Winter in Gulf Shores is one of the best times of year to visit. The crowds thin out and the weather cools down. With average Gulf Shores winter temperatures in the 60s, it’s perfect weather for all your favorite outdoor activities without sweating or feeling the heat. Just grab a sweater in case that lovely ocean breeze gets a little brisk.
Unless you’re practicing for the Flora-Bama Polar Bear Dip, it can be a little chilly for swimming. But everyone can enjoy building a sand castle, a beach volleyball game, or just strolling along the surf looking for the perfect sand dollar souvenir or a cool piece of sea glass. Temps may be down, but so are the crowds!
Gulf Shores is a golfer’s paradise, with several great local courses to choose from. Kiva Dunes is Alabama’s highest ranked public golf course, complete with sand dunes, scrubby pines, palm trees, and a unique coastal feel. A few other area courses to try are Craft Farms Gold Resort at Cypress Bend and Cotton Creek, and the Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club.
Cooler weather means it’s the perfect time to do some hiking or biking. And there are plenty of great trails in both the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. Both take you through different natural, coastal habitats and are excellent spots for bird and wildlife viewing. Enjoy your hike as the trails wind past pristine freshwater lakes, coastal swamps, wetlands and over longleaf sand ridges. Watch for osprey, bald eagles, white tail deer, coyote, alligator, and elusive bobcat.
It’s still a great time to be out on the water. Winter waters in the Gulf area are full of redfish, pompano, and sheepshead. Book an offshore charter to land bull redfish, stay inshore for speckled trout or fish the surf in front of your rental for delicious black drum. Then show off your culinary skills in your rental’s gourmet kitchen or out on the grill with fish kabobs or a grilled tuna steak.
And just because you’re not an angler, doesn’t mean you can’t get out on the water. Book a dolphin watching tour, eco-tour, party pontoon boat, or a kayak tour of the back bays and bayous.
Winter is the perfect time for gulf coast oysters. Pick up a bushel or two for your own oyster roast, or head to almost any dining and drinking establishment in the area like the Flora-Bama, The Hangout, Original Oyster House Boardwalk or the Sassy Bass Amazin’ Grill. Imagine tasting fresh, right-off-the-boat oysters on the half-shell and a refreshing adult beverage, sitting on a deck overlooking the sand and surf, while your friends back home are battling the cold temperatures, snow and sleet.
LuLu’s hosts the Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade, and this place is hopping during Mardi Gras. And on New Year’s Eve, Lulu’s has plenty of activities for the kids including a sandcastle contest and a beach ball drop at noon. Plus, there’s LuLu’s arcade and that monster climbing structure for the kids. The entire family will enjoy Gulf Shores winter activities at The Hangout’s dance contests and cookie decorating. These two beachfront establishments have been favorites of locals and visitors alike for years and always have something going on, year round. Fresh seafood and live music at the beach can’t be beat any time of year!
The city of Gulf Shores hosts several annual holiday events including Breakfast with Santa and their Lighted Christmas Parade & Lighting of the Beach with its fun snowball drop with 4,000+ ping pong balls! And the city hosts the annual fireworks display at Gulf State Park on New Year’s Eve too.
Every Gulf Coast trip needs to include at least one visit to the world-famous Flora-Bama! There’s always something going on at this honky-tonk, and winter is no exception. Annual winter events include the holiday Santa Drop (Santa sky dives onto the beach!), annual Christmas Pot Luck, annual New Year’s Eve Bash, Polar Bear Dip on New Year’s Day, and their famous Super Chili Bowl Cook-Off in February. Plus there’s always live music on five stages, several oyster bars and plenty of bushwackers year-round!
The Wharf in Orange Beach has ice skating, shops for last minute gift buying, and Santa Claus for the kids. And there’s a lot to do here year-round too, with restaurants, bars, an arcade, mini-golf, an escape room, laser tag, a movie theater and amphitheater, zip line and a Ferris wheel, and fireworks on New Year’s Eve!
Our Gulf Shores winter rentals can put you close to the action at LuLu’s or in a quiet bayfront rental. All of our rentals have amazing views, free Wi-Fi, fully equipped kitchens, and more. Many have elevators, hot tubs and private fishing piers. If you need help deciding on which amenities and location will best fit your winter vacation in Gulf Shores, just give our helpful staff a call!