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!
There’s one thing we can all agree on: Vacation is awesome. If you’re like us, you mark off the days on your calendar and prepare to make memories that will last a lifetime. The only downside is leaving your adored family dog at home. We hate to see our furry friends left behind. So, we’ve compiled a guide on the best of dog friendly Orange Beach vacation so that you can bring everyone’s favorite family member on your next beach vacation! There’s so much to explore on the Gulf Coast. Read on to discover some of our favorite dog-friendly spots, then start planning your Gulf Shores family vacation with Harris Vacation Rentals!
Your pup will love a visit to the Dog Pond. This dog park is located on Lake Shelby in Gulf State Park, and it is open from 8 a.m. until sunset. Though dogs must be leashed when they enter the park, they are free to roam on this doggy playground once they’ve entered. The dog park has stunning water views and plenty of entertainment for dogs. They’ll go crazy over the agility courses, play equipment, and swimming area. What more could man’s best friend need?
Tip: Leashed dogs are allowed on the trails in Gulf State Park, as well as the picnic and campground sections. However, there are no pets allowed in the swimming pool, nature center, or beaches in the park.
Beware: Lake Shelby is home to many types of wildlife, including alligators. Please be vigilant at all times.
This dog park is one of the greatest pet-friendly activities in Gulf Shores. There is a ¾ acre shaded area with separate fencing for large and small dogs. There’s plenty of water for tired dogs to lap up and benches for owners to take a seat. Gulf Shores Dog Park is another large green space for dogs to roam in unleashed.
This network of seven trails spans more than fifteen miles and traverses six different ecosystems. The trails weave through Gulf State Park, Orange Beach, and Gulf Shores. To find the most convenient path for you, check out their comprehensive trail map. There are plenty of restrooms, water stations, parking, and access spots along the trails.
The Backcountry Trail is home to years and years of history. The story Catman Road, for example, dates back to the Native Americans. The legendary Catman was a young, fanatic warrior who ran away from his village with a pack of wildcats. It is rumored that when you hear leaves rustling or whispers in the wind on the Backcountry Trail, you may be about to catch a glimpse of Catman.
Today, the trails have plenty of amenities, like a picnic pavilion, geocaching activity, and butterfly garden. During your hike, you’ll walk through beautiful marshes and swamps. Don’t forget your camera, because you may even see a bobcat or alligator along the way!
Bring your dog along for the ultimate dog friendly Orange Beach adventure. While your pet must remain on a leash at all times on the trails, there are miles of space for your pup to run, play, and explore.
Fort Morgan is just a 40-minute drive from Orange Beach. Enjoy the scenic drive out to Gulf Shore’s most secluded neighborhood. When you arrive, dive into the fort’s rich military history. Fort Morgan played a role in the Civil and Spanish-American Wars as well as both World Wars and the Battle of Mobile. Step back in time with a trip to the Fort Morgan Historic Site!
Tip: Dogs are allowed anywhere in the fort or inside the seawall. They must be leashed and under their owner’s control. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed on the adjoining beach or Sutter Wildlife Refuge.
A Gulf Shores vacation would be incomplete without a day at the beach. Unlike the more commercial areas in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan allows dogs on leashes to most of its public beaches! The dog-friendly region of the beach are between the engineer’s wharf and the fishing pier. Walk the dog, build a sandcastle with the kids, and catch some waves. End your day with a golden sunset over the ocean.
After you’ve spent the day with your pup, you’ll need a place that the whole family can call home! At Harris Vacation Rentals, we value our furry friends just as much as you do, which is why we offer a variety of pet-friendly beach rentals.
One of our favorite dog friendly Orange Beach homes is Dock of the Bay. This spacious four bedroom, two and one half bathroom bungalow overlooks the serene blue waters of Wolf Bay. The screened porch is ideal for watching magnificent Gulf Shores sunsets while keeping away the bugs. This fisherman’s paradise has a private dock for reeling in the perfect catch of the day!
Another great dog-friendly vacation rental near Gulf Shores is Sea’s the Day in Fort Morgan. The tropical paradise property offers sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico. Your pup will love hanging out on the outdoor patio as you grill on the barbecue. The home features an airy, white, updated kitchen as well as an open floor plan living area. The property is ideal for family reunions, as it sleeps up to 12 guests.
We have more than 30 pet-friendly rentals for your family. Never leave your furry friend at home again!
Are you ready to make your vacation plans with Harris Vacation Rentals? Browse all of our vacation rentals and book your Gulf Shores getaway today!
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!