Alabama is often known for its fascinating history and delicious Southern cuisine, but you might not know that this Southeastern state makes a great destination for beach-goers and adventurers as well.
In Gulf Shores, Alabama, a seaside town found about 85 kilometers southeast of Mobile, outdoor enthusiasts will find endless opportunities to get a breath of fresh air both on land and on the water. Children and adults will love the ability to see animals in their natural habitat, explore beautiful white-sand beaches and discover a piece of Alabama history. Here are five fun outdoor experiences you won’t want to miss in Gulf Shores.
1. Bike Through Gulf State Park
Vast swaths of wilderness are plentiful in Gulf Shores. Rent a bike and take a leisurely ride on the Backcountry Trail in Gulf State Park. Seven trails winding through swamps, marshes, sand dunes and hardwood forests provide over 24 kilometers of cycling ground. Exploring the trail gives you a close look at local wildlife. Keep your eyes open for deer bounding through dense forests and alligators sunning themselves along lakeshores – just be sure to keep your distance. The park also has a botanical butterfly garden and picnic pavilion.
2. Relax on the Sugar-White Sand Beaches
A trip to Gulf Shores is not complete without a visit to the beach. Dig your toes into the sand on over 50 kilometers of Alabama coastline. Swim, surf, paddleboard or kayak in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and then build sandcastles or play beach volleyball on the beautiful white-sand shores. The white sand is made from quartz grains washed down from the Appalachian Mountains thousands of years ago. Search for coquina clam shells and take a little piece of the Alabama Gulf Coast home with you.
Enjoying the sand and surf in Gulf Shores
3. Catch Your Own Fresh Gulf Seafood
Find it, catch it and cook it. Fishing in Gulf Shores is a popular pastime among both locals and visitors. Meet and mingle with fellow anglers at the pier in Gulf Shores State Park or charter a fishing boat to catch red snapper. Visit with local fishermen and learn how to catch blue crab, oysters, shrimp and more.
4. Spend the Day on the Water
The best way to experience Gulf Shores’ coastal ecosystem is from the water. Rent a boat and sail or paddle around the bays and lakes, or take a dolphin cruise and see wild dolphins swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.
5. Step Back in Time and Explore Historic Forts
History comes alive with a visit to Fort Morgan, one of the few remaining forts from the U.S. Civil War. Completed in 1834 at the mouth of Mobile Bay, the fort now features an active living history program that guides visitors through the fort’s past, from its beginnings as an active post in 1834 through World War II. For more local history, take a ferry ride over the mouth of the bay to Dauphin Island and visit Fort Morgan’s companion fort, Fort Gaines, which has guarded the bay for more than 150 years.