Spring officially ushers in the high tourist season along the Alabama Gulf Coast – and Alabama’s very own Pleasure Island. By early May, the island will be teeming with vacationers. It’s likely you’ll require more than a week to see all the attractions, eateries, bars, and things to do and events in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, but if a week is all you have, that’s ample time to hit the must-do’s.

Eat and Drink

When it comes to beach grub, there’s the iconic establishments like Bubba’s, Lulu’s at Homeport, Tin Top, Tacky Jacks, The Hangout, Mikee’s, Sea ‘N Suds, DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen, Doc’s Seafood Shack, and of course, the infamous Flora-Bama. But there are some off-the-beaten path restaurants like Anchor, Flippers, Our Cigar Bar, Coastal Kitchen, O’Choppers, Snappers Lounge, Barefoot Island, and Our Cigar Bar, just to name a few. When it comes to imbibing in a bushwhacker or cocktail with an umbrella, there are dozens of juke joints, honky-tonks, and thatched, pool-side tiki bars to get your drink on. Cheers!

Family Fun On the Cheap

Got a condominium full of little ones? Pleasure Island offers things to do away from the beach like Waterville U.S.A., The Track, Adventure Island, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, The Hangout and much more. If you’re on a budget, there’s plenty to do on the cheap with the kids like Waterfront Park, Gulf State Park Pier, Fountain of Youth at Lulu’s and, naturally, the beach! Yeah, we got beaches—dozens of miles of powdery, snow-white sand. From West Beach to Gulf Shores to Cotton Bayou and Perdido Pass in Orange Beach, it’s endless beach as far as the eye can see.

Events and Festivals

April and May also means the shoulder season, which means festivals like the Interstate Mullet Toss and Gulf Coast’s Greatest Beach Party. What’s that? Glad you asked. It’s an intimate beach bash for three days at the Flora-Bama Lounge and Package along with tens of thousands of folks from across the country gathered for one purpose: to toss a lifeless mullet from Florida into Alabama and to party in paradise.

Like classic Southern muscle cars? In late April, The Wharf holds its annual Bama Coast Cruise. In May is The Hangout Fest, a three-day music fest held right on Gulf Shores Public Beach, featuring a variety of live music from Friday to Sunday night. Got wine? The Orange Beach Wine Fest in mid-May offers a plethora of crushed grapes at Caribe the Resort, while the Hot Air Balloon Festival in neighboring Foley in early May gives tourists a bird’s-eye-view of Baldwin County.

Where Do I Stay?

Lodging options run the gamut from small beach cottages to plush beachfront homes to cozy condos and swanky penthouses. Depending on your lodging budget and needs, the Alabama Gulf Coast offers all kinds of price points. Whether you’re looking for lodging for a romantic getaway for two or a large home for a family reunion or a baseball team, the area can accommodate your needs. But keep in mind, rates don’t dip in the high season.

Your Perfect Spot in the Sand

The beautiful beach communities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are no longer a secret, and with good reason. The beaches are some of the most pristine and stunning in the country, while the culinary and entertainment landscape captures the best of the Deep South. So, come on down, y’all.  What are you waiting for? The Alabama Gulf Coast is waiting for you.