If you’re one of the 15 million Americans who likes to travel with your fur child, add a dog-friendly vacation in Gulf Shores AL to your list of things to do, love and do again. For many dog-loving families, traveling with Fido in tow is the norm. However, the truth is, a pet-friendly vacation isn’t always easy to plan. It takes careful research and planning to decide if a destination is woof worthy. With that in mind, check out these three pointers for planning a hassle-free dog-friendly vacation.
Make a List of Gulf Shores Dog-friendly Attractions
There’s more to bringing your pooch on vacation than leaving them cooped up inside. In a good, dog-friendly destination, there are plenty of pet-loving attractions that are fun for the whole family. Some of our favorite Gulf Shores AL dog-friendly vacation attractions include:
- Historic Fort Morgan. Take a step back in time at this Civil War-era fort. Your pooch will enjoy the fresh air and salty breezes. There’s plenty of room to roam, but your pup must be on a leash. Explore barracks and imagine military life in the 1800s. Re-enactments and living history tours are held throughout the year. Fort Morgan guards the entrance to Mobile Bay, which means it’s surrounded by beaches. On the Mobile Bay side of the Fort, the area between old Fort Morgan pier and Old Fisherman’s Wharf is a dog-friendly beach.
- Orange Beach Waterfront Park. When you want to beach it with your pooch, head to Orange Beach Waterfront Park. This small stretch of sandy beach on the banks of Wolf Bay is pet friendly. There is also a 400-foot-long fishing pier, covered pavilions, restrooms and an outdoor shower to spray off the two-legged AND four-legged family members. If you enjoy kayaking or standup paddle boarding, bring your boats and boards to the park, too. The water is calm and perfect for paddling. Give Fido a spot on a kayak or SUP and paddle out for an afternoon of fun.
- Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. If you’re a dog lover, chances are you’re an outdoor lover, too. Bike or hike the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. This dog-friendly attraction consists of 25 miles of paved trails and boardwalks, running from Orange Beach through the Gulf State Park. New to the trail system are wooden boardwalks taking you into areas not possible to explore before, as well as pedestrian sky bridges.
- Tiki’s Mini Golf. “Tee off” for a day of family fun with Fido at Tiki’s Mini Golf in Gulf Shores. Tiki’s allows well-behaved pups on leashes. Tiki’s is home to Gulf Shores’ $5 all-you-can-play miniature golf. The 18-hole course is shaded by majestic oak trees so your fur child will stay a little cooler during the summer months.
- The Beach! There are some rules to follow to get you in-the-know on the do’s and don’ts of Gulf Shores dog-friendly beaches. Dogs are not permitted on the public beaches in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach. However, for those vacationing in a pet-friendly Fort Morgan rental, there are plenty of white-sand beaches for your pooch to play. The Fort Morgan community is just a short drive from downtown Gulf Shores and is a popular spot for those who embark on a beach vacation with their dog.
Research Dog-friendly Restaurants
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are home to more than 13 pet-friendly restaurants, and there’s cuisine to please any palate. From beachside dives like the Flora-Bama Yacht Club to more refined experiences like Villaggio Grille at The Wharf, you can take your pick of pooch-pleasing dining options, including the following:
- Pirate’s Cove Marina & Restaurant. You likely won’t find a more dog-friendly restaurant or beach than Pirate’s Cove in Josephine, AL. It’s a short boat ride from Orange Beach or a slightly longer car ride, but if you love a great beachside dive where your pup can play in the water sans leash, Pirate’s Cove is your spot. Plan to spend the day at Pirate’s Cove. Bring plenty of sunscreen, beach chairs and an appetite. Pirate’s Cove is packed with dog-loving locals, great burgers and one of the best bushwackers on the beach.
- Cosmo’s Restaurant & Bar. The owners at Cosmo’s love dogs so much they named their restaurant after their family dog. Cosmo’s is a local’s favorite for unique entrees, including hand-cut steaks, local seafood and even sushi. The chef’s Banana Leaf Wrapped Fish is even on the list of “100 Things to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.” The casual outdoor deck is the perfect spot to have a cocktail with friends and your fur child.
- The Gulf. Built from shipping containers, this unique restaurant offers some of the best views of Alabama Point. It’s a great spot to watch the boats come and go. A large sand area offers ample space for you and your pooch.
- The Southern Grind Coffee House. This coastal chic coffee house has a great spot for Fido on the patio. There are also water bowls available. The Southern Grind earns top marks with us for great breakfast and lunch eats, as well as gelato and coffee drinks during a dog-friendly vacation.
Find the Perfect Gulf Shores Dog-Friendly Rental
Locating the best Gulf Shores dog-friendly vacation rental may seem like finding a needle in a haystack. However, it only takes finding the right vacation rental management company. Harris Properties Management offers the largest selection of dog-friendly rentals on Alabama beaches. You’ll want to book early to ensure you get the accommodations that best meet your needs. Browse the entire selection of dog-friendly vacation rentals on the website. For a sampling, keep reading.
- Sunset Tides. This two-bedroom Fort Morgan condo at The Dunes features an oversized balcony with Gulf views.
- Lemon Drop. Lemon Drop is a four-bedroom Fort Morgan beach house in the beachside Morgantown community. This house offers spacious decks and screened porches and is just a short walk to the beach.
- Dock of the Bay. Your fur child will have plenty of grassy areas to run and play at Dock of the Bay. This four-bedroom beach house is located on Wolf Bay in Orange Beach and features a fishing pier.
- Blue Parrot #3 and Blue Parrot #7. This Gulf Shores duplex is the perfect spot for large families who want to be close, but still have their own space. Each beachfront duplex offers five bedrooms and a shared swimming pool.
Planning a dog-friendly vacation doesn’t have to be stressful. Following these tips can help you enjoy a hassle-free experience. We do have one, last tip. Remember to call the attractions and restaurants prior to your arrival to ensure they are still pup friendly and the establishment’s rules haven’t changed.
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