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Chris Granger/Courtesy of the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

Key Info

101 Gulf Shores Pkwy.

Price & Hours



Beaches, Natural Wonders, Free, Swimming/Pools Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend


  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

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.

The beach is accessible for free 24 hours a day. There are multiple access points, many of which feature showers and bathrooms. In January 2018, the city placed access mats on the beach so that wheelchair users can enjoy the sand, too. These mats are located at both the west and east ends of the Gulf Place Public Beach at West Second Street and near the Pink Pony Pub, respectively. A handful of beach wheelchairs are also available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are a few restaurants near the east end of the beach (the aforementioned Pink Pony Pub, for example) and visitors can bring their own food to the beach as well. Lifeguards are present at four designated sections of the shore from March through September. You have the option to park in one of four pay-per-space lots, which cost $5 for the first four hours or $10 for the day. Alternatively, you can try your luck at one of the free lots, but those spaces are first-come, first-served. Note: Several species of sea turtles nest on Gulf Shores' beaches from May through October. Watch for nests and do not disturb them or the hatchlings. Check the Gulf Shores website for more information and a map of the beach access points.

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More Best Things To Do in Gulf Shores

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Time to Spend
#1 Gulf State Park

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.

Read more
Courtesy of Alabama State Parks
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