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Courtesy of Alabama State Parks

Key Info

20115 State Highway 135

Price & Hours



Beaches, Natural Wonders, Free, Parks and Gardens, Sports, Hiking, Recreation, Swimming/Pools Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend


  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

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.

The park is open from 7 a.m. to sunset daily. Though it's free to enter, there is a parking fee and renting items like paddleboards and kayaks will cost you. Visit the website for more information. Note: Several species of sea turtles nest on Gulf Shores' beaches from May through October. Watch for nests and do not disturb them nor the hatchlings.

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More Best Things To Do in Gulf Shores

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Time to Spend
#2 Gulf Shores Public Beach

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.

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