways to discover the beauty that lies just off the Gulf Coast. Here are some of our favorite ways to see the sea:

  • Fishing charter – choose from inshore and deep sea fishing to see if you can catch your own supper
  • Sunset cruise – watch the sun setting over the glistening water on a romantic sunset cruise
  • Sailing cruise – embark on a nautical adventure and explore the coast when you book a sailing cruise
  • Parasailing – take to the sea — and then the skies — for unbeatable views of Orange Beach and beyond
  • Dolphin cruise – watch the most playful creatures in the ocean frolic as you sail off the Alabama coast

What Will You Do First at Orange Beach?

There’s so much to do in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama that you’ll need at least a few days here to see the highlights! Ensure a comfortable stay in the best locations during your getaway when you book a vacation house or condo with Harris Vacation Rentals.

Photo By Kevin Stephenson from Florence, AL, USA – Sunrise – Front, CC BY 2.0

1st Timer’s Guide to Fort Morgan State Historic Site

When you book a Gulf Shores vacation, sun, sand, and surf are to be expected. But what else can you add to your visit? If you extend your family-friendly adventure down Alabama’s coast, you’ll find a historical gem just waiting to be explored: Fort Morgan State Historic Site.

If you want to fill your vacation with a blend of history, natural beauty, and adventure, this iconic landmark is the spot for you. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique excursion during your getaway at the Gulf of Mexico, this star-shaped landmark promises a day of adventure as you explore the well-maintained barracks, robust museum, and breathtaking natural surroundings.

About Fort Morgan State Historic Site

Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators

Fort Morgan, a historic property of the Alabama Historical Commission, stands as a testament to Alabama’s eventful past, involving many historical conflicts throughout the years, starting in the early 19th century.

Constructed between 1819 and 1834, the historic fort played a strategic role in no less than four wars, perhaps most notably the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Once the formidable guard of Mobile Bay, Fort Morgan now stands as a well-preserved site that allows visitors to glimpse into Alabama’s history.

You can make this a half or full-day trip depending on whether you want to just browse the museum and informative portions or extend your visit to the surrounding nature. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop on your way out!

Some intriguing facts about the fort:

  • Fort Morgan contains more than 40 million bricks, most of which are a testament to the highly skilled, enslaved African-American masons who built it.
  • Fort Morgan was a pivotal player in the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864.
  • The entirety of the Fort Morgan site is 479 acres–which gives you plenty of space to explore the surrounding nature!
  • From 1900 to 1923, Fort Morgan was Alabama’s largest permanent military post. Many consider it one of the best examples of military architecture in recent history.
  • The U.S. Army occupied Fort Morgan for more than two years during World War II.

Getting There

Fort Morgan is only a brief 30-minute drive from Gulf Shores, AL. With a quick drive, you can return to your accommodation in time to catch the sunset!

Why Include Fort Morgan on Your Gulf Shores Trip?

A trip to Fort Morgan, just south on the map from Gulf State Park, isn’t just about exploring a historic site; it’s about enriching your whole experience. It’s a chance to connect with the nation’s history, immerse yourself in nature, and create lasting memories with loved ones. Because it is so close to Gulf Shores, it’s also quite an easy fit for any Gulf Shores vacation itinerary.

What to Do at Fort Morgan State Historic Site

Photo Credit: Steven Frame

As soon as you arrive, you might have to stretch your neck back to take in the imposing walls of the fort, which are drenched in history. From your first step inside, you’re transported back in time. As you wander through the labyrinthine corridors and expansive ground, it’s easy to imagine them echoing with the footsteps of soldiers and the sounds of battle.

Interactive Experiences

While you can do a self guided tour through Fort Morgan to get the most out of your visit, take advantage of their guided tours. Those passionate about the past at the museum have put together an active living history program.

For those excited about history, reach out to one of the enthusiastic tour guides so that you can get a deeper understanding of the fort’s artifacts and how it functioned for peak strategy in its heydey. Learn about facts and stories as you tour the halls of this national historic landmark! If you prefer to be more independent, you can pick up a self-guided tour brochure either in person at the fort or online.

Commemorative Reenactment

If your Gulf Shores vacation coincides with early August, definitely look into specific dates of the Battle of Mobile Bay reenactment! Fort Morgan played a key role in this pivotal Civil War Battle, and the community came together to display a piece of living history. This naval clash gave us one of history’s most famous lines as the Union Admiral David Farragut proclaimed, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”. Visitors can watch classic drills–and maybe even a skirmish!

Military Museum

This museum provides an in-depth insight into American military history from 1814 to 1945. Spend your afternoon delving into the collection of letters, uniforms, photographs, and an extensive array of weapons. A visit to the Fort Morgan museum provides insight into combat life right in the place where it took place!

Enjoy the Surrounding Nature

Photo Credit: trac3y via Flickr CC2.0

It may be hard to tear yourself away from the historical aspect of Fort Morgan, but it would be a shame not to explore the surrounding nature as well. Fort Morgan may have been placed on Mobile Point for strategic reasons during wartime, but nowadays, this location makes it perfect for enjoying the spoils of nature.

If there are any nature enthusiasts in your party, there are many acres to explore the surrounding wilderness, home to diverse flora and fauna in this coastal haven. The expansive grounds are a perfect place for picnicking, fishing, beachcombing, utilizing the boat launch, or just soaking up some sun. It can even be especially exciting for birdwatchers as the fort is listed as one of the 100 globally important bird areas by the American Bird Conservancy. Bring your binoculars! Whatever you choose, you’ll have the breathtaking backdrop of the Gulf Vistas behind you.

There’s also a chance to get out on the water! If you have extra time, take the ferry across Pelican Bay to Dauphin Island. Known as the sunset capital of Alabama, this small barrier island is famous for its long stretches of white sand beaches.

More Historic Sites to Enrich Your Visit to Gulf Shores

Photo Credit: Art Planet by EY

If you can’t get enough of Gulf Shores’s storied history, there are other sites within reach! Explore nearby surroundings to see:

Explore History and Stay in Gulf Shores

If you can pull yourself away from the beach during your Gulf Shores vacation, Fort Morgan is definitely one of the most convenient and interesting historic landmarks to visit.

Book your beach stay with Harris Vacations today!

Deep Sea Fishing in Gulf Shores: What to Know

Many of us have wet a line or two on the shores of a neighborhood pond or a mountain stream, but there is a world of adventure to be had wrangling the ocean-borne monsters in the Gulf of Mexico! Whether it’s your first time or you are a seasoned angler, deep-sea fishing is sure to be the experience of a lifetime!

Take a break from soaking up the sun beachside and admiring those oceanfront views from the balcony of your dream beach house rental because it’s time to get out on the water!

So, what are you waiting for? The ocean awaits!

Fishing Charters

With the Gulf of Mexico right at your fingertips, Gulf Shores, Alabama is loaded with fishermen ready to share their expertise! These charters spend their days out on the water with like-minded people breathing in the ocean air and catching fish by the boatload. Safe to say, they are having an amazing time, and they will ensure you do too!

1. Island Marine Charters

Photo Credit: Andy Campbell

Head out with Capt. Joe on a charter boat to some of his favorite spots, both nearshore and out at sea! Offering deep sea fishing trips and inshore excursions, you can spend a few hours getting your line wet or dive right in with a day trip adventure.

This deep-sea fishing charter offers everything you need, from a fishing license to a rod, and only asks that you bring a cooler if you plan on taking your catch home. Which you should! Feed the whole family with a speckled trout or red snapper after a day of working up your appetite on the water. Island Marine Charters will even clean the fish for you before you head home!

Using only the best equipment, you will feel like you are floating on air as you sit atop the 29′ fully customized hybrid bay boat reeling in trout on your Penn & Shimano saltwater class rod.

A true family adventure, you will feel safe and secure with Capt. Joe! Bring yourself and up to three other people along for the journey. More bodies mean more fish to catch!

2. Distraction Deep Sea Fishing Charters

Photo Credit: Sayur Snyder

Established back in 2002, Distraction Deep Sea Fishing Charters was built on family fishing. This kid-friendly charter made it their mission to welcome families on their deep-sea adventures and are now considered one of the friendliest charters in all of Alabama!

Distraction has got you covered whether you are looking for trolling, sport fishing, light tackle fishing, or an authentic deep sea fishing experience! Offering anything from an hour trip to a full day adventure, you are sure to have the Gulf Shores fishing experience of a lifetime.

This 62’ Hatteras charter boat might have been around for a while but it’s incredibly maintained. Enjoy the ride on this gem of a boat, and rest easy knowing that there is a cabin below for when nature calls. The Hatteras can also hold up to six people making it a great choice for bigger families or a group of friends. Plus, every tour is completely private, so whether you are a group of 1 or 6, the boat is yours!

A jokester at heart, you will find yourself loving cheesy dad jokes by the time Captain Troy Frady gets you safely back to shore. Catching your first fish will just be icing on the cake at the end of the day!

3. Orange Beach Fishing Charters

With deep sea fishing excursions ranging from a few hours to four days, Orange Beach Fishing Charters means business! A cooperative of experienced local fishermen run this program, and each one has built their own private reef so you can enjoy a fishing experience like none other! You will get to go out and fish in deep waters that no one else knows about with a captain and deckhand who knows everything there is to know about the Gulf.

While adventures can last up to 4 days for the die-hard fisherman, half-day trips are the most popular excursion. Get an early start with a 6 AM launch, or sleep in and meet your captain by noon. You and up to 5 other people will have the iconic 41’ Hatteras all to yourself- cabin included!

Make sure to come prepared with ocean basics like sunscreen, appropriate attire, snacks, beverages, and a cooler. Let Orange Beach Fishing Charters handle the rest!

Fishing Seasons in Gulf Shores

Gulf shore fishing is renowned all year-round but if you are hoping to catch a specific type of fish, it’s important that you know your seasons. At the end of the day, Gulf Shores is considered a year-round fisherman’s paradise so you can’t ever go wrong.

Load up the kids on summer vacation or run away from the snow come wintertime, fish will be there no matter what! Just make sure you come prepared with sunscreen and layers. An unusual but necessary combination!

Red Snapper Season: October to March

Red snapper season is from October through March. This is a winter fish, and it is more likely to be caught in the early morning or evening. In other words, if you have a certain fish in mind, learn its habits!

Winter

If you don’t care too much about what type of fish you catch, you might want to look at some other factors when determining what fishing season is right for you, like the weather! Even though the Gulf Shores sees mild winter temperatures ranging from about 65 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be even cooler out on the water!

Summer

Summer temperatures can be as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit and tire out even the most excited of anglers. Spring and fall seem to be the sweet spot for fishing conditions, and the fish agree! These shoulder seasons bring in a variety of migratory fish searching for warm water temperatures and make catching new fish a breeze.

Types of Fish in Gulf Shores

It’s no hidden secret that Gulf Shores is home to some of the best fishing in the country and it’s because of the variety! Located right along the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, you will find a plethora of fish species here and plenty of ways to catch them. These are just a few of the fan-favorite species that await you in the water!

Red Snapper

Photo Credit: Fabien Monteil
  • High Season: October through March
  • Minimum Size Limit: 16 inches
  • Daily Bag Limit: 2 per person.

Greater Amberjack

Photo Credit: Peter Leahy
  • High Season: April to October
  • Minimum Size Limit: 34 inches
  • Daily Bag Limit: 1 per person.

Yellowfin Grouper

Photo Credit: Griffin Gillespie
  • High Season: January to August
  • Minimum Size Limit: 20 inches
  • Daily Bag Limit: 4 per person.

Spanish Mackerel

Photo Credit: BILD LLC
  • High Season: March to May
  • Minimum Size Limit: None
  • Daily Bag Limit: 15 per person.

Gray Triggerfish

Photo Credit: Vladimir Wrangel
  • High Season: March to May
  • Minimum Size Limit: 15 inches.
  • Daily Bag Limit: 1 per person.

Redfish (Red Drum)

Photo Credit: AdamFish
  • High Season: Year-round
  • Minimum Size Limit: 16 inches (Max 26 inches)
  • Daily Bag Limit: 3 per person (1 oversized allowed)

Yellowfin Tuna

Photo Credit: gdefilip
  • High Season: March to July
  • Minimum Size Limit: 27 inches.
  • Daily Bag Limit: 3 per person

Cobia (Ling)

Photo Credit: MR.Surat Matcha
  • High Season: March through April.
  • Minimum Size Limit: 36 inches.
  • Daily Bag Limit: 1 per person (Max 2 per vessel)

King Mackerel

Photo Credit: Bignai
  • High Season: April through November.
  • Minimum Size Limit: 24 inches.
  • Daily Bag Limit: 3 per person.

Flounder

Photo Credit: Picture Partners
  • High Season: March through November.
  • Minimum Size Limit: 14 inches.
  • Daily Bag Limit: 5 per person.

Speckled Trout

Photo Credit: Dexterthebest
  • High Season: Year-round
  • Minimum Size Limit: 15 inches (22 inches Max)
  • Daily Bag Limit: Six per person (1 oversized allowed)

Florida Pompano

Photo Credit: lzf
  • High Season: April through June
  • Minimum Size Limit: 12 inches.
  • Daily Bag Limit: 3 per person.

Sheepshead

Photo Credit: IrinaK
  • Season: December to February
  • Minimum Size Limit: 12 inches.
  • Daily Bag Limit: 10 per person.

Other Types of Fishing Experiences

With thousands of artificial reefs dotting the shorelines of Gulf Shores, there are plenty of fishing opportunities to be had nearshore. If deep sea fishing seems a bit too intense or you are just looking to get your line wet before committing to an all-day adventure, this oceanfront city has got you covered. Other options include:

  • inshore fishing
  • bottom fishing
  • trolling trips

Most deep-sea charters also offer these trips, so make sure to ask the charter of your choice what excursions they have available. Let the more passionate group members head out to the deep sea while the other members of your party enjoy a more relaxed experience beachside.

Gulf Shores Fishing Rules and Regulations

While an afternoon of deep-sea fishing sounds like all fun and games, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the Gulf Shores’ rules and regulations before heading out on the water.

If you are going out with a charter, chances are that they are going to give you the run down before getting started, but it’s always a good idea to come in with some background knowledge. Besides, you are going to be so excited to get out on the water that you might find it hard to absorb it all.

Fishing License

For starters, you absolutely must have a fishing license to go deep sea fishing in the Gulf Shores. Again, most charters will supply this for you, but you should always double check!

Size and Bag Limits

Since fishing is such a sought-after activity in this area, there are also limits on the size and bag limits. This means you can’t keep a fish too small, and you can’t keep too many fish altogether. This ensures a healthy fish population and future fun for all!

Learn more about fish species regulations at the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Stay and Enjoy a Deep Sea Adventure in Gulf Shores

Whether you call it offshore fishing, deep sea fishing, or reef fishing, getting far out on the water will offer you the best fishing experience on Alabama’s Gulf Coast!

Prepare to add angling to your list of hobbies because once you experience life on the water, it’s hard to return back to land. Having a cozy beachfront house to come back home to definitely helps!

9 Best Things to Do in Gulf Shores, AL

Tired of dreaming of white sand beaches and gentle waves? Soothe your soul in real life with a trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama. That turquoise water isn’t going to splash itself.

Explore everything the city has to offer, from Alabama beaches to sprawling forests. Swim in the ocean, fish in the nearby Lake Shelby, and indulge in Gulf Shores’ many entertainment options.

But how do you navigate it all, and where do you stay? That’s where Harris Vacations come in. We are delighted to be your go-to guide for your Gulf Shores getaway, welcoming you to our luxurious and accommodating properties. 

But how will you fill your Gulf Shore beach vacation days? Whether it’s having a hangout at some of the best beaches in the state, taking a sunset cruise accompanied by dolphins, or exploring a historic fort, we’ve got you covered!

Hike in Gulf State Park

Photo Credit: Heather Cowper via Flickr CC2.0
  • Address: 20115 State Park Road, Gulf Shores, AL 
  • Best for: Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers

When most people picture Gulf Shores, they imagine some sunny place with beaches that are ripe for sandcastle building. The area is also full of outdoor activities, and Gulf State Park’s ecosystem is a great representation of the natural landscape with incredibly diverse nature trails to explore.

You can interact with six distinct ecosystems within the park while cruising scenic hiking trails, like the famous Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. From there, you can dive into the freshwater of Lake Shelby or learn about all things wildlife at the esteemed Nature Center. This park also has a big beach that is perfect for water sports like paddleboarding, kayaking, and parasailing! Peruse the Activities Calendar for itinerary ideas, from pickleball and guided hikes to horseshoes and pine needle basketry. 

Get Wild at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Photo Credit: Yukolthorn Nasongkhla
  • Address: 20499 Oak Road East, Gulf Shores, AL 
  • Best for: Families and animal lovers

Looking for animal encounters that will delight the whole family? At the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, guests can interact with over 300 animals and 199 sub-species, including over 50 primates. 

If you want an even more personal experience? An extra fee will allow you to actually pet sloths and kangaroos or even feed lettuce to the giraffes! If you didn’t catch a glimpse of any gators on the ride over, you can see them here at the zoo’s Reptile House, too! It hosts many different lizards and giant snakes as well. 

Don’t worry if you’re nervous; the zoo has a few more familiar animals at the family-friendly Contact Barn. Bring the kids and take some adorable photos as you interact with goats, sheep, donkeys, and deer! 

And once you’re done with all the animals, your inner shopper might crave a little retail therapy. Keep reading to scratch that itch!

Shop at The Wharf at Orange Beach 

Photo Credit: Innisfree Hotels via Flickr CC2.0
  • Address: 23101 Canal Road, Orange Beach, AL 
  • Best for: Families, shoppers, food enthusiasts, and entertainment seekers

The Wharf at Orange Beach is home to a genuinely mind-boggling number of shops and entertainment options, but let’s start with retail. 

You’ll find everything from beachwear to jewelry there. Notable standouts include Sand and Kisses Children’s Boutique and Island Time Daiquiris. But there’s loads more! You’ll walk for hours in the shopper’s paradise at Orange Beach once you’re all tuckered out? The Wharf is home to several acclaimed restaurants, including Ginny Lane Bar and Grill, Vilaggio Grille, and the Southern Grind Coffee House, a celebrated spot for coffee and baked goods. 

In terms of entertainment, you’ve got plenty to choose from at The Wharf, from flicks at the AMC Theatre to the imaginative 18-hole mini-golf course, which, although “fun for all ages,” will have you rethinking your short game for months. Crave something different? Why not try an escape room escape room experience at Orange Beach Breakout Games? Or perhaps a boat rental to catch some panoramic views on the water. 

And when you crave something a little more relaxed? Wake up your inner history buff with the next activity on our docket! 

Dive into History at Fort Morgan 

Photo Credit: George Dodd III
  • Address: 110 State Highway 180, Gulf Shores, AL 
  • Best For: History lovers, families and introverts

Stepping into Fort Morgan feels like immersing yourself into the pages of a history book. Not a boring one, though; an exciting one, filled to the brim with tales of sword fights and epic battles. The kind of stuff that makes you say, “Wow, I can’t believe that actually happened here.”

The fort, completed in 1834, is perhaps most famous for its role in the Battle of Mobile Bay, where Union Rear Admiral David bellowed the now-historic battlecry “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” And, if you didn’t know that was a real thing until now, it is, and you can visit the iconic spot where it happened. 

Admission to Fort Morgan includes a self-guided tour of the site and its museum. The latter features various exciting exhibits on weapons, uniforms, letters, and even photographs from soldiers who served at the fort. So, you’re guaranteed to leave feeling enriched. 

During your visit, you’ll be able to explore every nook and cranny of the fort’s massive structure, which is a whopping 40 million bricks firm — a true testament to the skilled masonry of the era. 

Waterville USA

Photo Credit: nola.agent via Flickr CC2.0
  • Address: 906 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL 
  • Best for: Families, adventure seekers, and waterpark enthusiasts

Waterpark thrills are fun for the whole family. And Waterville USA, with its 20 sprawling acres of wetness and wildness, supplies them by the tubeful.

Seriously though, this massive water park, which opened in 1986, has become one of the most iconic attractions in the area thanks to its large selection of rides and keen ability to cater to all age groups.

Thrill seekers will taste sweet exhilaration as they descend the Gold Rush’s 20-foot plummet into a lagoon that twists and turns at incredibly high speeds. Others will enjoy the much-tamer journey of The Great White. This tubing adventure takes guests of all groups past scenic waterfalls. 

And don’t worry if you’ve got friends and family who prefer to be dry at all times. You won’t have to leave them in the car. The park has plenty of water-free attractions, including a few acclaimed escape rooms.

The only downside? The park is seasonal, operating primarily during the summer months. So you won’t get a chance to visit if you’re in Gulf Shores during the wintertime. 

Fish at Gulf Shores Little Lagoon

Photo Credit: John Malone via Flickr CC2.0
  • Address: Located west of Highway 59 on West Beach Boulevard (Highway 182), Gulf Shores, AL.
  • Best For: Outdoor enthusiasts and people who love to fish

Are kayaking and fishing two of your favorite hobbies? There’s no better place to spend your time in Gulf Shores than at Little Lagoon. The 10-mile long and half-a-mile-wide body of water found on the north side of Gulf Shores is a prime spot for fishing and a downright idyllic place to dip a water vessel into.

If you love nature but want to avoid breaking a sweat, head down to the Lagoon’s pier for a leisurely stroll, where you’ll get to marvel at big-beaked brown pelicans and graceful blue herons. 

Walk a little longer, and you’ll immerse yourself in Wade Ward Nature Park, where you can catch glimpses of alligators and otters along the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail

You can take your time on the trail, exploring the area’s natural splendor as your more active companions tackle the challenging trails of Lagoon Park, located west of Highway 59.

Ride a Roller Coaster at The Park at OWA

Photo Credit: Derek Gates via Flickr CC2.0
  • Address: 101 S Owa Blvd Ste North, Foley, AL
  • Best For: Families, amusement park fans and thrill seekers

Six Flags, eat your heart out. The Park at OWA has just as many thrills, and its inviting atmosphere is guaranteed to entertain the whole family. Take your pick of thrills, from the Rollin’ Thunder coaster’s instant adrenaline rush to the Flying Carousel’s whimsical flight that gently spins you around in the air, allowing you to take in its grounds from all kinds of unique angles. 

This place truly has something for everybody. So if you want a little less blow-your-hair-back and a bit more family picture book, we highly recommend you hop abroad at the Southern Express, the park’s train ride that meanders around at a relaxing pace. It’s perfect for little ones. 

Now, back to the thrills! Did you know that the park’s Freedom Flyer attraction allows riders to control their own flight experience? It’s a whole new spin on the classic swing ride format. 

Hop Aboard the USS Alabama Battleship at Memorial Park

Photo Credit: George Dodd III
  • Address: 2703 Battleship Parkway, Mobile, AL 36602
  • Best For: Families and those seeking a more educational experience 

When you step inside the USS Alabama, a battleship with a storied past, you’ll feel like walking into the pages of a history book. Launched during a critical point of World War II, the ship played a crucial role in several notable battles across the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.

These days, the USS Alabama helps give back to the community by operating as a one-of-a-kind museum. Visitors can embark on three self-guided tours, all offering an intimate look into life at sea during the historic conflict. 

But the exhibits don’t stop there; the museum also allows guests to step into the USS Drum, the oldest World War II submarine to be made accessible to the public, and honor fallen heroes in its Aircraft Pavillion. 

Take a Dolphin Cruise

Photo Credit: The Pug Father via Flickr CC2.0
  • Address: Various locations
  • Best for: Families, nature enthusiasts

It’s no secret that Gulf Shores has some of the best Dolphin tours in the world. During these excursions, which many companies provide, participants are offered life-changing glimpses into the world of one of Mother Nature’s most intelligent creatures. 

A dolphin cruise gives you first-hand views of wildlife, including sea turtles and dolphins, as well as a striking contrast of sugar-white sand beaches and ultramarine-blue waters. Notable adventures include the Alabama Gulf Coast Dolphin Cruise and the Orange Beach Dolphin Eco Boat Tour. 

Enjoy Gulf Shores with Harris Vacations! 

Gulf Shores is a hodgepodge of historical, beachy, and culinary fun things to do within its bounds. The best part? You can get a taste of it all when you stay in one of Harris Vacations’ beachfront rentals — a luxurious fit for honeymooners, big groups, and family vacations alike. 

We’re ready to give you the keys to your dream vacation home in the heart of Gulf Shores and open the doors to lifelong memories.

Book your Gulf Shores vacation today!

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