You’ve been to the beach and hit the hot spots like The Hangout and Waterville, USA. Now, are you’re looking for something different and off the beaten path? Say no more! We’re divulging three of our favorite lesser-known Orange Beach and Gulf Shores attractions and activities. Pack your bags, book your vacation rental and leave the itinerary to us!
Don’t Miss These Gulf Shores Attractions
Whiteboots Charters. For a truly unforgettable experience, hop aboard a shrimp boat with Jarrett Frith and Lew Childree from Whiteboots Charters in Fort Morgan for either a shrimping or oyster farm tour. These two lifelong friends offer tours like none other on Alabama beaches. They bring character to a morning or afternoon on the backbays of the Alabama Gulf Coast with their friendly banter and stories of growing up on the bay.
“I’ve lived on the water my whole life,” said Jarrett. “My dad had me on a shrimp boat since I was in diapers. We love to share the experience with visitors and help them understand what it takes to get seafood on your plate.”
Whiteboots Charters offers a two-, three-, or four-hour shrimping excursion, and you get to keep the shrimp and fish you catch. It doesn’t get any fresher than right off the boat. Jarrett provides guests with a list of restaurants who will cook your shrimp after your excursion.
Even more unique than the shrimping excursion is the oyster farm tour. Lew and Jarrett are boutique oyster farmers at Shellbank Selects oysters. During a two-hour tour, you’ll be treated to a ride on a flat-bottom boat to the oyster farm. Jarrett will get in the water and walk you through the process of farming these delicious gulf coast delicacies. This isn’t an ordinary tour, however. These two locals have been friends since they were kids and know how to entertain. There’s never a dull moment! In addition to a new appreciation for fishermen and Alabama seafood, you’ll leave with unique stories about growing up on the waters of Alabama beaches.
The best part of your oyster tour? Tasting fresh oysters right from the bay! The guys will give you a lesson in shucking these tasty delights, and then you can slurp away. Advance notice is required to ensure you can sample the oysters. Alabama law requires oysters to be processed before consumption.
Orange Beach Waterfront Park. Trade the Gulf waters for a day on scenic Wolf Bay. Orange Beach Waterfront Park is ideal for families with small children. The water is shallow and calm. A small beach area offers a spot for sandcastle building. Bring a kayak or standup paddleboard and paddle away in the smooth bay waters. A 400-foot fishing pier offers covered pavilions with seating. Bring your fishing pole and reel in dinner!
The park is rarely crowded, even on a typical summer day. Restroom facilities are nearby, and an outdoor shower is available to rinse the saltwater away before heading back to your Orange Beach rental. Picnic tables and grills make it easy to spend the entire day at the park.
Bonus! One more reason Orange Beach Waterfront Park is on our list of favorite attractions is because it’s dog friendly! Bring your pooch and enjoy a day splashing in the water.
Orange Beach Vacation Rentals
Whether you park your flip flops in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, you’re a close drive to the waterfront park. Adagio is a great three-bedroom cottage that’s ideal for a budget-friendly Orange Beach vacation. With rates as low as $99 a night, you can beach it at Orange Beach Waterfront Park and then enjoy the cottage’s community pool located next to the rental.
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. You may have hiked or biked the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail system, but did you know there are more trails to explore? Just a short drive from Gulf Shores on the Fort Morgan Peninsula, the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of more than 7,000 acres of protected trails and beaches. The refuge is a stopover for more than 300 species of migratory birds, and is perfect for birdwatching.
The refuge offers a quiet and peaceful way to while away the day. There’s a large beach area that is secluded and feels like your own, private oasis. Numerous trails offer miles of opportunities to see native wildlife. The one-mile-long Jeff Friend Trail features a canoe and kayak launch into Little Lagoon. We love the refuge for getting back to nature (and away from the crowds). When you want a low-key day during your Gulf Shores AL vacation, the wildlife refuge gets a big thumbs up from us. However, if you’re on a dog-friendly vacation, dogs are not permitted on the trails, so this is an activity you’ll need to leave Fido at home for.
Fort Morgan Rentals
If the quiet and tranquility of the wildlife refuge appeals to you, consider spending your vacation on the Fort Morgan Peninsula. You’ll find a variety of Fort Morgan rentals, including beach houses and condos. All Decked Out is a quaint, three-bedroom beach house located on the bay. The cozy cottage features a pier that is perfect for fishing, throwing a cast net or putting out crab traps. It’s also boat friendly and a dog-friendly vacation rental.
For even more Orange Beach, Fort Morgan and Gulf Shores attractions, read Four Hot New Attractions on Alabama Beaches.