When you’re planning your visit to Gulf Shores, here are 32 things to do for folks of all ages! I’ve been a few times, and will keep going back – it’s so much fun! Whether you want to fish, beach, eat, drink or see the sites – I’ve got it on the list. This is a checklist of the best things to do on your vacation:
- Sunset on the Beach – I’ll start with my favorite thing to do – sit on the beach! There is nothing better than experiencing a sunset on the beach. I love staying on the beach, so every night, I check my phone for sunset time and head down from the condo to sit on the beach for an hour. So peaceful!
2. Pirates Cove – this is a hidden gem for sure! It’s definitely a favorite of locals – there’s a little beach, lots of beach dogs and some killer drinks! It’s off the beaten path for sure – but if you want to relax with the locals – this is THE place!
3. Big Beach Brewing – Jim & Julie decided Gulf Shores needed a brewery and the were right! There’s no food – but you can get tasty beers, wine or even a local soda!
4. Dolphin Cruise – If you’re near the Gulf – you can always find a dolphin boat! Gulf Shores has plenty to choose from and it’s so fun – especially for kids (or those young at heart like me) – to get on the water and see them jumping!
5. Poke Bowl at The Gulf – One of my absolute favorite places I always go is The Gulf! It’s right on the beach with picnic tables everywhere. Better yet – the food and drinks are amazing. My favorite is the Poke Bowl – it’s got locally caught tuna and is so light and fresh – you’ll devour every bite!
6. Waterville USA – Who doesn’t want to hit a water park when it’s hot out? Waterville USA is super fun with an abundance of slides, a wave pool and a lazy river!
7. The Yard Milkshake Bar – What’s the other thing besides water you want when it’s hot?! ICE CREAM!!! The Yard milkshakes are LEGENDARY but don’t miss out on their edible cookie dough – or just make it yourself with my copycat recipe!
8. Kayaking – Every time I visit Gulf Shores, my friend Eva tries to get me to kayak. I can’t swim so it freaks me out – so I haven’t done it yet – but she keeps trying to talk me into it!
9. Make your own pottery – I was so excited when we decided to make pottery! The cool thing was the Arts Center had multiple options – we chose a simple version where we basically cut a slab of clay in a shape, molded it a bit by hand and then added texture. We then picked out a glaze we wanted and they fired it and shipped it to us! The class was super quick and fun – and be sure to ask to see the studio puppy! (And yes – that’s the tray I made – isn’t it cool and beachy!?!)
10. Fort Morgan Historic Site – It’s also nice to take in a little history and Gulf Shores has it in Fort Morgan. They were a key defense port in a number of war battles from the Civil War and more. It’s only about a half hour from downtown Gulf Shores.
11. Fishing – If you’ve got someone in your group that likes to fish – they’ll have a great time in the Gulf! There are so many charters and fishing opportunities! Red Snapper and Sailfish are big – but here’s a chart of the fishing seasons.
12. Live Music at Fresh Off the Boat – there are so many amazing restaurants in Gulf Shores and so many of them have live music. The one I enjoyed was Fresh Off the Boat – the food was amazing, it was a great casual atmosphere and the owners were a delight. Plus their local musician was great as well and super friendly.
13. Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo – I’m a sucker for a zoo and the Gulf Coast Zoo is so cute! It’s not the biggest zoo – but you get up close with everyone and they have some really fun animal encounters. We got to play with lemurs and kangaroos a couple years ago! It’s a definite must-stop!
14. Get a Bush Whacker at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club – The Bush Whacker is pretty much the signature drink of Gulf Shores and the Flora-Bama is THE place to have one. And if you just can’t wait to try this boozy milkshake – my girl PlainChicken has her own Bushwhacker recipe!
15. Cruisin Tiki’s – How can you turn down a floating tiki hut? It’s also BYOB – just drink responsibly – and you can bring food too! It was a blast!
16. Ferris Wheel at The Wharf – If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for fun – the Wharf is it! Whether it’s food, entertainment, shopping or even a place to stay – they have it. One of the most things is their giant ferris wheel – be sure to check it out. And stop by The Pantry for a quick bite – they made us some amazing charcuterie boards for our Cruisin Tiki’s cruise!
17. Massage at the Beach Club – When you’re on a vacation – it’s all about relaxation – so be sure to check out the Beach Club and get a massage in the spa! It’s amazing! They have a whole resort that is a bit more private – but the spa is open to the public.
18. The Beach! – Elephant in the room – GO TO THE BEACH! It’s perfection! Whether you’re laying out, building sand castles, taking a walk or anything else – it’s beautiful!
20. Pink Pony Pub – I’m not much of a drinker but the girls made me get out and indulge a little and the Pink Pony turned out to be my favorite place! I had a Raspberry Blast and let me tell you – I could have had about 5 more of them! Yum! We got nachos too which were HUGE!!! It’s a very fun and historic place – must stop!
21. Coastal Segway – One of my favorite things to do in any new city is a Segway tour! I’m not very athletic and I picked it up in a matter of minutes. It’s so fun to just get going and enjoy the breeze while taking in the scenery.
22. Lulu’s – Jimmy Buffett’s sister Lucy created Lulu’s and man – it is a party place any time of day or night! Live music, games, delicious food and fun servers.
23. Parasailing – Now something you’ll NEVER catch me doing – but if you aren’t deathly afraid of heights – you should try Parasailing! Everyone that’s brave enough has told me how amazing it is – so please do it for me!
24. Photo Op Shop – After we got our customary Yard Milkshake – we swaggered (from the full belly) across the street to the Photo Op Shop and had a blast! We toured the facility and grabbed some super cute selfies to share with friends.
26. Shopping – There are a ton of cute shops all around Gulf Shores! I urge you – if you see a shop that catches your eye – pull in and check it out! My favorite was Geez Louise – I got the cutest tie-dye ball cap!
27. The Sunliner Diner – If you want a delicious breakfast – stop into The Sunliner Diner! It’s a 50’s themed restaurant and you can’t go wrong there! Or click here for more Breakfast options in Gulf Shores! I’ve also got a copycat of their Corned Beef Hash recipe.
28. Escape Room – There are a bunch of Escape Rooms in Gulf Shores and the fun thing about them is – a lot will have a local bent on one of the rooms. Whether you’re visiting with a group or just you and a friend – make a reservation – you’ll have a blast! (I’ve always gotten out too – so team up with me!)
29. Anonyme Cruise – I’m a sucker for a boat – and we also went on the Anonyme Cruise with Captain DD. It’s an electric boat so its super quiet and so relaxing. I recommend a sunset cruise – and you can bring your own food and drink on board to enjoy yourself a little more!
30. Drinks & Food at Tacky Jacks – When I saw Tacky Jacks – I knew I would love it! It’s an explosion of neon colors and you can write something on neon duck tape and stick it anywhere – I mean – seriously?! The Garbage Nachos were so good – I had to copycat them for myself! (They also have a tasty Bushwhacker as well.)
31. Dinosaurs in the Woods – yes – a perfect roadside attraction. You can see a T-Rex in the middle of the woods of Alabama! They also have something called Bama-Henge (Stone Henge replica in the woods). It’s a fun quick stop that is fun because you have to do a little exploring to find them all!
32. Lazy River at Turquoise Place – Turquoise Place is a favorite of mine to stay at – their condos are amazing! If you’re a guest, they have beach chairs you can rent in prime spots, swimming pools and even a lazy river. It’s right on the beach and is sheer perfection!
There are truly so many amazing and fun things to do in Gulf Shores! This list is really just the tip of the iceberg – but I hope it gave you some new ideas and convinced you to make your own trip to Alabama beaches!