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There’s just something special about that first visit to the beautiful beaches in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Nothing quite compares to the feeling of slipping off your shoes, walking barefoot across the sand and dipping your toes in the Gulf of Mexico. If it’s your first time visiting Gulf Shores, welcome! Read on to learn about some of the best things to see and do along our sugar-white shores.

Visiting Gulf Shores for the first time? Enjoy your beach getaway to the fullest when you book a Harris Vacation Rentals vacation rentalWe’ve got the best properties around!

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6 Must-Do Activities for Your First Gulf Shores Vacation

1. Visit the Welcome Center

 After settling into your Gulf Shores condo, the first thing you should do is visit the Gulf Shores Welcome Center. Get a coupon book for goodies like free desserts or appetizers at restaurants, as well as discounts on local attractions. Plus, hear about special events taking place during your visit from the friendly and knowledgeable Welcome Center staff.

The Gulf Shores Welcome Center also provides an official vacation guide, free Wi-Fi access, and public computer terminals. It’s open seven days a week, but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas.

2. Take Your Photo at The Shark’s Mouth

Next, head to Souvenir City and get your picture taken in the shark’s mouth! It’s a longstanding tradition for families. After you walk through the attraction, browse the store, packed full of great T-shirts, glassware and other gifts to take home. Everyone enjoys the fudge!

3. Have a Blast at The Wharf

You could easily spend the entire day browsing the many shops, restaurants, and family-friendly attractions at The Wharf at Orange Beach. You’ll definitely want to check out the mini-golf courses, arcades, movie theatres, and Alabama’s longest zipline course. And if there’s one thing you absolutely must do, it’s ride the Ferris Wheel! This iconic landmark gives you tree-top views of the coast and costs just $5 per person (kids aged 3 and under ride free).  When night falls, make sure to stay for one of the SPECTRA shows. The popular sound and light spectacular happens nightly and is an experience like no other! Admission is free.

4. Listen to Live Music at Lulu’s

LuLu’s is a family-friendly destination restaurant located just over the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge. A favorite hangout for locals and visitors alike, LuLu’s takes the coastal theme to the extreme with great outdoor seating, children’s activities, and entertainment on stage every night of the week. It’s a must-see if you’re visiting Gulf Shores for the first time! 

 5. Visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Take a walk on the wild side at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. The zoo, which opened in 1989, is now home to about 500 animals. See alligators, monkeys, lemurs, tigers and more. Get an up-close look at animals in their natural habitat! Play with lemurs, baby kangaroos and sloths. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, you’ll love every second of your visit to this world-class zoo.

6. Take a Sunset Stroll Along the Beach

It may be last on the list, but it’s the one thing you absolutely have to do while visiting our beautiful beaches on a first-time Gulf Shores vacation. There’s just something magical about watching the sun sink low into the horizon before disappearing into the aquamarine Gulf waters. Who are we kidding? It’s something you’ll want to do each and every visit.

What Is the Weather Like in Gulf Shores?

Many of our first-time guests ask us when is the best time to visit Gulf Shores. Long story short, the weather is great all year ‘round! Fall is a beautiful season with highs in the mid-70s and lows in the high 40s. Winter doesn’t get much colder, though there may be some heavy jacket days in January and February. By spring, everyone’s ready to hit the beach again as temperatures warm up. Summertime brings highs near 100 degrees, but the cool breeze from the Gulf keeps it nice for beach-goers.

Where to Stay in Gulf Shores

When it comes to the best accommodations in Gulf Shores, AL, look no further than Harris Vacation Rentals! Our gorgeous vacation homes and condos have everything you need for a memorable first time visiting Gulf Shores. Whether you’re dreaming of a beachfront home, a rental with a private pool, or a large family home, we are sure to have the ideal accommodation for your getaway. Are you ready to make memories to last a lifetime? Browse our properties and contact us to book your stay today. We can’t wait to welcome you to paradise!



Sugar-white sand, aquamarine waters, and beautiful weather – is there anything more beautiful than the Alabama Coast? Gulf Shores is the ideal vacation destination for those times when you just want to sweep up your loved one on a whirlwind romantic escape into a serene and tropical locale. Come bask in the sunshine, play in the sea, and make memories you two will treasure for a lifetime. Read on to learn more about long, romantic getaways in Gulf Shores. Then, start planning your trip!

From dolphin cruises to snorkeling adventures and beyond, there are plenty of fun activities for couples to enjoy in Gulf Shores. And when you book a vacation rental with Harris Vacation Rentals, you’ll receive up to $100 off local tours and activities through TripShock! It’s a great deal for guests who are considering long, romantic getaways in Gulf Shores. 

Romantic Things to Do in Gulf Shores, AL

1. Go on an Adventure Together

Gulf Shores has a number of romantic Gulf Shores activities for couples. During the day, you can explore the best of Gulf Shores by hiking or biking on nature trails like the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, taking a dolphin sightseeing cruise, or renting a kayak or surfboard and hitting the water. If thrills are more of your thing, get your blood pumping on a wild ride on ziplines like those offered by Hummingbird Ziplines, or charter a parasail for a tandem ride above the water! Or, take a deep sea dive into the Gulf and swim amongst the colorful fish and beautiful coral reefs. The possibilities are endless! 

Are you looking for more recommendations about activities and attractions in Gulf Shores? Check out our blog for ideas! 

2. Lounge By the Beach

Of course, no trip to Gulf Shores is complete without paying a visit to the miles of pristine, white-sand beaches. Spend a relaxing day lounging on the shore or splashing in the refreshing surf. Take a stroll along the shoreline, hand in hand, and soak up the sights while gazing out over the blue-green waves of the Gulf of Mexico. The fresh sea breezes will carry you to a state of pure bliss! 

3. Indulge in a Romantic Dinner For Two

For a delectable date night dinner, there are casual and fine dining options galore. While there are many amazing Gulf Shores restaurants to choose from, one of our favorites is the upstairs of Fisher’s at the nearby Orange Beach Marina. This is a go-to spot for a fancy dinner. Between the excellent cuisine and beautiful views, it is worth every penny! For more laid-back atmosphere, try The Beach House Kitchen & Cocktails or Sea-N-Suds Restaurant and Oyster Bar. Share a plate of fresh oysters and watch the sunset while you dine. It’s the perfect way to end another day in paradise! 

4. Unwind at the Spa

When you’re craving a little downtime, relax with a trip to the spa. There are many excellent spas in Gulf Shores that offer services specifically for couples. Unwind with a soothing couple’s massage at CC’s Salon and Day Spa or try an Elemental Nature Massage at Serenity at the Beach. You’re both sure to leave feeling refreshed, restored, and completely relaxed! 

Weddings in Gulf Shores 

And don’t forget! Gulf Shores, AL is the perfect place to plan your beach wedding. With gorgeous sunsets, plenty of available locales, and a wide variety of wedding planning services throughout the area, nothing is more romantic – or more memorable – than a Gulf Shores wedding!

Book Your Gulf Shores, Alabama, Getaway Today!

When you’re planning a romantic tropical getaway with your loved one, you don’t want subpar lodging to ruin the vibe and dampen the fun. Fortunately, you don’t have to settle for anything less than the best when you book your stay with Harris Vacation Rentals! Unlike generic hotels, our beautiful vacation rentals have everything you need for a memorable romantic escape! Our intimate homes and condos in Gulf Shores offer the privacy and comfort you desire. Whether you prefer a luxury home, a cozy cottage, or a villa by the beach, we are sure to have the ideal property for your stay.

Located right in the heart of Gulf Shores, 50 Shades of Blue is an excellent accommodation for couples. Enjoy the cozy, coastal ambiance, relax on either of the two decks, or head to the beach! Contact our reservations team today to learn more about the fantastic vacation rentals that we have to offer with stunning views and peaceful locations perfect for spending time together.


So, you’ve been dreaming of sun-kissed beaches and turquoise water, but Mother Nature has other ideas? Don’t let a little (or even a lot) rain ruin your day at the beach! Luckily, there are plenty of fun things to do in Gulf Shores on a rainy day. Here are some of the best activities to enjoy when it’s raining. 

If you’re looking for even more ideas about things to do in Gulf Shores on a rainy day, make sure to check out our Activities page. It’s full of recommendations about the best things to see and do during your family beach vacation. 

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8 of the Best Things to do In Gulf Shores on a Rainy Day

1. Visit the #1 Escape Room in Orange Beach

An exciting adventure is just what you need to cure the rainy day blues! Challenge your friends and family to a life-sized adventure game at Breakout Orange Beach. You’ll have 60 minutes to solve your puzzle with hidden clues. From thrillers to spy situations, there’s a scenario for everyone. 

Breakout Orange Beach is located at The Wharf. A 10 percent off coupon is available on their website for weekday games. After you’ve beaten the clock and escaped, reward the team with gelato at The Southern Grind Coffee House or enjoy penny martinis at Ginny Lane Bar & Grill. Covered parking and walkways make it easy to navigate The Wharf without getting too wet. 

2. Play Games at the Arcade

If you’re looking for something a bit more fast-paced, head over to Arena: The Next Level. Also located at The Wharf in Orange Beach, this indoor amusement park features laser tag, bazooka ball, and an array of arcade games. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, you’ll have a blast spending the day at Arena: The Next Level. It’s known as one of the top things to do in Orange Beach!

3. Fly High at the Trampoline Park

Toddlers, tweens and teens (and adventurous parents) can bounce around at The Factory in Gulf Shores. The trampoline park is packed with ways to burn energy during a rainy day at the beach. From Foam pits and dodge ball to trampoline basketball, you’ve got several options.

 The Factory in Gulf Shores also offers a separate area for the littles. Parents can observe from an upper deck or join in the action! In addition to the trampoline floor, The Factory offers arcade games, batting cages and a flight simulator. Vending machines are available for drinks, snacks and even ice cream.

4. Take a Glass-Blowing Lesson

Let your inner artist out with a visit to The Hot Shop at the Coastal Arts Center in Orange Beach. Local artisans will give you a hands-on lesson in glass blowing, and you can take home a souvenir you make yourself! Be sure to call ahead for a reservation, as this is one of the most popular things to do in Gulf Shores on a rainy day. 

The Hot Shop offers bench seating to watch demonstrations. If you prefer to watch rather than participate, the staff welcomes you to do so. Glass blowing is a fascinating art that will capture the attention of the whole family during a rainy day at the beach. In fact, the open air studio is perfect for watching demonstrations and listening to the rain. Once your lesson has ended, stop in the other local art galleries and browse the works of local artists, including pottery, paintings, sculptures and more.

5. Spend a Day at the Museum

History-buffs will love exploring all of the fascinating museums in Gulf Shores. Discover what life was like for the area’s earliest inhabitants at the Gulf Shores Museum, admire incredible Southern architecture at the Swift-Coles Historic House, or see elaborate model train displays at the Foley Railroad Museum. Then, make sure to take your time exploring Fort Morgan Historic Site. It’s open every day of the week. 

6. Go Bowling

Just north of Gulf Shores in nearby Foley is the Gulf Bowl. Rent a lane and spend a rainy day bowling for strikes! The Gulf Bowl offers 23 lanes, as well as an arcade, laser tag, high ropes course and pool tables. There’s so much to do at Gulf Bowl, you could easily spend the entire day. It’s also home to the full-service Captain’s Choice seafood restaurant. A local’s favorite, you’ll find everything from fresh seafood to burgers. Before you go, make sure to visit the Gulf Bowl’s Facebook page for rainy day specials.

7. Visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

A trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is one of the best things to do at the beach when it rains! See more than 600 animals and 22 different endangered species as you wander through the exhibits. Get an up-close look at some of the world’s friendliest animals with an “Animal Encounter,” tour the Reptile House, and pet goats, sheep, and deer at the Petting Zoo. Some of the animals you’ll see at the zoo include Black bear, Bengal tigers, black leopards, tropical parrots, camels, monkeys, alligators, and more. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

8. Stay Cozy in Your Vacation Rental

Sometimes the best way to spend a rainy day is enjoying your Orange Beach, Fort Morgan or Gulf Shores rental! Plan ahead and bring a deck of cards and a board game or two and have a family game day. Cozy up on the couch, pop some popcorn and watch a movie. Order from your favorite restaurants using Gulf To Go restaurant delivery service and you never have to leave!

Book Your Stay in a Harris Property

When planning your vacation, consider booking a Harris Property with an indoor swimming pool. Gulf Shores rentals like Coastal Bliss, Lil Bit a Paradise, Ray of Sunshine and Sunset Paradise offer indoor pool facilities and are located at The Beach Club resort in Fort Morgan. There is also a game room to keep the kids busy! Coastal Krusen in Gulf Shores at Crystal Towers also offers an indoor swimming pool. The four-bedroom Dolphin View condo at Mustique boasts an indoor pool, as does Summer Breeze. Condos at Martinique in Fort Morgan also have an indoor swimming pool and spa, including La Brisa.

Don’t let a rainy day at the beach in Gulf Shores get you down. Whether you stay in or opt to explore in the rain, make the most of every minute and make memories to last a lifetime. Browse all of our properties and contact us to book your Gulf Shores getaway today in our rentals. 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!

Here are the best things to do in Gulf Shores in October!

Top Things to Do in Gulf Shores in October

1. Shrimp Festival

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!

2. Have A Spooktacular Halloween in Gulf Shores

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!

3. Alabama Festival of Flavor 

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.

4. Alabama Coastal Birdfest

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! 

5. Enjoy Outdoor Activities

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! 

6. Visit the Beach

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! 

Book Your Fall Getaway With Harris Vacation Rentals

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.