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Welcome to Paradise – Wish You Were Here!

Spring officially ushers in the high tourist season along the Alabama Gulf Coast – and Alabama’s very own Pleasure Island. By early May, the island will be teeming with vacationers. It’s likely you’ll require more than a week to see all the attractions, eateries, bars, and things to do and events in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, but if a week is all you have, that’s ample time to hit the must-do’s.

Eat and Drink

When it comes to beach grub, there’s the iconic establishments like Bubba’s, Lulu’s at Homeport, Tin Top, Tacky Jacks, The Hangout, Mikee’s, Sea ‘N Suds, DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen, Doc’s Seafood Shack, and of course, the infamous Flora-Bama. But there are some off-the-beaten path restaurants like Anchor, Flippers, Our Cigar Bar, Coastal Kitchen, O’Choppers, Snappers Lounge, Barefoot Island, and Our Cigar Bar, just to name a few. When it comes to imbibing in a bushwhacker or cocktail with an umbrella, there are dozens of juke joints, honky-tonks, and thatched, pool-side tiki bars to get your drink on. Cheers!

Family Fun On the Cheap

Got a condominium full of little ones? Pleasure Island offers things to do away from the beach like Waterville U.S.A., The Track, Adventure Island, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, The Hangout and much more. If you’re on a budget, there’s plenty to do on the cheap with the kids like Waterfront Park, Gulf State Park Pier, Fountain of Youth at Lulu’s and, naturally, the beach! Yeah, we got beaches—dozens of miles of powdery, snow-white sand. From West Beach to Gulf Shores to Cotton Bayou and Perdido Pass in Orange Beach, it’s endless beach as far as the eye can see.

Events and Festivals

April and May also means the shoulder season, which means festivals like the Interstate Mullet Toss and Gulf Coast’s Greatest Beach Party. What’s that? Glad you asked. It’s an intimate beach bash for three days at the Flora-Bama Lounge and Package along with tens of thousands of folks from across the country gathered for one purpose: to toss a lifeless mullet from Florida into Alabama and to party in paradise.

Like classic Southern muscle cars? In late April, The Wharf holds its annual Bama Coast Cruise. In May is The Hangout Fest, a three-day music fest held right on Gulf Shores Public Beach, featuring a variety of live music from Friday to Sunday night. Got wine? The Orange Beach Wine Fest in mid-May offers a plethora of crushed grapes at Caribe the Resort, while the Hot Air Balloon Festival in neighboring Foley in early May gives tourists a bird’s-eye-view of Baldwin County.

Where Do I Stay?

Lodging options run the gamut from small beach cottages to plush beachfront homes to cozy condos and swanky penthouses. Depending on your lodging budget and needs, the Alabama Gulf Coast offers all kinds of price points. Whether you’re looking for lodging for a romantic getaway for two or a large home for a family reunion or a baseball team, the area can accommodate your needs. But keep in mind, rates don’t dip in the high season.

Your Perfect Spot in the Sand

The beautiful beach communities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are no longer a secret, and with good reason. The beaches are some of the most pristine and stunning in the country, while the culinary and entertainment landscape captures the best of the Deep South. So, come on down, y’all.  What are you waiting for? The Alabama Gulf Coast is waiting for you.

The Top 5 Extraordinary Spots to Go Picnicking in Gulf Shores

When you visit Gulf Shores, you won’t want to skip out on enjoying our phenomenal weather—especially during the temperate months of the spring season. Take full advantage of the warm and cheerful Gulf Coast sunshine by planning a picnic in one of the city’s many distinctively beautiful spots that are perfectly suited for such activities. Read on below to learn more about some of Gulf Shores’ best places to picnic.

Fort Morgan Historic Site

Pair your picnic with a side of history at the Fort Morgan, where visitors can explore the ruins of a key battle site of the Civil War (sometimes with the added effect of costumed reenactments), as well as the rugged bluffs overlooking the scenic splendor of the Gulf of Mexico. You will likely get a glimpse of some of the huge cargo freighters that deliver goods from around the world to the Port of Mobile each day!

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Consisting of over fifteen miles of trails interspersed amid six different ecosystems, each trail in this extensive network offers distinctive sights for your viewing pleasure, from towering sand dunes to aromatic magnolias and a butterfly garden. You can hike off your meal as you go!

Lake Shelby Recreation Area

Shaded by immense oak trees, Lake Shelby offers serene picnicking conditions for those who wish to take their meal next to the idyllic backdrop of a 900-acre freshwater lake. Beyond sitting on the grass or by the shoreline, pavilions are also provided for picnics. Activities like kayaking and paddle boarding make for fun post-meal pursuits. Remember to bring your pooch because the waterfront dog park at Lake Shelby is just a few steps away!

Orange Beach Waterfront Park

Nestled against Wolf Bay, Orange Beach Waterfront Park has a number of amenities that are ideal for a picnic excursion, including shelter areas with grills, walking paths, a fishing pier, and a park for children.

Alabama Point East

Situated slightly east of Perdido Pass Bridge within the boundaries of Gulf State Park, this breathtaking locale includes pristine beaches, impressive sand dunes, tranquil boardwalks, and areas designated for picnicking, though just about any spot along Alabama Point East will provide stunning visuals to go along with your meal.

Harris Properties – Your Guide to Gulf Shores

Contact our reservations team to find out additional information on what you can expect during your time in Gulf Shores when you book your trip accommodations in one of the lovely vacation rentals that Harris Properties has to offer for your stay today!

golfball close to hole

Where to Go for the Best Golf in Gulf Shores

Nestled between windswept coastal dunes, snow-white beaches, and the glittering waves of the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Shores is an incredible vacation destination for people who want to escape into the beauty of a tropical paradise. However, even beyond its stunning environment, Gulf Shores has an abundance of things to do for recreation and leisure—including playing a round of golf on each of its many renowned courses.

Play your way through Gulf Shores and experience the area in a completely unique fashion that no tour could offer you! Below, we’ve put together a brief list of just a handful of the many great golf courses that have earned Gulf Shores its reputation as a top-tier destination for golfers of all skill levels. Harris Properties even has special pricing available for eight local courses; be sure to contact us at 877-446-4853 for more information before you hit the course!

Kiva Dunes Golf Course

Ranked by Golf Digest as one of the Top 100 Public Courses in the country, the expansive Kiva Dunes stretches across 7,092 yards and features an excellent course coupled with exquisite scenery. Situated along the shore, this course is much windier than others in the area. The opening hole gives you a relatively easy par 4 before launching into the more difficult holes. In particular, hole 9’s shot across the water can be challenging! Anyone looking to play this course will certainly want to take a look at our 19th Hole property, which overlooks the 9th green of this course!

Cotton Creek and Cypress Bend Courses at Craft Farms Golf Club

One of the two courses at Craft Farms that was designed by Arnold Palmer himself, is Cotton Creek, which consists of a massive 7,127 yards. Twelve of the holes on this course are framed by water, while the flat sites are given definition through the mounding along the fairways. Hole 6 is where you’ll really have to step up your game, with the first shot requiring carry over water just to reach the fairway, and then a second shot over water to land on the green. Anyone who walks away with a birdie on this hole can consider themselves a pro!

Rated four-and-a-half stars by Golf Digest, Cypress Bend is the newer sister course to Cotton Creek, both of which are located at Craft Farms Golf Club and were designed by Arnold Palmer. It’s widely known for its playability for golfers of all skill levels. The toughest challenge at Cotton Creek will be found at hole 4, where a well-placed initial drive sets you up for a tough approach over the water to the green. This 4.5 star course is sure to delight all players!

Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club

Located near Bon Secour Wildlife Preserve, this Earl Stone-designed golf course showcases twenty-seven holes and a stunning natural backdrop. The three different 9-hole courses—Cypress, Lakes, and Marsh— combine to make one of the most unforgettable golf experiences in the country! Each of the 9-hole courses offers completely different challenges, so you’ll need to break out all your skills (and maybe some luck!) to come away with a low score.

Gulf Shores Golf Club

Established in 1960’s, The Golf Shores Golf Club was the first course established in Gulf Shores. It underwent renovations in 2005 that added bunkers, upgraded fairways, and water features, as well as raised the total yards to 6,812. This beautiful course is also home to an abundance of wildlife. It creates an experience that no golf enthusiast will want to miss.

Plan the Tropical Vacation of a Lifetime with Harris Properties

Even though Gulf Shores is an amazing destination for lovers of golf, we also recognize that Gulf Shores is a paradise for all visitors—not just for golfers. Contact our team of reservation specialists to learn more about all that Gulf Shores has in-store for you during your time here when you book your trip accommodations through Harris Properties today.

The 5 Best Things to Do During Your Visit to Alabama State Park

One of the most gorgeous places to visit in Gulf Shores, Alabama State Park has a variety of incredible sights and activities for everyone to enjoy. Below, we’ve compiled a list of just a handful of the many top spots and activities to check out in Alabama State Park. We hope that you enjoy them as much as we do and that you find this information helpful during your time in Gulf Shores!

Walk Along the Largest Paved Trail Network in the U.S.

Alabama State Park is home to the Hugh S. Branyon Back Country Trail, which weaves its way throughout the Gulf Shores area on a series of fantastic trails for hiking and biking. Some of the trails are even pet-friendly!

Fish on the Largest Pier in the Gulf Coast

Alabama State Park is also home to the Gulf State Pier, known as a scenic place for visitors to eat and fish ‘til their heart’s content. When you stop by, you’ll find that day licenses, equipment, and bait area all available for rent or purchase here.

Spend Some Time on Lake Shelby

This beautiful lake area has paddleboard and kayak rentals for those who want to get out on the water, as well as bike rentals and segway tours for those who want to stay on dry land. Lake Shelby also has a waterfront dog park and hosts the annual Paws in the Park event every September.

Play a Few Rounds on the Golf Course

The golf course at Alabama State Park has a great value on their playing prices. For beginners or players looking to improve their game, free lessons are also provided on the course on Thursdays. Golfers who are interested in lessons should call the pro-shop for details.

Pair Your Fun with a Dash of Education

The Nature Center at Alabama State Park has a ton of fun educational programs that nature and animal lovers of all ages will enjoy. The center also offers guided tours, and has plans to bring on an on-site marine biologist for additional sea-based educational programs.

Harris Properties – Your Gateway to the Wonders of Gulf Shores, Alabama

For further information on Alabama State Park and other must-see attractions located all throughout the Gulf Shores area, contact our reservations team and learn more when you reserve your trip accommodations in one of the lovely vacation rental properties that Harris Properties has to offer today!

(Photo by faungg via Flickr, https:[email protected]/4099737286)

Museum Day Trips in Gulf Shores, AL

Top Gulf Shores 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 Properties 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 Properties Today

Explore the world around us when you visit museums in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We can promise this will be your best vacation choice you’ve ever made!