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.