There’s just something special about that first visit to the beautiful beaches in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Nothing quite compares to the feeling of slipping off your shoes, walking barefoot across the sand and dipping your toes in the Gulf of Mexico. If it’s your first time visiting Gulf Shores, welcome! Read on to learn about some of the best things to see and do along our sugar-white shores.
Visiting Gulf Shores for the first time? Enjoy your beach getaway to the fullest when you book a Harris Properties vacation rental! When you book one of our vacation homes, you’ll receive up to $100 off local tours and activities through OnceThere. Planning the perfect vacation has never been easier!
6 Must-Do Activities for Your First Gulf Shores Vacation
1. Visit the Welcome Center
After settling into your Gulf Shores condo, the first thing you should do is visit the Gulf Shores Welcome Center. Get a coupon book for goodies like free desserts or appetizers at restaurants, as well as discounts on local attractions. Plus, hear about special events taking place during your visit from the friendly and knowledgeable Welcome Center staff.
The Gulf Shores Welcome Center also provides an official vacation guide, free Wi-Fi access, and public computer terminals. It’s open seven days a week, but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas.
2. Take Your Photo at The Shark’s Mouth
Next, head to Souvenir City and get your picture taken in the shark’s mouth! It’s a longstanding tradition for families. After you walk through the attraction, browse the store, packed full of great T-shirts, glassware and other gifts to take home. Everyone enjoys the fudge!
3. Have a Blast at The Wharf
You could easily spend the entire day browsing the many shops, restaurants, and family-friendly attractions at The Wharf at Orange Beach. You’ll definitely want to check out the mini-golf courses, arcades, movie theatres, and Alabama’s longest zipline course. And if there’s one thing you absolutely must do, it’s ride the Ferris Wheel! This iconic landmark gives you tree-top views of the coast and costs just $5 per person (kids aged 3 and under ride free). When night falls, make sure to stay for one of the SPECTRA shows. The popular sound and light spectacular happens nightly and is an experience like no other! Admission is free.
4. Listen to Live Music at Lulu’s
LuLu’s is a family-friendly destination restaurant located just over the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge. A favorite hangout for locals and visitors alike, LuLu’s takes the coastal theme to the extreme with great outdoor seating, children’s activities, and entertainment on stage every night of the week. It’s a must-see if you’re visiting Gulf Shores for the first time!
5. Visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Take a walk on the wild side at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. The zoo, which opened in 1989, is now home to about 500 animals. See alligators, monkeys, lemurs, tigers and more. Get an up-close look at animals in their natural habitat! Play with lemurs, baby kangaroos and sloths. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, you’ll love every second of your visit to this world-class zoo.
6. Take a Sunset Stroll Along the Beach
It may be last on the list, but it’s the one thing you absolutely have to do while visiting our beautiful beaches on a first-time Gulf Shores vacation. There’s just something magical about watching the sun sink low into the horizon before disappearing into the aquamarine Gulf waters. Who are we kidding? It’s something you’ll want to do each and every visit.
What Is the Weather Like in Gulf Shores?
Many of our first-time guests ask us when is the best time to visit Gulf Shores. Long story short, the weather is great all year ‘round! Fall is a beautiful season with highs in the mid-70s and lows in the high 40s. Winter doesn’t get much colder, though there may be some heavy jacket days in January and February. By spring, everyone’s ready to hit the beach again as temperatures warm up. Summertime brings highs near 100 degrees, but the cool breeze from the Gulf keeps it nice for beach-goers.
Where to Stay in Gulf Shores
When it comes to the best accommodations in Gulf Shores, AL, look no further than Harris Properties! Our gorgeous vacation homes and condos have everything you need for a memorable first time visiting Gulf Shores. Whether you’re dreaming of a beachfront home, a rental with a private pool, or a large family home, we are sure to have the ideal accommodation for your getaway. Are you ready to make memories to last a lifetime? Browse our properties and contact us to book your stay today. We can’t wait to welcome you to paradise!