You can fly into nearby airports such as Mobile, Alabama or Pensacola, Florida. Private and corporate planes are served by the Jack Edwards Airport in Gulf Shores.
Other options include Montgomery, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana - both of which would require a three-hour drive.
The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach areas are easily reached from Interstates 65 and 10 as well as US Hwy 98. All three intersect with Alabama Hwy 59 (also known as Gulf Shores Parkway) which leads directly to Gulf Shores.
Distance from major cities: Atlanta, GA, 370 miles; Birmingham, AL, 274 miles; Jackson, MS, 245 miles; Memphis, TN, 480 miles; Nashville, TN, 450 miles; New Orleans, LA, 214 miles; St. Louis, MO, 632 miles.
A ferry service is available between nearby Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island. The ferry landing is approximately 25 miles west of Hwy 59 on West Fort Morgan Road.
Boaters can reach Gulf Shores and Orange Beach via the Intracoastal Waterway. The Tennessee-Tombigbee provides a link between the Intracoastal and numerous ports in the midwest. In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, boaters will find numerous marinas available.
Plenty of accommodations are located directly on the beach. Guests can walk right out and enjoy the sand and water. Some are located within easy walking distance of restaurants and shops.
The cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are connected by two main east-west highways. The most southern one is Highway 182 (known locally as Beach Blvd). It runs along the beach and offers great views of the water. Highway 180 (known locally as Canal Road) runs along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Coastal Xpress Shuttle offers $5 one-way rides to/from many Gulf Shores/Orange Beach night spots and hotels, etc. Call 251-923-8336 to arrange a ride
Highway 59 terminates at the public beach in Gulf Shores where it connects with Beach Blvd.
- Fort Morgan 51 Hwy 180 West. (251) 540-7127. Museum 9-5 daily. Fort hours vary by season. $3 for adults. $1 for children. A fort has been at this site on and off since the 1500s. The present fortification date from 1834 to WWII and played a vital part in the Battle of Mobile Bay. Historical tours are given daily in the summer.
- Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, 1204 Gulf Shores Parkway, ☎ +1 251 968-5731. Open daily 9-4. The Zoo features many exotic animals, including lions, monkeys and bears. There is also a petting zoo, reptile house and in the summer there are daily animal shows. $8.80 for adults $6 for children. Children under 2 are free.
- Gulf Shores Museum, 244 West 19th Avenue, ☎ +1 251-968-1473. Learn about Gulf Coast weather with a video on the Hurricane Hunters. Great exhibition on shrimping and fishing. Free.
- Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum, 25850 John M Snook Avenue, Orange Beach, ☎ +1 251-981-8545. Tu-F, 9AM - 4PM; Sat. 9AM - 2PM. Collection of local artifacts and items that tell the area's Native American and fishing history.
The best thing to do in Gulf Shores is enjoy the beaches. There are plenty of places to park at most public beaches. Some offer facilities and picnic tables. There are many beach access area that provide pedestrian access only. These are best if you are staying nearby and don't need a car to get to the beach. It is best to be aware of the Beach Warning Flags that tell you whether it is safe to go int othe ocean.
There is an unlimited amount of water sports activities available in Gulf Shores. Take your pick between waverunners, catamarans, parasailing, sailboats, boogie boards etc. at any of the numerous rental places along the beach.
- Gulf Shores Public Beach is full of activity and is conveniently located near bars and restaurants. Lifeguards on duty and picnic areas are available. Arrive early for a good spot.
- Gulf State Park (6 miles east of Hwy 59). A great beach for families and away from the hustle of the other beaches. Facilities are minimal and a small parking fee is charged.
- Waterville USA, Hwy 59 North. A 25 acre water and fun park. It has waterslides that are for the kiddies and the daredevils. There is miniature golf, go-karts, an arcade, and small carnival rides for younger children.
- GOLF!. Numerous courses at varying rates. Gulf State Park has an affordable course. Look up Soldiers Creek, Lost Key and Glenlakes for great courses at very fair prices. Cotton Creek and Cypress bend are both Arnold Palmer designs. Many more.
- Adventure Island, 24559 Perdido Beach Blvd, ☎ +1 251-974-1500. Fun for the entire family with mini golf, bumper boats, go-karts and arcade.
- Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, 12295 Hwy 180, ☎ +1 251-540-7720. sunrise - sunset. Great location for hiking with more than six miles of trails. Amazing beach access - worth the hike.
- Ferris Wheel at The Wharf, 4985 Wharf Parkway, ☎ +1 251-224-1000. M-Sa 10AM-10PM; Su 1PM - 8PM. Take a ride on the tallest Ferris wheel in the Southeast. Great views from the top. $4.
- Pirates Island Adventure Golf, 3201 Gulf Shores Parkway, ☎ +1 251-968-4653. Family-friendly mini-golf with a fun pirate theme. Waterfalls, pirate ship and fog machine.
- The Track Recreation Center, 3200 Gulf Shores Parkway, ☎ +1 251-968-8111. Splash in the water with bumper boats. Ride go-karts, play mini-golf. Dare to try the sky coaster.
Gulf Shores is filled with souvenir shops that offer classy to trashy gifts to take home. Some idea include seashells, airbrushed shirts, beach towels and various small gifts.
- Tanger Outlet Center Hwy 59 S. Foley, AL. Just a short drive north of Gulf Shores this outlet mall has over 120 stores.
- Alvin's Island Gulf Shores, 100 West Beach Blvd, ☎ +1 251-948-3121. With locations in both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the perfect spot for swimwear and souvenirs.
- Alvin's Island Orange Beach, 24949 Perdido Beach Blvd, ☎ +1 251-974-1123.
- Bayou Village, 701 Gulf Shores Parkway. Shops include Original Oyster House, Original Oyster House Trading Company, Sharkey's Arcade, Jubilee Gifts & Apparel, Ocean Eddie's, Taylors Serendipity, Cleopatra's Oasis and Blonde John's Surf, Skate & Skim.
- Souvenir City of Gulf Shores, 217 Gulf Shores Parkway, ☎ +1 251-948-7280. 7 days, 8AM - 11PM. A tradition for vacationers. Family owned since 1956.
- DeSoto's Seafood Kitchen, 138 W. 1st Ave. Gulf style seafood, steaks, pasta, and salads. Decent prices.
- Hazel's Nook, 120 East Fort Morgan Road, ☎ +1 251 968-7065. Famous for its breakfast. Home cooking and kid friendly.
- Sea-n-Suds, 405 East Beach Blvd, ☎ +1 251 948 7894. Value priced sandwiches, seafood and beer on the beach. Friendly and somewhat nostalgic atmosphere, bringing customers back to the days of boardwalks and piers. Everything is kept neat and simple, and the food is comforting and delicious. It can get really busy in the tourist season, so enjoy sitting out on the porch while you're waiting for a table!
- Buford's Floozy Shack, 1618 Gulf Shores Pkwy, ☎ +1 251-948-7444. M-Sun 9-5. Gourmet sauces in a funky little location, 109 different jams, jellies, marinades, dips, dressings, rubs and sauces, including the flagship Buford's Floozy Sauce line (available in three flavors)
- LuLu's, 200 East 25th Avenue, ☎ +1 251 967-5858. Known for being owned by American singer Jimmy Buffet's sister, Lucy. Lots of activities to do while you wait to be seated, food is typical Gulf Coast cuisine.
Gulf Island Grill- Right on East Beach Blvd; great seafood, drinks and Caribbean atmosphere. The Rum Bucket is a great value!
Flippers Seafood and Oyster Bar- Located on the lagoon side with view. The Bent Oar tiki bar is a lot of fun. Good service and all kinds of food/drink.
Bahama Bob's Beachside Cafe- Located right on the beach about a mile from "the T" and has great drinks, seafood and whatever else you may want. Indoor bar.
The Crab Trap- Drive a few miles down Beach Blvd to Perdido key to enjoy this waterfront seafood restaurant. Excellent crab and lobster. Stop by the bar and ask for their house specialty drink, too! Great view of the gulf with indoor and outdoor seating.
Alcohol sales are now allowed on Sunday in all areas of Gulf Shores.
- Pink Pony Pub. Public Beach area at the foot of Hwy. 59. Bright pink building - can't miss it.
- Flora-Bama Lounge On Hwy 292 on the Alabama-Florida State Line. There are usually cars lining the highway so watch out for people crossing road. A local favorite!
- The Hangout, 101 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, ☎ +1 251-948-3030. Great beachfront, new bar/lounge/restaurant with large outdoor area for live entertainment. Great decor and atmosphere.
Gulf Shores is full of rental properties that run from budget to luxury. Most are condominium type places that site overlooking the beaches. Beach houses are also available.
Alabama State Park, Gulf Shores, offers another alternative for RV, cabin or tent camping. Although ravished by Katrina the campground has come a long way in its journey towards its former splendor. New trees have been planted and you'll see campers water them from the well equipped camp sites that have water, electricity and sewer hook up for your RV. Plenty of shower and rest room facilities in air conditioned buildings all clean and well cared for. The camp ground has plenty of capacity and is seldom full according to staff. Conveniently located close to the beach, depending on where in this large camp ground you pitch your RV.
- Gulf Shores Plantation, 805 Plantation Road, toll-free: +1-800-554-0344. 600 unit resort with 7 pools on 70 acres right on the Gulf
Pensacola, FL See the National Naval Aviation Museum at the Naval Air Station. Well worth the drive.