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The Gulf of Mexico is home to the most beautiful beaches in the world — it’s no secret. Spanning more than 150 miles, the Gulf Islands National Seashore is known for its dazzling aquamarine waters and sugar-white sand. From swimming and paddling to hiking and waterfront dining, the list of things to do at the Gulf Shores National Seashore is endless! Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy a day in paradise.

For more ideas about things to see and do by the Gulf Shores National Seashore, check out our Activities page. It’s full of tips about the best local activities, excursions, tours, and more. And, when you book a Harris Vacation Rentals family vacation rental, you’ll even receive up to $100 0ff local tours and activities through TripShock. Vacation planning has never been easier! 

Book Your Gulf Shores Activities Now!

Gulf Shores National Seashore: Top 5 Things to Do

1. Dive into the Gulf

With pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear water, it’s no wonder so many are drawn to the natural paradise that is Gulf Shores, Alabama. There are endless water activities to enjoy here, including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, swimming, boating, diving, snorkeling, and more.  Fly high amongst the clouds on a parasailing adventure, dive to colorful underwater reefs, or cast a line into the sparkling Gulf waters. Do you prefer to stay on land? Lounge by the shoreline and soak up the sun, beach comb for shells and other treasures, or simply sink your toes into the sand and relax. The possibilities are endless! 

2. Indulge in Waterfront Dining and Shopping

When you’re ready to take a break from the sun and surf, head indoors for a delicious meal overlooking the Gulf. Some of our favorite waterfront dining spots on the Gulf Shores include Lulu’s, The Hangout Gulf Shores, and the iconic Flora-Bama. The Wharf at Orange Beach also features a wide array of fabulous dining and shopping options. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual meal or a gourmet four-course dinner, there is something for everyone here!

3. Enjoy Exciting Tours and Attractions

Are you searching for the best dolphin excursions? Perhaps you’re interested in taking everyone on a sunset cruise. No matter what your family decides to do, you’ll have a blast exploring the many attractions in Gulf Shores. Play a round of mini-golf, race go-karts at the Track, or take the kids to the Gulf Coast Zoo, or make a splash at Waterville USA. After a fun-filled day of adventure, come rest your head in your comfortable Gulf Shores vacation rental and relax.

4. Take a Step Back in Time

Discover Gulf Shores’ rich and fascinating past! History-buffs will love exploring the local museums, historic forts, and other sites along the Gulf Shores National Seashore. Discover what life was like for this region’s earliest inhabitants at the Gulf Shores Museum or catch a live reenactment at Fort Morgan historic site. And if you’ve never taken a tour of the Swift-Coles Historic Home, you’re in for a very special treat. With incredible architecture and a unique story, it’s easy to envision what life was like during the Gilded Age in the South.

5. Explore the Great Outdoors

Calling all nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts! Beautiful beaches are not all that the Gulf Shores National Seashore has to offer. In fact, this region is home to miles of scenic hiking trails, state parks, and wildlife refuges. Gulf State Park is one of the most beloved landmarks in Alabama filled with great spots for hiking, fishing, or lounging by the shoreline. Are you interested in wildlife-viewing or birding? Make sure to Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge to see Alabama wildlife in their natural habitat! Keep an eye out for common and rare animals including bobcats, red foxes, armadillos, alligators, and six-lined race runners. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Book Your Stay in a Harris Property

After an amazing day by the Gulf Shores National Seashore, come kick back and relax in a Harris Property. We offer a wide range of vacation rentals in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan. Whether you prefer a home with a private pool, a beachfront condo, a pet-friendly accommodation, or a luxury property, we are sure to have the ideal accommodation for your family beach getaway. Plus, you’ll enjoy being just minutes from all of these amazing activities and attractions. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us to start planning your beach vacation today! We can’t wait to welcome you.

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Top Gulf Shores Fun Activities – Museum Day Trips

Gulf Shores, Alabama is a treasured stretch of acreage, filled with white sand beaches framing turquoise waters, charming architecture, and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet! We love our small town and aren’t afraid to show it, and one of the many things that makes Gulf Shores so wonderful is its proximity to other larger towns.

We can spend a day in the city, eating gourmet meals, shopping at high end boutiques, exploring museums that are exciting and interesting, and still go home at the end of the day, thankful to be able to sleep in our own beds. If you’re staying in one of our charming Harris Vacation Rentals vacation homes, you might find one or more of these museums an interesting addition to your vacation itinerary—enjoy!

Bellingrath Gardens & Home – 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road, Theodore

Located in idyllic Theodore, Alabama, this charming home and the gardens surrounding it, offer a chance to get a glimpse of 1930’s Southern life. Used as a weekend home at first, it was the most modern house in all of Theodore, even without electricity. Built in 1935, electricity did not come to the area until 1940; a generator provided power for the five years between.

The American Sport Art Museum & Archives – One Academy Drive, Daphne

Sports fanatics and history buffs will all enjoy a trip to Daphne, Alabama, and the opportunity to explore this museum filled with sports art, literature, and history. Filled with media of all types—photography, sculpture, paintings and more—their collection of Olympic posters is particularly interesting to us, but it’s all fascinating!

Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum – 2081 Radford Boulevard, Pensacola

When you’re this close to the Florida border, you are almost expected to cross the line, and a visit to the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum is a perfect excuse to do so! The 177 steps you must take to arrive at the best view in town may not be for everybody, but the views from below are still wonderful enough to take your breath away while offering a unique photo opportunity!

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park – 2703 Battleship Parkway, Mobile

Military history buffs will never want to leave the deck of this fascinating Mobile, Alabama Memorial filled with historic aircraft, submarines, and a genuine battleship. This just might be the coolest museum EVER!

Book with Harris Vacation Rentals Today

Explore the world around us when you visit museums and fun things to do in Gulf Shores. We can promise this will be your best vacation choice you’ve ever made! Browse our newest condos , cottages and best deals now!