Whether this is the first or 15th time you’ve vacationed along Alabama’s white-sand beaches, we’ve got the in-the-know information you need to plan a memorable getaway in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Think you know all the things to do in Gulf Shores? We’re betting there are a few new Gulf Shores attractions and Orange Beach activities you don’t have on your to-do list. Read on and start creating your summer vacation bucket list.
- OWA. Thrill seekers don’t want to miss out on this hot new amusement park. There are 21 rides and roller coasters, and an interactive splash pad opened in May, as well. Downtown OWA features several restaurants and ice cream shops. You can easily spend an entire day getting an adrenaline rush and feasting on good eats just north of the beach in Foley, Alabama.
- Waterville USA. There’s something for all levels of adventurers at Waterville USA in Gulf Shores AL. Slow down and enjoy a leisurely float down the lazy river or pick up speed on the Dune Racer. There’s also a Flowrider and an arcade.
- Kayak Fishing Lesson. Partake in one of the most peaceful ways to fish the back bays of Orange Beach. Take a kayak fishing lesson at the Wind & Water Learning Center and reel in dinner! The center also offers full moon paddles, so time your Orange Beach vacation to coincide with a full moon and paddle away under the moonlight.
- Tanger Outlet Centre. Shop till you drop at the Tanger Outlet Centre in nearby Foley. With 120 stores, it’s a great spot to spend a rainy day. There’s even a merry go round and a splash pad to keep the kids happy.
- The Dog Pond. Your pet-friendly Gulf Shores vacation just got even better! Take your pooch to the Dog Pond at Lake Shelby for swimming, running and playing with other fur kids. Then, visit one of our favorite dog-friendly restaurants.
- Holmes Medical Museum. Granted, this doesn’t sound like a fun vacation stop, but it is! The museum was Baldwin County’s first hospital and operated from 1936 to 1958. The museum is arranged just as it was when it served as the hospital and most artifacts and operating room machinery are original. The unique piece of history has remained virtually unchanged for the last 60 years.
- The Wharf. You can easily spend a full day at The Wharf in Orange Beach. Treat the family to miniature golf, a Ferris wheel ride or even a concert in the 10,000-seat amphitheater. Feast on good eats at some of our favorite Orange Beach restaurants, including Ginny Lane Bar & Grill and Villaggio.
- Hummingbird Zipline. Get your kicks on the Hummingbird Zipline, also located at The Wharf. Soar high and be entertained by knowledgeable guides. The zipline is perfect for thrill seekers and even nature lovers.
- Orange Beach Cat Boat Tours. This is a can’t-miss Orange Beach attraction. Glide over the back bays in your own, personal watercraft. The boats sit low and zip through the water. You can take a guided tour and hear about celebrity homes on Ono Island or rent a cat boat for an individual trip. We recommend the guided tour!
- Sand Castle University. If your sand castle skills aren’t what they used to be, give Sand Castle University a call. You’ll learn all the tips and tricks for building a spectacular sand structure. You’ll even be provided with a video from your lesson. It’s a great souvenir and fun way to share your fun with friends and family.
- Big Beach Brewing Company. Pull up a chair and order a flight of the bartender’s favorite craft brews at Big Beach Brewing Company in Gulf Shores. This fun spot is kid and dog-friendly, another reason we love it! Get there at before sunset and watch the sun sink from the brewery’s deck.
- Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. No trip to Gulf Shores would be complete without a visit to the zoo. Splurge a little and do an animal encounter. For just a few extra dollars, you can hold baby kangaroos, chill out with lemurs and even get up close and personal with reptiles. It’s truly an unforgettable experience!
- Golf Gulf Shores. Tee off for a day on the greens at Cotton Creek at Craft Farms. One of our favorite golf courses, Arnold Palmer’s Cotton Creek offers 18 holes of championship golf.
- Orange Beach Helicopter Tour. Get a bird’s eye view of the beach on an Orange Beach Helicopter Tour. Tours are for up to three people and are perfect for seeing miles of white-sand beaches and turquoise water. You can even see schools of fish from up above. Don’t forget your camera!
- Flora-Bama Marina. Rent a boat! What better way to experience Gulf Shores and Orange Beach than on the water? Be a local for the day and boat over to Robinson and Bird Islands near Alabama Point or cruise in to boat-friendly restaurants like LuLu’s and Tacky Jacks. The Flora-Bama Marina rents luxury pontoon boats, as well as pontoons with slides. You can also rent jet skis. After your day on the water, take the sand to the Flora-Bama Yacht Club for bushwackers and fire-grilled oysters.
- Charter Fishing. Orange Beach is the fishing mecca of the Southeast. Drop a line with one of 100 charter fishing captains and reel in red snapper, Spanish mackerel, redfish, grouper and more. You can even tell a tall fish tale. You’re secret is safe with us!
For more attractions and things to do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, browse our listings and start planning THE vacation of the summer. Mark off your bucket list and make memories to write home about. Browse our directory of beach vacation rentals to complete your getaway on Alabama beaches.