Are you tired of shoveling ice and snow out of the driveway? Escape the freezing temperatures with a relaxing winter getaway to beautiful Gulf Shores, Alabama! While summer is peak season along our Gulf Coast paradise, winter is secretly one of the best time to visit. Are you ready to enjoy lower rates, fewer crowds, warmer weather, and endless activities? Here are some of the best things to do in Gulf Shores in winter!
Gulf Shores experiences mild winters, and the beautiful weather is ideal for enjoying outdoor activities. Are you looking to play a round of golf? You’ll find an array of award-winning golf courses here. Spend a fabulous day teeing off on the 36-hole Arnold Palmer-designed course at Craft Farms Golf Club. Or, visit the links-style course at Kiva Dunes in Fort Morgan. Ranked the #1 public golf course in Alabama by Golf Advisor, this course promises to be a challenging yet rewarding play every time.
While it’s too cold for swimming during the winter months, you can still enjoy fishing in the Gulf! Cast a line right from the dock or embark on a thrilling deep-sea adventure with one of the local charters. During the winter months, the waters are teeming with species like redfish, pompano, and sheepshead. See if you can reel in all three!
Calling all nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts! Winter is a spectacular time to take a stroll along the shoreline or the many nature trails in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Visit the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and hike along miles of winding, scenic trails. Keep an eye out for rare birds, alligators, nesting turtles, and the flora and fauna of these coastal habitats.
Are you looking for the best things to do in Orange Beach? From shopping and dining to attractions and events, The Wharf in Orange Beach offers year-round family fun. Soar on a zipline adventure at the Hummingbird Zipline Course, enjoy ice skating with the whole family, or play a game of laser tag at Arena The Next Level. Afterward, enjoy delicious cuisine at one of the local restaurants.
If you’re visiting during the holiday season, you’re in for a treat! There are tons of fun holiday events in Gulf Shores, and you won’t want to miss a single one! If you’re searching for the best things to do in Gulf Shores, Alabama, in November, the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at The Wharf should be at the top of your list. Enjoy cookie decorating, hot cocoa, the lighting of the tree and visits with Santa at this festive celebration. Are you spending Christmas in Gulf Shores? Mark your calendar for the Annual Lighted Christmas Parade, Christmas Boat Parade, and the Flora-Bama Santa Drop!
Now that you know about all the best things to do in Gulf Shores in winter, it’s time to start planning your trip! When it comes to the best local lodging, no place can compare to Harris Vacation Rentals. We offer a wide array of vacation rentals throughout Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and Fort Morgan. Why settle for a generic chain hotel when you could be enjoying luxurious beds, full kitchens, and all the comforts of home? Plus, all of the best activities and attractions are just minutes away!
Whether you’re dreaming of a property with Gulf Views, an intimate villa, or a large family home, your dream vacation awaits. Browse all of our incredible properties and contact us to start planning your winter getaway today. We can’t wait to welcome you!
When you picture your ideal beach vacation, what do you see? Are you lounging on white sand beaches, parasailing over bright blue waters, or dining at waterfront restaurants? Gulf Shores is the perfect destination for experiencing all of these activities and more. Fishing along the Gulf is an excellent way to spend a day during your trip. Savor the sunshine, hang out by the water, and have fun seeing who can reel in the biggest catch. If you’ve never fished before, or this is your first time fishing in Gulf Shores, don’t worry! We created the ultimate Gulf Shores in Alabama fishing guides. Read on to find out the best spots for fishing and some tips and tricks for fishing along the Gulf. Then, check out all of our family-friendly vacation rentals and get ready to book your vacation!
The Alabama Gulf Coast is a great spot for avid anglers. The Gulf State Park Fishing Pier, in the heart of Gulf State Park, is perhaps the best place for fishing in the state. Hurricane Ivan destroyed the old pier in 2004, but the rebuilt and revamped pier is better than ever before. The new pier is wheelchair accessible and features comfort stations, a shop for tackle and souvenirs, and indoor seating at the concessions area.
The pier is also an incredibly scenic spot for fishing! You can choose saltwater fishing off the dock for flounder, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, and more. Or, you can venture farther into the park for freshwater fishing in Lake Shelby. There, you’ll find redfish, bass, catfish, and more. A complete list of fees can be found on the park’s website. There are additional charges for fishing licenses and rod rentals.
Fishing charters are another awesome way to get the most out of your Gulf Shores fishing experience. When you select a fishing charter, the captain provides everything you’ll need. This includes the boat, fishing licenses, equipment, and top-notch knowledge of the local waters. Here are a few of our favorite fishing charters in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach:
Check out the Gulf Shores Tourism website for even more fishing charter options!
There’s no doubt about it: fishing is a year-round sport along the Alabama Gulf Coast. During the summer, surf fishing along the beach is a favorite activity for both kids and adults. Pompano, whiting, and flounder are the most common catches for this fishing method. When the spring weather turns into summer heat within a matter of weeks, it’s important to head into deeper waters to find bigger fish.
Summertime is arguably the best time of year for fishing in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. However, winter offers some promising fishing opportunities as well. Redfish, pompano, and sheepshead are the top three winter catches in Gulf Shores. Braving the winter cold could have a big payoff!
Check out this chart for a complete list of what’s biting during the different seasons. Please note that, while fishing is permitted at all times of the year, gray triggerfish season doesn’t begin until midnight on March 1st. Federal waters also open on this day.
There are so many different fishing methods to use in Gulf Shores. So, what exactly is the difference between inshore and offshore fishing? According to our Gulf Shores in Alabama fishing guides, inshore fishing usually takes place within nine miles of the shoreline. Popular spots include Fort Morgan and Perdido Pass. In Gulf Shores, you can expect to spend four to six hours reeling in speckled trout, white trout, tripletail, flounder and redfish. Offshore, or deep sea fishing, is done more than nine miles from land (typically 20-30 miles). Delve into the Gulf of Mexico’s rich, blue waters to find artificial reefs, natural sand bottoms, and a variety of fish.
Other fishing methods along the Gulf include fly fishing, bow fishing, and canoe or kayak fishing. These unique adventures can add an extra element of excitement to your fishing journey. No matter which method you choose, Gulf Shores is the ideal place for appreciating breathtaking scenery and catching staggering fish.
Now that you’ve read our Gulf Shores in Alabama fishing guides, you’re ready to get out on the water! Whether you’re traveling to Gulf Shores for a guys getaway, family reunion, or vacation with the kids, fishing is a wonderful way to get out and enjoy the Alabama sunshine.
A vacation rental home with Harris Vacation Rentals is the perfect place to unwind and spend quality time with family and friends. Our Beach Babe home features a private beach and fishing pier for your enjoyment. Soak up the sun on the sand or test out your fishing skills on the dock. The home’s side porch overlooks Little Lagoon, making it a peaceful spot to relax with a book or a cup of coffee. This 3-bedroom oasis has comfortable furnishings, spacious entertainment areas, and covered parking as well.
You’ve spent the week relaxing on Alabama’s white-sand beaches, but now you need some adrenaline-pumping fun for one last vacation hoorah. What do you do? We’ve got ideas to give you the thrills and chills you’re seeking with these unique Orange Beach and Gulf Shores activities.
We’re not talking about the kind of fishing your grandpa did. We’re talking rod-bending, arm-aching charter fishing 30 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico. As the charter fishing mecca of the Southeast, Orange Beach boasts more than 100 experienced charter fishing captains. Connect with Reel Surprise Charters for tall fish tales and a fishing experience to write home about. Reel Surprise Charters offers shared-expense charters, as well as private fishing trips. Their head boat (a boat accommodating 20 or more anglers) is one of the most popular charter fishing trips in Orange Beach.
Just north of Gulf Shores in Foley, Alabama, is the newest amusement park on the Gulf Coast. With 21 spine-tingling rides, thrill seekers will love a day at OWA. The park also added Wacky Waters, an interactive splash pad for the smaller thrill seekers in your group. Spend the day zipping and zooming on your favorite rides and then finish up with dinner in Downtown OWA at Wahlburgers.
For a wet and wild ride, visit Waterville USA, one of the most popular Gulf Shores attractions. The 20-acre waterpark and amusement park boasts a wooden roller coaster, go-karts and, of course, numerous waterslides and water attractions. See how well you can ride the waves on the Flowrider or race your family down Rainbow Falls. The really adventurous should ride the Screamin’ Demon. Not for the faint of heart, you’ll drop 60 feet in this white-knuckle scream machine. The Screamin’ Demon is a high-speed body slide.
Touch the sky with a personal flight aboard BeachFlight Aviation. Soar above the beaches and Gulf of Mexico with an experienced pilot on a trike, also known as a powered hang glider. Packages for these Gulf Shores attractions start at $150 for a one-on-one flight experience.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the Hummingbird Zipline at The Wharf. Soar 115 feet above the ground on the Orange Beach zipline course. The course offers eight ziplines and has been ranked as the number one attraction on TripAdvisor for three years. You’ll fly high at more than 30 miles per hour during a two and a half-hour tour over the Intracoastal Waterway and through wetlands. The less-adventurous in your crowd can browse the shops at The Wharf, play miniature golf or go for a ride on the tallest Ferris wheel in the Southeast.
How do you get your kicks on an Alabama beaches vacation? Explore these top thrill-seeker, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores attractions to put the finishing touches on your annual vacation.
White-sand beaches and clear turquoise water as far as the eye can see are hallmarks of an Orange Beach vacation. Alabama beaches are comprised of three main vacation spots – Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.
The sister cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach blend together, and many visitors don’t recognize where one ends and the other begins. However, each offers its own unique qualities. Guests who’ve been coming for generations are oftentimes loyal to one city or the other. However, if you’re a first-time visitor, catch up on each area in our three-part series on the individual travel styles of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.
An Orange Beach vacation is filled with spacious, white-sand beaches, especially near Alabama Point. Here, you’ll find visitors sunning, swimming and snorkeling. Robinson, Bird and Walker Islands are also located near this area and provide a beautiful setting for a day of fun in the sun. Only accessible by boat, these islands are popular spots for boaters on the weekends and kayakers during the week on an Orange Beach vacation.
Visitors who want to experience the islands can rent a pontoon boat at Flora-Bama Marina and spend a half or full day cruising the waterways. Beach your boat and set up your chairs for the day. If you’re not an experienced boater, go kayaking with Coastal Kayak Excursions. Captain Glenn will provide you with a guided tour of the backbays or transport you and your kayak to Walker Island where you can spend the day paddling through the crystal-clear water.
An Orange Beach vacation isn’t complete without a trip to The Wharf. This shopping and entertainment district is a hot spot for fun located on the Intercoastal Waterway. Home to the Hummingbird Zipline, a miniature golf course, the tallest Ferris wheel in Alabama and a 10,000-seat amphitheater, there’s an activity for everyone! The amphitheater has hosted Kenny Chesney, Kid Rock, Jason Aldean, Florida-Georgia Line and many more. You’ll also find a great assortment of Orange Beach restaurants at The Wharf, including the award-winning Bayes Southern Bar & Grill.
Visitors are flocking to Orange Beach for its unique culinary offerings. Foodies have found a new cuisine-centric destination in this coastal city. Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina boasts a James Beard Award nominee in Chef Bill Briand. This waterside restaurant prepares world-class dishes in a coastal comfortable atmosphere. On the opposite side of the menu is The Gulf, a waterfront restaurant made entirely of shipping containers. There’s no shortage of Instagram-worthy entrees at either of these unique Orange Beach restaurants.
Orange Beach is also home to the World Food Championships, where more than 1,500 chefs and home cooks compete for bragging rights and prize money. In addition, wine enthusiasts will enjoy The Wharf Uncorked Wine & Culinary Event. More than 100 labels are available for sampling at the wine festival during your Orange Beach vacation.
Orange Beach is considered the charter fishing mecca of the southeast. With more than 100 charter boat captains and one of the largest artificial reef systems in the country, it’s a haven for seasoned fishermen and those casting a line for fun. People come from all over the country for an Orange Beach vacation to watch or participate in some of the biggest fishing tournaments in the southeast.
The Blue Marlin Grand Championship of the Gulf hails from The Wharf in Orange Beach and is held every July. Hundreds of anglers cruise out to the Gulf in hopes of claiming a piece of the $1 million prize money. Billed the “greatest show in sportfishing,” spectators are invited to view the weigh-ins and are entertained with a boat parade, as well.
Held in May each year, the Orange Beach Billfish Classic means big fish and big money! Weigh-ins for this Orange Beach fishing tournament are held at The Wharf.
For those who want to cast a line and reel in a great Orange Beach vacation, it’s easy to book a charter fishing trip with an experienced captain from nearly any marina in this beachside city. Choose a four- or eight-hour trip or even an overnight Orange Beach charter fishing trip.
From spacious Gulf-front condos to bayside beach houses, you’ve got plenty of accommodation options during an Orange Beach vacation. You’ll find a great selection of dog-friendly vacation rentals, as well. When determining your travel style, ask yourself if you’d prefer a community pool with beachfront access or if the additional privacy of a beach house better meets your needs.
Now, let’s hear it. Read our entire Travel Style series and tell us which Alabama beach community best meets your travel style.