Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
Imagine a sunset stroll along a wooden boardwalk: Vibrant flora surrounds you, herrings touch down on the water and the lap of the ocean gives a calming aura. You’ll find it at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. The name “bon secour” comes from the French phrase meaning “safe harbor.” It was established in 1980 to protect the species of the coastal barrier ecosystem. Look closely and you may even find an Alabama beach mouse or a sea turtle; both are threatened species.
Gulf State Park
Two miles of white sand and foaming surf greet you at Gulf State Park, located right in town. Parking is free, and covered picnic benches, restrooms and outdoor showers are provided. A wooden boardwalk crisscrosses over the sand for a lovely morning or evening stroll. You may even be able to spot an alligator or a young sea turtle burrowing in the sand of Gulf State Park.
Meaher State Park
There might be no better place in the Delta to see the waning sunlight hit the water at just the right the angle than Meaher State Park. The park is located about an hour outside of Gulf Shores, but it’s well worth the drive. The boardwalk stretches out to the water’s edge and gives you a broad view of the rich bay ecosystem. Fishermen will delight in the variety of freshwater and saltwater fish in the bay and can fish at their leisure from the large T-shaped pier. There is a $2 day use fee. Overnight camping is allowed, and the park has several RV hookups, tent sites and cabins.
Visitors often rate West Beach as one of the best beaches in all of Alabama. Six miles of white sand and open ocean are yours to enjoy, and locals say the waters stay warm long after summer is over. Lifeguards are on duty from March until September. There are showers and restrooms on site. The beach runs parallel to West Beach Boulevard, and to save the small parking fee, it’s recommended you park at one of the lots on West 4th or West 5th streets.