Adventure, fun, relaxation… you’ll find it all on Alabama’s Gulf Shores & Orange Beach white-sand beaches. For years, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach remained a little-known vacation treasure, but more and more families are discovering the 32 miles of soft sand and clear waters that lace the edges of Alabama’s southern border to the Gulf of Mexico. With attractions like championship golf, nature trails and water sports, travelers are escaping to the beach for their annual vacations and weekend getaways.
Spring Day Trips
Day 1: Family Spring Break
- Spring is another beautiful season in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Nothing will start your family’s day off better than a morning of building sandcastles and splashing in the refreshing Gulf water.
- Top your exciting morning off with a delicious lunch. Our beaches boast a wide variety of kid-friendly dining options. Check out the Eat Your Way Family-Friendly Restaurant Itinerary here: gulfshores.com/eatyourway/familyfriendly.
- Adventure awaits! Take the afternoon to visit one of our water and/or adventure parks. Waterville USA is a popular stop for families with children of all ages. The park has an arcade, Go Kart track and roller coaster that are open during the spring. Families can also visit the Track Family Recreation Center. With several wood track Go Kart rides to mini golf and bumper rides, there’s a little something for everyone.
- Capture the smiles on your children’s faces with a sunset beach photoshoot. The area has a multitude of wonderfully talented photographers that can capture these treasured family moments.
- After the sun has set, spend the next couple of hours exploring the local souvenir shops. Your kids will love being able to bring back something from their trip to show all of their friends at school. Some shops even present unique “selfie” opportunities of their own!
Day 2: Explore Flora and Fauna on Alabama’s beaches
- Begin your day with a nice stroll on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. With more than 20 miles and seven trails, visitors can experience the six distinct ecosystems that comprise the park. The Backcountry Trails runs through Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and the Gulf State Park. This is the perfect place to kick off your day of exploring the flora and fauna on Alabama’s beaches.
- Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are also stops along the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail. The Backcountry Trail is a favorite spots for birders along with the Gulf State Park Pavilion and Nature Center.
- Following lunch, you can spend the afternoon learning about the area’s unique marine life. Dolphin cruises are offered by several businesses in the area. On these trips, you are able to relax and watch bottle-nose dolphins dive in and out of the water.
- If you’re looking for something wild to do this afternoon, visit the “Little Zoo That Could”. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is a very popular spot for visitors. The zoo houses over 500 exotic animals including lions, tigers, primates and more. The zoo also offers its guests the opportunity to encounter kangaroos, lemurs and tigers up-close and in-person.
Day 3: Paddleboards, Kayaks, Canoes…Oh My!
- Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have many ways for you to actively explore the different bodies of water that are in the area, from back bays to rivers and lakes. Start by renting a kayak from one of the area’s many rental businesses. Then you can either visit the kayak launches on the back bays in Orange Beach or the Gulf Shore’s Little Lagoon. Both locations are excellent places for kayakers of all levels to explore and discover the serenity that coastal Alabama offers. There’s nothing quite like a lazy-morning kayaking adventure.
- Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) has recently become one of the more popular outdoor activities on Alabama’s beaches. There are some great lakes in the area, including Lake Shelby at the Gulf State Park, that make for ideal SUP locations.
- The Orange Beach Wind and Water Learning Center is a wonderful resource to consult if your family is new to watersports. They offer PaddleFit classes as well as paddleboard rentals and special events.
- Another fitness phenomenon sweeping across coastal Alabama is SUP yoga. If you’re looking for an afternoon sweat session, then this is it. A few of the yoga studios in the area have paddleboard yoga classes on Lake Shelby at the Gulf State Park. This form of yoga is a great way to fire-up your core and test your balance.
- To end the afternoon, dock your kayak or paddleboard near one of the area’s many delicious restaurants. Tacky Jack’s in Gulf Shores has a beach area for you to dock your ride before indulging in one of their many fresh Gulf seafood dishes. If you time it right, you could be paddling back watching the sun set.
Don’t forget; the sun still needs taming in the spring! Wear hats, apply sunscreen often and follow any weather updates or beach condition flags to ensure your safety.