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Plan Your Next Orange Beach Vacation with This Guide!

Summer and fall are both great times to visit Orange Beach! During the summer months, this popular beach vacation spot is jumping. The crowds and activity level hit their peak, and so do the temperatures. The water and sand are hot, the breeze is warm, and the beach party is in full force. Come fall, the temps and the crowds begin to let up. It’s all fun!

Get Outside and Hit the Beach

Time to grab your cooler, funky beach hat, sunscreen, and colorful beach towel and hit the beach. Our bodies turn into little solar panels as we soak up all the sun we can while lying on the toasty sand. It’s as if we have to soak up as much as possible so we can make it through the rest of the year. Catch up on your sleep or a few good books while you sunbathe, or do some serious beachcombing or a little surf fishing. Best of all, if you book one of our beachfront vacation rentals, you can do it all while you’re just a few steps away from the AC and flat-screen in your rental. Enjoy your first cup of coffee out on your deck, while you watch the sun come up or the kids splashing in the surf.

Fall is also one of the prime birdwatching seasons here on the coast as migratory birds stop to rest. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is just one of several area parks that are part of the Alabama Birding Trail and offer fully accessible, meandering trails through various coastal habitats. Fall is a great time for birdwatching and hiking!

Get Out on the Water

Rent jet skis for the entire family and everyone can spend the day zipping along the coast. You can also take parasailing lessons and fly with the gulls as they hunt for lunch. Book a quick helicopter tour of the coast for an amazing aerial view of the bright blue Gulf.

Treat the family to a half-day dolphin watching tour out on the Gulf, or take your partner on a romantic sunset dinner cruise. If you’re here with a group of friends, book a glass-bottom or double-decker party pontoon and spend the day out on the water catching up with each other, sightseeing, doing a little fishing, and just having fun. Feeling a little more serious? Book an eco-tour and follow your guide as everyone silently glides through bayous, mangroves and the backwaters of the Gulf in kayaks, while getting up close to fish, turtles, shorebirds, and gators. It’ll give you a totally different perspective on the Gulf.

Get Fishing!

Serious anglers and novices love fishing in the Gulf! The fishing is good year-round, and there’s a wide variety of places to fish. There’s no need to rent a boat and head out to sea here in Orange Beach. Grab your gear (and license) and just walk out to the beach in front of your rental. Set up your beach chair and cooler next to your rod, and you’ll be pulling pompano, redfish, ladyfish, and flounder out of the surf in no time. Both surf fishing and pier fishing are great for families with small children looking for that first fishing experience. Don’t forget your crab trap!

Rent one of our Orange Beach waterfront vacation rentals with a private boat dock or fishing pier and you’ll be that much closer to enjoying your time out on the water. Not only are the docks and piers perfect for tying up your kayak, but they’re also great for fishing, sunbathing, and even dining al fresco under the stars. Bring your own boat, kayak, canoe or paddleboard, or rent what you want from one of the local marinas.

Fish inshore to get closer to the water – and the fish – on your kayak or canoe as you hunt for flounder, speckled trout, sheepshead, black drum, pompano, and mackerel. Cruise the creeks, channels, and marshes along with the barrier islands and coast while you enjoy the beautiful scenery and the company of shorebirds and our local dolphin pod.

The world’s largest artificial reef system is here in the Gulf. You can fish for king mackerel practically year-round here, and the reef is home to some of the best grouper and snapper fishing you’ll find anywhere. The reef and nearby wrecks not only offer amazing fishing opportunities but they’re great scuba diving spots too, and many are nearshore and easily accessible.

Book a charter for serious offshore or deep-sea fishing. Let someone else take care of those pesky little details like licenses, bait and equipment, and let someone who knows the local waters and where to find the fish do all the work. These charters last all day, and some overnight charters are available. Experience the thrill of reeling in trophy amberjack, king mackerel, grouper, tuna, marlin, swordfish, or wahoo.

Looking for excitement, but not the commitment of an all-day deep-sea excursion? Chasing tarpon or stalking a tailing redfish through the marsh is exciting with a fly rod when you’re in a kayak. Of course, you can head offshore too for some really challenging fishing as you try to land that big ole grouper on a fly rod.

For something completely different, try your hand at bow fishing. Yes, bow fishing! Bow in hand, search for carp, alligator gar, and drum in freshwater, or try saltwater night bow fishing and gigging for a truly unique adventure. Imagine hunting for a shark, at night, armed with a bow! This is an exciting, exhilarating way to make great memories that last a lifetime.

Catch your limit, then grill all those freshly caught fish out on your deck. And if you didn’t have any luck with the fish, just make a stop by one of our local fish markets and grab everything you’ll need. Blalock Seafood& Specialty Market is just one of many local markets offering fresh seafood, wine, cheeses, condiments, and seasonings. Try their Ginger Wasabi! And you can get everything at Lartigue’s Fresh Seafood, from fresh seafood and fixings to go, to fish bait and fishing charters.

Spend the Day at The Wharf

Can’t decide what you want to do, or maybe everyone wants to do something different? No worries, just head to The Wharf. It has everything from shops and spas, to mini-golf and a movie theater. Plus, there are outdoor concerts in their amphitheater year-round.

For some fast-paced fun, check out their arena for laser tag, the newest arcade games, or play Bazooka Ball. And for something a little different, the Outer Limits VR arcade has five fully immersive rides you have to experience to believe. At the Breakout Orange Beach escape room, you can choose from several different scenarios including The Kidnapping, Hostage, and Operation: Casino. Solve the puzzles and try to break out in time!

There’s a zipline! The Hummingbird Zipline Course speeds across the wharf and surrounding wetlands and forest via eight tower spots. Once your need for speed is fulfilled, enjoy a leisurely ride on the Ferris wheel where you’ll have time to enjoy the view. One of the tallest Ferris Wheels in the Southeast, this landmark attraction is a great way to end your day.

Need food on your Orange Beach vacation? Whether you want fine dining or a quick snack, you can find the perfect spot at The Wharf. Is your group looking for a family-friendly, casual dining experience? Try STKburger for burgers, wings, and lobster rolls or Ginny Lane Bar and Grill for fresh, local seafood, a kids menu, and craft brews and cocktails all with a great waterfront view. And the Southern Grind Coffee House is great for a quick bite with specialty coffees, sandwiches and salads, pastries, and their special gelato.

Make a stop at Gulf Coast House of Jerky. They have such a wide variety of interesting flavors, you’ll want to try them all – beef, buffalo, fish, pineapple, pork, alligator, shark, python, elk, venison, kangaroo, and more. Maybe you just want to skip right to dessert? You’re sure to find what you crave at Dippin’ Dots, Kilwins (serving delicious confections since 1947), or the Sugar Shack. I know the kids will love them all!

Island Time Daiquiris, Kentucky Mist Distillery, and YoHo Rum and Tacos (custom cocktails and tacos!) will keep your thirst quenched with refreshing adult beverages and entertainment. Stop at The Sandshaker for a few of the local favorite beverages – the Bushwacker! They have live music and are open late too.

Be sure to stay after dark for The Wharf’s sound and light show! Free to the public, this nightly show features popular music and synchronized lighting effects, all on The Wharf’s Main Street.

Festivals and More!

There are tons of activities all summer long, but fall is festival season here in the Gulf. And, here are a few of the area’s annual festivals to get you started.

Pastry chefs come from all around to show off their sweetest concoctions at The Wharf’s Sweetest Chefs event in September. The Flora-Bama’s Bulls on the Beach, also in September, hosts bull riders for this bull riding show. You can test your own skills on their mechanical bull if you dare, or just watch all the action while enjoying a Bushwacker or two.

October brings the nationally known Annual National Shrimp Festival to nearby Gulf Shores. With lots of shrimp and seafood, live entertainment, vendors, local art booths, and plenty of kid’s activities, this is a family-friendly festival. If you love shrimp, you can’t miss this festival. Of course, there will be Octoberfest celebrations everywhere. Be sure to check out the fall festivities at The Hangout, Flora-Bama, and The Wharf for Octoberfest, and get your fill of beer, brats, and German goodies served up Gulf style. Be ready to enjoy dancing to polka music on the beach!

The first weekend in November, The Hangout’s Annual Oyster Cook-off & Craft Beer Weekend (also in nearby Gulf Shores) starts with live music and plenty of craft beer to sample and includes an oyster shucking contest and Bloody Mary Invitational. Chef’s from all over the country show off their favorite oyster recipes at the cook-off on Saturday.

Our Orange Beach Vacation Rentals

Now you’re going to need a beautiful, comfy place to rest up after a long day of playing on the beach or fishing for dinner. Luckily we have vacation rentals throughout the Orange Beach area that will be the perfect home-away-from-home for your stay here. Relax and enjoy the balmy ocean breeze and the beautiful view from private decks and covered porches. Just one step into our bright, airy rentals will start your stress seeping away. Open floor plans make it easy to gather your entire group together for a freshly grilled fish dinner or friendly poker night.

Choose from beachfront, beach-adjacent or waterfront rentals. We offer comfy one and two-bedroom rentals just right for a romantic getaway or couples weekend. If you’re bringing the whole family or it’s time for that reunion with all your college buddies, we have spacious rentals that can accommodate large groups too. Many of our Orange Beach rentals are pet-friendly, so you can bring your favorite furry friend. All of our rentals have free Wi-Fi, fully equipped kitchens, and amazing views.

Your Orange Beach Vacation

If you need help finding the perfect vacation rental for your Orange Beach vacation, just give us a call! We’d love to help with the final selection or to suggest other activities to fill your days. One suggestion is to check on the Blue Angels practice schedule while you’re staying on the Gulf Coast. They practice their amazing aerial acrobatics year round and it’s worth the trip to nearby Pensacola!

Visit Gulf Shores with our Guide of the Best Things to Do

Summer and fall are both great times of the year to visit Gulf Shores! Summer is hot, steamy, and pretty lively. In the fall, things begin to cool down a bit, and the crowds begin to thin out. Whether you like the bustle and boisterous summer crowds or prefer a little less hyper beach experience, Gulf Shores is the place to be.

Head to the Beach

The beach is the best place to be all year round, but in the summer, the water is warm and so is the breeze. Grab a brightly colored beach towel, stake out a spot on the warm toasty sand, lay back, and just take a much-needed break. Soak in the sun for a while, then splash in the surf to cool off. Do a little body surfing, a little surf fishing, or practice your master builder skills in the damp sand. Join a friendly beach volleyball game, or just wander the beach looking for that perfect souvenir shell. Do things right and rent one of our beachfront cottages so you’ll have access to all of this (and more) within just a few steps from your rental.

Get Out on the Water

There’s so much you can do on the water! Rent jet skis for the entire family and zip up and down the coast, or learn to parasail or paraglide. Bring your own boat or kayak or rent what you need from one of the many local marinas while you’re here. Why not rent something fun for the day? Spend the day out on a magnificent sailboat, or fun catamaran, or party pontoon boat.

Take the entire family out to sea on a dolphin-watching tour, or book a romantic sunset dinner cruise for just you and your partner. Get a new perspective on the gulf when you rent a kayak or canoe and glide through the cool, brackish backwaters. A guided eco-tour can take you deep into the cypress swamps where you’ll get up close and personal with mossy cypress trees, alligators, turtles, wading birds, and more as you glide past ancient mangroves, marshes, and bayous.

Do some serious fishing and charter a deep-sea fishing adventure that everyone will remember. Head offshore to deep water and put your skills to the test against amberjack, tuna, mahi-mahi, and maybe an occasional shark. The world’s largest artificial reef system is right here in Gulf Shores. You can fish for king mackerel almost year-round here, and it is home to some of the best grouper and snapper fishing you can find. The reef and nearby wrecks not only offer amazing fishing opportunities but they’re great scuba diving spots too. A few of the wrecks are close to shore too, making them easy to access.

Head to Gulf State Park

Spend the day – or several days – at Gulf State Park, where you can enjoy miles of bright, white beaches, freshwater lakes, a wonderful fishing pier, and more. Rent kayaks, canoes, or jet skis for fun on Lake Shelby, Middle Lake, or Little Lake. Play volleyball, hit the links or tennis courts, or do some geocaching. Be sure to leave time for the Butterfly Pavilion!

Fish from the banks of Lake Shelby or from your kayak for redfish, bass, speckled trout, and catfish. Fish from the fully accessible Fishing and Education Pier for flounder, sheepshead, pompano, speckled trout, and more. Not really into fishing? This half-mile-long pier also has a concession area, indoor seating, and restrooms. It’s the perfect spot to watch the action, whether you fish or not. And the action isn’t just on the pier, where fishermen are pulling in their catches and seagulls are angling for a little fishy snack; some amazing things swim by in the water beneath the pier, such as turtles, stingrays, dolphins, sharks, and more! Plus, the view over the water is amazing!

Hike or bike over the 30 miles of paved trails and boardwalks including those in The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. Originally Native American hunting trails, these multi-use trails wind through a series of six different ecosystems. All paths are fully accessible and you can jog, walk, skate, and bike your way along the paths past freshwater lakes, wetlands and marshes, and over sand ridges. Since the trail is part of the Alabama Coastal Bird Trail, it’s a great stop for birdwatchers. Watch for osprey, bald eagles, whitetail deer, coyote, otters, turtles, alligators, and bobcats. While you’re keeping an eye out for the gators, be on the lookout for the elusive “Catman,” a part-man/part wildcat creature and a local legend!

So Many Other Things to Do

Fall in Gulf Shores is also the perfect time for golf! The temperatures are mild, and the crowds are down! Kiva Dunes Resort & Golf and the Gulf State Park Golf Course are just two of the many great courses in the area. Why not take a short, but exciting, helicopter ride up and down the coast looking for dolphins while you get an aerial overview of the coastline.

When was the last time you went to the Zoo? Fun all year round, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is home to over 600 animals including 22 endangered species and has exhibits, animal encounters, a petting zoo, and more. One of the more distinctive (and fun) exhibits, Lemur Island, is home to a small colony of lemurs from the Madagascar rainforests. Fruit-loving red-ruffed lemurs and black-and-white ruffed lemur are just two of the endangered species that have found a haven here at the zoo. In addition to the regular exhibits, the zoo offers animal encounters to give you and your children a unique opportunity to learn about certain species like baby red kangaroos and lemurs in an up-close and personal format. The zoo is fortunate to have three endangered but magnificent Bengals tigers here. And friend and animal lover Jack Hanna gifted the zoo with a beautiful, sleek black leopard (a near-threatened species) named Katrina. Other zoo inhabitants include camels Mack and Maggie, Australian kookaburras, free-roaming peacocks, and over 50 primates (including baboons and endangered back-headed spider monkeys). And no zoo would be complete without a Reptile House! The Gulf Coast Zoo is filled with huge anacondas, lizards, iguanas, and tons of creepy weird bugs that the kids will love.

During your next visit to Gulf Shores, gather everyone together and head to Waterville Gulf Shores – it’s a water park and more. There’s something for everyone here. Have a fun family tournament on the thirty-six holes of mini-golf, play out your inner NASCAR dreams on the thrilling go-kart tracks, and the exhilarating Cannonball Run rollercoaster will get your heart racing in no time. The Starcade is a retro gaming experience for all video arcade game lovers. And try their Escape Rooms where there’s only an hour to figure out the hints, codes, and clues to escape! Of course, there are tons of water rides to choose from too, with slow and easy or fast and wild, and everything in between. And there’s the Fun Depot with a merry-go-round and House of Bounce for all the smaller kids to enjoy.

Want to focus more on go-karts than water fun? Then the Track Family Recreation Center is the place to go. There’s a kid zone too with a carousel, kiddie karts and a train, and a mini Ferris Wheel. Enjoy mini-golf, bumper cars, and blaster boats where you can enjoy blasting each other with water cannons as you battle. It’s a fun way to cool off! Six go-kart tracks will keep the entire family occupied, including the park’s famous elevated wooden track – the Wild Woody (over three stories high) and the Slick Track where the slick surface lets drivers slip and slide as they race around. And speaking of elevated, the Skycoaster takes you over 110-feet up in the air, before you let go and fly. Fat Daddy’s Arcade has over 5,000 square feet of arcade fun for arcade game enthusiasts.

Where to Eat and Play

After plenty of fun in the surf and sand, head to LuLu’s, The Hangout, or any one of our local beachfront spots for live music and delicious fresh seafood. Cool off inside with the AC, or grab a cool beverage and head outside to enjoy the balmy sea breeze and do some serious people-watching. LuLu’s is owned and managed by LuLu Buffet and is just the fun place you’d think it would be. Kids will love LuLu’s arcade and climbing the ‘Mountain of Youth’ – a three-story climbing extravaganza. The Hangout is family-friendly too, but geared more towards young adults, and their beachfront bar is always hopping. Both LuLu’s and The Hangout always have something special going on.

Another beachfront spot, the Gulf Island Grill is family-friendly with a colorful, Caribbean flair and twist to their seafood offerings. And GT’s on the Bay has a pirate-themed playground for the kids, a large deck overlooking the bay, and fresh, local seafood dishes that everyone will enjoy.

Are the kids demanding pizza? Try a local spot like Crico’s Pizza & Subs (pizza, wings, and subs) or Marco’s Pizza (pizzas, pizza bowls – think pizza in a bowl w/o the crust – and more). Feeling the need for mouthwatering southern BBQ? Locally owned and operated Hog Wild has hand-rubbed BBQ that is smoked long and slow, with made from scratch sauces like their famous White BBQ Sauce. Want Chinese? The China Dragon has everyone’s favorites – BBQ ribs, chicken, pork or duck, egg rolls, Mongolian Beef, Sesame Chicken, and General Tso’s Chicken. If your gang can’t agree on what to eat, take everybody to The Ugly Diner. With fried shrimp or fish, grilled shrimp or fish, burgers, omelets, and French toast, and more, there’s sure to be something for everyone here.

Tucked in among the dunes, Sassy Bass Amazin’ Grill’s outdoor deck is a quirky beachfront hang out with a fun atmosphere and great ocean views, and the Anchor Bar and Grill has a huge covered deck overhanging the water with great views and fresh seafood. The popular Fin and Fork offers a casual upscale experience with fresh local seafood. Head to Cosmos the Restaurant for cool adult beverages, sushi, and more as you dine on their outdoor patio. Want oysters? Head for The Royal Oyster for fresh, right-off-the-boat oysters and cool refreshing adult beverages. Sit on the deck overlooking the beach and relax the Gulf Shores way.

No stay in Gulf Shores is truly complete without at least one trip to the world-famous honky-tonk, the Flora-Bama. This southern landmark has several stages that are always filled with live music, a couple of restaurants and beach-side bars, an amazing oyster bar, and their famous bushwhackers!

Book One of Our Vacation Rentals

Our vacation rentals are located throughout the Gulf Shores area. We have beachfront cottages and vacation homes with private boardwalks that take you from the back deck of your rental over the dunes, right to the bright sandy beach. The kids will love waking up and running right out to the beach, where you can watch them from your comfy lounger on the deck as you sip that first cup of coffee. Rent one of our beach-adjacent private homes with a private pool or hot tub for even more fun while you’re here. We also have waterfront homes with private piers and docks that boating and fishing enthusiasts will appreciate.

Give us a call today and let us help you find the perfect beachfront cottage for that romantic getaway or second honeymoon, or a larger private home for your big family reunion. We offer pet-friendly and no-smoking rentals too. Our rentals come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and they all have open, inviting floor plans and amazing views of the beautiful Gulf.

COVID-19 has had a massive effect on every sector of the economy, including real estate. To learn more about how the crisis has affected the real estate market, specifically in Alabama, watch our videos below with Josh Null – of Gulf Coast Financial Advisors – and our very own Brian Harris!

July 16- Lower Alabama Real Estate Update

For the full transcript of this video, click here

June 18- Lower Alabama Real Estate Update

For the full transcript of this video, click here

May 28- Lower Alabama Real Estate Update

For the full transcript of this video, click here

May 14- What Investors need to know about Lower Alabama Real Estate

For the full transcript of this video, click here

May 8- Where do we go from here? Local Experts Discussion Panel

May 5- COVID 19 Real Estate Market, Quick Update with Brian Harris

For the full transcript of this video, click here

April 28- What Buyers and Sellers need to know about Real Estate during COVID-19

For the full transcript of this video, click here

April 15- What Investors need to know about Real Estate during COVID-19

For the full transcript of this video, click here