Alabama’s Gulf Coast: Exploring Orange Beach And Gulf Shores

Alabama may not be the first state that comes to mind when planning a beach vacation, but the Gulf Coast has a lot to offer visitors, from stunning white-sand beaches to delicious seafood and numerous attractions. Two of the best places to visit on Alabama’s Gulf Coast are Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, located within a short drive of each other. In this article, we will explore all that these two unique destinations have to offer.

Getting There

Both Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are easily accessible from multiple airports, including Mobile Regional Airport and Pensacola International Airport. The drive from New Orleans is just over three hours, and it’s five hours from Atlanta.

Orange Beach


Orange Beach boasts 32 miles of white-sand beaches, making it the perfect destination for a relaxing beach vacation. One of the most popular beaches is Gulf State Park Beach, which offers pristine white sand and clear water. Another popular beach in the area is Cotton Bayou Beach, which is known for being family-friendly and has a lifeguard on duty during peak season.

Outdoor Activities

In addition to the beaches, Orange Beach offers visitors a wide range of outdoor recreation options. Gulf State Park has over 6,000 acres of pristine wilderness to explore, with hiking trails, bike paths, and scenic overlooks. Visitors can go fishing, jet skiing, parasailing, or take a dolphin watching tour. For those looking for something more relaxing, a sunset sailboat cruise is an excellent way to unwind and enjoy the scenery.


Orange Beach also has plenty of attractions to keep visitors entertained. The Wharf at Orange Beach is a popular spot, with a ferris wheel, zipline, restaurants, and shops. For families with kids, Adventure Island is an amusement park that features go-karts, mini-golf, bumper boats, and more. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, also known as "The Little Zoo That Could," offers up-close encounters with exotic animals and has a petting zoo.

Gulf Shores


Gulf Shores is another beachfront city known for its beautiful beaches. One popular beach is Gulf Shores Public Beach, which offers plenty of amenities, including showers, restrooms, and a picnic area. Another popular spot is West Beach, which is quieter and less crowded.

Outdoor Activities

Like Orange Beach, Gulf Shores has plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Gulf State Park features a Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail that spans over 15 miles and showcases the natural beauty of the area. Visitors can rent kayaks, paddleboards, or take a guided nature walk. For fishing enthusiasts, Gulf Shores is one of the best places for deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.


In addition to the beaches and outdoor activities, Gulf Shores has many attractions worth visiting. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has recently moved to a new location and offers visitors the chance to interact with lemurs, kangaroos, and more. For history buffs, Fort Morgan is a historic military fort that was active during the Civil War and World War I and II. Finally, The Hangout is a popular spot for families, with live music, beach volleyball, and more.


In summary, Alabama’s Gulf Coast offers visitors amazing beaches, outdoor activities, and numerous attractions. Orange Beach and Gulf Shores both offer unique experiences, and no matter which one you choose, you’re sure to have an unforgettable vacation.

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