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It can be difficult to choose the perfect location for your family beach trip, especially when there are so many amazing options along the Alabama Coast. Where are the best beaches? Are there plenty of activities, dining options, and shops near your vacation rental? What is the nightlife like? Many of our guests ask these types of questions when trying to decide between Gulf Shores vs. Orange Beach for their family vacation. To help make planning easier, we have highlighted a few differences between these two great locations. Read on to learn more and choose the destination that’s right for your family!

Book your Gulf Shores getaway today!

Gulf Shores vs. Orange Beach: What’s the Difference?

The Gulf Coast is home to the best beaches in the country – it’s no secret. Whether you choose to stay in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, Alabama, you’ll experience equally beautiful beaches in both locations. Sugar-white sand, sparkling aquamarine waters, and plenty of sunshine await at either destination. Both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach also offer extremely fresh seafood, access to scenic hiking and biking trails, watersport rentals, great shopping and dining. So, what is the major difference? While either of these amazing destinations would be a great choice for your beach getaway, it depends on your family’s personal preference.

Enjoy Exciting Activities in Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores offers more activities and attractions such as Zooland Mini-Golf, Waterville USA, the Gulf Coast Zoo, The Track Family Fun Park, South Baldwin Community Theatre, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and much, much more. From amusement parks and family-friendly fun to exciting nightlife and entertainment, the list of things to do in Gulf Shores is endless. If you’re searching for a vacation rental located in the heart of it all, this would be a great option for your stay. Whether you seek adventure or total relaxation, the possibilities are endless in Gulf Shores! 

Relax and Unwind in Orange Beach

On the other hand, Orange Beach offers a quieter and more laid-back beach vibe. If you’re more interested in lounging by the shoreline during your getaway, this may be more your speed. Cast a line into the Gulf, play a round of golf at Orange Beach golf course, or enjoy spending time with family in your Harris Property. Orange Beach also has its fair share of attractions and activities as well. The Wharf at Orange Beach is your ultimate destination for family fun. Here, you’ll discover fabulous shops and restaurants, Alabama’s longest zipline course, breakout games, arcades, charter boat cruises, mini-golf, a Ferris wheel and more. 

Have the Best Family Beach Vacation With Harris Vacation Rentals!

When it comes to choosing between Gulf Shores vs. Orange Beach, you really can’t go wrong. Either destination would be an excellent option for your family beach getaway, especially when you’re staying in a Harris Property! Unlike Orange Beach hotels or Gulf Shores hotels, our spacious vacation rentals offer a unique lodging experience that you won’t find elsewhere. Choose the exact home you want, whether it’s a pet-friendly accommodation, a rental with a private pool, a beachfront property, or a luxury home. The whole family will have plenty of room to unwind and socialize after a fabulous day of adventure!

Harris Vacation Rentals offers vacation rentals in three amazing locations: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan. Choose the location that’s right for your family and get ready for your next unforgettable trip to paradise. Browse our properties and contact us to book your stay. We can’t wait to welcome you!

Nothing says “Welcome to Gulf Shores” like seeing a dolphin jump out of the water. During your next beach vacation, put one of the awesome dolphin cruises in Gulf Shores on your to-do list. It’s a unique way to get an up-close look at dolphins in their natural habitat! Read on to discover our top recommendations for dolphin cruises. Then, start planning your Gulf Shores vacation with Harris Vacation Rentals!

Book Your Family Vacation Today!

Here Are the Best Dolphin Cruises in Gulf Shores

Thanks to the mild Gulf climate, these breathtaking dolphin cruises are held year-round in Gulf Shores!

The Sunny Lady Dolphin Tours

The Sunny Lady is one of our favorite cruises in Gulf Shores! Explore the scenic bays of Orange Beach on this hour and a half-long dolphin cruise. This is one of the most relaxing dolphin cruises in the area because the ship doesn’t leave the bay. Discover the marvelous shores of Orange Beach Bay throughout the day or at sunset with Sunny Lady dolphin cruises.

Tip: If you don’t want to buy snacks and drinks on the boat, each guest is allowed to bring their own six-pack cooler.

The Fun Boat

The Fun Boat is the perfect dolphin cruise for families with children. Their well-informed staff answers all dolphin, shark, and sea life questions your kids may have during the boat ride.

Not only will you spend two hours on the water observing Bottlenose dolphins, but you’ll also get to experience the Fun Boat water wars! Water cannons and squirt guns are the weapons of choice in this epic boat battle. At the end of the trip, families can examine the boat’s crab traps. Don’t forget to snap a picture of your child holding a crab’s claws in their hands!

Wild Native Tours

Would you like to get even closer to dolphins than you would on a standard dolphin cruise? Then Wild Native Tours is for you! During this 3-hour kayak tour, see Bottlenose dolphins swim next to you and observe native birds of the area. You’ll also learn about the Bottlenose environment, behaviors, and history. The best part? You’ll have a front-row seat to a Gulf Shores sunset.

Bonus: Wild Native Tours has a “leave no trace” policy, and the company is very environmentally conscious. Rest assured that they care about the dolphins you paddle alongside!

Make Harris Vacation Rentals Your Home Away From Home

Dolphin-View-Balcony

After you’ve experienced the thrill of one of the many dolphin cruises Gulf Shores has to offer, enjoy a view of the ocean from your private balcony. Our luxury Dolphin View condominium has floor to ceiling windows with views of the Gulf of Mexico, Mobile Bay, Lake Shelby, Little Lagoon, and Oyster Bay. The stunning water views and sophisticated amenities, like whirlpool tubs and stainless steel appliances, make this the ideal beach rental.

When you stay at Dolphin View at the Mustique Condo, you’ll also have access to the building’s lagoon front pool, fitness center, and sauna. Simply walk across the street to the beautiful beaches of Gulf Shores. Don’t wait; check our availability and book your Gulf Shores vacation rental today! Click here to browse our condo rentals now or check out our special deals!

A place for strolling and taking in the gorgeous sights of the beach and the ocean alongside a number of fun-filled things to see and do, Orange Beach deserves to be on every vacationer’s Gulf Shores itinerary. Read on below to learn more about things to do in Orange Beach, AL!

Explore The Best Things To Do In Gulf Shores!

To begin, no trip to Orange Beach is complete without stopping at The Wharf. Here, you’ll find a variety of attractions housed in one single locale, including one of the largest Ferris Wheels in the Southeast U.S., as well as Carmike Cinemas, the enormous outdoor concert venue known as The Amphitheater, and a bevy of stores and restaurants.

Orange Beach Waterfront Park is the perfect place for sightseeing and walking around in the scenic loveliness of Orange Beach. Nestled against Wolf Bay, this park has picnic areas with grills, paved walking paths, a fishing pier, and a lit park for children.

Other family-friendly attractions in Orange Beach include Adventure Island, Fat Daddy’s Arcade, The Wharf Mini Golf, Arena the Next Level, and educational attractions like the Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum and the Wind & Water Learning Center.

If you and your family appreciate handmade artisan crafts and artwork, you might also want to check out the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach, where you can choose to create your own masterpiece or pick out a pre-made beauty from the gallery, gift shop, clay studio, or the hot glass shop.

For those of you travelling with four-legged companions, Orange Beach Dog Park is a wonderful place to let them run free with dogs of their own size (as there are separate sections for small and large dogs) under the shade of towering trees. Water and benches are also provided.

Finally, you can check out the magnificent natural setting of Orange Beach on the Alabama Coastal Connection Scenic Byway, where you can drive to serene beaches, quaint downtown areas, historic sites, wildlife preserves, and mouthwatering seafood restaurants along the way.

Harris Vacation Rentals – Your Trusted Experts on Everything Gulf Shores

Contact our office today to find out additional information on attractions and activities in Orange Beach and the rest of Gulf Shores when you reserve your trip lodgings in one of the pristine vacation rental properties that you can search by bedroom!

Photo By Kevin Stephenson from Florence, AL, USA – Sunrise – Front, CC BY 2.0