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Plan Your Next Orange Beach Vacation with This Guide!

Summer and fall are both great times to visit Orange Beach! During the summer months, this popular beach vacation spot is jumping. The crowds and activity level hit their peak, and so do the temperatures. The water and sand are hot, the breeze is warm, and the beach party is in full force. Come fall, the temps and the crowds begin to let up. It’s all fun!

Get Outside and Hit the Beach

Time to grab your cooler, funky beach hat, sunscreen, and colorful beach towel and hit the beach. Our bodies turn into little solar panels as we soak up all the sun we can while lying on the toasty sand. It’s as if we have to soak up as much as possible so we can make it through the rest of the year. Catch up on your sleep or a few good books while you sunbathe, or do some serious beachcombing or a little surf fishing. Best of all, if you book one of our beachfront vacation rentals, you can do it all while you’re just a few steps away from the AC and flat-screen in your rental. Enjoy your first cup of coffee out on your deck, while you watch the sun come up or the kids splashing in the surf.

Fall is also one of the prime birdwatching seasons here on the coast as migratory birds stop to rest. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is just one of several area parks that are part of the Alabama Birding Trail and offer fully accessible, meandering trails through various coastal habitats. Fall is a great time for birdwatching and hiking!

Get Out on the Water

Rent jet skis for the entire family and everyone can spend the day zipping along the coast. You can also take parasailing lessons and fly with the gulls as they hunt for lunch. Book a quick helicopter tour of the coast for an amazing aerial view of the bright blue Gulf.

Treat the family to a half-day dolphin watching tour out on the Gulf, or take your partner on a romantic sunset dinner cruise. If you’re here with a group of friends, book a glass-bottom or double-decker party pontoon and spend the day out on the water catching up with each other, sightseeing, doing a little fishing, and just having fun. Feeling a little more serious? Book an eco-tour and follow your guide as everyone silently glides through bayous, mangroves and the backwaters of the Gulf in kayaks, while getting up close to fish, turtles, shorebirds, and gators. It’ll give you a totally different perspective on the Gulf.

Get Fishing!

Serious anglers and novices love fishing in the Gulf! The fishing is good year-round, and there’s a wide variety of places to fish. There’s no need to rent a boat and head out to sea here in Orange Beach. Grab your gear (and license) and just walk out to the beach in front of your rental. Set up your beach chair and cooler next to your rod, and you’ll be pulling pompano, redfish, ladyfish, and flounder out of the surf in no time. Both surf fishing and pier fishing are great for families with small children looking for that first fishing experience. Don’t forget your crab trap!

Rent one of our Orange Beach waterfront vacation rentals with a private boat dock or fishing pier and you’ll be that much closer to enjoying your time out on the water. Not only are the docks and piers perfect for tying up your kayak, but they’re also great for fishing, sunbathing, and even dining al fresco under the stars. Bring your own boat, kayak, canoe or paddleboard, or rent what you want from one of the local marinas.

Fish inshore to get closer to the water – and the fish – on your kayak or canoe as you hunt for flounder, speckled trout, sheepshead, black drum, pompano, and mackerel. Cruise the creeks, channels, and marshes along with the barrier islands and coast while you enjoy the beautiful scenery and the company of shorebirds and our local dolphin pod.

The world’s largest artificial reef system is here in the Gulf. You can fish for king mackerel practically year-round here, and the reef is home to some of the best grouper and snapper fishing you’ll find anywhere. The reef and nearby wrecks not only offer amazing fishing opportunities but they’re great scuba diving spots too, and many are nearshore and easily accessible.

Book a charter for serious offshore or deep-sea fishing. Let someone else take care of those pesky little details like licenses, bait and equipment, and let someone who knows the local waters and where to find the fish do all the work. These charters last all day, and some overnight charters are available. Experience the thrill of reeling in trophy amberjack, king mackerel, grouper, tuna, marlin, swordfish, or wahoo.

Looking for excitement, but not the commitment of an all-day deep-sea excursion? Chasing tarpon or stalking a tailing redfish through the marsh is exciting with a fly rod when you’re in a kayak. Of course, you can head offshore too for some really challenging fishing as you try to land that big ole grouper on a fly rod.

For something completely different, try your hand at bow fishing. Yes, bow fishing! Bow in hand, search for carp, alligator gar, and drum in freshwater, or try saltwater night bow fishing and gigging for a truly unique adventure. Imagine hunting for a shark, at night, armed with a bow! This is an exciting, exhilarating way to make great memories that last a lifetime.

Catch your limit, then grill all those freshly caught fish out on your deck. And if you didn’t have any luck with the fish, just make a stop by one of our local fish markets and grab everything you’ll need. Blalock Seafood& Specialty Market is just one of many local markets offering fresh seafood, wine, cheeses, condiments, and seasonings. Try their Ginger Wasabi! And you can get everything at Lartigue’s Fresh Seafood, from fresh seafood and fixings to go, to fish bait and fishing charters.

Spend the Day at The Wharf

Can’t decide what you want to do, or maybe everyone wants to do something different? No worries, just head to The Wharf. It has everything from shops and spas, to mini-golf and a movie theater. Plus, there are outdoor concerts in their amphitheater year-round.

For some fast-paced fun, check out their arena for laser tag, the newest arcade games, or play Bazooka Ball. And for something a little different, the Outer Limits VR arcade has five fully immersive rides you have to experience to believe. At the Breakout Orange Beach escape room, you can choose from several different scenarios including The Kidnapping, Hostage, and Operation: Casino. Solve the puzzles and try to break out in time!

There’s a zipline! The Hummingbird Zipline Course speeds across the wharf and surrounding wetlands and forest via eight tower spots. Once your need for speed is fulfilled, enjoy a leisurely ride on the Ferris wheel where you’ll have time to enjoy the view. One of the tallest Ferris Wheels in the Southeast, this landmark attraction is a great way to end your day.

Need food on your Orange Beach vacation? Whether you want fine dining or a quick snack, you can find the perfect spot at The Wharf. Is your group looking for a family-friendly, casual dining experience? Try STKburger for burgers, wings, and lobster rolls or Ginny Lane Bar and Grill for fresh, local seafood, a kids menu, and craft brews and cocktails all with a great waterfront view. And the Southern Grind Coffee House is great for a quick bite with specialty coffees, sandwiches and salads, pastries, and their special gelato.

Make a stop at Gulf Coast House of Jerky. They have such a wide variety of interesting flavors, you’ll want to try them all – beef, buffalo, fish, pineapple, pork, alligator, shark, python, elk, venison, kangaroo, and more. Maybe you just want to skip right to dessert? You’re sure to find what you crave at Dippin’ Dots, Kilwins (serving delicious confections since 1947), or the Sugar Shack. I know the kids will love them all!

Island Time Daiquiris, Kentucky Mist Distillery, and YoHo Rum and Tacos (custom cocktails and tacos!) will keep your thirst quenched with refreshing adult beverages and entertainment. Stop at The Sandshaker for a few of the local favorite beverages – the Bushwacker! They have live music and are open late too.

Be sure to stay after dark for The Wharf’s sound and light show! Free to the public, this nightly show features popular music and synchronized lighting effects, all on The Wharf’s Main Street.

Festivals and More!

There are tons of activities all summer long, but fall is festival season here in the Gulf. And, here are a few of the area’s annual festivals to get you started.

Pastry chefs come from all around to show off their sweetest concoctions at The Wharf’s Sweetest Chefs event in September. The Flora-Bama’s Bulls on the Beach, also in September, hosts bull riders for this bull riding show. You can test your own skills on their mechanical bull if you dare, or just watch all the action while enjoying a Bushwacker or two.

October brings the nationally known Annual National Shrimp Festival to nearby Gulf Shores. With lots of shrimp and seafood, live entertainment, vendors, local art booths, and plenty of kid’s activities, this is a family-friendly festival. If you love shrimp, you can’t miss this festival. Of course, there will be Octoberfest celebrations everywhere. Be sure to check out the fall festivities at The Hangout, Flora-Bama, and The Wharf for Octoberfest, and get your fill of beer, brats, and German goodies served up Gulf style. Be ready to enjoy dancing to polka music on the beach!

The first weekend in November, The Hangout’s Annual Oyster Cook-off & Craft Beer Weekend (also in nearby Gulf Shores) starts with live music and plenty of craft beer to sample and includes an oyster shucking contest and Bloody Mary Invitational. Chef’s from all over the country show off their favorite oyster recipes at the cook-off on Saturday.

Our Orange Beach Vacation Rentals

Now you’re going to need a beautiful, comfy place to rest up after a long day of playing on the beach or fishing for dinner. Luckily we have vacation rentals throughout the Orange Beach area that will be the perfect home-away-from-home for your stay here. Relax and enjoy the balmy ocean breeze and the beautiful view from private decks and covered porches. Just one step into our bright, airy rentals will start your stress seeping away. Open floor plans make it easy to gather your entire group together for a freshly grilled fish dinner or friendly poker night.

Choose from beachfront, beach-adjacent or waterfront rentals. We offer comfy one and two-bedroom rentals just right for a romantic getaway or couples weekend. If you’re bringing the whole family or it’s time for that reunion with all your college buddies, we have spacious rentals that can accommodate large groups too. Many of our Orange Beach rentals are pet-friendly, so you can bring your favorite furry friend. All of our rentals have free Wi-Fi, fully equipped kitchens, and amazing views.

Your Orange Beach Vacation

If you need help finding the perfect vacation rental for your Orange Beach vacation, just give us a call! We’d love to help with the final selection or to suggest other activities to fill your days. One suggestion is to check on the Blue Angels practice schedule while you’re staying on the Gulf Coast. They practice their amazing aerial acrobatics year round and it’s worth the trip to nearby Pensacola!

With so many vacation rentals and accommodations available, planning an Alabama Gulf Coast trip can be overwhelming. Why stay at a chain hotel in Gulf Shores when you have an entire beach house to yourself? Harris Vacation Rentals offers the best places to stay in Gulf Shores 

Aside from choosing your new home away from home, you’ll also need to decide the best activities to put on your beach vacation itinerary. Take a look at our Activities Guide and start planning your fun-filled trip!  

All About the Best Places To Stay in Gulf Shores 

Harris Vacation Rentals in Gulf Shores 

Gulf Shores is known for its pristine white beaches, fantastic hiking trails, and family-friendly attractionsHarris Vacation Rentals is proud to offer a collection of Gulf Shores beach homes of all different shapes and sizes. Whether you’re looking for a pet-friendly rental, a home with a private outdoor pool, or a beautiful beachfront house with views of the Gulf of Mexico, we’ve got you covered.  

Things To Do in Gulf Shores

The excitement never stops when you stay in Gulf Shores! Some of the best things to do in the area include:  

dolphin cruises

Harris Vacation Rentals in Orange Beach 

In addition to Gulf Shores, Orange Beach is a top-notch vacation spot along the Gulf Coast. We offer a collection of condos and luxurious rentals here that are perfect for any group. You can search our Orange Beach vacation rentals according to bedroom sizeso you can be sure that you can find the most accommodation home for you.  

Things To Do in Orange Beach

How will you spend your Orange Beach getaway? If you’re looking for some recommendations, some of our favorite local spots include 


Harris Vacation Rentals in Fort Morgan 

If you prefer a laidback vacation where you can immerse yourself in nature and history, Fort Morgan is the spot for you. Here, you can enjoy all the perks of being near Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, but you can benefit from the seclusion and calmness of Fort Morgan. We offer an impressive list of Fort Morgan vacation rentals, all with varying amenities, so you’re able to find exactly what you’re looking for. 

Things To Do in Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan might be more relaxed and laidback than other Gulf Coast areas, but that doesn’t mean it falls short with amazing things to do. Some of the best places to visit in Fort Morgan include: 

fort morgan

Choose Your Gulf Coast Getaway 

best places to stay in gulf shores (1)

Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on all the areas where we offer vacation rentals along the Gulf Coast, what will you choose? You can’t go wrong no matter what! Check our availability and pick the perfect vacation rental for you or call us here at Harris Vacation Rentals, and we will help you along in the decision-making process. We can’t wait to host you!

Over the last decade, the Alabama Gulf Coast has become a culinary mecca for creative cuisine. Award-winning chefs paired with unique dining concepts have us craving more and more! Recently, local restaurateurs and chefs have upped the ante and opened these new Gulf Shores restaurants. During your next beach vacation to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, pack your suitcase and your appetite. You might as well throw in some stretchy pants, too!

Dine at These New Gulf Shores Restaurants

1. Sunliner Diner

Location: 100 E. 2nd Ave., Gulf Shores, AL

Phone: 251-937-6590

You’ll find all the cool cats at Sunliner Diner. The diner’s décor is straight out of the 1950s. Bright reds and a wall full of jars filled with colorful candy invite you to sit down and take it all in.

Breakfast is served all day at Sunliner Diner. Traditional diner fare is also served for lunch and dinner, beginning at 11 A.M.  Just like a classic old-school diner, you’ll find rotating glass cases displaying the most divine desserts you’ve ever laid eyes on. There are even “boozy milkshakes” when you want a little something more “adult.”

2. Picnic Beach  

Location: 128 E. 1st Ave., Gulf Shores, AL

Phone: 251-540-0117

If you’re looking for a fun and funky Instagram-worthy spot for lunch, there’s nothing in Gulf Shores like Picnic Beach. This Gulf Shores restaurant caters to both meat-eaters and vegan travelers with delicious barbecue dishes and an impressive selection of clean greens and acai bowls. Did we mention the BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich? Image smoked jackfruit, sriracha BBQ, key lime coleslaw, and grilled pineapple on a whole wheat bun. Wait. Why imagine it when you can order it at Picnic Beach?!

This indoor/outdoor picnic-themed restaurant is located in the heart of Gulf Shores. It’s within walking distance to the main public beach area, making it easy to reach from the beach and offers a fun spot to order up something besides traditional fare at beach restaurants.

3. Margarita Loca Bar & Grill  

Corn tortillas filled with shredded lettuce, shredded barbecue chicken and topped with mango pineapple salsa

Location: 3800 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Phone: 251-948-0818

This Mexican restaurant specializes in all of your beloved favorites— tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, and more. Guests go loco over their mouthwatering fishbowl margaritas, which is large enough to share. To listen to fun live music, visit Margaritas Loca on a Friday evening. 

4. The Crazy Cajun 

Location: 1220 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Phone: 251-948-0862

Satisfy your Louisiana cuisine cravings and head to The Crazy Cajun for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. This authentic, full-service, Cajun restaurant has it all!  Whether you’re seeking po-boys, crabcakes, jambalaya, etouffee, or seafood gumbo, this restaurant has all of the favorites.

5. The Wacked Out Weiner  

Location: 3800 Gulf Shores Pkwy #340, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Phone: 251-948-0988

Get a fix for your hot dog craving at The Wacked Out Weiner. They offer a variety of hot dog combos that come with chips, a drink, and unlimited toppings. Don’t be afraid to go nuts and add as many toppings as you want, such as bacon, banana peppers, homemade chili, bbq baked beans, and more.

6. Bleus Burgerburger

Location: 3800 Gulf Shores Pkwy #240, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Phone: 251-948-2538

Put a spin on your typical burger and fries and head to Bleus Burger. This eatery dresses their burgers with your choice of delicious ingredients, sbuch as candied jalapenos, house-smoked pulled pork, french-friend onions, and more. You can also customize your fries with parmesan truffle seasoning and gorgonzola cheese. In addition to meat-centered dishes, you’ll find shrimp tacos, quesadillas, salads, and more.

7. Playa 

Location: 27842 Canal Road, Orange Beach, AL

Phone: 251-981-9891

Are you wondering where you should have Sunday brunch? We have one word for you—Playa. In addition to fantastic brunch specials, Playa serves endless mimosas until 2 P.M. Some of our favorite Playa dishes include the Cuban sandwich and Crab and Manchego-Crusted Amberjack. This Caribbean-inspired restaurant also offers several allergy menus, including dairy, gluten, shellfish, and soy-free.

Enjoy Your Gulf Shores Vacation With Harris Vacation Rentals 

Orange Beach condo rentals

When you stay in a Gulf Shores vacation rental with Harris Vacation Rentals, you’ll be near all of the fantastic new Gulf Shores restaurants. Vacationing doesn’t always mean eating out, though. Sometimes, it’s fun to bring your eats back to your vacation home, sit on the balcony, and enjoy the view. Whatever your vacation dining style, know that you’ll find plenty of delicious dishes to rave about from many delectable restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Planning Tip!

Are you bringing Fido along on a pet-friendly vacation? Learn all about

The Best Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Sunny and warm, there are few elements beyond the climate alone that could make your stay in the Gulf Shores area any better. However, the local restaurants in nearby Orange Beach just might give the weather a run for its money!

For those times when you’re hankering for a bite to eat while you’re out and about, we’ve put together a short list with a few of our favorite Orange Beach culinary establishments. Below, you’ll find some of the greatest Orange Beach local restaurants. We hope that you enjoy these listed restaurants and their delectable dishes! Read on to learn more about where to go for the best meals around!

Brick & Spoon

A breakfast and brunch place with amazing Southern and new American cuisine, Brick & Spoon serves up mouthwatering favorites like their cornmeal crusted oysters with sriracha on deviled eggs, softshell crab eggs benedict, and the Killer Creole Omelette with fire roasted grits. Top off your meal with one of their famous Bloody Marys!

Cosmo’s Restaurant & Bar

This popular restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, but be mindful: the food is so good that loyal customers can cause the wait times to get a bit long. If you don’t mind the wait or if you come during an off-peak time, you can revel in the deliciousness of the firecracker shrimp, duck and Andouille sausage gumbo, barbecue crab claws, or their full sushi menu. All with an amazing view of Perdido Pass!

Fisher’s Dockside (and Fisher’s Upstairs)

Recommended by Southern Living Magazine, this restaurant actually houses two separate restaurants under one roof, both with waterfront dining. Fisher’s Dockside is the casual, family-friendly part of the restaurant, while Fisher’s Upstairs provides an upscale dining experience with two bars and a rotating seasonal menu. Both sections serve variations on classic American and Southern cuisine, including shrimp and grits, bushwhackers, pan-seared grouper, and Murder Point oysters.

Orange Beach Local Restaurants: Ginny Lane Bar and Grill

Serving up dishes in the American and Southern culinary tradition, this restaurant is famous for its blackened shrimp over fried green tomatoes, pecan encrusted chicken, the creamy grits with shrimp and bacon, chicken tortellini, and their famous white chocolate bread pudding. The bread pudding recipe was actually willed to the restaurant by their pastry chef!

Doc’s Seafood Shack & Oyster Bar

If you’re looking for a seafood fix, you can’t go wrong with Doc’s! Voted one of the Top 10 Seafood Shacks in America by Fox News, this quaint food spot has served seafood gumbo, fried crab claws, golden fried oysters and more in the area for over thirty years. They truly know their way around seafood!

Explore What Orange Beach Has to Offer with Harris Vacation Rentals!

Trust us; whether you’re looking to rent, or you just want to learn more about this amazing vacation destination, we can help! Browse our rentals by bedrooms and contact our reservations team today to learn more about what you can expect during your stay in Orange Beach when you book with Harris Vacation Rentals.