Have you been dreaming about white-sand beaches and sparkling turquoise water? It may be time for your next tropical getaway! The Gulf of Mexico is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, so how do you decide which one to visit first? We’ve outlined some comparisons between Dauphin Island vs. Gulf Shores to help you plan the vacation of your dreams. Read on to learn more and get ready for your next trip to paradise!
Dauphin Island and Gulf Shores both have beautiful beaches, but there are a few differences between the two destinations. Are you looking for the best nightlife? Where are the best restaurants? Which area has more activities for your next family gathering? Here’s what you need to know!
Dauphin Island is a quiet and peaceful town, known for its natural beauty and abundant wildlife. If you’re looking to retreat away from it all, this may be the destination for you! There is a scenic bike path that winds through the island, and nature-lovers will enjoy visiting the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. However, because the island is remote, there aren’t as many activities or attractions. There are a few restaurants here, but you’ll find many more dining options in Gulf Shores. It’s also important to note that there is no bridge from Dauphin Island to Gulf Shores. To get back to the mainland, you’d have to wait for a ferry or drive around the bay.
Where Dauphin Island is remote, Gulf Shores can be as busy or laid-back as you want it to be! Whether you prefer to be relaxing on the beach or enjoying activities with the whole family, there is something for everyone here. Spend your days kayaking, parasailing, diving, boating, fishing or lounging by the shoreline. Or, get lost in nature and explore miles of scenic hiking trails. Art enthusiasts and history buffs will enjoy browsing the local galleries and museums. And if you have kids, they will love visiting the Gulf Coast Zoo, playing mini-golf, or racing go-karts! The list of things to do in Gulf Shores is endless, which makes it easy to plan your ideal getaway.
Another thing that sets Gulf Shores apart from Dauphin Island is that there is a greater selection of shops and restaurants. Dig into the fresh catch of the day at one of the seafood restaurants, enjoy the best of fine dining, or grab a quick bite to eat at one of the cafes or bistros. And when the sun sets, enjoy the vibrant nightlife or spend the evening relaxing with family in your Harris Property.
Now that you know some of the differences between Dauphin Island vs. Gulf Shores, it’s time to plan your ultimate getaway! When it comes to lodging options in the area, no place can compare to Harris Vacation Rentals. We offer a wide array of properties in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan. Whether you’re searching for a pet-friendly option, a home with a private pool, or a beachfront rental, we are sure to have the perfect accommodations for your stay. Plus, when you book a Harris Vacation Rentals vacation rental, you’ll even receive up to $100 off local tours and activities through TripShock! Browse all properties and contact us to start planning your getaway today. We can’t wait to welcome you!
Gulf Shores is a superb place for a family vacation. Beautiful white sand beaches, fun outdoor activities, and lively waterfront restaurants abound on the Gulf Coast. From mini golf to indoor arcades to ferry rides, the whole family is guaranteed to be entertained! Read on to discover our favorite attractions for family fun in Gulf Shores! Then, browse our wide array of vacation rentals and start planning your trip with Harris Vacation Rentals today!
It’s no secret that there are limitless options for family-friendly Gulf Shores attractions! Here are some of our favorites.
Look no further than Gulf State Park for a day’s worth of fun family activities! Soak up the sun on three miles of pristine beaches, and enjoy a seaside picnic at the beach pavilion. The on-site Nature Center, a living museum of native Gulf Shores plants and animals, is a great place to learn about the area’s natural habitat. They offer a weekly program that includes a guided nature and beach walk.
A trip to Gulf State Park would be incomplete without a stop at the Gulf State Park Pier. This is the largest pier on the Gulf of Mexico, and the sunsets can’t be beaten. Take your kids for a scenic fishing trip atop the pier. Don’t have equipment of your own? You can rent some from the bait and tackle shop! This is one of our favorite things to do for the best family fun in Gulf Shores.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is famous for its starring role in the Animal Planet series “The Little Zoo That Could.” After being battered by three major hurricanes in the mid-2000s, the show was focused on the zoo’s reopening. Now, the zoo is back in business and will become “The Little Zoo That Grew” after its major expansion project in the fall of 2019.
For now, you can visit the zoo’s 290 animals from 9-4 every day. There is a petting zoo, reptile house, and daily animal shows in the summer. Our favorite part of the zoo is the animal encounters. Get up close to a kangaroo, stroke an alligator’s spine, and let a lemur climb on your shoulder. This is a unique experience that your kids are sure to remember. The Gulf Coast Zoo is one of the best family-friendly activities in town!
Amusement park, anyone? The Track is one of Gulf Shore’s most exciting attractions. This fun park has it all ‒ go-kart rides, mini golf, arcade games, and bumper boats! Our favorite activity at The Track is their famous Wild Woody go-kart course. This elevated, three-story course offers thrill seekers a drop at the bottom. You can’t miss The Track’s signature attraction! The Track is open year-round, making it one of the best off-season activities in Gulf Shores for families.
All aboard! Hop on the Mobile Bay Ferry for an action-packed day on Dauphin Island. The 40-minute ferry ride from Fort Morgan to Fort Gaines provides lovely views of the bay and saves hours in driving time.
When you arrive on Dauphin Island, take a tour of the historic Fort Gaines. This Civil War fort has original cannons, a blacksmith shop, and a museum for you to explore. We also suggest a visit to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Explore the marine education and research center, then take a closer look. The sea lab’s Estuarium offers a hands-on experience, which includes a boardwalk tour and stingray touch pool.
Even in a beautiful beach town like Gulf Shores, the sun won’t always be shining. Don’t worry; we know the best things to do in Gulf Shores on a rainy day. What better way to bond with your family than taking on a life-sized adventure game with them? Breakout Games in Orange Beach offers guests the chance to solve real-time puzzles and decipher clues as a team. You have 60 minutes to “escape” these themed rooms!
If you’re feeling inspired, we recommend spending the day at The Hot Shop in Orange Beach. This hot glass blowing facility gives visitors the chance to watch local artisans at work. Like what you see? You can try it out yourself! The Hot Spot offers hands-on classes by reservation. Bring home your own piece of blown glass as the ultimate vacation souvenir.
No one wants the fun to stop because it’s raining. When you plan your Gulf Shores vacation, be sure to book the ideal accommodations for rain or shine. Our Sunset Paradise condo has an indoor pool and game room to keep the kids entertained no matter the weather!
What’s the one thing you absolutely must do in Gulf Shores? Spend a day at the beach! Get in touch with your zen side, grab a book and a beach chair, and pick your spot on the sand. There’s nothing better than relaxing oceanside. There’s plenty for kids to love, too. Building sandcastles, swimming, and riding on boogie boards are just a few of our recommendations. Don’t forget to snap a picture of the stunning scenery before you pack up!
The most important part of planning a vacation is ensuring you have the perfect place to stay. At Harris Vacation Rentals, we’re a family-owned and -operated business. When you book a vacation rental direct with us, we want you to have wonderful memories to look back on. Want the perfect vacation souvenir? Just ask! We’re happy to frame and mail your favorite family photo from your trip!
After a day of family fun in Gulf Shores, you’ll want a place to relax. Faxo’s Retreat is a three bedroom, two bath home with a fully equipped kitchen and spacious entertaining areas. This lagoon-front house has a private pier for boating, fishing, and kayaking adventures. The private pool is ideal for relaxing, and the attached kiddie pool is excellent for younger swimmers. Each morning, enjoy a cup of coffee on the deck overlooking the lagoon. Bring the whole family (including your furry friends) to this pet-friendly retreat!