Friday, March 1, 2024

Top 10 Things to Do | Gulf Shores Locals' List

Gulf Shores Public Beach
Top 10 Things Locals Love
Gulf Shores goes far beyond just its beautiful beaches. Prepare for an unforgettable vacation with these 10 things locals love to do.

1. The Beach, of Course: Begin with the iconic Gulf Shores public beach, an oasis with miles of soft, powder-white sandy shoreline and soothing waves. Whether you prefer sunbathing, swimming, building sandcastles, or strolling along the shore, this beach beckons you back for more. For a more natural beach experience, explore the Gulf State Park Beach, surrounded by a wildlife haven with walking trails, picnic areas, and the public fishing pier.

2. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge: A haven for nature lovers, Bon Secour, meaning “Safe Harbor” in French, is a sanctuary for migratory birds, sea turtles, and endangered species. Take a hike through pristine landscapes, marshes, and dunes to witness Mother Nature's wonders up close.

3. Dolphin Cruise: Embark on a thrilling dolphin cruise, where you can get up close and personal with these majestic creatures. Watch as they playfully leap and surf in the waves alongside the boat, creating unforgettable memories. There are numerous dolphin cruise providers departing from marinas at The Wharf, Bear Point, Sportsman's, and more. 

4. Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo: For family-friendly fun, visit the recently expanded Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, offering a variety of animals, interactive exhibits, and a safari-themed playground for the little ones. Lions, tigers, giraffes, and more await your discovery, along with a delicious African-themed restaurant.

5. Exciting Water Sports: Gulf Shores is a water lover's paradise, offering activities such as paddle boarding, kayaking, jet skiing, and parasailing. Feel the thrill as you glide across the water, making the most of your time in this coastal wonderland. You'll find many resources online for watersports rentals and activities.

6. Unwind at the Wharf: Experience a fusion of shopping, dining, and entertainment at The Wharf. This vibrant destination boasts boutique stores, delicious restaurants, and an amphitheater hosting year-round concerts and events. Don't miss the stunning Ferris wheel for an unparalleled view.

7. Tee Off at World-Class Golf Courses: Golf enthusiasts can rejoice in Gulf Shores, home to several top-notch golf courses designed by renowned architects. Practice your swing amid breathtaking landscapes, providing a unique golfing experience.

8. Saltwater Fishing: Gulf Shores is a fisherman's paradise, especially from May through August. Charter a trip with some of the most experienced Captains for the thrill of a lifetime, enjoy big-game fishing tournaments like the Blue Marlin Championship and the Billfish Classic where you can watch proud fishermen bring in their massive catches during public weigh-ins at The Wharf.

9. Eat like a Local: There are “touristy” restaurants and then there are the restaurants locals love. Plan to eat like a local with the help of this advice.

10. Day-trip to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab: During your stay, particularly if you have children with you, take a day trip on the Mobile Bay Ferry to Dauphin Island, where you can visit the Dauphin Island Sea LabThe drive-on ferry offers a 40 minute scenic ride across the scenic bay where you then drive off to visit the Sea Lab complete with interactive exhibits and touch tanks filled with fascinating sea creatures.

As we conclude our exploration of the best things in Gulf Shores, consider these additional "Honorable Mention" points of interest such as Fort Morgan for Civil War history buffs, the USS Alabama battleship in Mobile and the Pensacola Naval Air Station museum for Naval warfare enthusiasts.

Check out these additional helpful links to plan your stay:

Where locals like to eat and drink

Things locals like to do

Places to shop

Great fishing charters

Local favorite golf courses

Take a moment also to review local advice about what to do, and NOT do, at Gulf Shores' public beaches.