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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
Are you looking for the best things to do in Gulf Shores in October? With exciting festivals, beautiful uncrowded shorelines, and endless activities, fall is one of the best times to visit this Gulf Coast paradise. Get a taste of Alabama at Shrimp Fest, enjoy the Halloween festivities, or take a romantic sunset stroll along the beach. Here are some of the best fall events and activities to add to your itinerary!
Autumn in Gulf Shores marks the return of the most-anticipated event of the year! For nearly half a century, the Shrimp Festival has been a beloved tradition for locals and visitors alike. Held right on the beach, the festival includes fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood prepared by top chefs, a sandcastle contest, live music, family activities, arts and crafts, 5k and 10k races, and the Miss Shrimp Festival Pageant. The 2019 dates are set for October 10th – 13th, so start making your plans to attend now!
Are you looking for the best thrills and chills in Gulf Shores, AL? You’re in luck! There are endless ways to celebrate spooky season along our sugar-white shores. On the weekends, visit the Town of Terror in Foley for twists, turns, and other haunted house horrors. Are you searching for Halloween family activities? Take the kids for a ride on the Pumpkin Patch Express. During the daytime, you can enjoy kid-friendly train rides, pony rides, a bounce house, pumpkin decorating, a haunted maze and more. After nightfall, however, this train ride takes a turn for the terrifying. From 7 p.m. until close, enjoy a scary ride with Halloween monsters and other things that go bump in the night!
Not to be outdone by the Shrimp Festival, the Alabama Festival of Flavor is one of the tastiest events of the year. Held in the neighboring Foley, this epicurean event features an array of mouthwatering cuisine prepared by local chefs. Offerings include everything from sandwiches and sauces to main dishes, craft beer, and wine. The event is scheduled to take place on October 5th, 2019.
Calling all nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts! October is the prime time to see migrating birds in Gulf Shores. And the best way to see them is at the Alabama Coastal Birdfest! This event offers a unique opportunity to get an up-close look at native birds, alligators, dolphins, wildflowers, and more wildlife. Mark your calendar for October 2nd – 5th, 2019!
From hiking and biking to paddle boarding and kayaking, there are endless ways to explore Gulf Shores, Alabama in October. The mild weather is ideal for enjoying outdoor activities and attractions. Get out and explore miles of scenic trails at Gulf State Park or Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge, tee off on one of the fabulous golf courses, or take the kids to the zoo. This is also a great time to visit one of the theme parks. Have a blast playing mini-golf or race go-karts at The Track. The possibilities are endless!
Many of our guests ask us if it is warm enough to swim in Gulf Shores in October. The answer is — it depends. The weather in Gulf Shores in October varies year to year. Typically, the temperatures range from the 60’s to low 80’s. While it may be too chilly to swim, this is one of the best times to visit the beach! Enjoy the uncrowded shoreline while you comb the beach for shells and other treasures. Or, cast a line from the pier or a charter and reel in your next trophy fish!
When it comes to the best lodging in the area, no place can compare to Harris Vacation Rentals! We offer a wide array of accommodation options in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan. From luxury beachfront rentals to intimate cottages and condos, we are sure to have the perfect property for your stay. We can also accommodate large groups, so feel free to bring your family and friends. Are you ready for an unforgettable fall getaway to beautiful Gulf Shores? Take advantage of our current deals and discounts. Then, browse our condo rentals and contact us to start planning your trip! We look forward to seeing you soon.
There’s no shortage of entertainment in Orange Beach, Alabama. If you’re looking for a family fun hotspot along the Gulf Coast, look no further than Adventure Island Orange Beach. Here, you’ll discover arcade games, bumper boats, and more.
Adventure Island is one of the top Orange Beach attractions. You won’t want to miss out on a visit to this fantastic amusement park!
A day at Adventure Island would be incomplete without a game of mini golf. The park has two 18-hole courses that the whole family will love. The island’s Giant Volcano is in the center of the course. Be on the lookout for the five-story volcano’s explosions that shake the ground!
Adventure Island is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. – 11 p.m., so you can play a round of putt putt during the day or at night.
The bumper boats are one of our favorite rides and attractions at Adventure Island. Each boat has its own water gun to shoot at your friends and family. If you’d prefer a more calming activity, take one of the paddle boats out on the park’s lost lagoon lake.
Take a turn on the go-kart course and satisfy your need for speed! The five-minute ride features bumps, curves, and spins. Kids ages five to nine can enjoy the Grand Prix Go Karts, one of Adventure Island’s kiddie rides offered to younger thrill seekers.
Are you ready to get your game on? Play a round of laser tag with your family and friends! Enjoy cool laser effects as you adventure through our laser tag room. You’ll love all of the amazing visuals, and it’s also a super fun way to get your blood pumping!
Spending a couple of hours in the Alligator Alley Arcade is the perfect rainy day activity for adults and kids alike. The arcade features over 100 video games, including classics like virtual hunting games and indoor basketball games. We highly recommend using your tickets on the Max Flight Roller Coaster Simulator. It’s a thrill you won’t soon forget!
After a day of exploring Adventure Island Orange Beach, you’ll want to relax at your home away from home. During your next trip to Gulf Shores, consider booking a vacation rental with Harris Vacation Rentals. Our Almost Heaven home has everything you need for a memorable family getaway. This remodeled six bedroom, six-and-a-half bath beachfront property is perfect for a relaxing stay. The home features a huge deck with views of the Gulf of Mexico, a game room on the ground floor, and an outdoor shower. Guests enjoy two entertainment areas, a fully equipped kitchen with two of every major appliance, and a dual washer and dryer. This spacious home sleeps 21, making it the ideal spot for a family reunion.
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!
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.
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