Orange Beach Vacation and Activities

The Ultimate Orange Beach Summer and Fall Guide for Orange Beach

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!

Everything You Need to Know About Gulf Shores vs. Orange Beach

It can be difficult to choose the perfect location for your family beach trip, especially when there are so many amazing options along the Alabama Coast. Where are the best beaches? Are there plenty of activities, dining options, and shops near your vacation rental? What is the nightlife like? Many of our guests ask these types of questions when trying to decide between Gulf Shores vs. Orange Beach for their family vacation. To help make planning easier, we have highlighted a few differences between these two great locations. Read on to learn more and choose the destination that’s right for your family!

Book your Gulf Shores getaway today!

Gulf Shores vs. Orange Beach: What’s the Difference?

The Gulf Coast is home to the best beaches in the country – it’s no secret. Whether you choose to stay in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, Alabama, you’ll experience equally beautiful beaches in both locations. Sugar-white sand, sparkling aquamarine waters, and plenty of sunshine await at either destination. Both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach also offer extremely fresh seafood, access to scenic hiking and biking trails, watersport rentals, great shopping and dining. So, what is the major difference? While either of these amazing destinations would be a great choice for your beach getaway, it depends on your family’s personal preference.

Enjoy Exciting Activities in Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores offers more activities and attractions such as Zooland Mini-Golf, Waterville USA, the Gulf Coast Zoo, The Track Family Fun Park, South Baldwin Community Theatre, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and much, much more. From amusement parks and family-friendly fun to exciting nightlife and entertainment, the list of things to do in Gulf Shores is endless. If you’re searching for a vacation rental located in the heart of it all, this would be a great option for your stay. Whether you seek adventure or total relaxation, the possibilities are endless in Gulf Shores! 

Relax and Unwind in Orange Beach

On the other hand, Orange Beach offers a quieter and more laid-back beach vibe. If you’re more interested in lounging by the shoreline during your getaway, this may be more your speed. Cast a line into the Gulf, play a round of golf at Orange Beach golf course, or enjoy spending time with family in your Harris Property. Orange Beach also has its fair share of attractions and activities as well. The Wharf at Orange Beach is your ultimate destination for family fun. Here, you’ll discover fabulous shops and restaurants, Alabama’s longest zipline course, breakout games, arcades, charter boat cruises, mini-golf, a Ferris wheel and more. 

Have the Best Family Beach Vacation With Harris Vacation Rentals!

When it comes to choosing between Gulf Shores vs. Orange Beach, you really can’t go wrong. Either destination would be an excellent option for your family beach getaway, especially when you’re staying in a Harris Property! Unlike Orange Beach hotels or Gulf Shores hotels, our spacious vacation rentals offer a unique lodging experience that you won’t find elsewhere. Choose the exact home you want, whether it’s a pet-friendly accommodation, a rental with a private pool, a beachfront property, or a luxury home. The whole family will have plenty of room to unwind and socialize after a fabulous day of adventure!

Harris Vacation Rentals offers vacation rentals in three amazing locations: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan. Choose the location that’s right for your family and get ready for your next unforgettable trip to paradise. Browse our properties and contact us to book your stay. We can’t wait to welcome you!

Why You Need to Visit Adventure Island Orange Beach

There’s no shortage of entertainment in Orange Beach, Alabama. If you’re looking for a family fun hotspot along the Gulf Coast, look no further than Adventure Island Orange Beach. Here, you’ll discover arcade games, bumper boats, and more.

When it comes to planning the perfect family trip, you want nothing but the best. Browse the top vacation rentals in Gulf Shores and prepare to have an unforgettable beach vacation!

Book Your Family Vacation Today!

The Top 5 Things to Do at Adventure Island Orange Beach

Adventure Island is one of the top Orange Beach attractions. You won’t want to miss out on a visit to this fantastic amusement park!

1. Play a Round of Mini Golf

A day at Adventure Island would be incomplete without a game of mini golf. The park has two 18-hole courses that the whole family will love. The island’s Giant Volcano is in the center of the course. Be on the lookout for the five-story volcano’s explosions that shake the ground!

Adventure Island is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. – 11 p.m., so you can play a round of putt putt during the day or at night.

2. Take a Spin on the Bumper Boats

The bumper boats are one of our favorite rides and attractions at Adventure Island. Each boat has its own water gun to shoot at your friends and family. If you’d prefer a more calming activity, take one of the paddle boats out on the park’s lost lagoon lake.

3. Ride Go Karts

Take a turn on the go-kart course and satisfy your need for speed! The five-minute ride features bumps, curves, and spins. Kids ages five to nine can enjoy the Grand Prix Go Karts, one of Adventure Island’s kiddie rides offered to younger thrill seekers.

4. Play Laser Tag

Are you ready to get your game on? Play a round of laser tag with your family and friends! Enjoy cool laser effects as you adventure through our laser tag room. You’ll love all of the amazing visuals, and it’s also a super fun way to get your blood pumping!

5. Explore the Arcade

Spending a couple of hours in the Alligator Alley Arcade is the perfect rainy day activity for adults and kids alike. The arcade features over 100 video games, including classics like virtual hunting games and indoor basketball games. We highly recommend using your tickets on the Max Flight Roller Coaster Simulator. It’s a thrill you won’t soon forget!

Do you want more recommendations for family-friendly activities in the area? Check out our guide to family fun in Gulf Shores!

Relax in a Harris Vacation Rentals Vacation Rental

almost heaven living area

After a day of exploring Adventure Island Orange Beach, you’ll want to relax at your home away from home. During your next trip to Gulf Shores, consider booking a vacation rental with Harris Vacation Rentals. Our Almost Heaven home has everything you need for a memorable family getaway. This remodeled six bedroom, six-and-a-half bath beachfront property is perfect for a relaxing stay. The home features a huge deck with views of the Gulf of Mexico, a game room on the ground floor, and an outdoor shower. Guests enjoy two entertainment areas, a fully equipped kitchen with two of every major appliance, and a dual washer and dryer. This spacious home sleeps 21, making it the ideal spot for a family reunion.

Don’t wait to make your coastal getaway dreams come true; start planning your beach retreat today!

Check Our Availability

You Need to See These Awesome Orange Beach Boat Rentals

Salty air, ocean breeze, and blue skies for miles. This is what the perfect Gulf Shores day looks like. One of our favorite things to do in the area is to rent a boat and explore the Gulf Coast first-hand. During your next Orange Beach vacation, spend a day on the water, soaking up the sunshine. Read on to discover the best Orange Beach boat rentals. Then, get ready to book the ultimate family beach vacation with Harris Vacation Rentals!

Book Your Family Vacation Today With Harris Vacation Rentals!

The Top 3 Orange Beach Boat Rentals

1. Orange Beach Boat Rentals

This family-oriented boat rental company is a staple of the Gulf Shores boating community. Located at The Wharf Orange Beach, Orange Beach Boat Rentals provides you with a map of the area as well as a complete tour of the vessel before you head out on the bay.

All of their boats include safety equipment, life jackets, clean restrooms, two anchors, satellite radio, leather cushions, and more. Select from either a half, full, or multi-day boating trip. Be sure to make your reservation in advance, and get ready to explore the natural beauty of Orange Beach!

2. Wallace Boat Rentals

Another full-service boat rental company, Wallace Boat Rentals encourages its customers to be their own captain. No boating license is required, though ample instruction and maps are provided. All boats include life jackets, safety gear, and anchors.

Additionally, Wallace Rentals customers can choose to rent a traditional boat, a pontoon boat, or a jet ski. How will you decide to explore 20 miles of bays, rivers, and islands?

3. Flora-Bama Marina

Located across Perdido Pass, Flora-Bama Marina offers pontoon boat, kayak, paddleboard, and jet ski rentals by the hour. Additionally, the marina’s deep sea fishing charters give you the opportunity to catch your own fish under the guidance of an expert captain.

After a day on the water, head across the street from the marina to Flora-Bama. This all-in-one fun spot has restaurants, bars, and live music.

More Ways to Enjoy Gulf Shores

There are plenty of ways to experience the Gulf Coast! Jet ski rentals and other Gulf Shores watersports are popular for thrill-seekers and adventurers. If you’re looking for a quieter way to spend your vacation, Gulf Shores is also a great place for fishing and relaxing on the beach.

Dock Your Boat at a Harris Vacation Rentals Home

Bay Dreamin' Pier

Now that you’ve selected from the best Orange Beach boat rentals, it’s time to get out on the water! There are so many things to see on the Gulf Coast, from beautiful beaches to stunning sunsets. After a day’s worth of boating, you’ll want to a relaxing night, and we know just the place.

What sounds better than a gorgeous, bay-front vacation home with a private boat slip? We can’t think of anything! Bay Dreamin in Fort Morgan features open entertainment areas, a game room, and accommodations for up to nine guests. Outside, enjoy the screened porch and outdoor shower. Bay Dreamin is the perfect place for your family to call home for a week!

At Harris Vacation Rentals, we want your family vacation memories to last a lifetime. Browse our vacation rentals and get ready for your dream getaway!

The Best of Dog Friendly Orange Beach Vacation

There’s one thing we can all agree on: Vacation is awesome. If you’re like us, you mark off the days on your calendar and prepare to make memories that will last a lifetime. The only downside is leaving your adored family dog at home. We hate to see our furry friends left behind. So, we’ve compiled a guide on the best of dog friendly Orange Beach vacation so that you can bring everyone’s favorite family member on your next beach vacation! There’s so much to explore on the Gulf Coast. Read on to discover some of our favorite dog-friendly spots, then start planning your Gulf Shores family vacation with Harris Vacation Rentals!

Book Your Family Vacation Today!

Your Guide to a Dog Friendly Orange Beach Vacation

The Dog Pond

Your pup will love a visit to the Dog Pond. This dog park is located on Lake Shelby in Gulf State Park, and it is open from 8 a.m. until sunset. Though dogs must be leashed when they enter the park, they are free to roam on this doggy playground once they’ve entered. The dog park has stunning water views and plenty of entertainment for dogs. They’ll go crazy over the agility courses, play equipment, and swimming area. What more could man’s best friend need?

Tip: Leashed dogs are allowed on the trails in Gulf State Park, as well as the picnic and campground sections. However, there are no pets allowed in the swimming pool, nature center, or beaches in the park.

Beware: Lake Shelby is home to many types of wildlife, including alligators. Please be vigilant at all times.

Orange Beach Dog Park

This dog park is one of the greatest pet-friendly activities in Gulf Shores. There is a ¾ acre shaded area with separate fencing for large and small dogs. There’s plenty of water for tired dogs to lap up and benches for owners to take a seat. Gulf Shores Dog Park is another large green space for dogs to roam in unleashed.

The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

This network of seven trails spans more than fifteen miles and traverses six different ecosystems. The trails weave through Gulf State Park, Orange Beach, and Gulf Shores. To find the most convenient path for you, check out their comprehensive trail map. There are plenty of restrooms, water stations, parking, and access spots along the trails.

The Backcountry Trail is home to years and years of history. The story Catman Road, for example, dates back to the Native Americans. The legendary Catman was a young, fanatic warrior who ran away from his village with a pack of wildcats. It is rumored that when you hear leaves rustling or whispers in the wind on the Backcountry Trail, you may be about to catch a glimpse of Catman.

Today, the trails have plenty of amenities, like a picnic pavilion, geocaching activity, and butterfly garden. During your hike, you’ll walk through beautiful marshes and swamps. Don’t forget your camera, because you may even see a bobcat or alligator along the way!

Bring your dog along for the ultimate dog friendly Orange Beach adventure. While your pet must remain on a leash at all times on the trails, there are miles of space for your pup to run, play, and explore.

Explore Fort Morgan Historic Site

Fort Morgan is just a 40-minute drive from Orange Beach. Enjoy the scenic drive out to Gulf Shore’s most secluded neighborhood. When you arrive, dive into the fort’s rich military history. Fort Morgan played a role in the Civil and Spanish-American Wars as well as both World Wars and the Battle of Mobile. Step back in time with a trip to the Fort Morgan Historic Site!

Tip: Dogs are allowed anywhere in the fort or inside the seawall. They must be leashed and under their owner’s control. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed on the adjoining beach or Sutter Wildlife Refuge.

Head to the Beach

A Gulf Shores vacation would be incomplete without a day at the beach. Unlike the more commercial areas in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan allows dogs on leashes to most of its public beaches! The dog-friendly region of the beach are between the engineer’s wharf and the fishing pier. Walk the dog, build a sandcastle with the kids, and catch some waves. End your day with a golden sunset over the ocean.

Plan a Barking Good Gulf Shores Vacation

sea's the day

After you’ve spent the day with your pup, you’ll need a place that the whole family can call home! At Harris Vacation Rentals, we value our furry friends just as much as you do, which is why we offer a variety of pet-friendly beach rentals.

One of our favorite dog friendly Orange Beach homes is Dock of the Bay. This spacious four bedroom, two and one half bathroom bungalow overlooks the serene blue waters of Wolf Bay. The screened porch is ideal for watching magnificent Gulf Shores sunsets while keeping away the bugs. This fisherman’s paradise has a private dock for reeling in the perfect catch of the day!

Another great dog-friendly vacation rental near Gulf Shores is Sea’s the Day in Fort Morgan. The tropical paradise property offers sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico. Your pup will love hanging out on the outdoor patio as you grill on the barbecue. The home features an airy, white, updated kitchen as well as an open floor plan living area. The property is ideal for family reunions, as it sleeps up to 12 guests.

We have more than 30 pet-friendly rentals for your family. Never leave your furry friend at home again!

Are you ready to make your vacation plans with Harris Vacation Rentals? Browse all of our vacation rentals and book your Gulf Shores getaway today!

Skip to content