Gulf Shores Travel Guide

USA  
Credit

Courtesy of Courtesy of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

Free Things To Do in Gulf Shores

If you have extra time, The Wharf is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Things to do in Gulf Shores
    View all Photos
    #1 in Gulf Shores
    Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sports, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sports, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Outdoor adventurers flock to Gulf State Park, which sits just a mile east of the public beach. Along with opportunities for swimming, fishing and paddling at Lake Shelby, the park also boasts 28 miles of trails (15 of which make up the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail) that weave throughout. Visitors can also take advantage of the park's guided tours or stop by the nature center to learn about the local flora and fauna. Budget-minded vacationers should check out the park's rental cabins or its campgrounds, while those traveling with pets can make use of the on-site dog park. Those who don't want to rough it can book a room at one of the nearby hotels.

    Travelers regularly call the park beautiful and praise the clean facilities. Hikers enjoyed the park's trails and appreciate the water fountains located along the paths. Meanwhile, RVers offer rave reviews of the size of the grounds and the on-site amenities.

  • #2
    Gulf Shores Public Beach
    View all Photos
    #2 in Gulf Shores
    Beaches, Natural Wonders, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Natural Wonders, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    No matter the season, a visit to the beach is an absolute must. Crisp white sand and turquoise waves invite beachgoers to spend the day lazing in a chair or swimming in the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters. For those traveling in the winter months, slip off your shoes and walk along the shore.

    Recent visitors loved the Gulf Shores beaches and rave about the clean, soft sand. They also appreciated the wide expanse of the shore, saying it's easy to find your own space and the beach never feels crowded.

  • #3
    The Wharf
    View all Photos
    #3 in Gulf Shores
    Cafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Cafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Situated in nearby Orange Beach, Alabama, The Wharf offers a family-friendly nightlife option for locals and visitors alike. The complex features dining, boutique shopping and a variety of activities and events. In addition to attractions like a Ferris wheel, a movie theater and mini-golf, The Wharf has a marina where visitors can rent boats or catch a dolphin cruise. Travelers also have the option of docking their boats at the marina.

    Tourists enjoy The Wharf's atmosphere and the fact that there always seems to be something happening. Others recommend taking a sunset cruise from the marina for gorgeous views and some wildlife spotting. Travelers also say that unless you enjoy shopping, you may not find enough to do at The Wharf to stay longer than a few hours.

  • #6
    Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
    View all Photos
    #6 in Gulf Shores
    Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Taking its name from the French phrase meaning "safe harbor," Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is home to a variety of stunning wildlife. Each year, migratory songbirds stop on the refuge's land to rest and eat before continuing their migration along the Alabama coastline. In addition to the various birds, Bon Secour also preserves endangered species like sea turtles and the Alabama beach mouse. To take in the wildlife, visitors can hike one of the refuge's trails, kayak or canoe through its waters or try their luck at fishing.

    Past visitors praised the refuge's well-kept trails and its gorgeous scenery. Other enjoyed spotting the variety of wildlife; some were lucky enough to see alligators. In addition to sturdy walking shoes, travelers should bring plenty of sunscreen and bug spray.

Explore More of Gulf Shores

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 50 Most Beautiful Places in the World

Let these gorgeous destinations inspire you to travel more.

Holly JohnsonJanuary 16, 2020

50 Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

From relaxing weekend getaways to epic adventures, these honeymoon trips will help couples create memories to last a lifetime.

Kyle McCarthyJanuary 8, 2020

The Cheapest Days to Fly: A Guide to the Best (and Worst) Times to Travel

Use these tips and tricks to get the best deal on your next flight.

Lyn MettlerDecember 23, 2019

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019